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Commotion in Cambodia

One Monday morning I met a Vietnamese lady when doing the rounds with activities for the children. She seemed rather agitated, so I decided to try finding out why. With the help of one of the Curtin interns who was Vietnamese, I discovered the cause of her agitation – her husband had died the night before in the village a long way away and she needed to be seen by a doctor in order to be discharged to arrange and attend his funeral. I spoke to the right people to facilitate this, then returned to her bedside to hold her hand and try to show some comfort. She was discharged later that morning, and, before she left, she asked the Vietnamese student to find me to say how much she appreciated the concern I had shown for her – which was such a simple thing for me to do.

And then there was the elderly, bald lady in C ward who had no caregiver present when I was passing. I noticed she wanted a drink but couldn't move enough to reach the cup. Of course, I helped her and she beamed a toothless smile at me.

Outside the hospital, in our daily lives, we often have opportunities to be a blessing to others less fortunate than ourselves. One Friday morning while I was on the balcony of our house (pictured above) doing my usual daily Bible reading, I heard a commotion below and realised that the rubbish truck was doing the rounds. As I watched, I was surprised to see that one of the workers on the truck was a woman and that her two children were accompanying her on the rounds. What a life for these poor children, who looked so bedraggled in their torn, dirty clothes with no shoes. I determined immediately to do something to help them and, next time they appeared, took some food to them which was devoured eagerly – obviously they had not had anything to eat so far that day. A mere drop in the bucket in terms of their need, but at least I did what I could.

And they all, hospital patients and others, without exception, said “arkoon tom tom” – thank you very much. I had the words of Jesus from Matthew 25:40 resonating in my brain for quite some time. “When you do it for the least of these my brothers and sisters, you do it for me.”

Although the needs here can sometimes feel overwhelming, as virtually all the hospital patients have a sad story, the grateful thanks I receive for the small encouragements I am able to bring them make my role worthwhile and very rewarding.

What a privilege it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this dark and needy place where many are overcome by helplessness and hopelessness.  My prayer is that God will continue to give me a heart of compassion and resolve to make a small difference in the lives of the poor and needy in the best way I can.


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