We couldn’t have thought a preschooler birthday party could turn out to be a Cambodia/Ratanak awareness event. It wasn’t only an unordinary kid’s birthday party, but a celebration of God’s redemptive work in Daughters Cambodia with the help of the Ratanak Foundation.
On October 24, my husband and I invited about 30 guests to come and celebrate our child’s birthday. 2 weeks before that in the party invitation, we wrote, “Please do not bring any gift and instead we will put together all the birthday gift monies to support “Daughters Cambodia” by purchasing their fair trade linen products … Stitches & stitches of yard and thread flew under the sewing machine is a young girl’s voice which often go unheard. Stitches & stitches also represent their wounds being mended, their bruises being healed, their shackles being unlocked, their dignities being restored, their confidence being uplifted, their preciousness in the sight of God being revealed.”
With the guests streaming into our front door, they already had prepared their hearts for what was going to be shown before their eyes and what they were about to take home with. The party was started with, of course, food, and dearest friends’ conversations. After everyone were settled down and mingled with each other, Paul made an introduction and there I was stripping myself naked emotionally in our living room. I started to share with them how God invited me to join Him on this journey since last January, how He challenged me, broke me, pruned me, and how He used one girl’s story (i.e. SN) to push me off the cliff and make her face, her smile, her name, her plight, personal. Very personal to a point I even didn’t hesitate to share her story briefly with my our own Heather, introducing to her what is this little girl’s name and why I would put her picture in our bedroom next to Heather’s, so that we can, as a family, pray for her.
It was a brief 30 minute sharing and it was ended by showing the Ratanak’s powerpoint slide telling of another girl’s story. After that, I took out my case of Daughters’ products that I ordered 2 months ago. I couldn’t stop sobbing into tears while unzipping the case, taking the products out and laying them on the coffee table. I felt the light was finally breaking in. God’s light was ushering with each of the products. God’s redemptive power was flashing all over the place in those short 2 minutes. The darkness where the products (the girls) once were trapped in was now being brought under His bright light. They were now out in the open. The guests came forward slowly; some with hesitation at first, and they started to go through all these linens: table-runners, aprons, shoulder bags, pot-holders, tea towels, cushion covers and placements. Questions were being asked, admirations were being lifted up, everything was in order and in less than 30 minutes, all products were sold out. Yet there was one condition that, I emphasized before the guests confirmed the purchase, they have to be the voice for these young girls. Whoever comes forth and admire the products which are now on their kitchen counters and their dinner tables. They have to tell the world that who made this, and why the girls made this, and through WHOM the girls were offered a chance and a choice to walk out this “rape for profit” industry. It is not merely by any NGOs’ efforts, nor by any donor’s generous financial support, it is solely by our Lord Jesus Christ and His blood and His redemptive work.
Now all the products were gone. All the guests went home not only with a piece of the Daughters’ beautifully made products on their kitchen counters, but with an alarming reality what is now going on in Svay Pak, Cambodia. They also went home knowing that God is at work in any willing heart whose heart of mine does not belong to me anymore. God’s invitation was not merely an invitation but now is transformed into a full swing in action that demands my voice and my action, and also the rest of the journey of my Christian faith. Now the names of the girls are not merely names in a foreign language to my ears, but sweet voices of our Father God calling upon His children’s names and those children have never ever left His sight.
(Sidenote: All the guests are showing interest in placing more orders from Daughters Cambodia before the Christmas season! We are looking into another big shipment sometime in mid December.)