Saturday, October 28, 2017

To Bear Witness

Rest days are difficult for me these days. It’s much easier for me to press on working through my muddled thoughts and heavy heart than to process it most days. Today I chose to spend some time with God in the mess and ask him some of the hard questions. One of the hard questions for me lately has been ‘How do I bear witness to horrible events and evil but still stay healthy and proclaim hope in all of it?’ God responded in grace and purpose today and I wanted to share some of His words in the mess.

I sit here smelling fresh coffee beans being ground and blown my way through a fan. Small potted plants line the wall perfectly bringing life to the grey walls and dirty Phnom Penh streets in view. My heart feels heavy, and I ask God why it’s so hard for me to sit still and listen these days. I often leave our restoration center each day either physically exhausted or emotionally spent. My brain tries to make sense of the things I’m seeing, hearing, and working through with our rescued girls and staff everyday- but it can’t. Some days feel like we are taking steps backwards, and all we do is survive the day. I’m reminded by God that in the thick of the battle it can feel that way.

I ask God what the purpose of simply walking through each day to survive is. His answer shed some beautiful light into it for me.

‘You are to bear witness to these precious girl’s stories, their pain and suffering. And fight for their voice and healing in the mess.’

I am here simply to bear witness. To walk through their anxiety attacks and dark moments with them. To bear witness to their tears, and pray and encourage through them. To bear witness to the moments that are difficult and to the moments of peace and even breakthrough, healing, and growth. To bear witness to the moments that they overcome, learn, feel joy, and experience the love of the Father.

‘And you are to bear witness to Christ and the hope that He brings.’

And I am here on this earth to bear witness to Christ- the hope that He brings by the life he led and His death and resurrection. I am here to bear witness to how He fights for our rescued girls, the way He is tangibly showing them real love and comfort in the pain, speaking life into their bones, and providing for their every need. I am to speak hope and life in the moments that feel so dark and hopeless for our girls, hold and cry with them in their pain as I pray over them, cheer them on as they grow and take risks slowly again, and teach them that they have worth and a voice. I am to be the example of daily seeking Christ in the mess and to not fear the dark places.

He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him.” John 1:7

A beautiful collision happens when you bear witness to not only pain and suffering but to Christ and Hope in those dark places, and that is a supernatural healing and redemption of even the darkest of evil and the most horrible things that can happen on this planet.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Conquering Fear

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the McDonald’s play place, but I haven’t been familiar with it myself since I was really little. But when you have a 2 ½ year old nephew that is a picky eater and loves nothing more than a trip to McDonalds with his aunt- you familiarize yourself with it again pretty quickly. And to be frank, it’s not my favorite place in the whole world. The McDonald’s play place is full of snotty nosed elementary student bully’s that use that play ground as a way to show their dominance in the world over poor little toddlers like my nephew. The first time I took my nephew there he was playing innocently when out of the corner of my eye I see this towering child maybe 10 years old barreling forward towards my nephew with 2 hands out. Before I could grab him away, she had pushed him full force into the ground leaving him dazed and confused. I scooped him up quickly and ran him out of that play place!

The following week, Anth asked me to take him back to the play place for another aunty-nephew date and reluctantly I said yes hoping the towering kids stayed home that day. We walked in and we were the only ones there, but I could tell right away he still had a healthy fear of this play place and going through the dark tunnels to get to the top. I encouraged him but he didn’t want to be pushed, so I let it go. A few minutes later a little boy a few years older than Anth and his grandma walked in. Right away he walked past my nephew and started climbing in the tunnels. About half way up, he turned around came back down and gently invited Anthony to climb with him. Anthony looked back at me for an encouraging nod and then he slowly climbed in. Before you know it, he was at the top and laughing as he came down the slide. I was so so proud of him for facing his fear, and getting to the top. He came down the slide just long enough to push away my hug and run to climb again.

I realized a few significant things that day watching my nephew conquer fears. Fear loses its grip on us, when others see our potential and offer to walk past it with us. A hand held out from a new friend was all Anthony needed to enter into something unknown and daunting.

Change cannot be forced or pushed, but comes with gentleness and a safe place to take risks. The environment in which Anth conquered his fears came when only a few people he could trust were around and willing to take each step with him. I’m sure next time he will have little or no reservations running into that play place no matter how many kids are around.

Fear. It’s a word every human being on the planet is familiar with. We all have places of fear in our lives. Maybe you’ve been hurt, abused, torn down, told you can’t and it has left your potential frozen by fear. I’m here to say don’t let that fear hold you down any longer, grab a friend, ask a stranger- take someone with you in the journey who is gentle and can see past the fear that seems to have a hold on you. It is so worth it to stand on the other side of fear and see all you are capable of. There have been people and places where God has allowed me to step out of fear from my past and into something really beautiful on the other side. Maybe you have already stepped over the line of fear, and you need to be a safe place to reach out your hand for someone else to do the same. I’m so honored to be able to walk through life here in Cambodia with the hurting and broken because I was there too at different points in my life crippled by fear of walking through the pain. I love giving away what God has so graciously given me and seeing others come alive when they know someone will not only call out their potential but walk through the mess to get there with them. Walk out of fear. Be the invitation for others to do the same, you just might see chains of fear broken today.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

How to Pray for Cambodia This Month

A few days ago, my church in Buffalo asked me to write a list of 31 prayer requests for each day of January. This month is Human Trafficking Awareness month and I think it's a great way to band together as the Church and pray for trafficking victims in Cambodia and around the world. If you want to take up the challenge and pray with us- here it is! If God speaks anything specific to you, you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me with them! (

Day 1- Poverty Mindset-  Pray for Cambodia to reestablish what it means to value human beings and live with purpose in mind.  

