Sometimes working in abject poverty is just raw. It is this week. We landed on this side of the globe a few days ago and spent the first day visiting the homes of ladies in our job creation program, LandMine Design.
Pai was one of the ladies whose home we visited this week. She is one of our newest hires in LandMine Design and lives about four miles from our headquarters. Initially, she was so excited to have us visit her home. Stepping into her hut, I looked at Pai and noticed her countenance had changed. We sat together on her raised wooden bed (the only place to sit) and I asked her about the tears forming in her soft brown eyes. As she shared, the tears escaped their pools and streaked down her dark cheeks; it didn’t take but a few seconds for them to stream down my white cheeks as well. She pointed to the holes in her tin roof and to the ragged newspapers hanging as simple wall coverings as she confessed her humiliation. Although initially excited for us to see her home, the condition of it stirred a deep shame inside Pai’s heart.
There’s much I wish I could fully unpack about Pai’s story...
- I wish I could share how Pai’s husband abandoned them when she gave birth to her disabled daughter.
- I wish I could share the ways she seems invisible to her extended family. They offer limited pity allowing Pai and her daughter to live in a hut not even fit for an animal, but provide no other assistance. Pai must provide for all that she and her daughter need.
- I wish I could share that Pai lives further than any of our women and yet manages to show up on time even though she carries her handicapped daughter on a bicycle as she peddles four miles one-way to work each day.
- I wish I could share how Pai’s situation was brought to our attention over a year ago by one of the ladies in our LandMine Design program. This particular lady used to be filled with jealousy and bitterness and has come to know Jesus. He has transformed her life in such a way that she now sheds tears regularly over Pai’s situation.
- I wish I could share about the beautiful jewelry Pai produces in LandMine Design; she works diligently without ever complaining.
- I wish I could share how heartbreaking it is to see the ways her daughter suffers and how desperately I pray that Jesus heals her.
Yes, there’s much I wish I could fully share with you about Pai’s story. Just one bullet point above would take a full blog to share. I wish you could hear them all…
But the sweetest thing I wish I could fully tell is how, as only God would do, a few people have learned of Pai’s story and offered to help with the funds necessary to build her a new home. I can’t tell you how excited we are to be able to actively help Pai in this desperately needed way. I hope our teams can help with the building process of Pai’s new home while we are here and I promise to send pictures as the building commences.
We’d so appreciate your prayers over our teams this month. I began this prayer blog three days ago and just haven’t been able to get it wrapped up! As you read this, our first team will be preparing to spend their last day in the village. I can hardly believe this team’s ministry in the village is complete already. They have been serious champs hosting a VBS for the children in our school, going hut to hut to gather census information from villagers, interviewing children in our sponsorship program, and working with the sweet ladies in LandMine Design. It’s been a full week with little time for much else.
To those of you praying for our team, we thank you! I so appreciate your prayer covering even when you’re not sure what to pray about. God does! And He has been active in this little village on the edge of Cambodia! It is raw…and it is so very good!