[Thanks to Pam Epperson for relating this story.]
Recently, a team from Illinois returned from Cambodia and reported about their experiences. They had the chance to visit our second safehouse where trafficked girls get a new start on life.
One member of the team brought taped questions that his junior high Sunday school class wanted to ask the girls. It was a labor-intensive exercise. He would play a portion of the tape then our translator would translate it for the girls. Then the girls would answer, and their responses were taped and translated, so the kids in the Sunday school class could understand what they had to say. The group whiled away an afternoon with this project.
For the most part, the questions were pretty general: What's your favorite sport? How do you say "hamburger" in Khmer? The girl who caught this particular question easily fielded it by saying, "Hahmbooguh." Uproarious laughter broke out in the room. But the mood shifted when Nepa was asked a question.
Maybe you've read about sixteen-year-old Nepa in one of our recent mailings. At the time of this group's visit, she was about to give birth to her baby—the child of one of her rapists. The question was What is your favorite thing that you've learned about God so far? The translator primed Nepa with some possible answers, but Nepa rejected her help. As she began formulating her response, she went to a nearby cabinet and tore off a small piece of cardboard to write down her thoughts so she wouldn't forget them when it came time to speak. Her favorite thing that she has learned about God: "That he saved my life."
Her gratitude was deep and unaffected. Pure and simple. Maybe these girls have something important to teach us. He saved my life.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2)
Update on Derek Anthony Sath
As of our last report, little Derek Anthony Sath was hospitalized and is recovering after undergoing treatment for a head wound. We found his mother, and she signed the legal papers of abandonment, making it possible for us to place him in a good home upon his release. A loving family and home are awaiting him.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Sometimes our work with trafficked girls in Cambodia takes unexpected turns. Currently, Stephanie Freed is on assignment in country. She took a film crew to Women's Island, a former detention center where women and children were exiled and executed during Pol Pot's regime.
"While there, she saw a little boy sitting naked in the dirt yard nearby a shanty house. She relates the story:
As I approached him, he turned his head, and to my horror, I saw a huge protrusion from the side of his little baby head. I thought he had a horrible birth defect—it honestly looks like another small head… Then I realized it was oozing and there were flies in it.…
"His father abandoned his mother. His mother is prostituting in Phnom Penh, and nobody knows if she will ever come back. His grandmother is a drunk and supposedly beat his head…So he survives by crawling around from shack to shack looking for food. He looks to be about one and cannot walk, but the neighbors who began to gather said he was probably closer to two years old. I asked his name. Everyone agreed that he had NO NAME! So here is a baby who is malnourished and pulling himself naked through the dirt with an open fly infested wound with no caregiver in the world and NO NAME!"
From there, Stephanie took the boy to the children's hospital in Phnom Penh where he will receive proper medical treatment. The goal is to get him placed in a good children's home. Pray for little Derek Anthony Sath—the little boy without a name now has one. The three workers accompanying Stephanie gave him each one of theirs. Perhaps this unexpected turn will lead to a whole new start for the boy with a new name.
But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. (Psalm 10:14)