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Walk like the Father

On Wednesday 18 February, a boy named Vichet walked into our lives. 
 
 
A close relative to ours here passed away Monday night and Tuesday night we attended the evening session of the funeral. Sophea, staff here, saw Vichet wandering around the funeral, and knowing he wasn’t from the area, tried asking questions of who he was and where he came from. He didn’t answer any of the questions.
 
The next morning, Vuthy came up to me and asked if I had experience with people who had mental health issues. Not really knowing in the wide range of mental health issues he was asking about, I said, “Sort of, I guess.” Vuthy said, “There is a boy that we found. Can you go talk to him?”
 
I found myself walking down our road to where the funeral was held, praying for God to give me wisdom and discernment for whatever I was walking into. I met Sophea and Petra (another staff) and we talked a little more about what happened.
 
The young boy had walked from who-knows where for who-knows how long, and had stayed the night at the house where the funeral was the night before. The people there and the family were all Buddhist. They have become accustomed to stray persons walking through their land, and then stealing their things. The words they spoke over the boy were not kind and they wanted him to leave.
 
We had no idea if the boy had gone through abuse or trafficking, if he was running away from a dangerous situation, or if he was just as though the family said he was. Petra and Sophea tried talking to the boy but he was mainly unresponsive; he seemed very tired. I walked home in order to brief the team: We were going to bring the boy to our base.
 
Due to the nature of this base, and rules in Cambodia, we couldn’t keep him indefinitely, but for a brief period, we wanted to give him a home and food and love.
 
Much quicker than I had anticipated, the boy was walking around. He talked little to any of us except Sophea the first day. About this time we learned that his name was Vichet. Abby had some experience with children who had fetal alcohol syndrome, and said he acted similar to those children. He watched everything we did. Everything.
 
To, the youngest boy here is twelve, but the majority of the ages of us here are 15-22 years-old. We like to joke around and sometimes that means tickling, scratching each other’s back, or playful hits on the arm. We all understand it’s in good fun and never aim to hurt each other.
 
Vichet had been with us just over 24 hours and he was beginning to mimic the things we did. He tried tickling each of us, and started hitting us. The issue was he wasn’t aware of the force he brought with it. We all knew our intentions, but he couldn’t see our intentions. He could only see the physical things we were doing.
 
It definitely caused a heart-check in myself.
Are the things we’re doing really appropriate and loving?
 
Petra and I had a discussion about this after I had been hit pretty hard by Vichet. We talked to everyone here about how Vichet is imitating everything we’re doing. Just as a baby learns from his mother, father, and siblings behaviors, Vichet was watching what we were doing here and was replicating it in his actions.
 
He was like a big mirror placed in front of each of us.
 
Were we wondering how we’re perceived by the outside world?
 
Well, this is how.
 
Is this a picture of Christ in us?
 
” ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. But his all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.’ ” John 13:34-35.
 
On Friday, Abby, Sophea, Vichet and I had to go to Phnom Penh to get extensions for our visas and we stopped by the hospital to see if Vichet needed any medicine. (He was pretty car sick on the ride there, so we picked up some medicine for that, too!) It was so beautiful to see the way Vichet and Sophea act with each other. All day Abby told Sophea how great of a dad he’s going to be. The Holy Spirit, Comforter, is so evident in the way Sophea lives.
 
 
As we sat at Master Grill in the mall, I watched Vichet watch how we dipped our french fries into the little bowl of ketchup and ate them, and then he quickly followed suit. We drank our Cokes with straws, and he did the same. Later that day, I bought each of us a Kinder Joy and I helped Vichet open his. He clearly had never had one before, so he possibly thought I was crazy when I tried handing him the part with the Nutella-like goodness. He shook his head, “No,” as if he didn’t want it. I took the spoon and put some into my mouth, and just as with a child, I said “MMMmmm.” Still staring at me, I laughed and put it on the table. 
 
But a few minutes later, intrigued, he picked it up and tried it. And he must have enjoyed it, because he ate it all!
 
Over those few days, it was amazing to see how all of us were acting with each other and with Vichet. Each of the boys displayed beautiful attributes of Christ in each of their unique ways. To, who for the first month we were here, barely talked to any of our team and mainly whispered to the boys in front of us, was an amazing help guiding Vichet when he wanted soup, playing ball with him, among other things.
 
Our attitudes definitely started to change over those short days. It was challenging having another boy here who, for the most part, couldn’t do things on his own, and we each grew so much. There was a new sense of maturity in the boys and staff here that we hadn’t seen before. The maternal qualities of each of my girls was more evident.
 
They were each beginning to look more like Christ the longer Vichet was with us. We were learning to walk like our Father, just as children learn from their earthly fathers.
 
It was bittersweet news to hear that Sophea and Veasna (staff) had found Vichet’s family and they were reunited that Sunday afternoon. We were able to hear of the story of how he came to our small village. His mother had started working in Phnom Penh and the young boy just missed his mom, so he started walking towards her. That afternoon, Sophea and Veasna were able to share the Gospel with Vichet’s family. My prayer is that through our actions, Bible studies and worship with Vichet, that he took that home with him, that we were an example of Christ that Vichet will pass on to his family.
 
 
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
Originally posted on kaylaschmidt.theworldrace.org

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