Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gifts and Christmas

Christmas came early this year.  At least it did here in Phnom Penh.  

To wrap up the week, my teammate Erin talked about how personal God’s love is for each of us. The kids (and the orphanage director, who is a hoot) decorated foam-framed mirrors, so that when they looked at their image they would remember that God loved them.

Me and Kim Chai being cool reindeer.
We gave them foam cut-outs, stickers, glitter glue, and foam letters and stood back.  I expected to see wads of stuff crammed on every inch of the frames.  I was wrong.  These amazingly talented kids were meticulous. Even the teenage boys were bent over their mirrors, making patterns and spelling out their names. Pichhing wrote “God love u and me. God love we.” In English. The kid is awesome! 

Then we did a spiritual gifts inventory, which our translator had translated into Khmer already. Each kid spent lots of time filling out the 96 questions. When they finished I was helping some of the kids tally their scores to see their gifts.  I expected a mixed bag of leader, intercessor, hospitality, exhortation, and maybe a prophecy. Maybe.

Under the Christmas tree, looking for their pic on a gift.
I was blown away.  That place is awesome, because God has specifically called, endowed, and nurtured each of those children. I know in my head that all things are under his authority, that he actively loves and interferes in the best way possible in the lives of His kiddos. But I was still humbled and awed to realize that most of the people who call New Life home have gifts of intercession, prophecy, miracles.  These are world changers. These are the people I want praying for me. And the awesome thing is, they already are!

I realized again that I come to serve God and serve these children, but I am the one honored to mingle with warriors for Christ, saints.

Pichhing and his dart gun.
After lunch, we read the Christmas story and then had a surprise for them.  The team had put a wrapping paper tree up on the wall and covered it with ornaments and even a star. Their gifts were piled along the base, and their stuffed stockings along the wall.  We opened the door and they buzzed around, eagerly looking for their packages.  Then they all took them back to the main room and opened them.

I guess I should have rotated this before I attached it.
This is Sieng Hai with his new Lego warrior dude.
Christmas is my favorite holiday, and today I was reminded why.  The room was just drenched in the joy of the Lord, the Holy Spirit I think was laughing with delight as the kids carefully opened their gifts, and then sorted their stockings one item at a time to see what they’d gotten. The gifts were nice, but not extravagant. And the best thing was that none of the value or size really mattered. It was that they’d been given something. There was joy and worship and celebration. I loved watching them show their presents, watching the boys draw a target on the white-board and practice shooting their nerf darts, watching the girls practice new jewelry weaves.  I made about six Christmas bead bracelets and gave them out as fast as I could, just to be able to give something else because it was such a joyful day.

Tomorrow we leave here at 6 and will drive 5 hours with the kids to Siem Reap, where we’ll go to a cultural center in the afternoon.  Your prayers would be awesome since it will be a loooong day, and in the back of our heads we’ll know it will be our last, since we say goodbye to them at noon on Friday.

All the kids as they started their careful opening.
For now though, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


  1. What a precious experience. The children's thoughtfulness and patience are amazing.

  2. It was! It really was. If Dad doesn't tell me what he wants for Christmas I might get him a nerf gun too, because they're a big hit here!

  3. i love this! so beautiful; i loved hearing about their spiritual gifts! we should do that in Battambang too! Dang, I wish I had sent something special for Ry with you!!

  4. Thanks, Carrie! It was really special. Someone is going over soon and I know Ry would love to hear from you!