Their Words and Their Precious Faces!
The children of Asia’s Hope are the reason WOW dedicated the VSPP IV funds to build a new home for more children to be rescued. They are the reason that the Chapel supports 4 of these homes. They are the reason that our church sends two teams each year to be with these children and young adults to let them know how much they are loved by us and by the God of the Bible!
I had the privilege of being with these approximately 100 children and young adults in June, and I want to share some of the sentiments and words that they shared with our team while we were there. First I want to share the evidence that the program is working, not just in a “saving their lives” kind of way -- which it does -- but also in a way where you can see the development of confident, secure, bright young people who love Christ. We started by being with the Battambang (BB) #6 family. These teens and young adults have been with Asia’s Hope for approximately 7 – 8 years.
Next we saw the BB #11 family. Below, they are posing in the home built by VSPP IV funds holding their backpacks for which they were truly grateful! It truly was a big deal!
BB#11 has been open for about one year and after spending some days with them, we went on to BB#12. Those children were mostly younger and had only been rescued about 3 months ago. Our last stop was Prek Eng #1 which is just outside of Phnom Penh. These children and young adults have been in the program for several years, most are in university or nearing the end of high school, and a couple of them recently married.
There was a theme that our team noticed with the children from BB#12, having only been rescued recently by Asia’s Hope. They were precious, but seemed more emotionally fragile than the other homes. Their eyes showed a little less animation, but their personalities were sweet, playful, and joyous. The children from BB#11 were well-adjusted (still very affectionate and engaging) though as you can imagine, the parents were still helping some of them deal with the struggles of their past. This home is full of Christian music and many are learning to play the piano, guitar or rhythm (they’re hoping for a drum set in their home someday).
The BB#6 teens were thriving in school and life and got along amazingly well for a large group of teenagers living together! Their lack of selfishness was remarkable! Many of them spoke freely and often of their love for Jesus and about how grateful they are to Him and the Chapel for allowing them to be in Asia’s Hope.
Finally, the PE#1 teens and young adults were completely engaging, resilient people who have plans for their future. Some of them already are realizing those plans as they finish university and go into the work force. There are three very young children in PE #1 who have been recently placed in Asia’s Hope due to abandonment or other sad circumstances. These little children are quickly gaining a sense of self-regulation as they are surrounded by so many older siblings who model for them and help to nurture them as they have been nurtured.
PE #1 Fun
All this to say that the longer the children are in Asia’s Hope, the more they learn of Jesus and are loved by godly people, the more their physical and emotional needs are met… their hope for the present and future becomes dramatically obvious! I fully expect that our future Chapel mission teams will see the children of BB#11 and #12 flourishing more and more in the love of Christ and their environment!
The words of the Asia’s Hope children and teens were often “gulp-worthy.” For instance, we heard some of the children tell about how they fast and pray for us (The Chapel people here in the US) one Saturday a month! Humbling, huh? We swallowed hard another time as we sought to learn more about the new children of BB #12. We sat down with interpreting help from the BB #6 kids and heard the stories of some of the older children – truly sobering. One part of this little interview was to ask each of the children what they like about living in Asia’s Hope. There were some answers that were as you might guess, such as, “I like having a dad and mom,” or “I like having food!” However, the two common answers that we received from almost all of them was that they liked being “safe” and being able to “go to school.” Can you imagine?
Here are some children showing off their schools (though I don’t have any picture of the university, I must note that the university students also made sure that we saw their campus!)
As I end this long post, I want to share one more thing that was another theme of the Cambodian children of Asia’s Hope: HUGS! No matter the extreme temperature and humidity, these children are extremely loving and they love hugs on top of hugs! Because you are a part of this ministry, enjoy just a couple of the hug photos below and imagine that they are hugging you, because, trust me, if they could, they would, because of their joy in Christ and gratefulness!
-- Shelly Mountjoy © July 2018