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.
Thank you for sharing and for the encouragement that God loves us and meets our needs and desires amidst the days of discouragement.
Darlene I appreciate you reading the story and I hope you continue to be encouraged by a God that is always with us even when it might not be as apparent to us.
This is an amazing story! Those moments of being so close to God on some of the worst or just average days have been the best days of my life. I cannot relate in every way to this story, but in that area I can. Thank you for sharing your story. I’ll be praying for Raising a Voice. That I’m sure is challenging work, but the best kind of challenging-helping and rescuing people. God bless!
Hannah thanks so much for reading the story and I greatly appreciate your prayers for Raising a Voice. It is an honor to faithfully and obediently serve God in this way despite the challenges it is sure to bring. I know He will remain faithful and steadfast always even when I can’t always see how He is moving in a specific day sometimes.