People were bringing little children to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, He was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them, and blessed them.
For nearly 1 1/2 years now God has continually put before me the children of Battambang who live on the streets and in slums near to our church. As I’ve written about them time and again, these are kids whose parents are often drug addicts, alcoholics, or compulsive gamblers. Many of the families ignore or neglect them even. Many of these children don’t go to school and many more are expected to beg for money or collect recyclables to earn money for their parents. Throughout the last 1 1/2 years we have been bringing them into the church where we share the love of God with them. We have had extremely difficult days, successes, and plenty of heartbreak as we get to know these children and their families, but we know that God is working as we daily can see a change in these wonderful kids!
In fact, it is as we work with these kids that I have truly gained a greater understanding of what it is to receive the kingdom of God like a little child. So often in our Bible studies and Christian lives we are caught up in the concept of faith maturity. How mature is our faith? We often attribute maturity to age and wisdom. Those who have been Christians for a long time are often considered to be more mature in their faith lives. Yet we constantly forget that God has told us to have faith like a child. Children know they are part of the home, they don’t question why or how, they just accept that they have a family around them and when they hear there is a God who loves them they accept it joyfully and only seek to know more about who this God is that has such love for them. They seek to praise Him without inhibition!
Such are the actions we are seeing in the lives of the street children. The picture of the girl here is of Srey Lin. She has been part of our program since we began, yet she is changing daily as before she would just come casually to the program and now is coming to church and worshiping with her whole heart. She helps to clean up after the smaller children and when asked what she loves most about the program she responds by saying she loves singing praises to Jesus.
The boys to the right are often out late at night begging for money and other people from the community around frequently refer to them as delinquents. But when we held a concert in August they were competing to see who could hand out the most invitations to church. When they come to church they are competing to be the most helpful to me, from cleaning up after little ones to pumping the well for baths. What an amazing change that God is making in their hearts!
We ask that you please pray for this program as now in September we are expanding to add another day of the week to our schedule. We are hoping to more effectively minister to these kids and begin developing goals for them as they grow. We are introducing a couple new staff members to the program as well to help wrangle kids and drive the tuk-tuk. Their names are Saolin who is coming in as the new Assistant Children’s Minister and Phai who will help to drive the tuk-tuk and watch kids. Please pray that God will grant His guidance and blessings to these staff members as they serve these children!
Pray for Saolin as she begins serving as the new Assistant Children’s Minister at our church. Ask that God would grant her patience and wisdom so that she can effectively minister to the children in our program! And pray for Sokly to continue being granted God’s guidance as she leads the children’s ministry!