Sunday, March 06, 2011

New Life

Three of us went to Cambodia last week, scouting for service learning projects for this summer.  In 2 days we visited so many places that I am still dizzy.  There is Rahab’s House in Svay Pak - a mission to rescue girls trafficked for sex; Pleroma Homes and White Lotus - shelters for trafficked girls; New Life Fellowship - a fantastically energetic local church; Christian International School; Emmanuel Primary School - a school in an old leather factory for children who made their living on the garbage dump; Carmel International School, Asia Human Resource Development Center - aiming to give under-privileged young people a training in English and computers; and House of Rainbow Bridge - a hospital for children with HIV.

The one constant throughout is, of course, the pain and suffering of the people.  Then there is the dedication of the people who are trying to help.  Ultimately, there is the need for a new life.  This is certainly true of the trafficked girls, the orphans, the children with HIV, and the people in poverty.  Many of the girls who were rescued went back to prostitution.  Some of them were compelled by people who refused to let them go.  Some  because of drugs and other addictions.  They truly need tremendous strength to take on the challenges facing them.  How can they escape from their torturers? How can they make a living?  How can they shake the old habits and addictions?  Only a truly life-changing transformation can give them that strength. 

The need is equally true of the people who are trying to help.  Why would people give up their professions and careers to heal and teach people they don’t even know?  Why would someone risk their lives to rescue trafficked girls, under death threats from the pimps and others who benefit from the girls?  Why would someone risk infection and worse to take care of children with HIV, who are given up even by their own families? 

It is rewarding to see churches grow, to see young people learning English and computing skills, to see trafficked girls rescued, to see sick people healed.  But what happens when the girl you rescued goes back to prostitution?  When the girl you rescued dies in your arms?  When a child with HIV in your care dies? When the orphanage you build is shut down?  When the children have to be sent back to bleak conditions?  When the school you are building stalls for whatever reason?  How do you carry on?  Where do you get the strength to carry on?  We met a Chinese lady missionary who have been there for 10 years, and many others from all over the world who have made similar sacrifices.  They have met numerous setbacks but are persevering.  How do they do it?

It requires strength that is not of this world.  Only when your life has been truly transformed.  Only when you are living on strength from God above, who has created this world and everything in it.  When you have been re-born, by the Holy Spirit, into a new life.  In John 3: 3-8, “... no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again. ... Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.”  All of us need this new life. 



Kungkeawater99 said...

Hi Stephen did you go in Cambodia last week. I didn't know about this you did not tell me abit about this. The thing that you wrote it is really true Svay Pak is the place which have a lot of trafficked girls amoung the other place in Phnom Pehn as like Wat Phnom, Steung Mean Chey and Tourl Kok.there are many girls who find money by their sex. I hope to see you in Cambodia soon again.

StephenC said...

Dear Water, It was a very short trip and we were rushing around non-stop. Sorry we did not have time to look up old friends. Hope to do better next time. Yeah, what we heard and saw was really upsetting and heart-breaking.