We opened Sparrow's Nest and the number of kids has been growing daily. The first day we had three kids. They all came from the same homeless community on the river front. The next day more from the community came and the next day even more. We learned that news spread in that little community about our day shelter. The ring leader of the group's name is Him. He is an eleven year old boy who sure knows to test our patients but it is a joy to have him there every day.
A few days before the shelter opened he was walking by and saw what we were doing. Him, walks the city of Phnom Penh all day long collecting recyclables for money. Sparrow's Nest is over an hour walk away from his river front community. Larissa, the founder of Sparrow's Nest, asked him if he wanted to come to the shelter. He plainly stated that he couldn't. When Larissa asked why he said if he comes his mom will die. Larissa didn't have to ask why his mother would die she understood. Him and a lot of the kids in his situation have to collect recyclables to make money for their families to survive. They walk the sheets with a hug bag and go through dumpsters looking for trash. Jesse the other day had a boy try to grab a full diet coke right out of his hand in order to recycle it! If Him doesn't make enough money for his family his mother will die from lack of food or medicine or whatever Him's money goes towards for his mother. We promised Him that if he could come at least for part of the day, we will start bringing the recyclables from home and give it to him to take home. This way he can at least be there to study some English, Khmer, and hear the Bible principle for that day. Him and his now posse of kids have been coming everyday.
On Saturday nights our group splits up and goes to two locations in the city. We were praying about where the second location should be. After a week of Sparrow's Nest being opened, and realizing that most of our kids were coming from the same community we decided to make that one of our location for street ministry on Saturday nights. Last Saturday we arrived to meet the parents and let them know and ask if we could come every Saturday night. They were more than happy to welcome us into their community. Their homes we on gravel with blue tarps as their roofs. No walls, no bathrooms, and most of them had little clothes. Him and the rest of the kid's faces lit up as they heard our plans to visit them every Saturday night at their homes.
I left there with a sense of sadness and a sense of joy. Sadness because I was able see the conditions of living that our kids come from everyday. And joy to know that God can work in any community. These kids don't need much and they are happy with the very little they have. Less than half of them had never even heard the name Jesus. We get to share that good news with them and their families. Please pray with us as we are praying for broken addictions (many of the kids sniff glue and drugs are readily available to everyone), for that little community to accept us and become our Cambodian family, and for that water front community to come to Jesus.
Thank you again for your support. I hope the story of Him and his community encourages you.