Our van made a various turns to alleys after alleys, I have lost a total sense of direction as the driver was taking us to Daughters of Cambodia training sites. Prior to that, we visited the Daughters store front at the heart of Phnom Penh and met all these young women who choose to escape the sex trade by learning a life skill so that they could sustain their livelihood instead of returning to the brothels. It was humbling being in the same room with them witnessing their precision of sewing each thread into a pattern. How poised they all are when I hold up my palm greeting them “‘chum reap sua”, how they return with the same greeting with their bright smiles. The LORD is at work in and among them. How I was mesmerized by their precision in serving us even pouring iced water into our glasses. His redemptive love is POWERFUL and shinning from each one of them – including boys and girls.
It was all coming from a woman’s obedience, Ruth Elliott, who followed God’s call against the world’s view of success and achievement, but chose to walk into the darkest of the darkest places to invite young women to change their lives around. Prostitution is not a profession, it is absolutely cruelty and dehumanization in a form of slavery. It robs away dignity from a human being, most of all, it robs away the beauty and preciousness as God intended firstly. Ruth Elliott introduced to us different businesses and programs she is running all by the grace of God, the confidence in her reflects Christ Jesus’ power and strength simply rising up like eagle’s wings soaring to the limits of the sky.
I have heard about her and her ministry for years. Now I was standing right in front of her listening to her sharing about her journey to follow His call and to catch His vision and to live out His vision despite the danger and sacrifices she already has had made – I SIMPLY STAND AMAZED IN THE LORD’S PRESENCE!
While she talked, I glanced around the room which is a Daycare Center which is opened to take in young children whose mothers are working as sex workers. These kids were taking their afternoon naps. Their legs and arms were sprawling all over the floor. Some were nursing in the nooks of their mom’s arms. I could literally see His peace enveloping all around that ground floor area with the back drop of children’s laughing and playing and their mothers’ soft voices.The sweetest combination of sound and smell for His peace dashes across the room to the floor back up to the ceiling. His peace punches light in darkness and that says something. That is absolutely a place of refuge and solace to which these young women and their children could go, so that they could find refuge from the violence they received domestically as well as in the brothels.
I could go on and on about these few hours’ visits, I was able to hold up my tears until the very last 20 minutes as we prepared to leave, I heard a familiar instrument, guitar, was being played somewhere. A boy picked up the guitar and started to strum out the song “Here I am to Worship”. Then he started to sing this song in Khmer, and after the verse he sang, someone jumped in with the perfect harmony ever. I stood there in floods of tears worshipping the Lord with them. A team mate and I stood there frozen, did not want to leave. It becomes the beautiful song ever for the LORD beckons me to understand not only when I called upon His name, I be saved, but as all the boys and girls at Daughters encountered the loving and living God, called upon His name, they not only be rescued from the physical violence, but also the spiritual bondage they were trapped in.
“And everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” Joel 2:32