This time travel business really messes with your sleep schedule. Upon waking up hours before my alarm clock was set to go off, I noticed that several other members were awake as well (I could see their “likes” and posts on facebook). In the morning, most of the team members said they were up in the middle of the night and could not fall back asleep. So to prepare myself for this unfamiliar occurance, I am typing this out at 8pm with the motivation of sleep pushing me along. The difficulty in that, though, is that there is a wedding going on right next store and the music is blasting pretty loudly in the street and consequently through my window (yes, I know sound is not light, but it’s sneaky).
This morning, we attended a YWAM base worship and prayer meeting. I got the privilege of leading worship there and it was a really cool thing to be at. We were able to meet different people who were from different parts of the world and unite under the common cause of Christ. We worshiped, got into groups and prayed for each other, we shared words of encouragement for the team and were able to pray for their leadership (they also gave us Coke at 10:30am. shhh. don’t tell my parents). It was great to be able to bless those who are putting in the work every day to advance the Gospel of Jesus. I think it’s easy to develop this mindset that spiritual leaders are superhuman and if we’re not careful, we can ignorantly neglect the needs that they have. They are constantly pouring out to their communities, teams, and staffs and it can be a draining task. I’m glad we had the opportunity to be a blessing and encouragement to them. They are human and they need it.
After that, we went to a safe house for girls who needed it for various reasons. The people who live there each have different stories ranging from being in the sex industry to demon possession and those who struggled with different substance addictions. They lady who runs the house is pretty great. She told us about how her life used to be completely controlled by evil then she gave her life to Christ while she was in prison. When she got out, she was accepted to a bible college and attended that until graduation. Then God called her to Cambodia and she left. Her reasoning? She said that everything about her life was chaos before she accepted Jesus and since she started following Him, everything in her life had changed for the good. Through this, she realized the simple (yet extremely profound) logic that a life following the Lord was infinitely better than what she had before and had decided to follow Him ever since. So when He told her to get up and go to Cambodia, she went. When He told her to go from the city she arrived in to Phnom Penh, she went. And when He told her to start a home for these girls who were broken and lost, she did it. It was amazing hearing about her story, her passion, and her love not only for God, but for the girls she is constantly taking in. Honestly, I don’t know how she does it. There is a Spirit-led driving force inside of her that makes me feel pretty shameful and stagnant. For years now, she has been providing food and shelter for so many girls, while also paying for their education so that they can move on and live successful lives. Often times, she doesn’t know how she’s going to pay for everything, but God has been faithful and continues to provide in different ways.
While we were there, Holly and Kara taught the girls how to make new bracelets to sell (which I’m sure you will see and love – and hopefully buy. I personally like them better than the ones we’ve had). Our girls were able to use that as a starting point to have conversations with several of the girls. who were there. It was cool to see them interacting and the biggest thing I noticed was that they were still just girls. Each one of them had horrendous past experiences in life, but they were still just girls. Kara was telling me afterwards that some of the things they wanted to talk about were normal girly things. They joked, laughed, and talked about culture and, of course, nails and make-up. While we were on our way back to our hotel, a couple of us were mentioning how it seemed like you would never be able to tell what these girls went through because they had so much joy inside of them.
I don’t say that to belittle their circumstances in any way, but to point towards the never ending redemptive power of Christ. These girls had gone through the most awful experiences, yet when they came to these homes, they were met with the overwhelming love of Jesus. It is not a requirement for them to accept Christ in order to stay in these homes, but they do have daily bible studies and each one is required to share something about a passage they read (even if they said how they didn’t like something). As a testament to that, I’ll mention this: the boys home started about 8 years ago (I think) and when they began, the only requirement was that they followed a bible reading plan. Now, 4 of those boys are pastors.
Now that I’m typing this, I’m starting to notice a theme for the day and that is one of power. At the YWAM meeting, it was easy to see how much they value the power of prayer. This isn’t limited to healing or anything like that, but for direction, wisdom, and strength. They find power in prayer because there is power in the voice of the Lord. I’ll be the first to admit that in our busy western culture, it’s easy to have one-way prayers. We often communicate TO God and not WITH God. The people here rely on hearing the voice of the Lord and if we want to do that, we’ve got to learn to take the time to shut up and listen. At the girls home, it was easy to see that they valued the power of the Word. Daily bible studies and devotions can change your life and it has for them. Their entire ministry is rooted in the Word of God. They learn about God and His loving character. They learn about Jesus and His overwhelming compassion. They learn about the Holy Spirit and the peace that He gives. And they learn about the church and how we are one body who is unified in Christ and loves each other sacrificially.
Please be praying for both of these organizations (YWAM and Water of Life). They both are truly doing amazing things in this country and are making a dramatic difference in the lives of so many in their communities. Pray that the leadership of both will find their strength in God and that they will have the opportunities to find the time to sit and rest in His presence. Pray for the girls homes and that they will continue to flourish in the spread of the Gospel as well as the rehabilitation that these girls go through. Pray for the girls that are there and that they will find freedom, life, and redemption in Jesus. Also, pray that the members of our team will be able to find some rest and sleep. And pray for all of us (that includes you) and that we will recongnize that there truly is so much power in prayer and in the Word of God. They are readily available and I know I need to start taking more advantage of both.