Saturday, January 10, 2015

Cambodia - Pajama Party

Psalm 126:2 (NLT) We were filled with laughter, and we were filled with joy.  The other nations said "What amazing things the Lord has done for them!"

We've been swarmed by beautiful girls two times!

Our first trip to World Hope's Assessment Center was to tour the facility and meet the staff.  The AC is a crucial first step in a girl's path to healing and is at capacity with 18 girls between the ages of 5 and 18.  Three quarters of them are rape victims, while the others have been trafficked.

Our tour took us from the office to the courtyard where the girls were making colorful bracelets - some for sale and some for themselves.  These are not your average flat knotted bracelets.  No.  They have creative patterns, ridges, swirls, scallops and zig-zag edges.  As we approached, the girls swarmed around us adorning our wrists with many colors.  We were deeply moved.  They really identified with Steph, giving her twice as many bracelets as Donna and I received.  I'm guessing her age has something to do with that.  No, I'm not jealous.

Girls live at the AC for about 2 months while they are assessed and matched with the most appropriate residential program.  The girls receive counseling, schooling, craft and game time, and love.  They miss their families and often don't want to be at the center.  This can be a difficult transition which is one reason why this initial assessment is so helpful.

Social workers teach the families how to protect their girls.  This might mean helping to rearrange work schedules so one parent can be with the children at all times, reducing their vulnerability.  The goal of this center and other residential centers is to reunite the girl with her family whenever possible.

Our second visit to the AC was to spend time among the girls.  We taught them a different style of bracelet that Steph and I did summer after summer called toe weaving.  The floss and scissors were a permanent part of our beach bag.  It really has nothing to do with toes except that the big toe anchors the floss as you work.

Toe weaving is complicated to teach, especially with a language barrier, so we used our hands to guide their hands - wonderful closeness, touching, sounds of approval, and thumbs up.  It was no different than a Girl Scout craft session with pairs helping each other, sharing scissors, humming, chatting and giggling.  In return, they taught us how to finish the bracelets so they can be tightened and loosened.

In English class they're learning a praise song - I Will Sing of Your Love Forever - and asked me to sing with them.  My singing is a real treat (NOT!), but it's a song I know and love.  After a few rounds of Jesus Loves Me, they presented a lovely, graceful dance that they had choreographed to a Khmer praise song exalting God.  Their hands move so gracefully.  They bend and twist in ways mine don't.

They were clearly grateful for a visit.  When we left, they prayed for Steph since it was her last day in country.  One girl, looking straight into Stephanie's eyes, told her she would remember and love her forever.   Steph was crying.  The girls were crying.  There aren't words to describe beauty of the moment.  God is so good!

#seedsofscripture #Cambodia #sextrafficking #rape #ChildofGod #weavingbracelets #WorldHopeInternational

To view photos of our trip, visit Steph's blog at massachusettsgirlonthegothego.wordpress.com.

Read related trip posts:
Blastoff to Cambodia - The Never Ending New Year 
God is in Control - How I Almost Missed My Flight
Don't Do It Alone - How a Guide Can Help
Sister Visit - Visting The Woman I Sponsor
They're Not Just Stories - A Prison Visit
The Goal - A Toilet in Every Hut, You Can Help
A Day With Survivors of Trafficking and Rape
Renewing the Spirit - The Missionaries Worship
Encouraging the Missionaries and Each Other
A Success Story - One Girl at a Time
Sowing Seeds of Kindness - Devotions with Survivors
Living Intentionally - Defining Yourself
Who Are They? - A Report About the Men Who Buy Sex
Who Are They? - The Missionaries
Part of the Problem - A Corrupt and Unjust System
Rebuilding After Loss - Recovering from Flood Damage

2 comments:

  1. Loved reading this - what a wonderful experience for all of you involved!

    ReplyDelete