I can still remember the look on the little girls face in Siem Reap, Cambodia. We had left the the orphanage where we were ministering with translators and we were headed towards Angkor Wat to tour the ruins of one of the largest religious monuments in the world (which also happens to be where Tomb Raider and The Jungle Book are filmed.) Cameron and I were sharing a tuk-tuk which is their version of a taxi, which is actually more like a buggy drawn by a moped. It was so hot outside that when we stood up to leave the tuk-tuk that we had blue dye melted to our legs from the material we had been sitting on. In Cambodia, many children are used during the day to sell handmade items to tourists and word on the street was that any child who didn’t sell enough during the day was then in-turn sold themselves that evening into child prostitution – hence, we were advised not to purchase anything from the children as it would simply buy into the vicious cycle. As we left the gates of Angkor Wat from a long and hot but beautiful day – an instance happened that I’ve remembered and thought of often since then. The guy driving our tuk-tuk kicked the gas of the moped that roared with a loud crack and began to maneuver through the other tuk-tuks to drive us back towards our hotel. As he was slowly maneuvering though, I had caught eyes with a beautiful little cambodian girl, that couldn’t have been any older than seven years of age. She was selling bracelets – wooden beaded bracelets. She began to run after our tuk-tuk as he picked up speed, holding out her wooden beaded bracelets and letting out the most chilling cry I’ve ever heard. Cameron kept reminding me not to do it – “don’t feed into the cycle” he said. I can still hear her cry. All I could think of was how my few measly dollars would possibly rescue her for just one night and without another thought I tossed some crinkled up american dollars out onto the dirt road towards her. I never expected to actually get one of the wooden beaded bracelets that I had apparently just purchased, but to my surprise she picked up her speed and tossed 5 wooden beaded bracelets into our tuk-tuk before running back to pick up her money. Heart wrenching doesn’t come close to the emotions that overtook me in those moments – it was like a movie, locking eyes with her as she chased us down and cried after us. Being only in my early 20’s at the time, I still would’ve taken her home with us if I possibly could have. Was I right in my choice? Probably not. Yes, that afternoon, I fed into the vicious cycle of child slavery in Cambodia – but all I could hope was for that one night that she would be saved. I realize the correct thing would’ve been to not purchase those wooden beaded bracelets, however it’s easy to say that when you’re not the one she’s crying after for a chance at hope for her night. In the moment, I would’ve done anything that I could have to help save her. It struck something in me that I’ve never gotten over. We had spent our day ministering to children who were in an orphanage, but at least they were somewhat safe. Today, my office bookshelves house a framed photo of the girl along with the wooden beaded bracelets as a reminder that she and so many others are out there – right now – they’re out there. As I sit in my air conditioned home, so many struggle around the world. We can’t do everything for everyone – but we can do something for someone. Whether you’ve been on a mission trip abroad or see a mission field close to home, my hope is that you get involved somewhere to help others. Tending to His sheep and doing for others after all is what Jesus taught us to do.

Luke 14:12-14

“And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 But when you give a [a]reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they [b]do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

John 21: 15-16 MSG

After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”

He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

“Yes, Master, you know I love you.”

Jesus said, “Shepherd my sheep.”


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