This week has been one of those weeks. You know those weeks where it is only Tuesday but you are wishing for Friday already? Yeah, that’s how I felt. In the past when I had one of those weeks, I just wanted to go home. I think it’s progress that instead of wanting to go home, as in America, I just want to go to my house here in Cambodia. Although things are tough, I know we are slowly making progress and slowly building relationships with those we work with.
I have been building relationships with the kids and their parents. A few weeks ago I took Lina to the park. She had such a blast playing on the toys. I am reminded that kids are kids. They cry, laugh, and throw fits the same way all over the world. When we arrived at the park Lina was greeted by two other children. I was not sure how they were going to treat her. It was apparent that she was a “street kid.” They had shoes on their feet (hint number one they were different than Lina) and they were also nicely dressed. I was worried that they were going to make fun of her or push her away. But they ran right up to her and asked her to play. They ran and chased each other all over the park. Lina would run up to us, take a swig of water, then run back to play. It was fun watching her enjoy herself. (The picture is of us on the toys at the park.)
It began to get dark so we decided to start heading back but we wanted to stop and get some dessert first. Ice cream it was. Lina picked out the flavor she wanted and began to indulge. It wasn't until half way through her ice cream cone that Jesse and I realized she didn't know what she was doing. As the ice cream melted all over my lap and hers, like things do when it is a million degrees outside, she began to get frustrated. She kept taking her napkin and trying to dab up the melting snack. I kept trying to tell her that she just needed to eat it faster but she continued to get upset with the ice cream. It was a blast watching her enjoy ice cream for possibly the first time.
I am also building stronger relationships with the parents. On Tuesday, I went to get Lina but she was passed out asleep. I decided to go by the rule, never wake up a sleeping child. So I left and would return later after she was awake. I began to walk into Sparrow’s Nest empty handed which is very rare to me. As I walked past the street vendors one of our mothers stopped me and asked if I wanted to sit and have a cup of coffee with her. I nervously agreed. All I was thinking was, how in the world am I going to have a conversation with her? I can have a slow walking by conversations, not sit and drink a cup of coffee length conversation. We began to talk and I knew the words!! Of course I tried to keep the conversation as simple as possible. She asked me how her children were behaving in school, if I was married, why I don't have kids yet (its crazy to them that Americans typically don’t aim for honeymoon babies), where my parents were, and so on. The table beside us consisted of about seven older Khmer guys and they wanted in on the conversation. So I would answer her question, then she would lean her head back and repeat what I had just said to her. I never knew my life would be so interesting to people. After about fifteen minutes or so of this had to leave for work.
It was a blast. Not only did I speak in Khmer (kinda) for fifteen minutes, but I am getting to know the parents of our students. Although we have our tough days, even our tough weeks like this one, I am enjoying my time here. I pray everyday that God will use me to tell people about his grace. The grace we don’t deserve but he gives freely. I want to be a leader like Christ was. He was first a foremost a servant. I pray that God makes me a servant like him.