Holidays in Cambodia have all had their own new, special, Cambodian flair, and have all resulted in very special memories.
Easter and Khmer New Year proved to be no different.
Khmer New Year was basically celebrated the two weeks leading up to Easter Sunday, and is the largest public holiday in the country.
Although many of the children go to their hometowns to spend a few days with their remaining family members, Asia’s Hope Battambang campus was definitely not quiet. With a soccer tournament, bocce ball tournament, and finally a huge and epic Easter outreach, this holiday season will not soon be forgotten.
A compilation of these events can be viewed in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H127kSFmkcU
Aaron and I’s involvement in the Easter outreach was more intense than our involvement in any other events thus far, so as the big day drew closer, we found ourselves sucked into the flurry of preparations that had encompassed the entire campus.
And it was pretty intense. Doing anything in a foreign country can seem more difficult to accomplish than in one’s own, and doing anything in 115 degree weather can make anything seem unthinkable.
So, in the midst of rehearsing, grabbing fuel (food), trying to hide from the sun, rehearsing again, getting hair and make-up done and donning my full Khmer traditional attire, there was a moment when I stopped, almost shocked, and realized that I had completely forgotten it was Easter!
And I paused, and smiled, as all the tasks I had been running about doing all of the sudden seemed so trivial. Because it truly is such an honor to have been able to spend my Easter holiday celebrating with some of the most incredible people on this earth.
When the big Easter outreach finally began, it was a riot! Everything was wonderful and everyone had an incredible time.
But it was bigger than that. The day and its events were so much bigger than me. 1,200 people attended the outreach - most of whom had never heard about our God before.
And beyond even that, a news crew came and broadcasted the event - and the Gospel message - on three different national television stations across the Cambodia! I don’t even know how that works in a Buddhist country?!
So at the end of the day, when I saw my face come up on the Cambodian News Channel I just had to laugh. Because once again, I was just a small piece and participant in a great work here - pulled into a shenanigan once again that i didn’t even realize would have such a huge impact in this country.
So believe me when I say that we are not “being humble,” this is why we literally can never take credit for the things we are a part of here. We just are along for the wild ride and adventure that unfolds everyday in this country.
And so many lessons are coming into my life because of that sense of “blind willingness” that has come to mark our lives here - not even by choice, but because of a level of cultural obliviousness that we will most likely not overcome before it is time to go back home.
It has really highlighted the principles of being a part of the work that the Lord is doing, and being a single member in the body of Christ.
So yet again, I will never forget this holiday in Cambodia.