I am a physical therapist who was appointed by WorldVenture in 2010 to serve children affected by disability in Cambodia, along with their families and communities. I worked as a physical therapist in the U.S. for more than 18 years, mainly in pediatric settings. Even before I became a physical therapist, the Lord had begun planting a dream in my heart to go overseas one day in order to love and serve children with disabilities in His name in some under served part of the world. Years later, I attended Dallas Theological Seminary for additional preparation for that task, and it was there that the Lord brought Cambodia into view for me. Since arriving in Cambodia in 2012 I have worked with the Christian Cambodian non-governmental organization, Children In Families, whose mission is equipping and strengthening families and communities to provide a nurturing environment for children, through family-based care, community development and educational support. I have worked with Cambodian staff to develop the ABLE project, which targets the special needs of families caring for children with disabilities through direct home-based therapy services, assistance in accessing other specialized services and education, provision of special equipment and developmental materials, and family and community education.
By demonstrating the love of Christ in this tangible way, my goal is to model to these families and those around them the value that God places on each individual as someone who has been created in His image and for whom Jesus Christ died, and to have an impact on Cambodian staff to encourage them to do the same. I envision an open door for the Gospel message as genuine caring relationships reflective of Christ’s love are developed, and the subsequent transformation of lives and communities.
Cambodian people continue to be affected by the negative consequences of the tragic events of their past, and many are currently experiencing severe poverty and exploitation. Among the many marginalized peoples in Cambodia are those who are disabled. Families affected by disability are likely to be among the poorest and face discrimination and barriers on numerous fronts. Additionally, fewer than 3% of Cambodians have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
1. Determining the best ways to empower people rather than creating dependence
2. Overcoming stereotypes and discrimination toward people with disabilities
3. Bringing the Gospel to people in a way that is stripped of Western cultural trappings which make Christianity unwelcome as a “foreign religion”
Pray – That the Lord would continue to open the hearts and minds of the Cambodian people to see the truth of Christ and be transformed by His love.
– That people with disabilities there would come to see their real value in Christ.
– For me as I continue to adapt to the culture, build deepening relationships, and work to improve my language skills.
Blogs and Articles on WorldVenture:
– Why Cambodian Children Need Their Communities, Not Orphanages