Okay, so here I was standing in the street of Svay Pak, I cannot believe my eyes. The brownish dusty street looks a lot narrower and smaller than I thought. I cannot believe this was the moment, I was about to walk into this biggest building in Svay Pak, called The Sanctuary. It houses free medical clinic, community school, church and the kids’ club. Kids’ Club is what makes my heart jump in a speed of running deer!! My team mate, Sarah C, and I walked into the Sanctuary, the first sound we heard was the roaring sound from above. The roaring sound of laughter and loud music were pounding on this concrete and ceramic tiles above our heads. Sarah C and I looked at each other and said, “they are upstairs. oh my goodness, they are upstairs.” All I wanted to do was to run up and glued my eyes to the kids, and only God knows what is in my heart for them.
The rest of my team were busying unloading the 4 luggages of medication generously donated by our churches and friends from the van, hauling them from the van to the medical clinic area. While they were busy emptying suitcases, all I could do was counting in my heart, “when can I go upstairs?” when all I could hear was the thundering sound of music blasting. Again, the roaring sound of laughters again, their laughter and cheers were ear-piercing. I was “warned” before how ear-piercing it could be, and now I have my first hand experience. It was loud, I mean really loud, I mean really really loud!!!! They would close their eyes, yanked opened their vocal chords, and out burst whatever that was in their hearts!! I remember I said to myself, even if I come out deaf, well, yeah, so what??
We walked up and saw them, they were there standing in an orderly 8 rows. When they heard someone walking up behind them, they immediately turned and looked at us with a feisty look on their faces. I saw a lot of things. I was looking for signs which I have been told could be evidence of abuse. As my eyes gazed around this little crowd, I couldn’t help but wonder if one girl who was shifting her blue dress almost the entire time and who appeared to be literally falling asleep hugging her knees, was one who had been ‘working’ the previous night. There was another girl who stood at the very back, feet together, and she seemed to have trouble standing and there was yet another one whose dress had blots of blood stain. Could these be the signs of ones who had had endured a night of unimaginable pain. I don’t know, but I could feel the tears welling up within me, tears thick and dense in sorrow, yet I remembered, I need to focus onto the hope of Jesus. I was swallowing my tears. Jesus is among them. They were worshiping the LORD. They were closing their eyes praying. One of them was in a complete face down posture that her entire body was facing down to the ground. I was still swallowing my tears but the Holy Spirit prompted me to smile. Smile? I couldn’t imagine myself smiling after seeing all these signs. Am I crazy? How can I smile? Yet the Holy Spirit awashed in me the redemptive joy only the LORD Jesus Christ be able to give. He prompted me to smile. So I smiled. When the kids were dancing and singing “Every Move I Make” in Khmer, I could not even stop laughing. Their joy was contagious and it penetrated every nook of my inner being. The joy of knowing Him. The joy of knowing their lives are in His hands.
“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there, if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light becomes night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you, the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:7-12