Friends and Family,
As many of you know by now, I finished my time in Cambodia in April, and I've returned to the world of coats and shoes. Since my last update, I finished up my work with New Life, celebrated Cambodian New Year at the beach, said my goodbyes, and even fit in a little excursion to China on the journey home, making it back just in time to celebrate the wedding of my good friends, Carter and Lisa. The month of April was a blur.
When I look back on my time in Cambodia, it's hard to sum it all up. What an incredible experience. And in many ways, the life lessons were personal experiences, difficult to convey in words. But I figured that I'd leave you with a few last thoughts from my wanderings.
In some ways, working at the NGO was just a side note to the real lessons of Cambodia. Or perhaps just an instrument to bring out those lessons. Just living in Cambodia is, perhaps, the only teacher that's needed. Everywhere you go, every activity you participate in ... you are surrounded by poverty, sickness, and the effects of war. You quickly realize how trivial so many of the "worries of life" really are. Living in Cambodia is like looking in a rearview mirror and realizing that your life is a cloud of smoke, dissipating before your eyes. But you also realize the tremendous power of simplicity ... simple joy of life and friendship ... simple faith. You come to Cambodia to help the Cambodian people, and yet it is Cambodia that has helped you.
I could ramble on about lessons learned, but I've come to the conclusion that the most powerful belief, the most freeing thought, is that there is a God who loves me. The whole life and teaching of Jesus points to this. To the sceptic, this may seem an ignorant crutch... to the devout, this may be a mundane notion ... but when I truly believe, there is great freedom. A freedom not found through church attendance, political affiliation, or even the "Christian culture" ... a culture that can be as ensnaring as some of the worst addictions. It's only in letting go of life that we truly find it. Beyond the frivolous excesses of modern life, beyond the crippling poverty of the developing world, there is a God waiting with open arms calling his children to return home. I am not bound by my circumstances or environment, I am not captive to the drive for approval and affection, I am not controlled by money or power or politics or fear. I am free, because I am loved.
In my updates and emails, I hope I have shed some light on the needs of Cambodia. In the midst of the painful sadness of the country, I hope I've also revealed the beauty of this country and its people. I've finished with one last short web-update. I've also added all previous emails sent from Cambodia to the website.
Please feel free to contact me if you want to know more about Cambodia, my experiences there, or the work that continues in this country.
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