Saturday, July 4, 2009
Best 4th Ever
It's Saturday, July 4th...and we're taking a break from Svay Pak for a couple of days (looking forward to getting back to those wonderful children on Monday!).
Today our team had the privilege of throwing a 4th of July party for ARC - the Restoration Center. Fifty five girls rescued from sexual traffiking, between the ages of 5 and 22, live in this secure, safe home that provides nurturing care and hope, and prepares them for successful reintegration back into society.
Like I said - it was an honor to be with them for the day. We were'nt too sure what to expect as we drove to their home...what would the home look like? Would the girls be happy to see us? Would they be shy, timid - maybe even a little frightened...considering all that they've been through? Well, I believe we were all in awe and amazement when we drove through the heavily guarded gates, and saw the oasis behind the fence. This home is lovely - simply because God's spirit is so evident everywhere you look. Precious girls with smiles and waves; attentive staff who were so happy to meet us; and Don and Bridget, amazing CEO and Admin Director of ARC - who have so faithfully followed God's calling for their lives by lovingly running this center.
As Don gave us a tour of the entire center, we were overwelmed when we entered the dining room to see many of the girls waiting for us - they broke out into some major applause...for us! Can you imagine how that made us feel? At this point I began to sob as I recognized how blessed WE were to be spending the day with THEM! These girls are an inspiration to us...what they have had to endure most of their lives, and now they live life with joy and love and hope. WE should be applauding THEM!
Our party was filled with music, dancing, singing, great food, crafts, games (water balloon toss felt great in the heat!), a parade, cake, face painting, and goody bags. Of course our theme was the 4th of July, so we began the party by telling the girls why we celebrate the holiday - how America fought for freedom as a country. We tied this into how as Christians, we have freedom in Christ, and shared this verse with them:
"Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you." Galatians 5:1
I truly believe that our team had more fun than the girls :)
As we were leaving the center almost all of the girls took our pictures - we felt like movie stars being hounded by the paparazzi...and we loved it! There were many hugs, many kisses, and many tears as we said goodbye to these amazing girls. Though we are sad to know that they have experienced tremendous sorrow, grief, and horror in their short lives...we are filled with hope and joy, knowing that God has them in His hands and is showering His tremendous grace upon them through ARC!
Thank you for reading about our experiences - and for your faithful prayers. We could not do what we are doing without your committed support. Enjoy your 4th of July...but above all else...enjoy your freedom in Christ!
God's blessings to you,
Suzanne Allison and Team Cambodia
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