April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Today marks the important date on the Christian calendar of Good Friday.  This day is significant because it is the day on which Jesus died and we use today to remember the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and his death.  While this sounds like a terribly morbid topic to bring up, the blessing of it all is that as we celebrate on Easter Sunday, Christ was resurrected by his (and my) Heavenly Father.  Because of this event and Jesus's sacrifice we all have the opportunity to be saved and spend eternal life in Heaven with him. 

As I reflect on the real meaning of Good Friday and the Easter holiday, I know that there is more to it than the cute bunny displays, Easter egg hunts and the other fun, secular celebrations that surround the holiday.  And while I sure do love those celebrations, I really wanted to take the holiday moment to reflect on the true meaning of the celebration and also share a story of my bestie S and some of the work she is doing in the coming weeks to help the lives of some children on the other side of the world. 

Through the sponsorship of North Point Community Church and Global X missions organization, Bestie S will be making a return trip next month for the second year to the New Life Orphanage in Cambodia.  While she is there, she will be working on projects at the orphanage as well as with the children directly.  S will travel over 20 hours to reach her destination, and while there work in conditions that are truly "third world".  In a country that has endured genocide, agricultural challenges and struggles for advancement; her mission is to support the local children with love and help to provide them with a safe, Christian home.  Sadly, this is something that many children in this country may never know. 

The mission team and children

Ruins of a temple in Angkor

And so on this Good Friday, I ask for your prayers for S and her team as they embark on this trip.  Prayers for the team members to raise the necessary financial support, for unity as a group during the trip, for safe travels and that God will prepare the hearts of the team members and those that they meet to do wonderous things.

The streets in Phnom Penh

S and one of the girls

S doesn't know I'm posting this today, but I think her words really sum up the experience she had last year best and inspired my support for the cause she finds so dear.  Below is an excerpt of a letter she wrote upon her return.

We were travelling a total of 20 hours on a plane and then boarding a bus for a 6 hour trip to the New Life Orphanage in Battambang. How could I not have any expectations? I have to say most of mine were self-focused around my basic needs for what I considered to be simple quality of life expectations – things that we don’t even think twice about on a daily basis, such as “I will need air conditioning”, “I also will need adequate room on the bus for the long journey to the orphanage” and “Please tell me they have coffee. I will need coffee.” Well, our guide was right, I shouldn’t have set ANY expectations because, air conditioning basically doesn’t exist in Cambodia (where the low temperature was 88 degrees Fahrenheit), the seats on the bus were tighter than the seats on the rides at Six Flags and I quickly learned that Cambodians are not even in the running to be considered coffee connoisseurs.

That said, it did not take much time for my needs to subside and my focus to be shifted drastically. I’ve never laid eyes on the true definition of a third-world country, but the second we walked out of the airport, hit by the hot thickness of the air, my eyes were gripped to the sights of this foreign world - the countryside, the busy and buzzing streets (and there are no traffic lights), the local markets and most importantly, the children. Cambodia truly is a Kingdom of Wonder. And what I determined from the moment that we stepped foot on the orphanage grounds is that the 38 children in this place were the luckiest kids in the country. They have the financial support and love from their sponsors in America and they are sheltered and protected from the extreme poverty and hopelessness of the outside world surrounding them.

What was most overwhelming, was the hope, happiness and love that these children showed me and my team. I use these words - hope, happiness and love - in the purest form and the true definition. Throughout the two weeks, I went through emotions of being speechless just from my utter amazement of these kids to being filled with so many words, that I couldn’t write them down on a piece of paper fast enough.

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