2015 Cambodia – Michelle Euperio

Dreaming Big

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

When I was 7 years old, I heard the Lord say, “You are destined for greatness.” I thought, “Cool” and continued to make dresses for my Barbie out of paper towels and rice. I never thought that I would be speaking those same words to passionate, hopeful youth in Cambodia many years later.

Five years ago, I was in Cambodia and all I remember was feeling such sadness and heaviness, and a desperation to leave all the negative emotion once the trip was over. In the late 1970s, Cambodia went through a mass genocide and economic downfall and is still recovering from that awful era. But in addition to the heaviness, I remember that Cambodia was the first nation that my heart broke for, so I wasn’t surprised that the Lord wanted to send me back there again. In the weeks prior to leaving for Cambodia this time around, I was so confused as to why every time I prayed for the nation, the Lord reminded me of my dreams. On the first day of the New Year, that answer was made clear while ministering at New Hope for Orphans, which is a children’s home about 2 hours outside of Phnom Penh.

The children welcomed us like it had been ages since we saw each other. There was one teenage girl that I immediately became best friends with, and she wanted to hold my hand and be around me constantly. We would smile at each other and just start giggling. During once service Rona, our team preacher, was leading a powerful altar call about dreaming big. She asked the children to separate into groups of those who wanted to be teachers, doctors, and designers. There was a big group of teenage boys who didn’t move, and my heart broke. There were children of all ages, all the way up to 18 years old. When I was that age, I was filled with endless possibilities. How could they not have dreams for the future? But then Rona called those who wanted to go into full-time ministry, the majority of older children stood up. And hope filled me like never before. Rona led these future ministers to start praying for the future teachers, doctors, and designers. The teenage girl I had connected with went to the doctors group, but she wouldn’t allow me to let go of her hand.

Our team was activating callings, speaking identity, praying abundant blessings, and covering these youth in protection. But the Lord has even bigger plans and dreams for them than we could even imagine. I was overwhelmed with the Father’s love for these sweet children, but also overwhelmed that my God is so full of life and everlasting love. I was reminded that His promises are never void. He never leaves His children. I prayed for my sweet friend that she would have more and be more than I could ever be. We cried in each other’s arms without understanding each other but being brought together by our Father. All she could say in English was, “Sister.”

These children, these youth, they are the ones that the Lord has marked to bring change, revival, and restoration to this Cambodia. The Lord reminded me that I needed to believe the dreams and promises He gave me first in order to release His dreams for His children. After all, how could I release dreams for them if I didn’t believe in the dreams He has for me? The Lord has chosen these youth and marked them at a young age just like He did with me, and just like He does with all of His children. Without a doubt, the Lord is prospering Cambodia and releasing so much hope. There is greatness to come there. God is restoring what the enemy tried to steal, and He is releasing more of His glory through the children of those who lived through the painful past. The spiritual atmosphere has completely changed from my first trip 5 years ago. I have never experienced that much joy and hope in one place.

Cambodia the nation is also known as a kingdom. When I saw these children and youth, I knew that we were standing in the presence of royalty, and that we got the honor to “bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy, instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” They are living Isaiah 61. May God continue to be glorified through His children in Cambodia!As a family in Christ we have to pray for the youth of Cambodia, that they grow up to truly be nation changers. Pray for all the native pastors, that the Lord strengthen them even more in the work that they are doing. They are raising up the younger ones in the villages, and they are going to invite in more youth that they may grow in Christ. Pray protection over them, and strong faith for all the Lord has called them to do for the nation.

The mission trip has blessed me in so many ways, but mainly in how the Lord provides in all aspects to our team and His children. The Lord looks after His children wherever they are, He knows what we need and will give us so much more. Amen.