Image from Ratanak's instagram.
The vision of Ratanak is to see a Cambodia where every individual can live in dignity, achieve their full potential and experience the love and hope of Christ. The founding director, Brian McConaghy, took time to share how goodness has been born out of commitment and faithfulness.
Tenth Church is a unique church in many ways. Foremost in my mind is your unwavering faithfulness to the leading of the Lord long after the “newness” of the leading has worn off – an unusual characteristic in our ‘instant gratification’ society. I remember being asked by Tenth to do a training session on cultural sensitivities for a short-term missions team that was planning to visit Cambodia for the first time. It became clear to me after that first training session that Tenth had opened a chapter of what would become a long and meaningful relationship with Cambodia, her people and her church.
Trust is often born in the context of faithfulness. This is true in our own lives as we grow to trust the Lord in His absolutely faithful commitment to us despite our constant failings. There is no one more faithful or more reliable than Him. If we are to represent Him in the world, we must be prepared to be people who are faithful to those around us – whether they are far or near.
It was many years ago that Tenth decided to commit to being students of Cambodia and become acquainted with her grief - a journey that Ratanak has also been on for the past 30 years. The Lord has clearly blessed that faithfulness - it has been the foundation on which trust has developed. Trust, the rarest of all commodities in Cambodia.
The projects you have not only chosen to financially support, but study, visit, and pray for, have been the foundation on which many Cambodians have learned to build trust. You have helped them to see God’s faithfulness and commitment through these projects.
After the excitement of new programs has faded, the emotion of the latest initiative has passed, it is often in the daily slog, the heavy lifting of day-to-day work with traumatized lives that we see the first sparks of trust. It is that trust, born out of faithfulness, that opens doors both for individuals and organizations. It is through years of perseverance that you, as a body of believers, have been an incredible blessing to so many in Cambodia.
Please be encouraged knowing that the long process of sowing seeds in Cambodia has produced extraordinary results. Through your partnership with Ratanak, a team of young Cambodian staff have been expanding their skills and are now impacting so many lives escaping slavery. Skilled problem solvers, they provide some of the best clinical care in the country. But above all they are faithful and dedicated for the long haul. As a result, many trafficking survivors have encountered a dependable compassion, been restored to freedom and have become aware that there is a God who adores them. You will likely not, in this life, meet the exploited young lives of the brothels, bars and clubs. But know that your prayers and support have greatly impacted them. These lives are very real and it is my hope and longing that one day you will know the joy of meeting them in the presence of the Lord of Freedom.
In addition to your personal impact on young lives through your partnership with Ratanak, the long-term faithful service of our team has also been noticed outside Ratanak programs. On several occasions, senior government officials have pulled me aside and commented on the diligence and skill of the Ratanak staff team. I have been told, “the Ratanak staff really care for trafficking victims - you love our country and people!” Compassion, it seems, is noteworthy. In response, I have had the privilege of being able to answer openly “of course, how can we not love those we serve, given that we follow a God that adores your country and your people...” I so love the freedom to express such sentiments.
Such freedom is born out of that same trust that has its roots in faithfulness. And so, I am greatly blessed by you all at Tenth for you have been faithful in this long journey with us. May you also know encouragement and blessing in this process.
Currently our Ratanak staff, who are held up by your prayers and blessed by your support, serve over one hundred traumatized young women and men who have escaped slavery and are now in our care. They speak into national policy for the protection of the enslaved, help develop compassionate social services in a country where all such systems were destroyed, and have a seat at the national table. As Christians they are privileged to champion hope, dignity and freedom – representing the Lord, all at the request of the Cambodian Government. We are seeing a greater impact, a national impact, more than we dreamed of or prayed for! I am convinced this is the result of God blessing the many years of hard work and the many years in which you have partnered, supported and encouraged us.
Thank you for your faithful partnership and ongoing support as we step through the opening doors that were shut for so long.
On Saturday, August 28, 2021, Brian will be sharing more about human-trafficking, Cambodia, and Ratanak at our upcoming Just 1 Day event. Come and learn more.