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Eye of the Tiger, Heart of the Lion

Updated on May 31, 2013
Beauty and the Beast, Cambodian Style
Beauty and the Beast, Cambodian Style | Source

Honey, Sit Down

It had been an unseasonably warm and sunny February morning, the perfect setting for a long walk in the Walla Walla Valley.

The earth conspired with the silent staccato of wispy clouds in the azure sky. I imagined God donning an apron in His universal kitchen, busily immersed in His latest confectionery experiment--a huge batch of colossal S'mores with me as the treat in the middle.

Endorphins I hadn't experienced for some time due to my sedentary lifestyle were re-appearing during my long walks, and I was just chillin' and skippin' the light fandango, for those of you who enjoy cross-generational mixed metaphors.

After an hour and forty-two minutes--six miles, precisely--and not having anywhere else to return to, I returned home. Kona, our handsome cat with the coat of many grays, himself packing a few extra winter pounds, jumped down from his perch on a unique feline furniture made from wood and carpet that my wife had purchased last summer at a yard sale.

Kona lowered his head and rubbed against my sweatpants leg. I used to think that this unusual cat who sometimes presented like a feral lynx was actually growing quite fond of me and was inviting me to reciprocate the affection. My dear wife burst my bubble one day when she said that this was a cat's way of marking its territory.

Hmph...I'll continue living with my delusion, thank you. The cat loves me! End of story.

I dusted off my shoes and opened the back door. Kona followed me into the kitchen. I think he sees the opening of the back door as a Pavlovian cue to have another snack. I get that, because the opening of the refrigerator door has the same effect on me.

My wife, still dressed in her flannel nightgown, had a strange look on her face.

"Honey, sit down," she said.

And immediately I knew...

Something had happened to Amber.

Far Away from Home

A markerCambodia Adventist School -
Cambodia Adventist School, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
get directions

Wh-what Happened?

The blood instantly left my face to shore up the strength of my adrenalized heart.

My wife must've seen my tan Hawaiian face turn a vanilla soy latte.

"Don't worry," she said. "Amber's okay."

I forced myself to sit down. My legs were suddenly rubbery, and not because of the long walk.

"Wh-what happened?"

Based on an email our son had sent us, my wife recounted the recent events.

Our daughter and two other female student missionary teachers were en route to Choeung Ek, about 10-1/2 miles south of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Choeung Ek is the principal site of several areas that collectively comprise The Killing Fields--sites where hundreds of thousands of people were executed and buried by the Khmer Rouge regime during its tyrannical reign from 1975 to 1979.

The young women, just days away from ending their tour of duty as teachers at the Cambodian Adventist School, wanted to punctuate their time in the southeast Asian country by paying respects to the Cambodian people and taking photographs of the memorial.

They rode in a tuk-tuk, a vehicle comprised of a motorcycle with a cabin attached to the rear. The cabin is an open air canopy.

Apparently, a man on a motorcycle had been following them for miles, waiting for an optimal moment.

My daughter kept her purse securely tucked by her hand and forearm to her left side with the strap of the purse over her left shoulder.

At one point during the ride, she remembered feeling a sharp tug at her shoulder. Somewhat in shock, she turned and saw a man racing off on his motorcycle with a knife and her purse in his hand. My daughter called out that her purse had been taken. The clumsy tuk-tuk was in no condition to chase down a fast motorcycle, so the driver immediately called the police.

Meanwhile, one of the women said, "Amber, your leg!"

When Amber looked down at her left thigh, she almost fainted. Blood was gushing profusely from a wound. Apparently, the robber had used a sharp knife to quickly slice through the leather strap. In the downward stroke of the blade, he had inadvertently sliced my daughter's thigh.

Amber's companions found some tissue and had her compress the wound as best as possible. The tuk-tuk driver stopped at a clinic, but when the young women saw how filthy the floors were, they were reluctant to get off there due to major concerns that Amber's wound might get infected.

