So i am a fixer. I like to come up with the solution to a problem and see it through until the problem is gone! I don't like the feeling of knowing what the problem is but having to wait to make it better. Today God showed us the most awful situation I could ever imagine. We visited the "Alley" in Phnom Penh. This is a 100 meter 15 foot sewage drainage ditch where 7 families live full time. They have built their "houses" up on stilts with wood planks or bamboo floors, cardboard or blanket walls and tin roofs. Up to 8 people will live in a 10 by 10 room with kitchen, living, and bedroom areas all combined. They cook in a pot over charcoal with raw sewage running right next to it. The kids play jumping over sewage. But when we come by they smile and laugh and play with us! I would bring all 10 kids home with us that we met, but the government won't allow it. Some of the girls are sold by their families to pay for medical bills or food in some cases. It was heartbreaking!
I find it hard sometimes to believe that all things work for the good of those who love God, who have been called according to his purpose, as it says in Romans 8:28. But these families are being helped by CGI. Their older daughters are in a program that teaches them to sew and make a decent living so they don't have to become a prostitute to feed their family. CGI is breaking the cycle of poverty in these girls lives and giving them a chance at a better life. They invest a lot in each girl to make sure she hears about Jesus, knows how much He loves them, and how He has a future for them. I know that God is working in the lives of Cambodians now. There are 3 new girls who need sponsors right now! How many more could be helped if more people stepped up to fund them?
I realized again today that I can't fix everything, and money only gets you so far with people. To change behaviors and risky situations, it takes mentorship and a training program. There are over 14 million people in Cambodia, and CGI is helping 50 have a better life. We saw the workshop where the women sew By Tavi products today. They only work 5 days a week or less if they want. It is a great work environment compared to the rest of the country that has to work 6 or 7 days a week to make ends meet. There are at risk teenagers learning to make dresses to provide for themselves. We visited with these girls at their house which was an awesome setup compared to the Alley where 4 of them came from. They get teaching, food, room and board, and most importantly mentorship/bible study for 2 years. I can't put down on paper everything I want to say. It is so hard to explain the smile and hug of a girl/woman who had no hope and now has the love of Jesus shining through her! Again how many more could be helped if more people would give?
We also gave school supplies to kids from a local elementary school today. You should have seen the smiles and laughs and hugs from the children after receiving pencils, pens, eraser, 3 crayons, and 3 sheets of paper. What was even better was the fact that since school wasn't in session, the kids were at their homes. We sent word (on foot) that there was a surprise for them, and 10 minutes later 75 kids showed up. The rest of the supplies will be given to the Headmaster next week!
We visited another orphanage today with 12 kids. It is run by the same wonderful lady that runs CGI in Cambodia. Her name is Theary. They are looking for a sponsor to buy a playground for the kids. They are learning french there since it is sponsored by a French organization. Jaime and I pulled a few phrases from our past out! I knew my 4 years of french class would come in handy!
OK, sorry I keep rambling on, but there is so much opportunity to spread the Gospel here. People need our help NOW! Almost every penny of CGI goes directly to helping these women and girls learn the value of hard work and life skills. It is amazing the things that are happening here. Things could explode if the money is available to hire the right staff and support more girls. So please be in prayer for the current staff in Cambodia as well as the staff in the US. Pray for a Cambodian christian social worker to come along. And continue to lift these women and girls up in prayer that they would be strong, proud, confident, and most importantly that they would all know Jesus!
Jeremy and Jaime