I often get asked by friends and family “how long are you going to be living there”, “what’s next?”– even my Khmer workers ask me how long I plan to live in country. Before I moved here I put a number on my time here. I said 365 days, and that soon turned into me saying two years, and then two years became five years. And then I decided that I just don’t know.
I have been here four months and I thought by now I would have a better idea of how long I would live here. I love to plan, and through out this past month I have began looking at masters programs, and law programs, and trips to take. In my mind I had already started to think what is next- I realized that by doing this I was distracted from the here and now. So I decided to focus on right now, and think a little bit more about the question people ask me often.
When someone takes a job back in the states they usually accept or pursue a job they are passionate about, and don’t typically put a number on it in the beginning. Time and situations and opportunities and God’s leading determines where they go, and for how long. If I were to take a job in the states the first question probably would not be, “how long are you planning on working there?” When you move to another country though that is the first question you normally get asked. I usually get asked this question from two perspectives. When a stateside friend asks me they wonder when I will return into their daily lives, or what my career plans are after this. When a Khmer friend asks me they wonder how long I will be invested in their lives and seeing justice reign in their country.
All I know is that I moved here to be more than a picture on a wall. I wanted God to use me to show his steadfast love. I never intended to live here, but after I came last year I felt as if I understood my purpose. It is crazy to think that this all could not have happened- that the small domino affect that led me to Cambodia could have happened differently. That I could have missed out on all of this, but God knows what he is doing. Now I cannot imagine Cambodia not being apart of my life, in some way or another.
I remember before the trip being excited to work with kids, but also excited to see tourist things like Angkor Wat. After I spent time with the kids I lost my desire to see other things- I found such joy in their smiles. When I returned to America I realized I had left my heart behind in Cambodia. I realized my heart’s desires had also changed- that I didn’t crave comfort as much as I craved the dusty roads, and sweaty dance parties I had just experienced. Deciding to move was scary, and exciting wrapped into one.
I think some people thought I was crazy, maybe just another person wanting to impose American ideals on people of a lower socio economic status. However, at the simplest level I moved because of love. Because God put love in my heart for this place, and for these people. And because I knew that every person needs love, and I wanted to give it and receive it here. This place is broken, and people are broken- we are all broken in some way. I am no one, but one who is blessed to have a savior, thankful to carry God’s love. That love is for justice. And justice doesn’t have an expiration date. The next time someone asks me how long I will be in Cambodia I might respond with an “I don’t know” because really I have not a single clue. I don’t know what is next, and for now that is alright.
I do know that each moment I am here I will love fiercely and freely and celebrate every win. I will dance sporadically and appreciate beauty in all forms. I will sing, and smile, and will embrace my new family, and my new home.
There are two things I watched recently that made me think about this, check it out!
Firstly: “Is justice worth it?”— a 2 minute video— http://vimeo.com/60349898
Secondly: A documentary about an awesome man in India who loves without boundaries at an aids orphanage, I found it on Netflix, it is called “Blood Brother”
Hugs from Cambodia,