They opted instead to go to a shop where they purchased Band-Aids and rubbing alcohol. Hydrogen peroxide would have been better because my daughter experienced excruciating stinging pain from the alcohol. But in a pinch, you do the best you can with what you have.

Thankfully, they were able to stop the bleeding.

Later that evening, my daughter removed the adhesive bandages to allow the wound to air out and heal faster.

The next day, she could have stayed home to rest and recoup from the mugging. Instead, she opted to fulfill her teaching responsibilities at the school.

Have your children traveled overseas by themselves?

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Changes

For the next twenty-four hours, I wrestled, like Jacob, with the angel of God.

Why, God? Why? What lesson could you possibly have for our family by allowing Amber to get hurt?

She went clear across to the other side of the world to serve You. Why did You give her THIS to bear? I swear, I don't understand You! Why would You allow this to happen?

I paced around the house and climbed up and down the stairs, not wanting to sit for fear the worry and anxiety and dread would drown me.

My wife and I prayed a lot that night, both together and separately.

But release wouldn't come...not until I dared yell out the very thing I had been trying to suppress for several hours.

Looking at my wife and then walking away from her, I shouted, "I hate the &#*@%!? Cambodians!"

And as soon as I said that, my heart was filled with grief and shame.

Almost immediately, I asked God to forgive me. What was I saying?

Our little girl had gone clear across the world to love and serve God by loving and serving the very people I was foolishly hating.

No, that is a cowardly thing to feel. That is a cowardly thing to say. That is a cowardly way to live.

My daughter has the warrior's eye of the tiger. She has the royal heart of the lion. She is God's instrument in fighting a war between principalities.

How can I hate? Hatred blinds the spiritual eyes.

How can I hate? Hatred is a coronary blockage of the spiritual heart.

How can I hate and be a man worthy of this family?

God, please forgive me. I know You understand why I acted out. You peel back all the layers of the onion to find the scared and hurt little boy crying in the closet.

I just feel so helpless, Lord. I want to be there for her, but I'm stuck over here.

So tonight, dear Lord, and tomorrow, and for all the days to come, You just gotta be there...for my wife, for my son, for my daughter, and for me...You gotta be her Daddy...and comfort her and heal her and bring her home safely to us. Thank You, Lord. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Reflections

Our God is a really bighearted God.

He takes all the blame we cast His way and loves us unconditionally in the face of all of our fallible human condition.

The same God who loves our daughter loves the Cambodian man who stole her purse--a purse containing $80 and a couple of personal items. On the very same day my daughter was robbed, she said, "He must've needed the money to feed his family. And I truly believe he wasn't trying to hurt me. In focusing on where to cut the strap, he accidentally cut me."

Not the words of a pushover. Not the words of a bleeding heart liberal. Not the words of a weak and passive Christian.

The words of a beautiful young woman who went clear across this big blue marble to find herself on the other side of the world.

The words of an American teacher witnessing to young Cambodian boys and girls with Buddhist traditions about a man named Jesus.

For five frustrating months, the youngsters were either disinterested or unable to grasp who and what Jesus was all about.

Then, a breakthrough. One day, a single student asked a question.

"Tee-Cha! What if I pray in Khmer? God no understand?" My daughter, pleasantly surprised to be presented with a question, looked around the room and was taken aback by all of the children focused upon and waiting for her answer.

"God knows ALL languages," she said. "He always understands." The children's eyes grew bigger.

"WHAT?! What about in Thailand, Tee-Cha? Or Chinee? Or Frenn? Or Japanee?"

My daughter answered all of their questions in the affirmative. They were simply amazed. And the questions kept coming. And with every question, my daughter, totally in awe, was silently thanking God for the breakthrough.

"Cha--" (short for Tee-Cha), "If I pray Jesus and my friend pray Jesus, who Jesus listen to?" In the best way she could find to teach the children, my daughter explained in pidgin English and broken Cambodian the concept of God's omnipresence. The usually long and painful class was unfortunately shorter than the list of questions that day.

