Global Renewal’s Blog

The Slums–A Place of Extravagant Joy (11.04.11)

by davidnliney on Jan.04, 2012, under All

As told by a GR Volunteer–SUSAN A. THOMAS

One day, I had the opportunity to visit the slums with Kim Cheng and another student.  The first area we went to was flooded with thick brown water; until then, I had never witnessed a flood.  There were slum homes (with open windows and doorways) lining up the alley with logged water trespassing through the inside of the homes   Where did all the residents go, I wondered.  The students will forge through despite the floods (if they are on a motorbike) but since we were in a tuk tuk (google it :-) ), we could not go.  I was both upset and relieved.  Upset because of all the things I had the opportunity to do in Cambodia, this could have been the most fulfilling; and relieved because of the fear I had of entering into murky waters that would cover me up to my waist.  To my comfort, Kim Cheng did not give up; instead he turned around and went to another neighborhood.  There was trash everywhere.  People lived in 200 sq. ft rooms – that was the whole house.  It had wooden planks as floors – underneath which there was no foundation.  The wooden planks had spaces between them, underneath was the earth filled with trash.  They would slide little pieces of trash through the space in the planks and so they lived above and around trash.  The stench was awful.

There, we visited this lady who was on fire for God and her Buddhist mother.  The mother is 78 years old.  We had a chance to talk to them for some time – of course I could not talk much because of the language barrier.  Before we left, one of the students who were with me, Kim Cheng, asked the grandmother if there was anything she wanted to bring up in prayer – she said her legs were giving incredible pain.  So, he prayed for her.  Under normal circumstances, we would have left after the prayer but for some divine purpose, I was suddenly led to ask if she would like for me to massage her legs.  There was no forethought of this request; rather, the question just flowed from my breath as if I were being guided physically to speak out loud.  When Kim Cheng translated the message to the grandmother, she nodded in response.   So, I showed Kim Cheng and the other student how to massage and all three of us began massaging her.  The experience I had during this time is difficult to explain but was incredibly fulfilling.  Because there was a language barrier, I did not talk much; instead, I spent those quiet moments in prayer.  I suppose it must have been the prayer and the Holy Spirit’s impression upon me that enabled me to take the bare feet of this stranger and rub it with so much compassion and love.  I began to feel so much love flowing through me; it was overwhelming.  We spent a good 30 minutes or so massaging her legs and back in 90-degree weather in an enclosed room with no air condition.  My shirt was drenched in sweat and sweat stains even soaked through my pants; the grandmother kept saying that it felt so good.  I could see in her eyes that she had such gratitude for our labor of love.  I could not have been more fulfilled.  She said that the pain is so severe at night that she cannot sleep.   I told her that Jesus loves her and for her to ask Jesus to heal her in the middle of the night when she feels the pain.  She just nodded and smiled.  I don’t really know what we did for her – the language barrier made it difficult to communicate – but I could tell by her arms around me and the gratitude in her eyes that she felt loved.  What better thing can you do for a person?

Then the King will say,
Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored,
that was Me—you did it to Me.
Matthew 25

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