There are days when you feel victory and there are days when you feel defeat. There are days when everything is saying defeat but the Lord reminds you of the victory He is going to have in the end. Defeat: Last week was a week of conflict. Khmer people, for the most part, do not deal with face to face conflict well or honestly at all! There is something called "saving face" and the Cambodians are very good at it. I was told during many conflict resolution meetings last week that, "it's just not cultural." I had to respond, "well it's Biblical." It's not Daughters policy, it's not American policy, it's God's policy. It was like pulling teeth to get the girls to open up to one another about their feelings. After a lot of tears and time, we began to deal with some real issues. I know this doesn't seem like it should be labeled defeat, but during that week, with meeting after meeting of crying and dishonesty, it sure felt like defeat.
Victory: Before I left for America I was having one final meeting with the girls and they were asking me a bunch of questions about America. After I had shared, one of the girls spoke up and asked if they could pray over me. This took me by surprise. I know this girl is a Christian, but it was very bold for her to speak up and pray for me. Although I did not understand all that she was saying, every word touch my soul. I love these girls so much, but man, they can be exhausting. To have this girl pray a blessing over me and my trip was so refreshing to hear.
Defeat used for God's glory: For some reason our tuk-tuk driver went a strange way to the airport. As we drove down unfamiliar streets in Phnom Penh my heart was crushed by sin. It is difficult for me to put into words what I felt and for those who have never witnessed it. As we drove we passed brothel after brothel. The neon lights, short dresses, high-heal shoes, and beautiful woman will be forever engraved in my mind. I have passed many brothels before, sadly it is a normal occurrence for me, but for some reason, maybe because I was headed to America, this endless sea of brothels hit me hard.
Every brothel we passed, probably 20 in a row, were all filled with beautiful young girls sitting in cheap plastic chairs waiting for their customers. All I saw was each one of my girls. I looked at their faces and saw my head chef, my new spa girl, my challenging girls who don't deal with conflict, the girl that prayed over me before I left.
I get so angry at the men that indulge in this sin. I wonder what would lead a man to do such a thing? SIN. As we got on the plane all I kept thinking was, "I can't wait to get back to my girls." I can't stop beer gardens, or karaoke bars, or brothels, but I CAN help the 30+ girls I get to walk life with everyday. Yes, they have already made the choice to leave. Does that mean temptation for money or pressure from family won't happen? No. That means I have to work my hardest and rely only on God's strength to mentor, encourage, educate, and help every one of my girls.
Don't get me wrong, I am beyond excited to go home. I am writing this while sitting the the Seoul airport and I am anxious to get on the plane and see my family and friends. But I think God needed me to see those men and woman at the brothels last night while heading to the airport. I don't think it was by mistake our tuk-tuk driver went that way. It gets me excited to come back to Daughters and continue the work I am doing. I am blessed that God chose me to do what I do. I want to honor him by doing my best to further His kingdom in Cambodia.