Today I am reminded that I serve a gracious and loving God. This morning I jumped in a tuktuk and left to get Lina. When I arrived at the Wat, she and her family were no where to be seen. I asked around and no one could help me. I assumed her mother, who has recently returned from the province, took her begging in the park. I was disappointed and worried that I missed them but decided just to go back at lunch to see if they had returned. I loaded myself into the tuktuk and headed to get our other street children. When the mothers saw me they began to yell in the direction of their individual houses, and like clock work the kids began to come out of the wood work. They all pilled in and then began to speak to me really fast. Now this is a normal occurrence, them speaking fast and me not understanding, but today as they spoke they continued saying one word that I know well. They kept repeating “slap.” Slap means dead. I was trying to figure out what or who was dead and nothing was making sense. We just left it at that and we all, without using words, decided we would wait till we arrived at Sparrow’s Nest for Larissa to translate. They ran in the door and began to explain to Larissa and Vouen who had died.
Let me now back up to a few days ago. On Tuesday I was coming back from a morning run and was saying hi to the street people I have a relationships with. As I was saying goodbye my eyes stopped on woman who I only recognized because of her clothes. Her face was at least double the size, her eyes were swollen shut, she was bleeding from every poor on her face, and the pain in her body was visible. I have seen things like this in movies but never in real like. The image of that woman will never leave me. I did not know what else to do but to get ice and inform Vouen about the situation. I got a bag of ice, which I don’t think did any help, and prayed for her. That afternoon I brought another bag of ice, but her conditions were not improving. We had found out years ago that her husband is a drunk that beats her regularly. We have tried to get her help but it was always turned down. This time was going to be different but before we could help she passed away.
Last night she stood up, unable to see because of her swollen eyes, and walked into a wall. This caused and/or continued internal bleeding and she died right there on the street. As the kids shared this with Larissa this morning, everything was beginning to make sense. They were speaking so fast but by putting the pieces together, the previous few days, the look on Larissa’s face, and the word “slap,” I began to realize what had happened.
Words cannot express how sad I am for the little community I have become friends with. I can’t help but think of my time spent with the lady who has passed. This Saturday we are going to conduct a Khmer Christian memorial service for her. Vouen and I get the privilege to sing Amazing Grace. I have sang this song at countless funerals and every time I sing I am reminded of the God we serve. A God that sent his son to die for everyone. Every raped child, every abusive husband, and every helpless soul. I will sing the words, “Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that save a wretch like me, I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.”
As those words ring out my prayer is that her friends, those that listen to us every Saturday preach to their kids, will accept Jesus as savior; will fully understand that we are all so wretched, so full of sin, but God has found us and offers us a life with him. Not a perfect life or a life without challenges, but a life filled with hope that can only come from Jesus Christ.
Please join me in prayer on Saturday March 17th as we share the grace of God with this grieving community.