It was mutual transformation at its best.
I have been to Cambodia twice in 18 months - the second time just last week. My first adventure came three short months after I joined the staff of Food for the Hungry (FH). Most recently I led a team of three other women on a vision trip to see first-hand the work God is doing through FH.
Trips with FH are unique. We don’t “do” anything for the people we visit. It’s a difficult concept for us North Americans to wrap our minds around but the impact of the time is profound.
One of my team members said, “Something was revealed on this trip that I find difficult to fully comprehend and yet I must continue to wrestle with the truth of it. I heard repeatedly, and from various sources, the deep significance of me, a woman and a foreigner, coming to visit the people of Cambodia. The impact of my visit there does not come from any tangible thing I bring to them. It comes simply from my presence among them.”
I, too, was moved by the importance Cambodian villagers and FH staff placed on us four women making the trek from Canada. Showing up spoke into their value – they are worth being visited. They felt encouraged to press on with their endeavors to provide for their families. We heard appreciation for how we took delight in their successes as they move from poverty to thriving. They felt supported.
Because of our presence.
I am privileged to be able to travel with my work and see hope-filled eyes of the most vulnerable. They are being changed by the power of God’s redeeming love and the sacrificial work of the Cambodian FH staff who daily walk alongside, teaching and mentoring.
And I am changed as well, because of their presence.
As I said to a friend in an email from Cambodia: “I love being here...feel like I'm picking up the piece of my heart I left here a year ago.”
Guess I’ll have to go back soon and get the piece I left there this time.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst