"I got peace like a river…, I got love like mountain…, I got joy like a fountain…". This was my favorite song to sing with the children in Pothum, Cambodia because it's exactly what the mission trip brought me to--I went there to give and serve but received a lot of peace, love and joy. It was a peaceful place. I came to the poor village to give, putting behind my usual life in America, giving up my worries about life, giving up many other things that could've taken place in those four weeks, and forgetting about the amount of money I could have made in that time. Surprisingly, God gave me back even more--this peace that words cannot explain.
In the beginning of the trip, I did not prepare much to offer the children, but it didn't matter because they brought me to the happiest time of my life. Four weeks in the village gave me many memories and I fell in love with the kids the very first day I met them. I was amazed of the simple lifestyle that the people of Cambodia lived. The children are abundant in love and joy, even though they lived in poor conditions, lacking a lot of materials. They loved to play soccer and volleyball and swimming in the river, especially they loved to play in the rain. Their little bodies were always energetic and full of spirit, though. It didn't matter whether I was having a bad day or not because everyday I could always see the smiles on the children's faces. I could never reject their beautiful faces when they came, brightening my day. With the children, there was endless laughter.
Teaching English to the children was not easy at all. Preparing the lessons everyday helped me learn how to be patient and creative, how to give without asking for the rewards. Besides that, I became a member of a big family that God gave me on this trip. I am always thankful for all the Freres' help as well as the boys and other volunteers that made this trip possible. As a family, we learned how to take care of each other, pray together, eat together, and share with one another, all under the same roof.