Over the last few months we have had several young people come and out stay with us. They help with teaching English, painting, building. . . just whatever we need help with. For a job description we tell them that if they come with a “servant heart” then it will be easy to adjust. Everything is about serving others.
Over the last few months, we have had young people from:
The Heights Church (Prescott, AZ)
ACTS Church (Austin, TX)
Church of Glad Tidings (Yuba City, CA)
Covenant College (Chattanooga, TN)
and we have one more who just arrived from Kingsland Baptist Church (Katy, TX)
We like to have young people come for longer than just the typical “hit and run” mission trip of a week. I think 6-8 weeks is best. The reason for this is that you don’t really get an accurate impression of missions, nor challenge yourself that much in a short trip. Sure, you can still get amoeba, malaria and food poising in a week, but you can’t experience what it is like to live in a country every day and build relationships with others. You can’t learn about your own commitment. Many young people dream of being missionaries, or at least changing the world, but few take a chance. We like to give young people that chance so they can find out what they are made of.
The last few months we had a good group, Zac (the blond one, “scar face”) stayed nearly 6 months, the others about six weeks:
Below are the Maclellan Scholars of Covenant College in Chattanooga, TN. I think this was a “reward” for them being smart kids. (Just a note: all of our staff agree that Covenant College was the best team ever. Thanks so much Covenant.)
They all lived at our imparting smiles children’s center. Let me explain “live” more clearly:
There is no electricity, no running water, no bed rooms, oh yeah. . . no beds either!. . . plenty of kids and plenty of mosquitoes. They learn how to wash their clothes at the well. They learn to sleep on a wood floor. They learn to sweat like they never could have imagined possible. They learn how fragile their bodies are. They learn to eat new food like dogs, monkeys and tarantulas!
They teach English, pour concrete and play with kids or whatever else needs to be done.
Actually, I only have one goal in mind when we have young people come. It is not about what they can do for us, but about what Cambodia will do for them. Sure they help us by teaching English or whatever project I can think of, but really it is about them. I want them to learn what they are made of. I want them to have a chance to hear from God away from the busy life in America. I want them to find out if they cannot only survive, but if they can thrive in this harsh environment. When they find they thrive, they are potentially “missionary” material. If they only “survive”, then they better not give up their “day job”. The Kracheh Imparting Smiles Center will test you to the core!
These last few months, we have had some great teams. We have had some challenges as well, and hosting people is never easy, but when I think about what God has done in their hearts after coming to Cambodia, I am very satisfied.