North Way Christian Community Church in Pittsburgh, PA

June 28, 2017 | Reflections on being flexible

As our good friend and SEAPC President Matt Geppert likes to say, “Blessed are the flexible, for they shall be flexed.” That seemed to quickly become the theme of our most recent short term trip to Cambodia. It all began with the task that we were assigned. About two weeks before departing for the trip our team learned that we would be helping to teach English pronouns in rural public schools in the Cambodian province of Banteay Meanchey…to over 5,000 kids! Talk about flexible. Not one teacher on our team. We’ve got a hairdresser. We’ve got an accountant. We even have a few nurses. But no teachers. To say the least we were so intimidated by this trip and this task. Our first couple of days in country needed to be flexible as well as we adjusted to strange sights, sounds, and smells, not to mention an 11 hour time difference that left our team upside down on sleep. However, within a few days our rhythm of sleep and teaching ability seemed to line up perfectly. Before we knew it we were pros at pronouns! We taught through personal stories, songs, and visual illustrations all with the help of an amazing team of nationals who translated for us. Each day we went out we seemed to gain more confidence and more energy. As the leader of the team it was a beautiful thing to take some time to step back and watch how God brought this group together and made them a team. Some had never been on a short term trip. Some had never even been out of the country before! They learned the meaning of flexible first hand. I think I can speak for the entire team when I say that there was one thing that kept pushing us forward, through the sleepiness, through the adjustments, through the heat, through the flexible moments…it was the beautiful people of Cambodia. The kids, the teachers, and everyone else we met greeted us with the most welcoming smiles. It is a country that has captured our hearts and we can’t wait to be flexible and go again! -- Pastor John Reilly