Thursday, October 27, 2011

Redemption in Poipet, Cambodia

"This is how we know redemption. When we see broken things made whole, when what's been discarded is restored to its rightful place, when those in peril are brought back to safety, when love shines in a place that's been starving for it. That's redemption." - Lisa Beamer, Wheaton College graduation address May 2011


I wake from a sweat again this morning. I am remembering. I am remembering the chestnut brown mud with the gray, brown standing water, the half naked or naked children in the mud splashing and jumping, the big brown eyes of the "Hello" kids on the side of the road, the little stand of fish and eels for sale in a large pink, plastic tub. I am remembering the constant sweat on me and around me. And then, as the heat of the day increases, the mud dries and becomes dusty clouds wherever one travels. Locals pull out face masks as they walk, ride their motos or tuk-tuk like vehicles.
Seamingly, life is like an ever fluctuation wet/dry desert.

Then, I remember Cambodian Hope Organization and Hope Transformation Center right in the midst of this brown, wet, dusty blur. I just wish we could all go together, hand in hand, to see the amazing Redemption that is happening in Poipet, Cambodia. It is hard to stop. But, can we?

"Cafe" and meeting space at Hope Transformation Center

Just inside from all the mud, is a safe, beautiful space for new life, transformed life to happen. The photos I have, were taken just before I left, my team had left, so I couldn't grab someone on the team and say, "Look at this amazing beauty, amazing redemption, in the midst of the city!"

Poipet is a city that has been starved for love, and Chomno and Kim and their friends and family are doing something about that. Yes, teams of helpers come and go, but these Cambodian friends are there day in and day out, and they know the mud, the sweaty grime daily. And yet, they are bringing beauty, love, grace, yes, redemption, to their city. They want to bless children and young people who are being rescued from the sex trafficking industry, and put them in a safe and beautiful place. Their love for "the least of these" grips my heart.

 While walking through Hope Transfomation Center, you might come upon some cooking students practicing their newly acquired baking skills in preparation for the selling of bakery goods at the Cafe. A teacher from Thailand came for three days to mentor a group in baking. (That means, Cambodian Hope Organization took the initiative and got a cooking teacher.) For three days, as I was pin sewing, card-making, keychain sewing and jewelry making, a team of newbie bakers were birthing the goodies for a Cafe that has not opened. Yet.

Being next door, my crew had the pleasure of nibbling on the goodies. Delicious chocolate brownies, fresh baked bread, pizza, crepes, hamburger buns and muffins were enjoyed in our corner of the Hope Transformation Center. A miracle in this muddy corner of the world is quietly happening.

I would like to end today with a photo of a Cambodian Hope Organization worker with the children at "School on a Mat." CHO workers wore light blue, buttoned down shirts, - we visitors could spot them in a crowd. It was comforting to see one of these blue shirts....well, and the person wearing one....especially if one needed help, translation or just a friendly smile.  I don't know his name, but I want you to know he is quietly working in Poipet every day bringing about 
redemption in his city. I thought you should know.

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed; rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked."
PSALM 82:3-

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