Today was a brutal 7am wakeup and at 7:30 we rushed out the door to cram our team of 9 plus David’s daughter Melanie into his pickup truck. The past couple of days at Green Pastures Inn were really cushy as well as the westernized meals. Myself and most of our team equipped with probiotics, sunscreen, and bug spray (all of which I left in our room at David’s house) hurried over to TNT to enjoy an authentic Khmer breakfast on the covered roof of the church. After breakfast we waited for our “kids” to arrive. The reason I say “kids” is because most were not kids. David told us the night before that we could have kids as young as 5 or as old as 80. Which sort of caught me off guard because it wasn’t what I expected. What I had anticipated was 100 kids more or less coming and gathering in the front of the church in their familiar groups.
In a surprisingly outstanding way, they entered the spacious surrounding of the church and most of them greeted us by our coloured lanyards. About 6 people showed up on time and the rest trickled in while we gathered in the sanctuary. We sang songs of worship out of our song book as David lead us. There came along a song that was unfamiliar to me and then David said that if you know the song to sing louder. That was the moment I really saw God. He became so evident when the students tried their hardest to sing louder than David. After worship, Mandy shared her testimony and David’s wife patty translated into Khmer. After that we has a water chugging contest. When you were finished you had to sit down in your spot. Jose sat down in a record time of 3 seconds. Charlotte with and outstanding 45 seconds then sat down. Next Charlotte then shared her testimony. The testimonies are also another place I saw God and will continue to see God because a testimony is a very intimate and personal story to share and was a great way to open herself up to our Khmer friends as well as letting them warm up to us. After that we separated into our groups and taught English. I found that the lesson book became something to hold in our hands while we talk and have conversations.
The conversations we have are not only are the best way to practice English but more importantly what will build relationships and those relationships can help to build a strong trust among our Khmer friends that may have lost out on important relationships or that have a mistrust with people who are unfamiliar to them. Although we had no idea what we were doing with a mix of fluent English speakers mixed with Khmer fluent students, they welcomed us a teachers and friends in less than a day. Something that I struggled with today was a few of the students in our group acted like they don’t want to be there which brought me down a bit. It was discouraging at the time but also allowed me to cry out to God for him to fill me up with an energy so great that they will feed off of my energy and be fulfilled as well. Humbled to be welcomed by everyone and very grateful that David and his family have given us a place to sleep and for welcoming us into their home. God is working in amazing ways and will continue to work through us and in us and we will let you know how he’s doing that day by day.