Here are some of the things that I’ve done in Battambang that have helped change and mold me:
1. Morning devotions led by Commander Terence has been really helpful, at least for myself. I’ve been struggling to work on my devotions consistently everyday before Cambodia and I quickly learned that sleep is nothing compared to the time I get to spend with God. Countless times I fell asleep for not completing the work and preparation for devotion the next morning, I had to wake up in the middle of the night to complete it, thus sacrificing my sleep. Nevertheless, God gave me the strength that I need to last through the day full of activities.
“Honour God, and He will honour you in return to do His great work.”
2. Often times I hear people share about how eager education is needed here but it is not until I see and experience it myself do I understand the desperation stirring within them. Daily visits to rural villages to conduct English classes have given me the opportunity to get a snippet of life in a rural village. Education definitely isn’t a necessity for the life that they are living, they have bigger problems such as a lack of clean water supply, money for food, drinks and apparels, money to make their life better. It opened my eyes to understand that education is the best way to a better future while we take our education for granted. While they wake up at 5am to receive education, we contemplate if we should sleep in and skip classes. While they cycle half to an hour journey to school, we contemplate if we should not drive and skip class because of a rain. It hit me right to the core of my heart.
3. The weeks in Cambodia literally threw me out of my comfort zone and I have myself now knocking on the door begging to go back in. In terms of personal hygiene – I can’t stand seeing myself covered in a layer of dust. However, in Battambang walking and travelling around, it’s impossible to keep your skin that clean for over 5 minutes. Well, being out of this particular comfort zone has opened my heart to more conversations, more engagements with the activities with the local Cambodians, more genuine smiles and laughters. I have less thoughts on keeping myself ‘clean’, more on building relationships.
4. This time, I’ve got to teach the students in LOHI for more than 2 weeks! Nothing has been as exciting as knowing the fact that I can spend this much time with the students. The last time I was here, I’ve only got one day. I am really thankful that I not only taught English to the students, but I can also share my knowledge and experiences I’ve gained throughout my life. It has given me a chance to impart into their life and letting them know more about what education is like in my country and what it is in other parts of the world. It has given me a chance to change their perspective in learning, at least not merely for good grades and clean records but also self enrichment and actually gaining knowledge.
5. I’ve also got to build really really fond relationships with the local Cambodians. Three weeks of bonding and fellowship resulted in friendships that will last for a lifetime – friendships that I’m sure of that I will treasure and keep them dear to my heart. From the staff to the guards, from the students to the teachers, these relationships open up doors for me to grow more in Christ, or if not share something that Christ has done in my life. It is such a pleasure and such an honour to call all of them friends and share this amazing experience with them! :’)
All in all, STORM has really got me out of my comfort zone, leaving me no choice but to adapt to things that will change me in ways that I have never been, changing me for the betterment of myself and also preparing myself for greater things God has for me. If I’d have to go through these three weeks again with much more uncomfortable and challenging tasks, I will gladly accept it.
I thought three weeks in Cambodia for my second time here will be just nice; ample time for me to build relationships, impact life, taste more of their food, learn more of their language. Basically, hopefully to do everything that I’ve wanted that I didn’t get to during the last time I was here.
Three weeks isn’t enough.
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