post by Kayla Innis
This trip gets harder and harder every day, but I am confident that the increasing difficulty is a good thing. If this trip were easy, that would mean that I’d still be in my safe little comfort zone. So the discomfort I’m experiencing must mean that I’m encountering more of the world that I was formerly unfamiliar with.
Yesterday we visited the CRWRC offices and went to a village for the day and night, a place that has developed into a thriving community via the partnerships among community members/leaders, local organizations, and the CRWRC. Talking about development is overwhelming for me. It’s such a huge task, and it has to be done so slowly and carefully that it stresses me out. I was realizing all of this and feeling down about it…how can I ever serve the Lord in this way? I have wanted to live abroad in a community for so long, but when I’m here I am very overwhelmed and impatient, eager to see results quickly (I’m such a Westerner….).
We left the village this morning and went to International Justice Mission, an NGO that focuses on working within the justice system on behalf of poor and vulnerable populations. Listening to the leader speak about human trafficking and sexual exploitation really moved me. Then a thought hit me. Maybe God hasn’t called me into development. He has given certain people gifts and desires to do that, but not me. I have different desires and skills-like nursing skills- to do something else. I’m not saying I’ll never work with a developing community, because I think challenges can be great opportunities to work on one’s weaknesses, but I don’t need to worry now that I might have to one day work in an environment that totally stresses me out.
This afternoon we also visited ECCC, the court system established to try the leaders of the Khmer Rouge, the communist party in the late 70s that murdered 3 million Cambodians and persecuted/tortured many others. The whole visit was surreal to me. It’s one thing to read about mass murderers in a textbook, but it’s another thing to read their cases on current printed paper, to learn where they were born and raised, and to realize that they’re still alive. During this visit, the killers came alive to me. I felt like I could not relate to them at all. I can’t understand how they could kill their own people. How does that even happen? It makes me seriously doubt my belief that all humans have some good in them.
But here’s another thought: the Khmer Rouge leaders were created by God, and were created in his image. Also, Christ died for the sins they committed. Does that make sense? Nope. Here’s what also doesn’t make sense to me: I am just as guilty of sin as the mass murdering Khmer Rouge leaders. Hmm. Gone are the prideful thoughts. Gone are the thoughts of self-righteousness. To me, this visit shed new light on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Oh, and I shook the hand of a United Nations judge today. I pretty felt cool at the time, but I actually don’t even remember his name. He told me it and I meekly repeated it, making sure the smile on my face overpowered my lame attempt at pronouncing his Korean name. Oh well, it was still worth the awkward encounter. He’s got to be pretty high up on the ladder, right? Maybe one day that handshake will come in handy.