In retrospect, we know that the enemy furiously attacks when God is making ground.

The children were so very, very happy when Tee-Cha showed up the day after one of their own people had robbed and wounded her. One little boy said that if he had been there, he would have protected her.

Childish rubbish?

No, the mark of a young heart impressed with the enormity of God's difference in all of our lives. Tee-Cha loved them all the more.

Sometimes, the best sermons in life aren't delivered from a pulpit.

A Very Special Valentine's Day

On February 14, 2013, our daughter returned home to us.

There was something very special and different about her.

Eye of the tiger, heart of the lion...

A Moment of Reflection
A Moment of Reflection | Source

Excerpt From My Daughter's Blog

Cambodia will forever be a part of me. Cambodia has quite literally left its mark on me, right on my left thigh. I promise myself that when I look at my scar, instead of thinking of the pain that once was there, I will think of all of the beauty this place offered me. I will think of my sweet students, the ones who wanted me to stay forever. I will think of how selfless and giving some of these people have proved themselves to be. I will think of the way it felt to see my Buddhist student walk into church for the first time in her life, because she wanted to be like her teachers. I will remember how God helped me accomplish something that from day one, I never thought was possible. Then, after thinking about all of those things and more, I will pray.

I will pray for Cambodia for the rest of my life, because this place has changed me. I will never be able to fully express how much this experience has meant to me, and I will never be able to fully express how much love I still want to give. Still, God’s sent His signs. I have to trust He has a different plan now.

With that said, America, I’m coming home.

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  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    God can and will provide a way for your son. I tell you, the kids are not the same after a mission trip. Thank you so much for reading and sharing in this hub experience, Barbara, and for all the love and hard work you've invested in your son (and any other children). We are gifted with our children for such a short season, it seems, and then we send them on their way into adulthood, thanking God for the privilege of being parental stewards and for all the valuable hard and easy lessons learned in the process. Awesome stuff, this business of parenting! : ) Aloha, my dear friend!

    ~Joe

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Thank you, Jo, for finding this one in the "archives." As I write this, my daughter is getting ready for this morning's college class. She will be with us this school year and then move to Portland for her last two years of nursing. God is so good, teaching us so many beautiful lessons even and especially in the wake of the enemy's devastation. I appreciate you for engaging in this hub experience, Jo. Shalom & Aloha!

    ~Joe

  • Barbara Kay profile image

    Barbara Badder 3 years ago from USA

    This is a beautiful story of love. Your daughter's love for Jesus and her students and her your love for her. My son wants to go on a mission trip next year, but needs to raise the funds. We'll see what happens.

  • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

    Jo_Goldsmith11 3 years ago

    I am so glad your baby girl is okay. She is beautiful inside and out. I can hear the pride you have in her as you wrote this. What a blessing she is by the example she gave. Great article and wonderful lesson to learn. Aloha & Shalom

    Up +++ shared & tweet.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @tillsontitan

    Thank you for your kind and loving words, Mary. Yes, my wife and I are very thankful to the Lord for blessing us with a pair of beautiful children, both young adults now. Our kids grew up in a parochial country school setting, and it's really nice to see them thriving in their respective paths. Our son is currently flying back and forth between Italy and France dealing with capital equipment for the California corporation he works for, and our daughter is working full time and enrolled in a school of nursing. Incidentally, they write circles around their dad. I love them dearly, and I'm especially thankful that God watched over and brought our daughter back home safe and sound. I'm so thankful that you shared in this experience, Mary. Aloha!

    Joe

  • tillsontitan profile image

    Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

    BEAUTIFUL! Your hub, you, your wife, and your talented, giving and beautiful daughter. I read this hub with a smile and then with a tear and finally with a heart that shared your pride and joy in the beautiful daughter you and your wife raised. Proverbs 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."

    I want to write more but I am at a loss for words. I wish your daughter continued success in everything she does, we know God will bless her for all the wonderful things she has already done!

