Some days, when the sky is blue and the breeze is cool and the people are kind…those days my heart bursts with love for this little country called Cambodia. I love to go to school and see the happy faces of ‘my’ children welcoming me back for another day of learning. I revel in the love they shower on me through gifts of mangos and sour fruit as I walk with them down the long dusty road to their homes. The satisfaction I feel when I see the triumph in the eyes a struggling student who has finally mastered a difficult exercise is exhilarating. On the days when the language comes easily, and I can remember the correct words in conversation, and the people understand me and tell me what clear Khmer I have, I could be content to just stay here for a very long time. Those days I thank my Father for bringing me here, for being the Master Planner of my life.
But some days, when the sun burns down and I sweat buckets of energy and feel like a smelly, cranky horse, and tempers rise and love levels lower and I feel as if I can’t do anything right…those days all I want to do is fly home and be cool and safe in my little circle of friends. When I hear that those dearest to me are moving on with their lives, and their dreams are falling into place like the last few pieces of a puzzle, I wonder why I have to be the one who is here ‘giving up my dreams’. I struggle to love that difficult, clingy student, to truly care about the people around me who are going through difficult times. Sometimes I just feel so empty and weary of giving and giving and giving some more. Sometimes I just get wrapped up in me. Those days I feel angry with my Father and ask Him why He ever brought me here. Didn’t He hear about MY plans for me?
I suppose it’s just the next hurdle in adjustment to a different culture, but I think we are all feeling a little more homesick than usual these days. Yesterday, I walked out of my bedroom and the smell of freshly cut grass wafted through the open window and met my nose. “Oh Mom…it smells like HOME!” I said, then rushed past her to hide the tears that suddenly clouded my eyes. I guess the newness and excitement is wearing off, and as we settle into our lives here, sometimes we just long for the comfort of friends around our table and grandparents down the road and cousins an hour away. Weddings hold a different bitter-sweetness, and funerals a different sorrow, because we can’t be there. The other day Forrest was very quiet all day because of a mouth full of painful sores. He was sitting on the commode in my bathroom, and suddenly said frustratedly, “Lori, why do we have to be here so LONG?” Time is speeding by in a way, and yet it feels like we have been here for years.
This summer is looking kinda long and lonely to our family, as Matt’s are leaving for a ten week furlough, and Jasmine is going home to do a missions medical course. We would welcome ANY visitors…now calling for all who have a case of wanderlust or ‘missallensitis’. This summer also looks quite different from my past three summers, and it’s been a struggle for me to be content with being here instead of with my friends in the North. The other day my ‘Wapekeka Grandma’, Greta, sent me a message on Facebook…
“A big fat hello to you my friend. I miss you everyday. Hope you are doing okay. Summer is almost here…this is the time of the year that I use to say…over 2 months till she gets here…meaning you…Lori I miss you…till next time…God bless.”
And my heart melted inside. Usually about now I would have received my PWTC acceptance letter and started counting the weeks until I could see my friends again. The youth of Wapekeka are facing some really tough times right now. An epidemic of bullying and suicidal contemplation and attempts has struck. I know God’s plan for me right now is to pour His love into the people of Cambodia, but sometimes I long to go give ‘my girls’ a hug, and let them know they are beautiful and loved and accepted. (If any of you young people don’t know what to do with your summer, there are some beautiful children up North that would drink up any love you would offer them.)
Though I struggle some days, I know without a shadow of a doubt that God brought us here for a purpose. Sometimes that purpose is just hidden. Though I don’t feel as if I’m doing a bit of good, I know that God can use me somehow, in spite of my weakness, if I will choose to look beyond myself and simply let Him have control.
Since we came here, a song the Wissmann family sings has become very meaningful to me. The chorus is Sharpied onto ‘my spot’ on the roof where I go for quiet time. (On cooler days, that is.)
Please pray for us as we journey through this ‘new stage’. I And you seriously have no idea how much your calls, emails, and messages mean to us! Blessings to you all as you find contentment His perfect plan for you.