Transition of some sort is inevitable -- you just can't avoid it. Often times, change is one of those things that if you don't embrace the process, it will work against you. It becomes more challenging, provokes anxiety and creates unnecessary tension. I'm definitely not an expert on transition and change, but we have gone through some lately.
Back in April, we moved to Takhmao. Takhmao is located about 20 minutes outside Phnom Penh and is the half-way point to Saang. There is a lot happening in Saang. It's where the majority of IHSI's ministry is located. Ultimately, it's better to be closer for many reasons, but moving further out has been stretching. When we go back to Phnom Penh for groceries or a Saturday out or something, we often drive by our apartment and a flood of good memories come back. There is something special about our first place in Cambodia. We loved it there - the relationships were so enjoyable. We made friends with the tuk tuk drivers, market stall owners, the apartment manager, security guard and many others. But in the back of our minds, we knew living there wasn't a permanent. Not only was our family growing, but we wanted to be closer to the people of Saang. Saang has become such a special place to us. Eric and Ginny chose Saang because of relationship and God's call on their lives and ministry, so it has been natural for us to enjoy and participate in relationships that have been formed over years from their investment. We are blessed to be a part!
Reflecting back on our time in Phnom Penh, I think about our first night in our apartment. Wow, I thought. What would life be like? Looking back, we realize we didn't know anything! Here we are, two years later having learned a lot with a deeper awareness of how much we still have to absorb.
After 2+ years of living in Cambodia, I have found my relationships with the Cambodian people to be deeper than before. I know that's a normal result of friendship, but who would have known for sure until actually experiencing it. I think of the Father's House kids, like John for example. John is 16 now and was one of the first I really had a heart for. I love going after the ones who need a good challenge. When I met him, he was teetering on good and bad. Through lots of encouragement from the Khmer staff and lots of love, he's one of the most happy, open and vulnerable boys I know. Sopheak and I lead a discipleship group and he's in it. It's been so incredible to watch him grow leaps and bounds. Father's House has played a significant role in his life. Pheaktra and Heng are amazing parents to many. He's really a testamant of God's faithfulness. There are countless testimonies of how God has used IHSI, Eric and Ginny - really all the staff in people's lives here. I truly love being a part of something God is leading.
Looking forward, I often think about raising Caleb here. I think about his friendships with the Khmer. I think about Saturday afternoons when he and Aaron will be playing together with Father's House kids and other children from the community. This warms my heart. I also think about Noelle and her work at Sak Saum. She really loves her job there and loves being a mother and a wife. There are not words to express my gratitude for her commitment in all areas of life. She's so wonderful!
I really could go on and on about how God has met us. In countless situations -- easy or challenging -- we always come back to our commitment to Cambodia. It's not always a cake walk living here or being far from family and friends, but there is something incredibly rich and fulfilling in walking out God's best for your life. That's where I rest when it's stretching and that's where I get my passion, love and endurance.