December 2021 newsletter
Hang Tran, Cambodia
There has been an unfamiliar person walking around in our yard, looking downcast. The staff and youth told me that the newcomer is called Sovat. There were not many details about his family background. He was probably in his late 20s, may have developmental challenges but was physically able and can manage personal hygiene. Somehow, there was no family or relatives to take care of him.
Fortunately, he was referred to the Home of Hope. But being in a new place and not knowing anyone yet, Sovat seemed lonesome and a bit lost.
Each time we crossed paths in the yard, I smiled and said, “Sua sday, sok sabai?” (Hello, how are you?) to Sovat, and he returned the greetings politely. After a while I invited him to help me pass out crayons for coloring, or wash the hands of some kids who could not do it themselves, or wipe the tables and benches. Sovat was not too keen at first, but the youth welcomed him, so whenever he was in a good mood, he participated.
Sovat would follow the routine physical exercise when the music started, but he soon turned it into Cambodian style dance, and some kids would imitate him. They were encouraged to continue dancing as each kid moved at their own pace and ability. During coloring, he would ask me to draw for him specific items, such as a cow, coconut trees or lotus flowers, etc. Sovat discovered play dough and with some practice, he was beaming with joy to show me a sculptured lizard.
When our resident cow, named Moo Moo, was not feeling well, Sovat joined me and another kid to visit her. She was irritable. We put our hands on her, speaking softly and wishing her well. Moo Moo responded by laying her head down on the grass and appeared more relaxed.
On a recent afternoon, Sovat was sweeping the grounds and singing. He has acclimated to the environment and has made this place his home. He looked less longing and more belonging with folks who have accepted him. When the flowers and leaves fell from the trees, Sovat picked up the broom to sweep them, naturally and at ease. It was a delightful scene to behold. His happy tune cheered not only himself but other kids as well.
I am so grateful for your continuing support of my ministry. During this season of giving, I would like to urge you to consider making a special gift to Maryknoll Lay Missioners’ “Walk With Us” campaign. This new campaign raises money for the recruitment, training and ongoing support of all of us lay missioners. We can only “walk with” the people here because you are “walking with” us.
A group of donors has already pledged to match the dollars raised by this campaign 2-to-1. That means that every $100 given to the campaign in effect becomes $150. This campaign will ensure that Maryknoll Lay Missioners will be able to continue to send and to support missioners like me in the years to come. Please pray for the success of this campaign and if you can, please donate at the “Walk With Us” button below.