This June is a significant spiritual marker that leaves me speechless and blog-less. I can’t write because I don’t know where to start. Everywhere I turn is His faithfulness permeates. I write down every single detail in bullet points, waiting to be expounded when I have the time.
I could have written out how much we raised (now sitting close to $42K), and how many participants came (estimated 300 from all ages) – and say, The End. Yet those numbers are not the appropriate unit of measurements to show what we had experienced these past 6 months and even now as I write.
A demanding of our faith to an exuberant depth in the Lord. Trusting and knowing what He has started, He will complete and will take it further and deeper into something we cannot possibly dream of. THE LORD SHOWS OFF ALL OVER AGAIN!
June 6, Friday
10:30am. The thermometer was sitting at $13,000 while Paul was busy processing an influx of “last minute” registrations and donations. My phone kept ringing from people who inquired about the walk. We knew an army was going to march into the park. We knew 250 race kits would not be enough, and we knew we would not have enough refreshment to serve them all. And we also knew that we had to print more registration/waiver forms to meet the walk-in registrants!
3 – 6:00pm. We were at Twin Fish restaurant, whose owner is in fact a Vietnamese couple who came to Canada as refugees in the 80’s and became Christian shortly after. My hair stood when I learnt that they were Vietnamese who were so willing to open their restaurant for the interview and also gave us a humongous-ly generous donation. Vietnamese helping Cambodian!! Okay, you get my point!! Larry, Paul and myself and a few more CG members went for the radio interview with Neil and Mary Boron, talking to WDCX listeners who kept dropping by, talking to us and asking about Ratanak’s work.
6 – 9:00pm. Loads of ppl and restaurant patrons swung by, way after the show was over, to drop us a check in the middle of their working shift. One city worker, still in his working vest, literally swung by with a big cheque and just came to shake our hands and blessed us and off he went back to work. We really wonder where all these ppl came from! Yet 2 Corinthians 8 plays out in my mind. Out of their poverty, they give generously & outrageously!
10:00pm. When we were home finalizing the last details for the next day, we checked the thermometer, which jumped right onto $22,000. Registration kept pouring in, Paul had a hard time catching up processing them. It’s as if we were watching the Lord flew this up without us even lifting a finger. Paul and I were so emotional but we cannot afford to lose our minds at that hour, but to stay focus to prepare for the next morning.
2:00am. We went to bed with the thermometer sitting on $24,000+. Elated .. goofy smiles on our faces but very, very tired too. Yet I got Graeme’s FB message telling us we were covered by prayers and be encouraged!! He said specifically, “Saturday is God’s day!!” Yes and Amen!! Any day is indeed God’s day!! We knew that it’s just a matter of time that the Lord was going to show us His glory in full throttle the next morning!!
June 7, Saturday
7:15am. All 15 volunteers, some with their young children, were arriving at the park on time (some travelled an hour away from Mississauga). One volunteer is a 67 year old lady who just learnt about our work a couple of months ago, she was one of those who would do whatever it takes to get things done. There was a task, she got right to it; from setting up the registration table, handling registrations checked-in, the refreshment, the wrapping up the event, and staying till the very last mintue. She did it all with a bunch of guys!!! Palms down to her!! Bless, bless her heart!
One volunteer is a 8.5-month pregnant lady. Huge and waddling & all, living outside of the city, but came to help us to set up the tables. She could have stayed home and rest but she didnt’ and she was glad she didn’t do the “nesting” but came and experienced the glorious glory! What a great parent she is going to be to her little one!! Bless, bless her heart!!
There are many many volunteers I can’t even name them all out!!! Bless all of them!!
8:00am. MP Wladyslaw Lizon (local Mississauga MP) came with his racing gear, paid the $20 registration fee, bought our “NOTFORGOTTEN” tshirt with his own $$, put it on, all ready to go. Didn’t play out that politician face or manner. He genuinely enjoyed the event and in fact quite a funny guy. More registrants started to arrive and come up to our reg. table, a line up of ppl waiting to be checked in. All in order, waiting patiently. The volunteers were like a well-oiled machine (my goodness!!) taking care of all the details with a big smile! All because they love Jesus and want to serve Cambodia. Period!!