    Voted up, useful, awesome, beautiful, interesting and shared. P.S. She is gorgeous!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @DDE

    My daughter is a brilliant writer, as is my son. My wife and I made it a point to talk and sing to them while they were still in the womb. I like to think that it gave them a jump start in communicating and being sensitive to and appreciative of the wonders of the universe. That is the eye of the tiger. The heart of the lion is the courage to take risks in life...including writing. Thanks for sharing in this experience, Devika!

  • DDE profile image

    Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

    Incredible the photo is stunning and such a writer you are in sharing from the heart and I so enjoy reading your hubs.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @billybuc

    Hi, Bill!

    Yes, that is my daughter in the picture. Sedated or not, I don't know if I'd have had the gumption to mess with that tiger (oh, the tiger gets the sedation?)...

    Thank you for your terrific compliments. Amber's safely back home now, working full time in the restaurant area of a local bakery, and taking classes part-time until she resumes full time status in the fall. The total experience of Cambodia has been an invaluable one for her. She has a mature perspective, even regarding the stolen purse incident. Yes, my friend, I am very proud of her, and I can see some positive changes in her thinking and behavior since her return home. Thanks ever so much for sharing in this hub experience.

    Oh, and by the way, I'm proud of you for getting that runner in the bottom of the ninth to ground out, thus securing the victory. : )

    One last thing, and you can answer this at your leisure, Bill...I know how to throw a curve, or at least what we called a curve back home in Hawaii. But how do you throw a slider? I always was curious but for some reason never took the time to ask anyone until now. Part of my bucket list quest, you see. Thanks!

  • billybuc profile image

    Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

    Joe, this is a very beautiful piece of writing. You, sir, write incredibly well and it is a joy to read.

    Your daughter (is that in the picture?) is a stunning piece of art in her own right. Even if that is not her in the picture, her heart is as big as Puget Sound and twice as lovely. I so admire those who sacrifice to help others. It is so easy to speak out but not so easy to actually do the footwork. You must be so proud of her.

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful story with us.

    Aloha my friend

    bill

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @prospectboy

    Good evening, Bradrick! Forgive me for not getting back to you sooner, but I just returned in the wee hours this morning from a week on the Big Island. It went by like a flash, but I had a wonderful time enjoying family, great island cuisine, and the picturesque beauty of the youngest Hawaiian island. Thank you for sharing in this hub experience and for your kind and empathetic words regarding my daughter. I'm grateful for the life lessons she gained from her student missionary term, and I'm positive that she discovered new and wonderful things about herself and her abilities as a result. It's good to be back home, and I look forward to getting back on the HubPages bronco! Aloha, my friend!

  • prospectboy profile image

    Bradrick H. 4 years ago from Texas

    Awesome writing Joe! You really have a talent for using metaphors and giving comparisons to things that many of us don't think about. I'm very sorry to hear that this unfortunate incident happened to your daughter. Through the the grace of God and his love, she was able to recover, fulfill her duties, and come back home to you and your family. Although things personally took a turn for the worse for her, the ending turned out to be a positive outcome. The fact that your daughter maintained a positive and uplifting spirit, shows a lot about the kind of man you are. We all have lapses when stressed, and I know without a doubt that God forgave you for your outburst. You sir are an amazing writer, and an even greater man. I really enjoyed reading this. Voted up, rated beautiful, and awesome. Also shared, on here, Twitter, and Facebook. Keep on writing the good fight!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Eiddwen

    Eddy, you have so many projects already accomplished and in the works, so I am very appreciative and honored that you took the time to stop by and share in this hub experience. With all the followers you have and the equally ample amount of writers you follow, I am in awe of the diligence and work ethic it must take for you to keep up with it all. You are such an inspiration to aspiring writers like myself. Thank you so much for your kind words. My daughter is safely back home now, and she is fulfilling her volunteer contract with the university by being a task force member at the local Seventh-Day Adventist academy (high school) prior to and during her upcoming Spring Quarter curriculum in nursing. Her adventures in Cambodia will indelibly be a part of her and will undoubtedly serve her well in her personal life and future profession. I am so proud of her...and thankful to a God who loves and blesses us all. Aloha, my friend, and I'll be keeping in touch with you from time to time.

