Awkward Hugs and Tomato Throwing

It’s been only two weeks at Daughters and so much has happened. My goal was to come in and observe. Get to know the girls before I made drastic changes. These woman see volunteers come in and out all the time and because of the color of my skin they would automatically respect me but I wanted more than cultural or required respect, but true respect because of who I am and how I treated them and not because my skin color. My plan to keep things chill for a while blew up in my face. Daughters has recently opened the Phnom Penh House of Prayer. At the PP HOP we are opening a second Sugar n’ Spice cafe. What does this have to do with me at the visitor center? Well, it means that the new cafe needed half of our kitchen crew and half of our cafe crew. The woman were told a tentative plan about two months ago, but things changed. So it was my job to announce who stays and who goes. I came prepared to get tomatoes thrown at me, but luckily my preparation was not needed.

After the announcement I told the girls that if they wanted to talk to me in private they just needed to ask. Directly after the meeting about half of the girls wanted to chat. I took a deep breath said a quick prayer for wisdom and began our meetings.

In the office I sat with two woman who were in tears about the decision. Feelings had been hurt and harsh words were

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spoken. It was during this meeting that I realized why I am serving at Daughters. It’s not to run an amazing boutique or have great waitresses and fantastic food, it is to be a Godly example to these woman. We talked about learning how to communicate in healthy ways with one another. We also talked about being Godly in our actions and the way we speak. Although the meeting began in tears it ended in hugs. Hugging is not something they do here so it was awkward for everyone involved but brought laughter into the room.

After this meeting we needed to talk to one of the girls who was not doing her studying at home. Come to find out she couldn't read Khmer and home was not a place where peaceful studying came easy. What came across as her not caring, was truly her trying but not being able to overcome barriers in her life. After talking about home issues I brought up the idea to record the menu with a audio recorder and her learning the menu that way. I explained that not everyone learns the same way and its ok to get creative with different ways of learning. I told her about how difficult it used to be for me to learn and that I had to find other ways to memorize and study. During our conversation she began to smile. It was as if I saw hope slowly coming into her eyes.  She was realizing that she wasn’t stupid and that she could learn.

I am slowly getting to know these wonderful woman and slowly getting to know how I can help and encourage them. After our monthly staff meeting I was in awe of the place where God has me. I know its not a perfect social enterprise, I know it is full of sinful human beings just like myself. But I am thankful for a place that God is glorified and where people are not only getting out of the sex industry, but also staying out because of the hope they find in Jesus.

Please pray for the girls. I know life is not easy for them. I know their is temptation around every corner to go back to the life they once lived. Pray for wisdom for myself. I want to speak life into these woman.

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