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Amanda's Story - Why I Do This

Three dollars … What would you do with three dollars? In America, three dollars can't buy much—a Diet Coke, a pack of gum, or maybe some hair ties. In Cambodia, much of the population and the average Homes of Love partner survives on only three dollars a day. It’s a different world from my closet full of clothes for every season and my daily Starbucks run.

When I look down the streets of Phnom Penh, my eyes see things that my American mind isn't always sure how to process. I see a blind man whistling a sad song as he aimlessly shuffles along … two young girls at dinner with an old white man … teenage boys paving roads instead of spending their days in school … families forced to live on boats because they have no rights to own land … children selling things on the streets to make money. The scenes go on and on. There are so many injustices happening here. The need is overwhelming.

And then I sit with our in-country HOL staff, where I hear things like how many Cambodians take their children out of school at 12 years old because they believe it's time for them to work. Or that the church makes up 2% of the population, and many believers are so young in their faith. They say that the people of this nation are selling their children for money and that 49% of the entire country is under the age of 24.

MY. HEAD. SPINS.

Where do you even start to make a difference in all of that? The big picture of it all is enough to break your heart and make you want to run away. Why would anyone choose to step into that kind of place and begin working? My answer is … “Why not?” In moments that feel hopeless, God continues to show up. In our HOL families, we see children who have experienced trauma and are now receiving professional help. God heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Ps 147:3) We see lonely single mothers receiving encouragement and getting the physical needs of their families provided for. God sets the lonely in families. (Ps 68:6) We see children that are able to stay with their birth families - safe, well cared for, and loved - instead of at-risk of being trafficked. God protects His children. (2 Thess. 3:3) But most of all, we see God at the center of the story, reminding them that He is the one that sustains them whether in plenty or in want. He is rescuing them from darkness, from tragedy, even from themselves! And the best part is, He’s not just rescuing them from something … He is rescuing them for something. Something beautiful.

So why do I do this? Why do I work for Homes of Love? Because I know God’s story is big and I don’t want to miss it. I see God alive in the families we serve and I’m excited about His name continuing to grow into the next generation. My prayer is that through our HOL families, other families hear and believe in the name of Christ. That a nation is reborn through a generation of children raised up in families in Cambodia. May the country and all people of Cambodia be changed because of this work.

"But forget all that - it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."
Isaiah 43:18-25

Amanda Hays
Cambodia Director

 

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