The rainy season has arrived in Banteay Meanchay Province of northern Cambodia, making travel interesting to say the least. Tuesday began with worship at the Samaritan’s Purse offices in Sisophon followed by a muddy trek out to see a primary school completed July of 2014 by Samaritan’s Purse. The before and after images are staggering. Up through half of last year, the children of Srah Trach suffered through inferior training in deplorable surroundings. It is hard to imagine how anyone could learn while worrying about being stung or bitten by something, or during the frequent rains that soaked them while seated in their classroom. The children are flourishing in a well constructed facility that keeps the children and teachers dry, and allows for secure intellectual exploration. Teachers are inspired to learn themselves, while students use iPads to accelerate acquisition of reading skills. Only God knows the full present and future impact of this simple yet profound investment in a generation of Cambodian children whose grandparents were slaughtered by the Khmer Rouge a mere forty years ago.
I am challenged by the major impact of seemingly minor advancements I’ve observed during my limited time in this ancient land. We left Srah Trach and slid down the path another ten kilometers until we arrived at still another school. Here, we saw and heard the story of the clean water filtration system implemented by Samaritan’s Purse just this year. I stood close enough to hear the gurgling of the gravity feed bio filter at work, and listened to the testimonies of drastically improved health and altered lifestyles through such a simple thing as having clean water for children to use when washing hands and safe water for drinking without needing to boil first or purchase a bottle of filtered water with money that’s as hard to come by as clean water in this village. Instead of feeling guilt over what I have that these villagers do not, I am encouraged to see how generosity and ingenuity work together to transform lives when acted upon in Jesus’ name. The world comes into focus when I look beyond myself.
“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17, NIV).