Day 2- Pray for Government Corruption in Cambodia and around the world to step up, take responsibility, and protect their own people.

Day 3- Police Corruption- Pray that the police would be leaders for their communities and actually protect and fight for justice in Cambodia. 

Day 4- The Justice System- Pray that the officials making decisions would make decisions of justice and protection instead of what looks best for them or gets them the most money

Day 5- Education- Pray that Cambodia would once again value education and a future over quick money that is obtained through making their children work in factories or selling their children.

Day 6- Men- Pray for men of Cambodia to step-up and lead as men, instead of taking advantage of women, doing drugs, gambling, drinking, and trafficking women and children.  (80 % of men are drug users, alcoholics, and/or gamblers)

Day 7- Women- Pray for the women in Cambodia to know their value and purpose, to protect their children, and stop the cycle of abuse and trafficking in their families and communities.

Day 8- Children- Pray for the children in Cambodia to value and fight for their futures through staying in school, standing up for themselves, and chasing after their dreams.

Day 9- Brick Factories- Pray for those stuck in brick factories as indentured servants working long hours for little to no pay and stuck with a fake debt unable to leave. Abuse, drugs, alcoholism, & trafficking run ramped in these factories.

Day 10- Traffickers- Pray for the traffickers and the young boys being groomed to be traffickers, that God would grab ahold of their hearts.

Day 11- Pedophiles- Pray for the American and European foreign pedophiles that are landing in Cambodia and buying woman and children.

Day 12- China Trafficking- Pray for the Cambodian girls being trafficked to China as brides and our team working with the embassy to get them back!

Day 13- NGO's- Pray for the many organizations that are in Cambodia fighting human trafficking from all angles, as well as unity among them from God!

Day 14- Pray for AIM- Gods protection and provision over this organization

Day 15-Freedom Mandate-  Pray for the Freedom Mandate to fundraise for AIM- that the church in America would step up and join the fight against human trafficking.

Day 16-Leaders- Pray for the founders (Don and Bridget Brewster), Elders, and leaders of AIM- that they would hear God’s voice clearly as they make the big decisions that affect the organization.

Day 17- Missionaries- Pray for the Missionaries on the field in Cambodia working with AIM- Wisdom, discernment, protection, and provision.

Day 18- ARC- Pray for the Restoration Center taking in girls rescued from brothels- Provision, healing, protection, education.

Day 19- SWAT- Pray for the SWAT team on the ground in Cambodia making arrests and partnering with the Cambodian Children’s Protection Police to rescue women and children, and work with cases of abuse.

Day 20- Legal Team- Pray for out legal team and court cases putting traffickers in jail and protecting the victims & the legal system would keep them in jail!

Day 21- RHPP- Pray for our half-way house reintegrating victims of trafficking back into society in a slow and supported manner.

Day 22- Emergency Foster Care- Pray for our foster care and the children who are being taken care of some of which are victims of abuse and trafficking.

Day 23- Factories and Business- Pray for our factories and businesses that are providing jobs for trafficking victims and community members- that we would have business to keep them running and discipleship of the Cambodian staff through it.

Day 24- Lord's Gym- Pray for our gym that reaches traffickers and young men for Christ through boxing- for more men to disciple that want to change!

Day 25- Church- Pray for our Church, Cambodian Pastor, and disciples in the church- God would be creating leaders and a safe place for community members to come to and find the healing and redemptive love of Christ.

Day 26- Kids Club- Pray for the influence on the hundreds of children hearing about God and his love every week- for the disciples from the church leading it, and the influence it has on the community.

Day 27- Community School- Pray for the children and teachers coming through our doors everyday, the influence of Christ, a safe place for them to share about their lives, and the team of staff meeting all the needs of abuse cases, student and family needs!

Day 28- Medical Clinic- Pray for the patients walking sometimes miles to receive reliable health care, our team treating them, and the influence this has to build trust and relationships to help families that may be stuck in trafficking.

Day 29- People- Pray for a generation that rises up and ends human trafficking, by fighting this injustice all over the world!

Day 30- Culture- Pray for Western countries like America and the sex saturated cultures that are feeding into human trafficking all over the world.

Day 31- You!- Pray about your part in fighting the injustice of human trafficking around the world and start fighting somehow, somewhere even if from the place your praying from right now! Commit and join the fight!