Friday, October 28, 2011

Let's Give Away 800 T-Shirts!

Chomno and the Mayor of Poipet, Cambodia

I want you to meet the key men who led in implementing the giving away of 800 T-Shirts at the Cambodia/Thailand border. Here are the director of CHO(Cambodian Hope Organization) and the mayor of the town. My understanding is that they grew up together. They came together for redemption's sake. They planned to bring beauty and extend worth and value to the day labor workers who pull carts, like animals, to do their work. They wanted to give them a handsome T-Shirt that that had on the back the most important truth we can ever know: Jesus Loves You.

Day Laborers at the Cambodian Border

Some of the day laborers are children, some are mothers or fathers with young children or even babies alongside them or riding in the cart. This photo, taken by my roommate for the trip, Gretchen, an amazing photographer, shows a laborer who received a T-shirt as she was passing by with her children.

Cambodian Hope Organization has a machine that silk screens designs and logos onto T-Shirts, so with the help of many, both financially and logistically, the CHO staff, some of them "New Bloom" workers who seem capable of just about anything, began designing and implementing the silk sceening for both the front and back of the shirt. The aqua color is a special color for Safe Haven; all the wonderful, rescued children wear aqua school shirts. It was decided to put Cambodian Hope Organization on the front and "Jesus Love You" on the back in both Khimer and English.

Here is a CHO worker who silk screens T-Shirts, and he helped me cross the border when I left for the airport at the end of my stay. He knows English and is very kind. He helped me with some translation as I was working in New Bloom.
One needs to be a handy in all sorts of ways when working at CHO!

Here is a New Bloom worker and my translator working on T-Shirts.

The last day of our stay in Poipet, as a team, we arose before dawn, got dressed and headed to the border with a truckload of shirts. Chomno met the mayor, we all bowed respectfully, and grabbed a handful of T-shirts. Now, it was the mayors turn. We found the first laborer who was going to pass through the border, and the mayor was the one to hand him a shirt. The mayor did this for several of the first men, even having them put on the shirt. We all applauded respectfully as each man passed by.

Later, Chomno mentioned to me that the people who received those shirts would be saving them for a special occasion - perhaps a wedding or other event when they would need a clean, new T-shirt. I imagined a number of wedding guests wearing these shirts at a festive family gathering and smiled. There they would be, enjoying their family, good food and celebration, and they would be bringing the amazing, best message that Jesus Loves You on their T-shirts.

Two team members at the border with the day laborers. 
Yes; let's give away 800 T-shirts!

We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 1 John 3:16

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