Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Worshipping at TLC

Last night I went to TLC on my own and spent a couple hours with the my young friends and their caregivers. I took some nail polish as for the girls as they are at the age where external beauty takes on a greater focus. I suppose they are no different than any other teenagers I know. A few of them were wearing the T-Shirts we gave them from Canada with matching headbands and pearl bracelets.

I asked them if they would sing a few songs and to my surprised they pulled out books that had hymns and contemporary Christian music. They began to sing a variety of songs and even sang This is The Day The Lord Has Made in English and then switched into Khmer as they sang Silent Night. This continued for several minutes and I asked Jaya who overseas the centre whether they were all Christians. She said all of them were baptized a while back as they all wanted to become Christians and while this is exciting to see I am keenly aware that in Cambodia many young people are anxious and eager to become Christians but unless they are grounded in the Word, it is easy for them to become disillusioned and backslide. In some ways it is no different than us in the West as the ways of the world distract us and guide us away from the One who first loved us. And so as I think of each of these special young friends, my own prayer for them is that as they are enjoying singing these songs and hymns and as they have bible study that the Lord would use these very 'tools' to engrave His truth upon their hearts and enable them to gain a deeper understanding of who He is. That they would not just believe in God but believe Him and take Him at His word and as they grow in their knowledge of Him they would know how deep, how high and how wide is the love of God and will be filled with the fullness of Christ. When I look at their young faces I often find myself wondering how anyone could inflict such hurt on them. But then again, evil has no rational mind, it seeks only to destroy that which God has created.

As I sat listening to them singing in Khmer, one of the girls that was sitting next to me was not singing. She is of Vietnamese descent but yet speaks no Vietnamese. I will call her Thu. I asked her why she wasn't singing as over here everyone loves to sing. She said she can't read Khmer and so she was quite contented to paint my finger nails while the rest of the girls sang. Thu is one of the older girls here at 22 years old. IJM (International Justice Mission) brought her here so she has not had the benefit of being part of the Newsong Centre education programs. I'm not sure of her complete story but here at TLC she is being taught English and computers but to what extent she is able to read and write is still unknown. Yet her command of the English language is quite good as she is able to have a conversation with me and also is a bit of a joker. Unlike the other Vietnamese girls who live here, she was separated from her family when she was quite young and so is unable to join in with them when they sing in Vietnamese. I feel for her as even within this context, I wonder how she copes with being 'not quite Vietnamese' despite having the heritage. In many ways her brokenness is more visibly evident than the others but yet I am reminded that God always is able to make something beautiful out of our brokenness. It is for these who are on the fringes and are the outcasts that Jesus came to bring life and to give life to. Thu's dream and hope is to one day set up a beauty salon. I look forward to seeing how He will empower her and enable her to be all He destined her to be.

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