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It was one week ago that we stepped onto Cambodian soil. It was at that time, as we embarked upon our buses, that we experienced the first of many rain storms. As the rain started to fall, our Cambodian host taught us that rain is a sign of God's blessing in Cambodia. This was a reminder for me that God's blessings are not only found in blue skies and sunshine but also in the grey, damp moments of life.
Last night we concluded our time at Place of Rescue with a celebration that is second to none. The party began with a presentation by each of the english groups to demonstrate what they learned this week. As we watched the students joyfully display their well rehearsed performances, two things were evident. First, the emphasis and investment that Rescue has put on developing English proficiency is working. The growth in English skills since our last visit 2 years ago is remarkable. Even, the youngest of children offer greetings in my native language. The second thing is the children's joy in the Lord. With unapologetic enthusiasm the children praise Jesus and declare God's greatness. My polite Canadian expressions of worship are being challenged here.
Following the presentations we were honoured to a Cambodian feast with flavours as good as any Cambodian cuisine we have tried. As we sat at our banquet table, we were surrounded by the children as they gathered to eat with their house families on mats on the ground. It was a beautiful picture of God's redeeming work as those who were abandoned, discarded, or left in need are welcomed into loving community.
After dinner, the tables were cleared and the dancing began. Our students became the teachers and we (awkward) Canadians tried to master the subtle nuances of Cambodian dance. Our sincere attempts brought much laughter to our instructors as we tried to mimic their moves.
After our final dance it was time to say goodbye. There were tears, many hugs, high fives and silly gestures. There was also a promise by both Canadian and Cambodian alike to pray for each other. We boarded our bus and waved goodbye one last time and shared some of our meaningful moments in little huddles on the ride home.
Perhaps our week is well summed up in the prayer of one of our team members "Lord, Thank you, our hearts are full."