Outreach team member, Ashley Dill, reflects on her first day of ministry in Cambodia:
We started the morning with beautiful worship as a team before heading to our first day of medical clinic and VBS. As we sang praises to God, our Savior, on the roof top of the hotel overlooking the city of Phnom Penh, we claimed victory in the name of Jesus over the city and the country of Cambodia. Jesus is powerful and bigger than any hurt, brokenness, sickness or pain. He is preparing each of us daily to do His mighty work. Isaiah 61:1 says “The spirit of the Lord is upon me. Because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted , to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” There is power in the name of Jesus and He has given each of us that same power to do His good work. Our hope is to pour the love of Jesus into all we meet so they can experience His joy.
As we arrived at our area to do clinic this morning, some adults and a lot of children were already there waiting for us. Most of the children were from the school which Freedom’s Promise sponsors on the outskirts of the city. They were sitting nicely in rows of small plastic chairs and were quick with smiles and high-fives. I was overcome with happiness because I knew I got to play and love on them as one of the VBS team! Tiffany told us this morning that our smiles are the most powerful thing we carry with us. That is true because the smiles the children gave back made my heart soar!
We played games, colored, read the story of Noah and made salvation brackets, but the most joyful thing for the children was face-painting done by Maddie. She painted awesome designs in bright colors on their faces, which gave the kids huge smiles and laughter when she showed them their faces in the mirror.
There was one young girl that caught my eye. She had beautiful brown eyes (like all the others) and long straight hair pulled back in a ponytail. She was one of the older children, maybe about 12. She had a soft smile and a thoughtful look. I thought she was waiting for her turn, but she always let others go before her. Before I knew it, she had gone and returned with a small boy in her arms. I had seen her with him before when we handed out stickers, making sure he got one too. She wanted to be sure he got to enjoy the things all the others did even though he was small and probably under two. She sat him in the face painting chair and held him while he got his face painted to make sure he didn’t get frightened. Such a tender gesture! Before I knew it, she was back with a little girl, making sure she also got to have a design painted on her face. Pretty soon she was back with another young child. I don’t know if these were all her siblings, or if she was just a sweet older child in the community looking after the younger ones that needed help, but it was precious to me.
After reflecting on the day, I think this is how Jesus wants me to behave this week as He’s helping me lead the kids in play and worship. He’s asked me to be His hands and feet to a hurting community. Sometimes that’s providing a smile or encouraging word. Sometimes that’s holding a hand or giving a hug. And sometimes it’s simply picking up someone who is weak or tired or needing a hand up and helping them experience the joy that I have. My joy is Jesus. When I look into the eyes of these kids I see hope and joy. Jesus is here!