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10 Days!?!?!?

by Christina Sambor (JD '08),

Well, a man (whose opinion I value like my own life) told me, via an international phone call today, that he wants more pictures and less words. So, I added some more pics...but, I'm sure they'll be followed by way too many words... :) what can I say...incessant blabbing carries over to incessant blogging.

so I actually REFUSE to believe that 10 days have gone by since my last post. I was walking today, thinking, "hmmmm, it's probably been like 4 or 5 days since I posted last, I should post again." I look at my blog and realize it was 10 days ago and I literally question whether that's correct...where did 10 days go?

what's new...??? I'm discovering that I need to start keeping notes every couple of days about the goings on in Chiang Mai, because the days slip through my fingers and I can't seem to remember all the details that I want to.... :(

My life since this weekend has been full of adventures with a couple lovely ladies from Burma. 'NB' and 'YM' have been in Chiang Mai for the last week, YM is hopefully staying in Chiang Mai for the foreseeable future to begin learning to read and write, and hopefully start attending school. NB is a part of the Burmese Garden Team, and had been having some health difficulties, so Mark got her a medical pass to come to Chiang Mai for check-ups. So Hanna (another intern...sweet, sweet girl from Denmark) and I spent 9+ hours at the hospital the other day with the girls, which turned out to be an amazing conduit into great conversation and sharing of hearts. Those of you from Pepperdine might remember YM, she was at Pepperdine in March to share her story with Mark and Christa Crawford. The summarized version goes like this...

YM's mother sold her several times throughout her early teens, including selling her virginity to a businessman for somewhere around $500. She was rescued about 5 years ago during an IJM led raid on the brothel that she was sold to. She says that one day when she was speaking with the other girls in the brothel about how to escape, that she thought that maybe if they prayed to the Christian God, He would help them. So they did so, and according to her, that night Mark came with IJM, and began the process of freeing her from unutterable suffering. So, over the past few days I have had the wonderful opportunity to spend a lot of time with her, and she has begun to share her memories, hopes and fears with me...and it's pretty intense.

She's 18, and has two kids, one four years old and one two years old. They live with their father in a small village near Yangoon. She told me that her husband took her in when she was 14, because he saw what her mother was doing to her and believed he could prevent the trafficking if he married her, because then her mother wouldn't have the same level of control over her. They are no longer married, YM tells me that they treat each other like family members, as he is substantially older than she is. She says that 'He has so much love for me, but I do not love him, because I do not understand love.'

So YM's children are a major worry for her right now because she wants them to go to school, and worries that they do not have enough to eat. She has a lot of trouble staying put in Chiang Mai, because she desires to work to send money back to her family. Yesterday at lunch she was very dark and heavy hearted. We began to talk and she told me much about her village, and how she wishes that missionaries would go to the village where her sons live, because no one there has anything, nor any religion. As we talked she confessed that sometimes she thinks about going back to the bars, because it seems like the only way to provide money to her kids.

She just kinda dumped out her brain, telling me that she knows she can't go back to her hometown, because her mother is still there and would probably try to sell her again and keep all of the money for herself. Then she said she can't go back to Yangoon because there is no work for her there, and she can't go to school. Chiang Mai is good for her, she says, but she cannot work because Mark wants her to go to school and learn...but why should she stay here and learn when her kids don't have enough to eat? So her mind travels to the bars, where business is plentiful and money flows. As we talk, I told her that I think God sends her people to tell her there are other ways, that I think that I, or maybe my friends in America, would like to support her kids and get them money for school...that there is a way that is good for her and her children. We talked about how God knows her heart, and how it aches for her kids, and that he would never leave her to go get money selling herself.

So as we near the end of our conversation, she moves seats and sits right next to me, and leans in close. She says, 'You know, I think God tell me today, "Put those thoughts away from your mind" And I smile and thank Him for that. She smiles peacefully for the first time since we started talking....and nods in agreement with herself. "God so good," she says. We agree that we will both begin praying to see if I should take a trip to her village in Burma, so that, in her words, "You SEE Burmese...and then you go back to America with film and talk to your friends. You no talk to me about Burmese, then go to America, you GO SEE Burmese, then go to America."

It is YM's dream to go to Bible School and open a church in her village...she envisions herself, another Burmese women, and an American working together to bring God's blessings to those people. I must confess that something deep inside me jumped when she said that. The longer I'm here, and the more I hear from these women, the more I feel the pull to be connected to Burma for the rest of my life...so I'm praying, and seeking....


Tomorrow I'm heading to Pactec, a local business that develops learning technologies for Christians teaching in remote locations. Other volunteers with The Garden have formed a relationship with the two men who run the company and now they are looking to hire someone for data entry. On Tuesday night while out at the bars, I spoke with 'A' - the woman that I have continued to grow in friendship with and that I mention in a previous entry. I told her that there is a job that we think would be good for her, and that she should come with me to learn about it. She says, "Is OK, we go and see" !!!! So tomorrow, A and I, and Lisbee, another Garden intern go and see.... :)

So this week my heart is full and glad. God so good.