More than what is required

Hello all,

We arrived in Battambang, after a five-hour bus trip through paved roads, half of which was good, the other half dotted with potholes, covered with overflowing waters and bumpy and, at times, slow-moving animals.

Finally, we arrived at the bus station and were picked up by Vannak and Kim Chu, the directors of Grace Place, Battambang. We went to the hotel and as we pulled into the parking lot we saw many smiling faces of a good group of our children wearing the familiar Grace Place t-shirt.

But they were wearing more than t-shirts. They were wearing love — long and elaborate “robes” of it, full of hugs and little voices exclaiming “I love you.” It only took a second for Naza’s heart to melt, as one little girl came over to her and completely enveloped her in a hug as big as the world. I saw streams of joy coming down my wife’s faces, and as some of the other children saw her crying, they came over to help her, by wiping her tears with the back of their hands. I heard her saying, “I am not sad, I am just overcome with emotions right now.”

After freshening up a bit at the hotel, we met with Kevin and Jill Kane, who are moving into a different home tomorrow. They wanted to see us today because they are so busy tomorrow. We enjoyed some more lemon juice at the restaurant in the hotel and shared a few stories and updates with them. They wanted to know about our experience on the beach. After all, they had recommended the hotel where we stayed in Sihanoukville.

We went straight to Grace Place after that and enjoyed two and a half hours of sweet fellowship with the children. They performed a couple of songs for us and then both Naza and I shared with the kids. If you are from Wooster, Ohio, and have a child you sponsor at Grace Place, Battambang, please know that we greeted the kids on your bahalf. They all applauded when I said that. They are all healthy now and happy to be enjoying a long weekend as they celebrate the Holiday that commemorates the King’s Birth. No school on Monday. Yes. They are just like any of our kids.

My wife and I both shared with the children. They listened so attentively and laughed so hard when I made silly faces and tried to tell funny stories. They followed us everywhere and kept giving us cold water and insisted on carrying our stuff for us. They are lovely, and they are so full of joy.

The twenty plus hours on planes, the long bus trip, the sore bodies, suddenly, all of this  became insignificant compared to the joy of hugging these precious ones. They make it all worth it and it is because of many people who have invested heavily in the future of an entirely new generation of leaders who will rise up one day and make a difference in their country for the present and for eternity.

Thank you for making your life count instead of simply marching to the familiar tunes of doing only what is required.   

Ivanildo  C. Trindade