Santa doesn’t belong in Cambodia

Was kind of confused what to title this post, a VERY RARE written blog post from me! I prefer to be posting a photo each day, but I just thought I’d share a few thoughts while in Cambodia.

I’ve been in Cambodia now (with my wife and three daughters) for over a week, and we’re getting ready to celebrate Christmas here. This post doesn’t really have much to do with Santa at all, but more about what God (the giver of the true meaning of Christmas – in His Son, Jesus Christ) has given us.

We’ve snapped over 2,000 photos this past week, but more importantly, we’ve been soaking up what that same God is doing in the lives of people here. Just yesterday we had the privilege of experiencing joy (park of large inflatables) in the lives of over 40 at risk (sex trafficking) young boys and a great staff that leads them.

I jumped into the fun by climbing to the top, following the lead of a young boy that has HIV. A young boy whose grandmother now takes care of him, and has to deal with him being beaten up at school. Thankfully, God has brought a great leader into his life who is on a mission to provide genuine care for him at the boy’s center. The grandmother agreed that he could come yesterday – a miracle! The smile I followed up to the top of the play area was priceless, and I was deeply inspired by the simple love and care that little people like him needs.

We’ve seen lots of Christmas decorations here in the 70+ degree weather in Phnom Penh. Colored Christmas trees, lights hanging around spirit houses and palm trees, inflatable Santas, etc. It’s sad that they not only mimic some of the American culture when it comes to music and other things, but now they are being misled during this season. Thankfully God is working so greatly in the lives of some awesome adults here, who know where these young children will truly find joy. They’ve accepted the challenge of not allowing the many pedophiles to find joy in stealing these children’s humanity within the world of trafficking. It’s impossible to stop it all, but they’re doing all they can!

I thank God for the gifts He is giving me this Christmas, by allowing my family to appreciate the love He has for the world. Thanks to a friend for posting a photo of the disturbing billboard she saw (Santa gives more to rich kids than poor kids), reminding me just how much children don’t need Santa Claus. The difficult challenge is that we’re tasked with sharing the joy with them that they really need. Might seem like such a complex issue, until you see just how simply God can break it!

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