As I write this, I'm sitting in the ER staff room at Kratie Referral Hospital. We are officially in the rainy season now, which means fewer patients make the trek through rain and mud to come to the hospital. Here in Cambodia, if it's raining people don't usually venture out (even teachers often cancel class because of rain). Additionally, it's the afternoon here, and in the ER afternoons are generally slower than mornings, with only 1-2 patients (usually trauma patients) typically admitted. This afternoon no new patients have arrived, so I'm taking this time to catch up on blogging!
Volunteering at the hospital continues to be a learning experience about healthcare in developing countries. Each day I'm here I learn something new! For example, today I asked if calling an ambulance was expensive and was told the patient only pays 2000 riels/kilometer ($0.50/kilo)! Sometimes the ride ends up being free because Cambodians don't carry ID's with them, so it's harder to track them down to pay after they're admitted. The hospital continues to be a place that drives me to pray continually - for the paients, their families, the staff, and my own heart as it breaks again and again when I see patient conditions and the hospital environment. I don't always understand everything about each patient's situation because of the language difference, but the signs of discomfort and anxiety need no words of explanation. Yet I am comforted that The Lord knows their language and their every need; He knows their situation - where they've been and will they will go after their hospital visit. I'm comforted by His sovereignty, and I pray He becomes their comfort, too.
This week at Love Cambodia Center I continued my talk from a couple weeks ago about self-care, infections, and puberty. The students made paper chains representing a simplified version of the chain of infection and are also making a list of ways they've changed as they've gotten older and ways they want to change as they continue to grow up. One of my favorite parts of the day is before and after English classes, when the students are at the Center playing and talking and just hanging out. I enjoy sitting and talking with them, learning Khmer, or playing games with them!
On Sunday it was raining when Sunday school started, and no translator was available, so we watched a film in Khmer about Jesus' life (til it froze up - and then I just told the rest of the story). I'm thankful for the children who came even though it was raining, and for the youth who came to help me! And of course I'm thankful for the opportunity to share the Gospel with those little ones!
As the Fourth of July has approached, I've been thinking about freedom, not so much physically or politically since I'm not in the U.S. right now, but spiritually. As I've made my way through reading Philippians this week, one thing that stood out to me is Paul's emphasis on rejoicing. He tells the Philippian church again and again and again to rejoice. Some days it's just plain hard to rejoice. Some days I don't feel like rejoicing or feel that I am even capable of rejoicing. But Paul doesn't just say "rejoice;" he says "rejoice in the Lord." As the Lord has been teaching me over the past year, knowing Him and His love for us is in itself worth celebrating. Always. Regardless the circumstances. As Christians, we have the freedom to be "content in any and every circumstance" (Phil 4:12) and to rejoice always, for we know God, and we know He loves us. Whoa. We know God, and He loves us. This 4th of July as I celebrate our wonderful country's freedom, I'm also celebrating the freedom Christ gives to find joy in any and every circumstance! That's something worth celebrating every day.