I need a little perspective sometimes. I think it’s easy to get in this self-absorbed bubble where all you are concerned with is your own comforts, your own pleasure, your own concerns, and your own safety that you then become blinded to the comforts, pleasures, concerns, and safety of others. One would think that by living here in Cambodia (even if it has only been a little over a month now) that I would be immune of selfishness in this form. Wrong. It’s difficult for me to be this transparent and let you know, that even though I’m often smiling on the outside, there’s a lot of skepticism and cynicism lurking on the inside. Our first three weeks here were euphoric. Everything seemed to be going perfectly. God has been so good and we have a million bajillion things to be thankful for. And I was (don’t worry, I still am), but last week I was really challenged.
Two Sundays ago marked the first day that Tamara was sick. Maybe sometime I’ll share the long story behind that, one consisting a lot of confusion and stress…finding the clinic, finding the clinic again the next day, coming a third time for blood tests, trying a different clinic…finally, on the fifth day of her fever, we finally found an answer…she has typhoid. A weaker strain (thank God), but strong enough to knock her down for a good week and need treatment at the clinic two times a day for a week more.
So, since Tamara had “the typhoids” (which we renamed because we felt like it was more dramatic J), we couldn’t go to the orphanage last week. We hadn’t been homesick till this point, but since we didn’t have some awesome kids distracting us from Thanksgiving it was little harder to not fall into this pity party. I was worried about Tamara, missing my family and Kevin on Thanksgiving, AND missing our kids. So I fell into this really selfish pity party that I’m not very proud of. And I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that this was just a “moment.” These feelings lasted a couple days. I decided that my solution to my attitude was a change in “perspective.” I did the true classic method of comparing how easy I have it to the true suffering of others I see everyday. Honestly, this method doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t make me feel better; it makes me feel worse.
God’s good though: He’s really great about reminding of us what it’s really all about. I ran across Romans 5:3-5: “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and HOPE does not put us to shame, because God’s LOVE has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” When I feel like I’m “suffering” (and we all know I have suffered nothing! I’ve got it good!!), I can often get dragged down even further by dwelling on other’s suffering. There are so many of us that want to be used by God to alleviate suffering, but get so frustrated when we don’t feel like we are making a difference. And then we feel so dumb for being so dang idealistic. But God says we won’t be shamed by putting our hope in Him. In the midst of all the suffering we see in the world, there is still hope in Jesus because of the love of God. We are never without hope when we have Christ. So, to alleviate suffering is much easier than we think. They need Jesus. So many people here need Jesus.
So, we are asking you friends to pray. Pray that we will have opportunities to share Christ with others…so that they will have the hope we have!! We don’t even speak Khmer…and sometimes I feel so clueless and useless, but I’m still expecting God to use us to show Christ to this place somehow (He’s pretty creative!) Tamara and I are yet to doubt that God has called us here for a reason. God has to work over-time with this weak girl if He’s going to make some difference here…but I know in spite of who I am or what I don’t know, He will make His name known.
Thanks for all the prayers and encouragement – we love you guys so much!!