Today I sat with four young ladies from the States who are in Cambodia to research and study fair trade and how it works (and doesn’t work).
We walked down the dirt road to SreyRohm’s house waving at neighbourhood kids who greeted us with chorus’ of “hello!”
SreyRohm and I shared with them about how the sale of Hope Family’s products directly benefit the lives of the women that are involved. They asked lots of great questions and we talked about the demands on women in developing nations, and encouraging national leaders, and creating sustainable business that values the women & families involved. We also talked about consumerism and the drive in most developed nations to have “stuff”.
They admitted that they had taken in so much in the last six days that they were just still trying to process it all.
I realized as we chatted that many of my thoughts have been moulded by our time overseas. On a small scale, I have a deeper understanding of the value of something. I know the woman that made that dress. She has a husband and three small children to care for. She has to go to the market daily as she doesn’t have a refrigerator to keep her food. She is expected to make all her meals from scratch and keep her house clean and look after her children and than, when everyone is bed, she will stay up til 1:00 or 2:00am to be able to do some sewing to bring in an income for her family.
On the larger scale, God has shown me something about our role in relation to the people He has sent us to serve. I am not a foreigner. I am a sister in Christ supporting and encouraging my brothers and sisters in Christ and being a light where He has placed me. I expected to feel like a stranger here…but I don’t.
The girls today mentioned that they loved the organic way in which our life and relationships were playing out in response to a need that was identified in our community. It reminded me that we do have a story to tell. I forget that sometimes. It’s kind of a part of our job description…..to tell the story. I wish everyone could visit so they could see firsthand but since that’s not possible; it’s up to us to share what God is doing in a way that impacts and touches people.
And so, we will endeavour over the next few months to share stories of how God is moving and what it means to serve in a context such as ours. Stay tuned!