Cries of sadness, cries of joy

Snow has fallen finally in Wooster and I couldn’t be getting out of town sooner…

If things go according to plan, in less than 48 hours I will be in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, leading a team of 10 people from my church. We are going to serve children who were once orphans but have now been rescued. Our mission is to give love but most of the team members will find out that how little they know about that subject once they get the first hug from one of our kids.

I also will get to spend time with our children at the G.R.O.W. home. I know the personal stories of the children who live there now. I have cried thinking about how it used to be for them and now I cry when I think of how it is now. Cries of sadness and cries of joy.

You would do the same if you were in the same room with a 10-year old girl who had been raped multiple times by four different step-fathers. If you never felt like killing someone, the thought would cross your mind if you sat on the floor with a six-year old little boy who had been forced by his parents to perform sexual acts with his sister from the time he was two years of age. And if you heard of a 9-year old girl whose body had multiple scars and open wounds from being beaten with electric wire by a drunk step-father, you would never be the same again.

Sadly, what I just wrote above is not fiction. Every single one of these stories are true and that’s only the ones I can share here. But the good news is that for our kids that long nightmare is over. For the last two years, we’ve been rescuing children with these kinds of backgrounds and putting them in a safe home in Thailand. These children, after receiving the kind of help they needed, are now thriving, full of hope, and with a bright future ahead.

I have several ambitious goals for this trip. In addition to leading the team from our church, and loving on the children in the homes our church has started in Cambodia and Thailand, I am going to gaze at the land which will be the future headquarters of G.R.O.W. in Thailand. I can’t believe I just said that. Three months ago it was just a dream. Now, because of donations from individuals from around the world, we’ve put down a healthy down payment on this blessed ground.

And to think that I get to do this in my “spare” time. Like I said, most of my time in Asia will be spent with the wonderful work I do with my church. But after the team comes home, I get to spend a few extra days “conspiring to do good.” In a couple of years, we will build homes on this land that now sits empty. There will be more kids whose lives will be changed forever. I can’t wait to see that.

Ivanildo C. Trindade