“…When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” (Luke 12:48 NLT)
I have been home from Cambodia for over a week and I cannot seem to get the sights, sounds, and people out of my mind. Here are some of the things I am still thinking about:
The landscape was beautiful and of course, I found the orchids to be breathtaking.
I am still amazed by the magnitude and artistic detail of the structures at the Angkor Archeaological Park from the temples
to the individual sculptures. Elephants were a popular motif everywhere we went. (Thats me in the picture above in the purple shirt.)
I am still thinking about the people. This little boy was helping his sister sell trinkets at Angkor Wat. Children only attend school if their families can pay the tuition and supply a uniform. Otherwise, many children work from a young age.
But most of all, I am thinking about the people at Teen Challenge (TC) Cambodia where we served. The future is uncertain for some of the youth who live there. For instance, this 6 year old boy’s parents gave him to TC the week before we arrived. TC staff have been talking to them about leaving the streets and drug use. They weren’t ready to make a change but they admitted that they could no longer take care of him. I am praying that his parents will join him soon at TC.
Lei is a 12 year old orphan who has lived at TC for some months. Previously, he had been addicted to sniffing glue, living on the streets of Phnom Penh. He is now drug free and looking forward to attending school. TC will be sponsoring his tuition, but at some point he must have a permanent home. The Cambodian government will not allow TC to operate. as a long term foster care or orphanage agency. So, as the number of youth they serve increases, the stress of finding permanent homes for these kids will continue to increase.
Finally, I am thinking about the TC cooks. They faithfully cooked meals for the TC participants, TC staff, and our team three times a day from scratch without electricity, refrigeration, a grocery store, or any other modern convenience. And they did it with a smile.
In a few weeks, my second book “Inspired For Greater Things” will be available. I submitted the manuscript to Xulon Press before I left for Cambodia. Here is an excerpt from the book’s back cover:
“Our world is filled with communities of people who are suffering from a variety of social problems. Could you hold the answer? Is God impressing upon you that it’s time to do greater things, and to bring help and transformative solutions to your community? Does that thought overwhelm you?”
Reading this now, after being home a few days, it sounds like I was writing to myself as I was sitting under that thatched roof covered patio at Teen Challenge Cambodia. My inspired idea now is to take the proceeds from this book to provide ongoing assistance to TC Cambodia.
Have you ever had an experience that altered your thinking? Have you ever felt compelled by God to take on a new project and yet didn’t quite understand how to start?
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” -Theodore Roosevelt
(I made these photographs in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap Cambodia in November 2013.)