Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Several weeks ago I made a post about one of my Khmer brothers, so this week I decided it was only fair to make a post about my other Khmer brother. I had a super proud "bong srey" (big sister) moment last week that I wanted to share.

Last week while doing our regular afternoon ministry with a group of children, we encountered a situation that we hadn't had to deal with yet. Our ministry takes place in a public area, which also happens to be a location frequented by tourists. Thus, there are often foreigners wandering about with fanny packs and cameras hanging from their necks, and the vast majority of them cannot resist taking pictures of the children jumping rope or sitting in a circle singing songs. This is nothing new to us, but we have learned to simply ignore it and continue on with our lessons. However, this particular day a tourist grabbed the attention of a group of about five boys who were more than happy to pose for a series of photos. After several snapshots, one of the boys took advantage of the situation and asked the young woman for a dollar.

Now, pause. Do not EVER give money to begging children. It is never appropriate. It is a bad practice. It creates cyclical poverty. It creates a climate of handouts rather than hand-ups. And, in many cases, begging children are exploited children. So, just don't do it. Ok? Thanks!

Ok, press play. Unfortunately the young tourist was happy to oblige the boy and pulled out a crisp one dollar bill. Insert chaos. The recipient of the dollar skipped off waving the dollar in triumph while the other boys chased him to try to get a piece of the action. Other boys mobbed the tourist in hopes that she would share the wealth with them also. However, she didn't have enough dollars to go around and simply smiled, shook her head, and walked away.

And, now the proud big sister moment. My wise-beyond-his-years "p'own bproh" (little brother) took command of the situation. He corralled all the children, made them sit down in a circle with him, and asked for the dollar. The dollar was yielded, and he went on to explain to the entire group that it is never appropriate to ask others for money. He explained that it is important to work hard and earn money honestly. Then, he informed the children that we would keep the dollar and use it to help purchase fruit for them, which we bring with us for a snack each day. This opportunity also led to a discussion of being careful in talking to strangers and not automatically trusting everyone who approaches them and offers them something.

I was literally bursting with pride as I watched my 17-year-old brother take command of the situation without the prompting of anyone. I am so incredibly blessed to have him in my life.
He certainly possesses wisdom far beyond his years, and I pray for him. I pray that he would increase in wisdom and knowledge as he grows. Luke 2:52 says, "Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and all the people." This is what I pray for my brother--that he would grow in wisdom and stature and in favor with both God and men. I think he has a pretty good start already!
And, for some reason, I have a lot of photos of him in this same position. I promise he does work...and work hard!

Oh, and in case you were wondering, his name means wisdom.
And, here I am with two of my most favorite Khmer brothers! It is a privilege and honor to work with them each day.


  1. I LOVE this and I certainly shared in your pride!
    How blessed we truly are to know those boys :-)