North Way Christian Community Church in Pittsburgh, PA

July 29, 2018 | Sotthea

It was 2016. I was in Cambodia on the original vision trip between North Way and SEAPC. We were at Kids Camp. Kids Camp is where all the kids from all the New Hope Children’s Homes, around 500 Kids, are bused to a beach location for a 3 day every other year camp. Our team was in charge of the middle school kids. Just like our KidsGig the 3 intense days are filled with worship, skits, dancing, and “stations” or times to explore and deepen their faith in Jesus. This one particular station was called “Vision.” Space was created for the kids to pray and ask God for a vision for their future. What does he want them to be? Where does he want them to be? Who will they impact? Then as God spoke, they drew pictures of their vision. Once the time was done, the kids then formed a line and we, as leaders, prayed for the child, spoke to the vision, and laid hands on them. Once the line was done, we had some extra time before the next activity started. At the end of the line was a young girl. Each group had a translator and she was ours. She was sweet and always smiling and 17 at the time. I wasn’t sure where she was from. She asked in a sweet and quiet voice if I could pray for her. At the time her life’s direction was in question. She was in a job she hated with a boss that did not treat her well. She wanted to go to school but didn’t know how it would happen. She wanted more and God spoke a word to her that He would provide. We prayed and I cried. I felt the Holy Spirit speak truth and light to her. That God’s plan was to remove her from her situation and allow her to go to school. We embraced and she thanked me again and again. It was so powerful. I, up to that point in my life, had not prayed a prayer like that for someone. Who was I to pray a vision over someone? Who was I that she believed if I prayed over her the Holy Spirit would move. That gave me more confidence in prayer. My heart broke for her. We exchanged bracelets and agreed to pray for each other. It’s 2018. We are now at Kampong Thom. Our team gets out of the van and we are greeted by all the kids. As we move inside I notice a girl that looked a lot like the girl from Kids Camp. “No, surely it’s not her. She does look similar. If she is, what are the chances?” We speak and she’s 19. I don’t quite catch her name. She goes to the University down the road. Sitha and his wife, Sopheaktra, are the house parents at this kids home. They are in charge of the 19 kids that live there. The pastor of the church is Sitha’s Father-Law. Sopheaktra’s cousin is the girl I am questioning. I find out her name is Sotthea. She looked so familiar. “Was this girl the one I prayed for at Kids Camp two years ago? Surely she would remember me? Right?” It took me awhile to approach her. We spoke and said hello to each other. I had forgotten the girls name from camp. We had a short interaction and that was that for the day. For the rest of the day and into the morning, I just kept wondering, “Was that her?” Finally the next day, I approached her. The dates matched. The girl from camp was 17 and Sothea was 19. The girl from camp had the vision of going to the University and Sothea was at the University. So I saw her again later that morning and asked, “Do you remember me from Kids Camp last year where we prayed together?” “Of course,” she said. “ I didn’t think you remembered me.” We hugged again and I was so happy for her. She was vibrant and alive and on her way to fulfilling the vision God had for her that day two years ago. And there it was. God’s vision for her that was spoken so clearly to her two years ago had come true. Here she was connected to this town, Kampong Thom, all along. The children’s home is less than a year old. We were reunited again. Her cousin is blessing so many kids. North Way through SEAPC and NHO forming a partnership with this home for the foreseeable future. God had it planned all along. Through a single moment, where he showed briefly what was in store through a vision of prayer at a Kids Camp 2 years ago. There are so many mysteries we just can’t comprehend or understand. All I know is, God keeps his promises. Numbers 23:19.

June 11, 2018 | Day 2 – Field Day

Before Haiti, the concept of abundant love was difficult to fully understand here on Earth… until today. The amount of love and joy that the children and leaders have shown in just this first day was almost incomprehensible. From the minute the kids stepped off the bus to the minute they stepped back on there was joy beyond joy. We always heard about the way the kids cling to us leaders, but that came with nerves that we wouldn’t be picked by one of the kids. Let me tell you, those kids did not care who you were, what you looked like, or what you were doing. If they wanted to hold your hand they would. If they wanted to be picked up they would jump on you. And if they wanted to dance (as they always do) you were dragged into the giant dance circle and you prayed that you wouldn’t be stepped on too many times. There was love everywhere you went, from random kids running up to you like they knew you for years to 16 year old Haitian leaders stepping up and leading a group of 10 kids in “Jesus Loves Me.” It was an incredible experience to be surrounded by that much love and joy when most of the time we couldn’t understand what was being said around us. The excitement flowed through the room and we couldn’t help but get caught up in, no matter the fact we didn’t know what we were getting excited about. Abundant love and joy beyond joy is truly embodied in these kids in Haiti. And I wonder what would happen if each of us took just a bit of that back to America? What could we change in our own backyards?