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Musings from the World of Jewel Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why Cambodia?

In October 2007, after four trips to four countries in Latin and South America, I signed up for my first trip to Cambodia. I was a freshman in college and, for the first time, was given a list of options for missions trip locations. In high school the options were limited to 'go' or 'stay home.' The list of trips included eight or ten locations from Latin and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. I spent much time in prayer, and asked my sisters, parents, and friends where I should go. Of course, no one would make the decision for me (decisiveness is not my strength.) Although I had always had the dream to go to Africa, where my grandparents were missionaries fifty years ago and thus where my passion for missions began, I excitedly chose Cambodia and I had peace that one day, God would provide for me to go to Africa (and He did!) Besides the feeling of overwhelming peace and excitement that came from writing 'Cambodia' on priority line #1, I was anxious to see Tim and Tiffany Gallant, family friends who were missionaries to Cambodia.

May 1, 2008 finally arrived and I was in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On Day 6 of 24, I wrote home:
"...Cambodia is okay. I'm not sure Asia is 'my cup of tea.' Things are very different -- very different from the States, and very different from South/Central America. I am definitely out of my comfort zone, but that is a good thing. I prayed to be stretched and to be uncomfortable..."

When I was in elementary school I read a devotional book called "God, Please Don't Send Me to Africa," written by a missionary to Kenya. The reality is this: If God had called me to Africa, I would have gone; my "Africa" was the Orient. I cannot explain why, except that I had heard stories about China that I didn't like.

God really works in mysterious ways.

I love Cambodia and I feel my heart drawn towards the ministry there, towards the youth who are shackled by the chains of Buddhism. I want to spend my days with the youth, students and children, their parents, and the elders. I want to open the Bible with them, to sing praises with them, and to learn and grow with them. I want to speak truth into their lives, to show them God’s love, and to introduce a new way of living, a faith very different from their traditional culture.

Love love love, Jewel

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