Home Outreach Leaders Articles for Outreach & Missions An Extra Thumb, Chess and Choosing Compassion

An Extra Thumb, Chess and Choosing Compassion

The last day, when we said goodbye to the children at Seeds of Hope, it took an hour for us to make our way to the van.

We all had tears in our eyes. We hugged each kid 50 times. So Pat held my hand until I stepped into the van.

On the ride back to the Diamond Hotel, I thought about these kids, how they were marked by what they didn’t have. I thought about how they were growing up in a war-torn country that provided little, a country full of dangers my four boys will never know. Then I stopped myself before I hit pity. I thought about how these marks on their lives were marks of grace; that these marks were opportunities for the radiant love of God to break through.

I’ll admit, I only know a little bit of how God works in this world. What I do know is that this was an opportunity to join God’s kingdom. It was less about taking the Western Gospel to the heathens and more about extending and receiving God’s grace in a place God has been working all along.

The lady at the market handed me my chess set and smiled.

“Awkun,” I said, which means thank you in Khmer. It’s the only word I could master.

The lady was surprised at my sudden burst of Cambodian and laughed. We both bowed.

Then I proceeded to walk backwards, and I tripped over a stack of wooden tables and fell completely on my rear, making a big scene in the market.

Luckily, there was a chess set to break my fall. I had flattened it. I got up and told the lady I was so sorry, offering to pay for the broken set.

She was so kind. She told me she could fix it—no problem, don’t worry.

That’s when I realized she was the one having pity on me.