transition: good-bye cambodia, hello states

23 Jan

We are spending our last week in Sihankoukville, which is right on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. We spent three days at Life University, taught English classes and ran a chapel service. Life University is run by Korean missionaries. Currently, Life University also has an international school including grades K-6. Today we left Life University for a hotel right on the beach where we will be debriefing our time in Cambodia.

As we debrief and wrap up our month, I begin to think about the transition back to the states. Taking into account everything I have learned and experienced. We have had so much fun on this trip, sightseeing, trying new things, exploring, learning a new language, getting to know people. But we have also heard heart-breaking stories, seen the killing fields, witnessed pain, suffering and corruption. It has been an emotional rollercoaster. Luckily there is hope amidst the pain, people on fire for God, beautiful church services, organizations striving for change, survivors smiling and thriving.

As I leave Cambodia, there are countless memories that I want to impress in my brain and heart forever. I want to remember the faces and stories of the beautiful people I have met. I want to remember what I’ve learned. I want to remember not only the good, but the bad I’ve witnessed in Cambodia. I want my life to be changed.

I am so nervous about coming back to the states. As excited as I am to see friends, start school and work, etc. I am not ready to leave Cambodia. I love this. I love getting to know people-whether its my team or Khmer people, exploring new places, riding in tuktuks, learning a new language, walking streets greeting people in Khmer, trying crazy foods, learning all I have been, sightseeing, etc. I love just adventures and traveling. I love Cambodia but I do know that I won’t be leaving all my heart here. I think my heart is in so many places. Honestly, I don’t think I will have a burning desire to come back to Cambodia. But who knows.

This past month as I’ve read through Psalms, over and over again God reminds me that he is my strength, my stronghold. How dependent I am and need to be in him. Literally with everything. Little everyday decisions, future, traveling, relationships, careers. I know the transition will be hard, but God will be my stronghold.

Long story short, as I return to the states, I will be reflecting on my experiences and trying to incorporate it into my everyday life. I want to seek God fully. I learned here that our God is a God who loves justice. There are countless times throughout the old and new testament where he desires justice for each and every one of his creation. It is my responsibility as a Christian who is striving to be like Christ to advocate for justice, especially for the vulnerable and voiceless. In order to seek justice in this world, I need to be intentional and proactive. Intentional and proactive about educating myself and others on issues of justice. I can’t just jump on any bandwagon, I need to make sure I am actually helping improve a situation rather than harm it. I want to be fully aware of what is happening around my community and world, struggle with my neighbors, show Christ’s love. There is SO much more that I learned that has changed my worldview and personal thinking but I don’t want to bore you with the longest blog post ever.

Picture Justice // “God’s justice doesn’t just extend to our need for justification from sin alone. It extends to free us from bondage and suffering imposed by the sin of others as well”

Psalm 37:28 // For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones

Proverbs 14:31 // Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God

Luke 10: 36-37 // “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

A God who loves justice // “God’s love for justice is grounded in God’s love for each and every one of God’s human creatures… consists of God desiring the good of that being (human)… justice consists of enjoying those goods… which one is morally entitled to…”

Overall I am worried about my transition back to the States: school starts so quickly, jet lag, 100 degree difference!, material/consumerism, insensitivity and awareness of suffering around the world. I really need your prayers.

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2 Responses to “transition: good-bye cambodia, hello states”

  1. Curtis Atneosen January 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Lauren, So good to read your thoughts. You will now be experiencing what many friends of mine have experienced in returning from the exposure you have had to the good and the bad. Luther states we who follow Christ are a sinner and a saint at the same time. You have seen and witnessed both on your journey. We will pray that God gives you the inner strength and wisdom to discern the good and the bad that permeates all of life on this planet. These words from James are my prayer… “2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” … May our Lord Jesus bring you to completion on the Day of Christ!

    • laurenolson January 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      grandpa:
      1. i really appreciate your insightful, encouraging comments! especially your references to authors and bible verses.
      2. are you going to ghana?!?!? if you are i am SO excited! and i really hope you are because i excitedly told my friends here in cambodia that you are!

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