9:30am. An hour and a half later, we finally got nearly 100 walk-in participants registered + 200 registered online, all checked in. A bit of a delay but nobody was complaining even under the hot sun at 31C. A really old lady needed to sit on our lawn chair under the shade, waiting for Larry to remind everyone why we do all these, and Neil to pray before it was all set to go.
Amongst many participants were single moms with their children, young women with their husbands who both went through abuses and decided, for some travelled more than 2 hours, to Erindale park to walk not only for people in Cambodia, but also for their own hurts, their closure as well as healing. That darkness of own abuses got unveiled and His light of healing charged in and illuminated everywhere.
One mother who just lost his 21 year old son a week ago, came & walked on behalf of him, who registered to walk just a few days before his passing. She came looking for his son’s registered name and we wondered why as we didn’t know the story until later. We all were awe struckingly emotional and didn’t know how to comfort her in the midst of her deepest grief. The fact that she came and walked in honour of her son and also for many many in Cambodia, has deeply engraved in all of our hearts; regardless whether there was any donation pledged under the son’s name at all! The Lord has shown us His power and glory and healing way above and beyond the $42K.
11-12:30pm. Lots of tears and laughter. We celebrated one of our volunteer’s birthday. It was his 50th birthday on June 7. Can you believe that? He spent his 50th birthday with us helping out in all sorts of things!! Of course, one big highlight for him was that there were 300+ people singing in one voice Happy Birthday to him. Well, who didn’t want that, eh?? All were packed up and ppl leaving the park.
2pm – 9pm. A few volunteers went back to our house and began reconciling all the donations and cheques and pledges … 7 hours later, we finally could update the thermometer to $33,000+. Their dedication, endurance, and joy of doing all these were humbling. I have a long list of names to list out: they are truly the unsung heroes who worked and worked behind the scenes for many weeks and months just to make sure things were all ready before the big day.
June 10, 2014
2pm. MP Lizon was at the House of Commons. I was tongue tied when I witnessed a politician carried himself into what he promised to do and did it so genuinely. He gave an exuberant statement mentioning Ratanak over and over and over again. Once again, this is something our CG could have never ever imagined when we brainstormed on this walkathon idea 4 years ago.
I pray that all these stories only bring God the glory; not only to see into the monies raised and what kind of media exposure we have, but to know that we are just a bunch of ragtag Ratanak-ers (they even rhyme!!) – a bunch of dirt ordinary ragtaggers, who have been chosen by the Lord for His own purpose: to show us His power and glory!!
Lastly, we really want to thank you for praying over us, we could feel blanket over blanket of them upholding us and that no enemy was able to destroy what the Lord has set out to do. The sweet unity and solidarity of the volunteers is what I am praising the Lord most during these 6 months of planning.
Exodus 33 keeps coming in my mind as I am writing this. Moses asked God to show him His glory. Then Moses said to Him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” I think that’s the only thing that distinguishes us from all the other secular welfare organizations. What else but God’s presence distinguish us? Nothing!!
Anyone can do what we do. Most, in fact, do it better.
They have bigger budgets, shrewder marketing, splashier promotion, more streamlined organization.
The world’s production value makes us look like bumpkins and rustics.
Yes, a bunch of ragtags!! Yet there was a JOY and EXPECTANCY in the place that nothing that met the eye – nothing that met any of the senses – could account for.
That’s the deep secret – Joy – in the midst of deep extreme grief of battling child sex trafficking, there is this deep profound joy that astonishes us and moves us.
All that really distinguishes us from all the other people on the face of the earth is that God is with us.
He was and He is and He will be with us as we plan for next year, for whatever come our ways to serve Him. We will continue to cling onto this reality – God is with us, with all the freedom fighters and with the many many in Cambodia!!