I followed God’s calling to the hot non-air conditioned country of Cambodia to teach English at a local orphanage. I was half way through my time in Cambodia and feeling really discouraged because the teaching wasn’t going well and I didn’t feel like I was making a difference in anyone’s life.
On my day off, I planned to get away from the city for a little bit and to head towards the famous Tonlé Sap Lake outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia. The day was miserable – I ended up biking about 25 miles one way in the intense summer heat of Cambodia, feeling even more discouraged than when I left. My day off to rest and relax was anything but restful and relaxing. On top of all that, throughout the day I developed a very severe sunburn. It was bound to be a bad, frustrating day until… I saw it.
In my head the picture of Cambodia I had envisioned, was a big temple sitting on top of a small mountain or hill, but I was placed in the flattest part of the country. However, about 22 miles into my trek there it was – a temple sitting on top of a hill.
Even with little water, the sun beating down on me, and already a severe sunburn developing, I knew I had to climb that hill. The climb was physically challenging, but throughout the ascent I felt a cooling presence on my skin. It could have been my skin going numb from the severe burn, but I like to believe it was God preparing me for a special moment at the top of the mountain. After about a 30 minute climb I had finally made it to the temple. The temple wasn’t extraordinary, the few people on the top of the hill couldn’t speak English and I was beginning to think this temple would be the continuation of a letdown day. However as I walked around the temple and got to the back corner the day took a positive turn. There in front of me was a beautiful view of the Tonlé Sap Lake. I took a seat there on the bench and it was as if God painted this beautiful landscape just for me.
I remained there for about an hour and took in the beautiful sunset that ensued. There on top of this random mountain in the midst of a miserable day I felt most close to God. It was my special place far away from home. Sitting there watching the sunset I felt God’s love. On that mountain He turned a seemingly terrible day into a very memorable day of my young life. I believe God has the ability to turn any one moment or experience into something like this, just to show us how much He cares for us.
Almost a year and a half later, I returned to that mountain where God started me on the path of revealing one of His large purposes for my life – to start a human trafficking ministry which is now called Raising a Voice. It is amazing that our wonderful God can take a seemingly unimportant moment or day and make it the beginning of a purposeful planned path. All He asks His BeLoved to do is obediently and faithfully follow Him down the path that He has planned for us, wherever it may lead.
With a loving and caring God like Him, I will follow wherever He leads.