Tuesday, July 26, 2011


God is speaking.
He is speaking to my heart. He is challenging me. He is loving me. He is changing me.
I didn't expect to be in this place, but here I am. And, it is good because God is here. And, it is difficult but God is here.
"As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord's feet, listening to what He taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, 'Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.' But the Lord said to her, 'My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.'" Luke 10:38-42
The truth is that I am God's beloved child above all else. I am His. He has a lot to teach me, to show me, to speak to me. And, I don't want to be too distracted to listen. I want to be quiet before the Lord. I want to listen to Him speak.
I tend to be a slow reactor to things. I like to think things through. I like to choose my words carefully. I typically do not make quick decisions, and even though it may look like that from the outside sometimes, it is often something that began stirring in me long before others may know.
And, I am confident that I am on the brink of a new season, and I keep hearing,
"Shhhh... I am speaking. You need to listen and listen well."

And so, I am waiting and listening.

"somewhere in the back of my mind, I think You are telling me to wait, and though patience has never been mine, Lord, I will wait to hear from you..." ~ sara groves, "hello Lord"

Sunday, July 17, 2011

latex gloves

sometimes simple things make the most difference in the world. i try to remember that, especially on days that are difficult. i have had a lot of difficult days recently, so i have spent a lot of time remembering simple things, praying that God will show me simple things, small things.
last week, one of those simple things involved a latex glove.

please note: i am not a doctor. i am not a divine healer of wounds. but, i have a Savior who is.

and last week, i sat on some dirty concrete with a clear plastic box containing band-aids, gauze, nail clippers, iodine, and latex gloves. pretty professional, eh?
i had clipped some long, dirty fingernails earlier and distributed a couple band-aids, but after it looked like all the needs had been met, i started jumping rope and chasing balls with the hoard of children that had gathered for our lesson that day.
but, as things were winding down and crafts were being finished, someone walked up to me and cast her eyes at a little girl sitting on the side with her mother. the mother wondered if we could clean her daughter's wounds. so, i made my way over. and, the 8-year-old girl immediately began to fidget, telling her mom "no, no, no" as tears welled up in her eyes. she knew it would hurt and she was scared. i sat down with her and asked her name. i told her my name. i asked her what had happened and if it hurt. she told me that 6 days before she had been burned with hot water. and, yes, it hurt. i showed her my big toe and the sore that remained from an accident earlier in the week. i told her that i understood that it hurt. i asked if i could help her, and she timidly nodded in agreement. her mom helped her unbutton her pajama top and take it off, revealing more burns.
it was at this moment that i realized my absolute inadequacy and prayed for wisdom, for mercy, for compassion. and, as i started to put on my latex gloves, i pulled one off again. i put it to my mouth and inflated it. i tied it closed and handed it to her. i told her that if it hurt, to squeeze the fingers tight. so, she did. as i swabbed her open wounds, i told her she was brave and strong. and, she smiled through the pain. i cleaned her chest. i cleaned her neck. i cleaned her forehead. she had already been to the doctor and previous bandages had been removed leaving sticky residue. so, i used wet wipes to remove the stickiness. and, after i was finished, i helped her put her yellow pajama shirt back on. with the help of a khmer co-worker, i told her mother that the wounds were healing well and to just keep them dry and clean, that they would be all better soon.
and, i watched them walk away toward their home...holding an inflated latex glove.

"we cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love." ~ mother teresa

Lord, teach me to love well in small things...

Sunday, July 10, 2011


There are many, many things that I love about my church here. I love worshipping alongside my brothers and sisters, and I love that it happens in more than one language every single week. I love that services always allow for time to pray for the nation and to genuinely pray for the person sitting next to you, really finding out what his or her individual needs are. I love that people dance like fools during worship, and when I say dance like fools, I mean the whole room is sometimes bouncing like a mosh pit. I love that time is fluid, and if the service needs to go long because the Spirit is moving, no one minds. I love that there is time to mill about the room and meet new people...and there is never a week when there isn't someone with whom to chat. I love that somehow there is always room for another row of blue plastic chairs in the back.
But, one things that I have grown to love so much is the weekly welcomes. I say I have grown to love this because the first time I experienced it, I was slightly embarrassed and uncomfortable. Every week after the week's announcements, someone takes the opportunity to welcome those who have come for the first time--first the foreign guests, and then the Khmer. They play music and everyone claps as, much to their chagrin, the foreigners rise to their feet and are met by the ushers to receive information about the church's programs. Then, the music changes and the clapping changes rhythm as the Khmer guests are invited to stand. I have never been to a church where people are so welcomed and honored as guests...every single week.
And, today I was so incredibly blessed by this because there were cheers.
There were cheers when the Khmer guests stood up to be welcomed. There were several Khmer people who came for the first time today, which always makes for a great day. But, 5 of these guests were extra special. They came with crimped hair and make-up. They had ponytails and painted fingernails. But, they weren't women. And, everyone in the room knew it.
In Southeast Asia, "ladyboys" are very common. In Thailand, they walk the streets freely, but in Cambodia, they often only come out at night. They are marginalized. They are abused and beaten. They are known to be violent. They are a rare sight during the day. They are not accepted. They are hurting. They are broken. And, they are loved by God.
And, they are loved by the body of Christ who cheered for them this morning. Today was the day of salvation for some of those boys, and freedom is here...and so is an amazing network of support in the body of Christ.

