“When You Are Sick, I Am Sick”

So from what I told you on my last blog, you might be expecting to hear about what my weekly routine looks like; but instead, God has put something else on my heart that I think I’ll enjoy telling you about even more.  There are about sixteen girls here that for the most part don’t speak any English at all; although, they have been making much progress in our English classes!  However, there are three girls who could already speak a tiny bit of English, especially one girl who can speak fairly well and you can hold a conversation with.  With her permission, she is allowing me to tell you a little bit about her.  First of all, her name is Sengdy (pronounced like “Cindy”).  She is twenty years old and has been here at the center since she was ten.  She’s an only child, and her father died of malaria when she was young.  Growing up it was just her and her mom, and they struggled as they were very poor.  Until one day, Sengdy’s mom was offered a job at the center, and this is where they’ve been ever since.  Now, Sengdy continues her schooling here, as she only has two years left.  Graduating from high school is a huge accomplishment in Cambodia, as many kids drop out along the way or do not even have the money to go in the first place.
Now rewind back a couple weeks ago when my team and I first arrived.  Immediately, I was drawn to Sengdy as she was the only one who could speak decent English, which made talking to her all the more critical as our translator had yet to arrive.  Sengdy at first was shy and reserved when we’d talk, but just from the look in her eyes I was so eager to know her more.  It wasn’t long however until more of her bright personality was beaming out of her.  Already in two short weeks, we have formed a bond that is priceless to me.  And I found out just how real that bond was the other day.  Let me tell you the story.
Thursday I was sick.  I’m talking real sick.  Therefore, I spent most of that miserable day in bed, which sadly meant I missed out on seeing the girls and participating in our daily activities.  But fast forward to right before dinner.  I woke up and literally felt so much better, praise the Lord.  Before I go on, I must inform you of a couple details. First of all, all the girls here call me “D” because they just weren’t getting the whole “Drew” concept.  “D” is much easier to say, henceforth, that is my name.  However, Sengdy calls me a little something else – she calls me, “Sister D” or sometimes just simply, “Sister” (but pronounced “Seesta”).  Secondly, something we just taught the girls in English is the question “How are you?” as well as multiple responses that they could answer with.  Now, go back to me waking up feeling miraculously better.  I arrive at dinner and as soon as I see the other girls they are coming up and asking me, “D, how are you?” in the most precious way as they just learned how to say it and in the most sincere way as they could because they knew I had been sick.  Then I saw Sengdy for the first time that day and walked over to her.  When she saw me, with the most sincere look in her eyes she asked me how I was feeling and if I was better.  When I told her the good news, this is what she said back to me: “Sister D, when you are sick, I am sick; and when you are happy, I am happy.”  Right at that moment, I felt a love that went deeper than the surface, and was so touched by her compassion it nearly brought me to tears.
Thankfully, since I was feeling better towards the evening, I didn’t get to miss out on my favorite part of the day – goodnight time.  Every night before we go to sleep, we hug each of the girls like it’s our last night while saying “I love you!”  and “Kngm solang nak!”  which is “I love you” in Khmer.  Then at about that time it’s not uncommon that a dance party might break out.  It’s already moments like these that I’ll look back with smiles and laughter.  

“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” – Romans 12:15

This is a pic of me and Sengdy 🙂