As I read the daily updates and look at the itinerary of my friends, I am taken back into the midst of the heat. I don’t mean just physical heat, but the heat that comes from the friction of a dysfunctional situation. My friends just landed in a country that killed an entire generation under a dictator who favors genocide. Imagine a leader who chooses to kill off the highly educated-no wonder parents in Cambodia are afraid to send their children to school! What happens when fear dictates how you live? What happens when the generation of teachers, physicians, judges, etc. is gone? What does that leave? Even when there are missionaries and do-gooders camped on the side of help, there only seems to be one answer in all the heated madness: A miracle rain cloud.
In a second or third-world country, realities such as genocide slap you in the face with each step you take. I thought that I was a thankful person before we went to Thailand. Then I walked the banana groves and met people living in open-air boxes (aka “houses”).
I witnessed their poverty and heard their desperate stories. It was hard to observe and listen, but I was thankful to have a better understanding.
The rising temperatures of struggle in the daylight hours don’t diminish after dark, when the bar girls try to get your attention. The heat is ever-permeating and ever-lasting. On trips like these, the warmth can be especially suffocating to the foreigners. We think we’re equipped when we step off the plane, but we find all too soon that we were mistaken. Three days in and as we stop to take a moment to reflect on all the things we’ve learned and seen, we realize the temperature has risen to exponential proportions. We’re in the middle of a stroke, choking all the hazards and hardships down, gasping for air, hoping to catch a breath for the girl with no parents, the boy too young to be working, the sick man who cannot leave bed for a doctor’s visit. The miracle of rain has to start washing away the grime eventually.
And it does. Rain appears in the form of organizations, churches, friends, city officials and missionaries. They are little drops in the bucket, but places like Thailand and Cambodia willingly take these drops. That’s how the rain starts, doesn’t it? First, little sprinkles; then, downpour.
This post is for Christine, Melody, Jenny, Linda and Marsha, who are over there right now, and are three days deep and feeling the heat. It’s exhausting, mind-boggling and yet SO rewarding. You are planting, nurturing and watering a dry land. Wait for it. The rain WILL come.