Friday, July 8, 2011

tigers and airplanes

The door has been open all day, every day for the past week and a half. On Tuesday he showed up at the front door. He inched his way inside a little at a time--inside my heart, that is. He came in the door with a few other boys from the neighborhood.
On Tuesday we sat on the dusty floor and bounced balls back and forth to each other, laughing when our balls would crash into each other and go flying. Then, after an hour of that, he produced a huge stack of miniature cards deep from within the pocket of his navy blue shorts--the remains of his school attire from studying in the morning. We then sat for another hour surrounded by stacks of cards, carefully cupping our hands and slapping the floor trying to flip the stacks of cards over. I am pretty sure that I was losing miserably after several rounds as my stack of cards was dwindling, but I made a sad face and noted how many more cards he had than me. So, he gathered together a stack from his pile and added them to mine. Pretty sure that goes against all the rules... Then, it was time to go home. We waved good-bye and said, "see you tomorrow."
On Wednesday he popped right in the door after lunch. He came running to meet me. He found the balls, and we started playing again. We bounced balls. We laughed. He told me that tomorrow we would play the card game again. Ok? Ok. But on Wednesday, I had to leave early. I had a class to get to, but I assured him we would play tomorrow. So, I waved good-bye.
On Thursday he came to the door and ran inside. I saw his eyes scan the room before he saw my face among the sea of white faces. We found balls and played basketball with hoops made out of cardboard boxes and duct tape tied to the grates of the front gate. We found rackets and a birdie and played badminton. And, as promised, we played the card game again. I was still not very good at it, but he taught me a new way to do it that is a little easier (and might be the way 3-year-olds play). We chased each other. We growled like tigers. We laughed. A lot. He pretty much has the best giggle ever. Seriously.
On Friday he came back. We played some cards. We drew pictures. He drew a picture of me, and a picture of his house. We bounced balls. We growled like tigers. We did puzzles. But, then I had to go out for a while because I had work to do. So, I made sure to tell him that I had to go but would come back. In the meantime, he could stay and play with others.
An hour and a half later I returned and was greeted with an attack hug while I was still standing in the doorway. I was pulled inside. I was shown the many "tattoos" that had occurred all over his arms and legs (and the other boys) while I was out. (Maybe we should have put those markers away...) Then, he drew a brown airplane on a sheet of yellow construction paper and asked me where I wanted to go. He assured me that he knew how to fly an airplane, and he could take me anywhere I wanted to go. So, we went to Australia and China and America and England. He would ask where I wanted to go, and then get up and "fly" his plane around the room and come back and ask where next?
But, there is no airplane that can take me to a place that my heart would be happier than sitting with this new 9-year-old friend growling like a tiger.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

loving a person...

loving a person just the way they are, it's no small thing

Sometimes I wonder how much things I do really matter. Sometimes I doubt that I am really making a worthwhile difference in my tiny corner of the world, let alone the world that looms over and around me. Sometimes I feel like my attempts to live like Jesus are futile. Sometimes I ache to relieve some of the pain that surrounds me every day. Sometimes I contemplate my true purpose.

But, today, I made a new friend. He is about 9 years old. I sat with him for hours. We bounced balls. We looked for the source of police sirens. We played a game with Ben 10 cards on a dusty, tile floor. We sat on a stoop. We tried to scoot out of the sun. We laughed. We kicked balls. We were joined by some other friends. We ate bananas. We waved good-bye and said, "see you tomorrow!"

And, today I remembered.

loving a person just the way they are, that's no small thing...that's the whole thing
sara groves, "loving a person"

Sunday, July 3, 2011


12 things that brought me joy before 12pm today.

1. Running in the "quiet" and "cool" of the morning.
2. Driving FAST on the highway!
3. Drinking iced coffee out of a plastic bag.
4. Sitting in a red plastic chair with some of my Khmer brothers and sisters to worship our awesome God.
5. Chatting with a family about how much I DON'T love "prahok." ("Prahok" is fermented fish paste for those of you who may not have had the unfortunate encounter with it's assaulting odor and taste.)
6. Dirt roads.
7. Rice paddies.
8. Grilled fish and green mango salad.
9. Meeting my friend's beautiful grandmother.
10. Ongkoi layng. (Sitting around with friends.)
11. Getting my broken mirror fixed...finally.
12. Beautiful, beautiful friends in a beautiful, beautiful country.