2015 Cambodia – Natalie Ha

Father’s Love

My name is Natalie, and I have come back from the most amazing mission trip in the history of New Philadelphia Church! Prior to the trip, I was going through a season of major spiritual drought. I hadn’t been hearing from God, so I felt very alone, and my heart was hardened and full of doubt. My expectation for this mission trip was to experience a personal breakthrough in my relationship with Him. Although I had no idea how that would look like, I prayed that God would come through. I didn’t feel like I had a big heart for Cambodia or love to share with the people in Cambodia. All I knew was that the Lord called me to be His hands and feet in the field, and I wanted to obey.

I knew that I needed fresh new touch from God. And it was in the midst of my obedience that God came through. Throughout the entire trip, I experienced the Father’s love in such a tangible and real way. I was wrecked by His love for the children in Cambodia. A love that is deep and wide. After I was completely captured by His love for the nation, my eyes started to open for the love He had for me. I’m here to testify the love of our Father God that I witnessed and experienced in Cambodia.

After our first Sunday of ministry, the team started to go around to local churches in the village area. At the first church service, Rona, our team preacher, delivered a powerful word and we had an altar call to restore hope. There was a strong move of the Holy Spirit. People started to weep in His presence. However, my heart didn’t even flinch. My heart was closed. And I started to worry. I thought to myself, “How am I going to minister to these people for a whole week?” I left the church feeling a little discouraged and frustrated.

After the service, we had a very good time of fellowship with the village people. During the fellowship time, I happened to talk to a mother of twin children as the team was playing with her kids. From the conversation, I found out that her husband had passed away shortly after she gave birth, and she was raising these children by herself. After hearing this, my heart started to open toward this widow. I felt so much compassion toward her even though I just met her. I was planning on praying for her, but before I could say anything, she asked me, “Can you please pray for me? I want to be a strong mother for my two kids.” And as I was praying for her, my heart started to burn and the Father’s love started to overflow in me. In that very moment, God touched my hardened and closed heart. From then on, day by day God would fill me up with more of his heart and love for the Cambodia. I thought I had nothing to give, but God’s presence was continually flowing through me.

As the trip progressed, my heart would just break for the kids who were so poor and had only dirty clothes to wear. However, the more I focused on what God was doing for these children rather than what I saw through my natural eyes, I started to see His love and provision. One moment that stands out in particular is the second to last day of our trip. We visited Hope Centre Orphanage and I got immediately connected to a 9 year old boy with the biggest smile on his face. The more time I spent with him, the more I was amazed because he didn’t act anything like an orphan. The orphan spirit was far from him. This boy would share the candy that I gave to him and he would even spoon feed me his own food although I said I was okay several times! While we were riding a bike together, I got a little scratch and this little boy immediately dragged me to the mother of the orphanage and tell her that I was injured. As my cut was being treated, I saw him watching me with the most caring, empathetic, and even scared look on his face- scared that maybe I was in pain or that the cut was serious. Then I saw his own body covered with all kinds of wounds and scratches. I don’t even know how to describe the feeling I had at that moment. The love of Christ was surely living in this boy. Christ who endured extreme pain and the despair of separation of God while on the Cross, but still is so concerned by even our smallest hurts and pain.

Matthew 6:26 says, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” I went to Cambodia to meet my God. I went hoping to meet the God of my own breakthrough. But I ended up meeting a God who is so much greater. The Genesis 1 creator God, the Father of the nation of Cambodia, the good good Father who loves each and every one of His children across the nations. This God poured His immense Father’s heart for Cambodia into me. It was exactly when I felt I had nothing to give that God opened my eyes to His greatness, and Christ that is in me- the hope of glory. He opened my eyes to the orphaned children of Cambodia, whom many might see as the lowest of these, but who love so selflessly and daringly. Our God is the true, living God. He is the God of provision, and comforting the broken hearted and giving hope to the hopeless. He is so much greater than I had allowed myself to imagine.

On behalf of my team, I would like to thank you so much for your prayers and financial offering to help make this trip a reality. The blessings and testimonies we bring back from the field also belong to you. The Lord has started a great work in Cambodia. Let us pray faithfully as He sees it to completion. God bless you, and may God richly bless the nation of Cambodia!