Thursday, July 28, 2011

What is Love...

Lately, I have been thinking about the true meaning of love. For many people and even myself I would say that love is a word, you show love through giving it, through gifts, words, etc. While I have been in Cambodia though I have found that love is so much more. There is a language barrier here that helps me to see what true love is. It could be as simple as someone I have never met saying "hello" and smiling. The people at the markets and on the streets purposefully stopping to talk to me and "practice" their English. The children who cling to me, kiss me on the cheek but don't speak a word of English... WOW! That to me says so much more than words, it means more to me then gold, and makes love mean a lot more then just a word. The crazy thing is that is what God does. He loves me so deeply that He helps me see His love through these little things. I want to be the kind of person that can show love in these ways whether I speak the same language or not. Love is simple... but the challenge is this "to LOVE Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to LOVE your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:33. I mean, think about it, in ONE statement Jesus commanded us to love Him and love our neighbors... I don't think that is a coincidence...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Daddy, Father, Dad

I am so amazed with the children at Haley's House and just their love for the people of Cambodia. On Saturday morning we were able to go with them to a little village just outside of Phnom Penh. We gathered some kids from the area and told them about God and sang songs. Then we went and passed out little tracks and shared the gospel with people in the area. I was reminded of the verses in the bible that talk about childlike faith. Mark 10:15 says "Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it." We must have childlike faith to enter the kingdom of God. These children had no fear, they were not worried about what people would say or if they would be rejected they just know, truly know, who Jesus is! To these children God IS their Father. There earthly parents are not a part of their lives either due to death or illness or lack of resources to care for them. The care givers at the orphanage do their best to be mothers and fathers but the children can only feel the true fatherly love from God. As we were riding in the van (packed with 24 children... true Cambodian style) they sang songs and some of them were singing at the top of their lungs. They are so in love with Jesus that nothing holds them back nothing can stop them from giving their all to HIM!
Do I do that?... What a challenge! Do I look at God as an amazing Daddy? Though I am not in the same situation as these children (I have very loving parents, Love you mom and dad!) I still need to know that God is the ultimate, in control Father of my life!
This weekend, Sunday the 24th, was my birthday and I had the best birthday! It was so much fun to be able to celebrate with my friends here in Cambodia. My teammates decided to throw a surprise party for me. They had banners and balloons, pizza and cake.
I realized how blessed I am to have a loving family and loving friends who care so deeply for me. So I pray that, to the children I have been working with here, they sense the depth of my love, care and concern for them. That through me they can sense the love of Jesus and their Heavenly Father! What a challenge, what a joy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." Isaiah 64:8.
Today was an amazing day. We were able to visit an orphanage here in Phnom Penh and I was reminded of this verse "coincidentally" twice. Once when the children started singing it and second as I was typing my update email. The song that goes along with this verse says. "Change my heart oh God, make it ever true, Change my heart oh God, may I be like you... You are the potter, I am the clay, Mold me and make me, this is what I pray..." Today I realized that that is EXACTLY what God is doing, and today I pray that God would mold me and make me to be more like Him.
The children at the orphanage could have had so much to be sad about or so much to dislike about their lives but instead they had joy and love. God was who made their lives better, He is all they need.
So through a few hours at an orphanage I was stretched, pounded and molded, then God made me into a vessel that can now contain HIS joy and love. And I pray that just like these children overflowed on to me, that I can overflow on to others!

Monday, July 18, 2011

You Are Rich!

I sometimes cannot express in words the feelings I feel here in Cambodia! Happiness, Love, and Smiles.... I don't know... its overwhelming!
Today in my devotional was a couple verses from John 15 they say "Abide in my love... these things I have spoken to you that your joy may be full, Yes! Your joy will overflow! This is my command that you love one another as I have loved you." While I get to experience the amazing people, culture and love of the people of Cambodia I hope that through me they are experiencing God's love through my actions and my words. Cambodian people are naturally very generous, very gracious and very loving and a vast majority are not Christians. What a lesson I can learn from them.
When I was coming here I thought... I want to make
such a difference during my time in Cambodia and, not that I haven't, but this experience has challenged me so much more! It has caused me to remember my first love, Jesus. It has caused me to see the good in all people and situations. It has literally changed me! I hope and pray that I am reaching some of my kids lives, that I am being a light to the lost people here. But I thank God that through a land of poor and desolate people He could change a stubborn, easily swayed, sinner like me. I am BEYOND wealthy, not materialistically but in spirit. I am so rich to know the true love of my savior Jesus and the overflowing joy He brings. That is one thing this trip has taught me... and honestly if that is all, than that's good and that is why He sent me here.
I pray that Christians all over the world would wake up! Whether you are poor or wealthy or somewhere in between, realize that through God's love, blessings and glory you are RICH beyond measure. And d
on't forget to share it with those around you.
Smile, Say hello, go a little out of your way to strike up a conversation or help someone in need... believe me when I say it could change a life, b
e it someone else's or your very own!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Love... is all we need!

One thing that I have learned during my time so far in Cambodia is that everyone no matter where you live, what race you are or what "class" you're in, we are all looking for love. The love you seek may be different, maybe for some they are looking for it in attention from others, some seek it in things they love and others may pursue it in their actions or deeds. The truth behind all of this is that we can get all of that from Our Savior. Jesus gives us the attention we so seek. The word says in Song of Songs "You are beautiful my beloved there is no flaw in you" and "Arise my darling, come away with me." He longs to give us that attention that we so desire. The things of this world will not fill that void.I am often reminded of the song "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" it says:
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of Earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace."
His glory, grace and love exceed all the things this world has to offer. Everything else compared to Him will grow strangely dim.
And finding love and fulfillment solely in deeds and actions does not get you anywhere. You need faith behind those actions. Today we were told how easy it is to open an orphanage here in Cambodia. Literally all you need is a building and to say we'll take your kids. but the problem with that is that those people doing that aren't helping anything. If they don't have people supporting them they almost always fail. The Christian orphanages here that are backed by supporters and have their base set in Him are the successful ones! They have faith along with deeds and in that they find love and fulfillment. In James it says "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?" You need both faith and actions to truly feel that love.
Ok, so I know that this was really wordy and kind of philosophical but it all boils down to the fact that we can try to find love in many other things, people and actions. But the only TRUE LOVE we can ever feel or even express comes from Him.
During my time in Cambodia I am praying that all I do and all that I take part in is backed by Him and His powerful love and grace. Whether I am teaching my students or saying hello to the neighbors across the street I want to do it all keeping in mind that His love is what they are seeing!
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Cambodia... The Land of LOVELY people!

I made it to Cambodia! It is so crazy to think that I am in another country! I have already taken in a lot even within the 6 days of being here! It was a slightly overwhelming transition... mostly the heat! Please pray for me and that transition a little smoother! I went to observe the class I will be working with today and I am amazed at the students English ability!

Cambodia is a very interesting country. The people (at least the ones we have met) are extremely nice. Even today as I was riding my bike home a young man rode along side me and was telling me all about his education. He was asking me what I thought about Cambodia and the traffic. He had exceptional English and wanted to talk to me and practice his English. Also, our "Tuk Tuk" driver is a very kind man and he has very good English. He always makes sure we get to the places we need to go to! These are only a couple of the many examples of the kind of people that I have met in Cambodia!

Tomorrow (monday) I start teaching full time in the class! Be in prayer for that as the kids are very bright and will need to be challenged! I am excited to get the ball rolling though!