    Joe

  • Eiddwen profile image

    Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

    A beautiful young lady inside and out and a masterpiece by you.

    I now look forward to so many more .

    Eddy.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Relationshipc

    Thank you so much for your empathy and compassion for our family. We're just thankful for a God that we can truly lean on in times of crisis as well as moments of sheer joy. Truly, we're just simple people, but objectively speaking, we find ways as a family, individually and collectively, to be faithful witnesses...not in the conventional ritual of religiosity, but in the truth of the human experience. In that light, I needed to share this testimonial. Regarding your request, I am sending you a personal email. Thanks for sharing in this experience. Blessings and aloha from SE Washington state. Joe

  • Relationshipc profile image

    Kari 4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

    Oh my, what a beautiful story. I'm in the library right now and I have to fight back the tears! Your daughter is an amazing, insightful and compassionate woman. I love the lessons you and your wife and your daughter...what a great experience in the end. You mentioned that she has a blog? Can you share?

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    Hi, Rajan!

    It tickles me, now that I'm older and hopefully a tad bit wiser, to contemplate on how it's a natural process of growth and maturation when our children assert their will with us parents. The message can sometimes be some version of, "When I grow up, I'm not going to be anything like you!"

    Having experienced that more times than I care to recall--both as the angry teenager and on the receiving end as a father--you can certainly imagine the overwhelming joy in my heart when I read my daughter's writing and see the familiar depth and anecdotal references and tune in to her unique writer's voice...and all I can think in my heart at the time is, "Thank You, God, for this precious gift..."

    Thank you for gracing my hub with your visit and uplifting words, Rajan! Have a wonderful day, and I'll "talk" to you soon! Joe

  • rajan jolly profile image

    Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

    HO, what an trying time for the family! I admire the way you daughter viewed the incident. While the instant reaction by you is understood in such circumstances, I fully appreciate your instant regret. She is indeed a brave girl to have gone back to teaching the very next day.

    You certainly have passed on very valuable lessons in human values to your daughter. I'm glad your daughter returned home safe.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Mommymay

    Good morning, Heather. Honestly, I have made a ton of serious mistakes in my youth and young adulthood, the consequences of which detrimentally affected the future lives of my yet unborn children at the time.

    So, it's rather fitting that at the age of 59, I joined HubPages with two missions in mind--to encourage and inspire those who, for whatever reason, may have at some point in their lives been or continue to be on the fringe of society, by way of my eBay human interest stories...and, in ways unconventional, perhaps, but nonetheless sincere, witness about what God has done in my life and the lives of my loved ones without religiosity.

    It's because of Him that my family and I have turned the pain we've experienced into a strong witness--individually and collectively--in our own unique and humble ways.

    In my writing, I more often than not use self-deprecating humor...but I never forget for one moment that God took me from the bottom of the dung heap, brushed me off, and told me that I need not ever have to live like a second class citizen...and that I am a prince and a member of His royal lineage. As a husband and father, I do my very best to exemplify that...and it is so very, very, very beautiful to see how that is taking anchor in my adult children. God and my wife deserve the credit, but I see evidence every now and then that my 2 cents worth slipped in there somehow.

    Finally, the quote you shared from Corrie ten Boom is absolutely right on! I can't tell you how many times I've thought, "Ah...THAT'S WHY God had me/us go through that trial!"

    Thanks, Heather, for being so very real and down to earth a believer. You made my day, my friend!

