Our Trip to the Government Orphanage


This morning, Jacob and I spent several hours at a local coffee shop, talking and working on a grant project for Sak Saum. Sak Saum is the branch of In His Steps which works with girls who have been trafficked or are at high risk for being trafficked. The girls are amazing. I love going upstairs to their sewing room and looking at the new projects they are working on. So amazing to see bright colored silks become evening clutches, huge handbags and twisty scarfs. I will be bringing some of their work back with me so stay tuned...

This afternoon, Sarith (IHSI's country director) took Jacob and I to the government orphanage in Phnom Phen. The orphanage is home to 160+ mentally/physically disabled children ages 1month-25 years. There are also a number of AIDS orphans who live there. I visited here the last time I came to Cambodia. It made a distinct impression on me -- I have thought about those children many times over the last 1 1/2 years.

I returned in search of one boy in particular. I sat with him two days last time. He probably suffered from cerebral palsy or something along this lines. I had found him in a side room, laying on a mat with limbs rigid. The staff couldn't get him to eat and I remember sitting next to him, stroking the sides of his cheeks while i stared into his face and mimicked for him the opening wide of my mouth. I loved it. I hoped to find him today and didn't. It makes me sad to think about what may have happened. 

What I did find was my joy of these kids. To be honest, nothing surprises me more. I did not expect two years ago to come alive in that situation. I expected to endure the experience, relieved to find the door on my way out after feeling weighed down by the heaviness of so many unwanted, difficult lives. Yet how often does God surprise us? To get down on a mat and peer into a child's eyes, rub their back and talk a bit to them -- sheer joy to me. Such a little act makes them smile, their twisted and bent limbs trembling with excitement. If I could, I would sit down in their midst and enjoy them for hours.

Do you know why? Because God loves them. He enjoys them. He takes delight in them. I think it pains Him to see their bodies and minds suffering -- that is not His best plan in a broken world. Yet He loves the unloveable. The ones that no one else wants, God desires more than we could begin to imagine. I love God with all my heart and want to grow, always be growing, in loving who He loves in the way He loves.

Noelle