By guest blogger Keith Caldwell
As we moved amongst the people In the villages, the Church service and the Hope Center a number of things became clear to me on my first opportunity to serve with the Cambodian mission team from Kingsland.
The physical and spiritual needs of the people in this area are great. Medical care in the area is scarce and most often extremely difficult to receive. Spiritually, the country is torn between Budism and Hinduism and worship of the spirit world. Kingsland has chosen to invest and come alongside Steve and Noit Hyde to meet these needs in the name of Jesus. The Hope Center staff work tirelessly traveling to remote villages to provide nutrional education and share the message of Jesus. Ministering to these physical needs opens opportunities to talk with the people about Jesus.
The team that Steve and Noit have recruited are amazing. Each of the team have families they care about and miss when traveling in the country. This week we are their adopted family. I cannot begin to put into words how they serve us and go beyond to make our visit as smooth and meaningful as possible. They help us get from location to location without incident, they translate for us as we teach or give medical and dental care, and communicate with the local people while always wearing a smile. They are quick to open a door, to give us the choice seat in the van or truck and make sure we have been served before they begin to enjoy their meal. Their service to Jesus and us is a shining testimony of Christ’s words in Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Pray for these brave men and women in Christ who are committed to serving and making a difference for their country.
I understand firsthand why my wife returns each year. This is her sixth trip here and others traveling with us have more Cambodian stamps in their passport than her. When you look into the faces of the people in the village, the children at Imparting Smiles, and the women and men that attend the conference you are changed. I wish I could describe the love, excitement, and joy on both the faces of the Cambodians and the old-timers when they are reunited. Hugs and long embraces are plentiful all around and the air is alive with compassion.
Thus far, my most memorable moment occurred tonight. We traveled back to Imparting Smiles to spend some fun time with the children and serve them some ice cream. After they completed dinner and cleaned off the table, they came together in groups and opened their Bibles and began reading scripture aloud to each other. These boys, girls, young men and young women have been forgotten and discarded by their family and the world; however, they are precious in God’s sight and not forgotten. He loves them, values them and provides them a sanctuary to grow and learn. I am an eyewitness to part of the hope and future of Cambodia for Christ.
It is a privilege to serve together with the group that made the journey this year. We are most certainly a diverse group in age and occupation, yet Christ’s love has knitted us together in our hearts to love the Cambodian people. I am being stretched by serving with these men and women of Christ and will forever be profoundly thankful that I could be a part of this magnificent group of believers.