  • Mommymay profile image

    Heather May 4 years ago from Ohio

    I see it has been said previously so please excuse my somewhat unusual lack of words..."WOW". Joe, as a parent this struck me in my gut. I would have reacted much as you did but with much less restraint. I recently read a quote "Every experience God gives us, every person he puts into our lives, is in perfect preparation for a future only He can see." -Corrie ten Boom. It hard not to ask God why sometimes especially when we are in the place we should be in but when we realize the why..it is sometimes harder to admit it. Your family seems beautiful both inside and out and this story will touch and inspire many people who may be in need of an uplifting word. Definitely sharing. I am overwhelmed by your faith and in your trusting of is plan.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
    Author

    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @xstatic

    Oh, good to know, my friend, about the adverse effects of the hydrogen peroxide treatment. As it turned out, my daughter fortunately had a good immune system that helped the wound heal quickly. Still has a bit of a scar, but she'll use that to tell her kids someday about how brave their mommy was. These real-life situations that I write about help me grasp and appreciate, as I get older, some unique and significant universal lessons.Thanks for dropping by and sharing in the experience, xstatic!

  • xstatic profile image

    Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

    I am so glad that situation turned out alright and that your daughter is back home safely. You wrote this well and with great spirit.

    Somewhere recently I heard the the old hydrogen peroxide treatment, while pretty painless and germ killing also kills the healing agents in our bodies that rush to begin healing a wound. I have used it a lot in the past with no ill effects though.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @Karen Hellier

    You know the backdrop of this story more than anyone, Karen, and so I'm especially grateful for your gracious presence and words and the fact that you were willing to share this with your followers.

    I am really grateful to be a father of three adult children. As much as a knucklehead as I've been in my life, I can honestly say that these three were the best gifts from God that I could humbly and honorably share with the world.

    Thank you for being not only one of the most inspirational writers here on HP but for being a super friend! Aloha from a rather rainy (as in wetnosedog's recent Alabama situation) southeast Washington state!

  • Karen Hellier profile image

    Karen Hellier 4 years ago from Georgia

    This is so beautiful. The story itself is an amazing story. Not only is it amazing that your daughter was able to go half way around the world and give so much of herself, but that you, as her Dad, were able to be so open and honest about your experience. Voted up, beautiful, awesome, and sharing!

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @wetnosedogs

    Yes, that's Amber Leilani, and she's also featured in the two hubs linked in the right margin.

    Thanks so much, WND!

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

    Hawaii,

    I also meant to ask is that your daughter above in the photo with the lion?

    Brave. awesome and beautiful.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @wetnosedogs

    You've understood why I might have been distracted these last few days. Thank you so much for reading, commenting on, and sharing this piece. I really enjoyed writing it because on several different levels, I was receiving blessings going over the lessons learned...and, ironically, especially from the little Cambodian children themselves as they hungered for the answers my daughter could humbly give them. I learned that I take so much for granted...In any event, thank you very much, WND, for sharing in this experience.

  • wetnosedogs profile image

    wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

    Hawaii,

    What a grand and beautiful experience your daughter had in Cambodia. She is a wise, mature Christian to think of that awful scary experience as the person needing the contents of her more than her.

    I hope her leg is so much better.

    How awe-inspiring that her students bombarded her with Jesus questions.

    I am sharing this.

  • hawaiianodysseus profile image
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    Hawaiian Odysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

    @donnah75

    Yes, you're absolutely right, Donna! The most important thing is that my daughter survived the ordeal and has a mature and healing perspective on the bigger picture. Thank you so much for your kind and uplifting words. Have a wonderful day, Donna! Blessings and aloha from the Pacific Northwest!

  • donnah75 profile image

    Donna Hilbrandt 4 years ago from Upstate New York

    Wow, what a beautiful story. When I was a college student, I studied abroad in London. My dorm room was broken into and robbed. It was a strange feeling to know someone had violated my space and taken my things, but it taught me that those things are replacable and not important in the long run. I was safe and having an amazing experience. That was most important. It sounds as if your daughter had a similar, yet deeper, experience. Congratulations to her for having the courage to travel and teach abroad. It is life changing in the most amazing way, as she so eloquently stated. Thank you for sharing! Voted up!!