As I sit trying to think how Im going to explain what we are seeing, feeling, and experiencing, I am not sure how to even put it into words. Being here has challenged my faith and pushed me beyond my comfort zone. I partly expected that when I got here all of my insecurities would drop off and I would embrace everything but naturally they followed me here. It was a process for me to gain comfort here. The first day going out of the orphanage I felt such a powerful love but I didn’t quite know how to connect with our kids because of the language barrier. We were all in a bit of a haze just adjusting to the time change but I just couldn’t get myself out of this funk. Upon reflecting on the day I felt the need to ask God to equip me. But at the same time I realized that I also need to allow him to. Then I came down to meet with the team and that is exactly what Adam was talking to us about. Allowing God to show us his strength by leaning on him to provide us just enough energy to play one more game with our kids, or just enough strength to process all that we are seeing. It hit home and I was already feeling transformed.
Spending time the past few days a PrekEng 3 has been such a rewarding experience. Getting to really know ours kids on a deeper level that I want to explain to everyone when we return. I truly feel like they are my children now that I know them. Of course at the surface I felt that way from home but it is a whole new level of connection when you spend time worshipping with them, eating at the table like a family with them, playing games and singing with them. Their home is now my home. I don’t even want to begin to imagine what it will feel like to leave and not bring them with me.
Chbar Mon has been an awakening experience as well. We have spent time in the village with Pastor Sary and his church which is still very young. The ride out there was hilarious because traffic patterns here are drastically different than ours at home. The rules are not rules but more suggestions so people just drive wherever they want. Plus the country side offers a whole new view of the country such as herds of cows just walking in the road and people using a pick axe to break concrete off a broken road sign. Once we got there though, we were welcomed almost as warmly as at PrekEng. Some experiences there I will never forget are: praying over the new church building, helping the children with english class, the squatty potty (don’t ask…), and the youth program.
The youth program especially felt like home for me because I was thrown back to what it felt like to be in Young Life Club nights but across the world in a different language. The most incredible part, was being told at the last minute that they wanted someone on our team to share their testimony, and naturally because I am the youngest they thought mine might be the most powerful to connect to their kids. So being thrown into that space without warning was scary, but I just went back to my prayers the day before about allowing God to equip me, and he did. Hearing my story in their language was such an amazing experience and I could see the kids connecting. Then when I was done I didn’t even remember what I had said but I was overwhelmed with emotion. The words I spoke weren’t mine, they were God’s. Mike stopped me to let me know that I did great and he was proud of me, I just broke down. I didn’t know where the tears were coming from but I wanted to embrace them. So I went outside to cry my tears and Sophea (Pastor Sary’s wife who has broken english) gave me a “Tammy” hug and spoke the only english words I needed to hear in that moment, “God is Good, He changes us.” Upon reflection later, I think Mikes words carried so much weight because I felt like they were a reflection of God saying “I am proud of you in your growing faith and trust in me.”
Now I have just unloaded a lot, and I could probably stop there but I want to continue to help others see and feel how I am while I am here so I have one more day to reflect on if you can stick with me just a little longer. You with me?
Sunday, the day of Worship. Talk about a powerful day. We started by going to church with our kids at PrekEng. They prepared a song and dance for the church which was absolutely beautiful. Again I don’t even have words to explain the blessing it is to sing worship with them. The same song but they sang in their language and we in ours. I tried to capture the moment but just to be in the space you could feel the spirit of God moving in every heart. Adam did a great job teaching on how God’s garden is still growing and restoring our hearts. However, I was sitting next to Timothy (Tim-oh-tay) one of our kiddos and he was so distracted by my phone and my notes. At one point, I told him as I would tell my child, “give me the phone, you need to listen” haha it was so surreal. But the other part that was so impactful about this morning at church was when Adam said in english at the end of his sermon “God is Good” and before it was even translated the church responded “All the Time.” How amazing is that!! Literally across the world and they worship and praise God just the same as us. Truly a transforming experience.
Alright that is it from me for now but I hope you are enjoying our blogs and you will hear from another team member tomorrow.
God bless you, Morgan Gallatin