Dear friends and partners,
For many of us the month of December is a month of celebrations – bringing family and friends together in a time of Christmas hope and grace. The months of December and January are times of expectation – a time of renewal.
2015 was a year of miracles – a year of blessings. With the restructuring and renewal of our programs, we had the privilege of talking with so very many families who had journeyed from absolute poverty to middle class Cambodians – people who had become friends – as one woman said – even though I no longer need Tabitha because I am strong now – I feel like I owe Tabitha for my very life. I was so miserable and suicidal and then Tabitha came and showed me a better way. How very humbling this is!
December and Christmas is a reminder that all of us have expectations and choices that will decide what our future will bring. As we continue to work with families, it is the young people whose choices and expectations which affect me the most.
Young women like Srie – 14 years old. She joined Tabitha two years ago in the dreams of being able to provide better food for her family. Srie works hard – she harvests water lily stems from a nearby pond and sells them to customers – Srie spends 4 hours a day washing pots and pans and dishes for a neighboring shop. She turns over her money to her family – they eat much better now and from savings she was able to buy a bicycle and her grandma decided to take some of the earnings for school fees. Srei and her family have made a choice – for Srie, Christmas is a clear expectation to live a full life no matter how long it takes or what effort it costs.
And there is 13 year old Khon – a young boy with huge dreams. Dreams of a better life for his whole family. From savings they raised and sold ducks from which the family bought a rototiller – something that will make the laborious task of ploughing their fields much easier. But Khon is still young and not at his full strength yet – moving the rotortiller over their land is not so easy. His father is ill and unable to help but watches with pride as his son works the fields. For Khon, Christmas is about living a full life no matter how long it takes or what effort it costs.
For Tabitha Cambodia - Christmas is a reminder of God’s grace to each of us – of His grace in our expectation and desire to stand with the young people like Srei and Khon as they take their journey out of poverty – no matter how long it takes – no matter what efforts it costs.
I am so humbled by these young people – I am so humbled by each of you who stand with us in this journey – I am humbled by my God who allows us to take the time each year to reflect on where we have been and the expectations we have made to where we are going.
Merry Christmas to each of you – and may the blessings you have brought to Srei and Khon and thousands more like them be returned in blessings on each of you in the year 2016.
Web site: www.tabitha-cambodia.org
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