Over a year ago, Corrine Cook attended a concert on the Christian music tour Winter Jam. Between performances, members of the band NewSong shared a moving presentation about Holt’s child sponsorship program. Corrine chose to sponsor a girl in Cambodia. Earlier this month, she had the exceptional opportunity to meet her! A Holt intern already wrote a blog about their meeting. Here, Corrine tells her own story…
One-and-a-half years ago, I sat in a full stadium with music blaring, people singing, and lights shining. All of the sudden, a quiet hush flowed in from the front to the back as all the lights went down to a single spotlight. As the strong voice echoed in the stillness, I sat forward in my seat, my eyes riveted to the stage. The testimony of one man brought tears down my cheeks and a whisper to my ear. “Go and sponsor a child.” Now, I made hardly any money with which to support myself, much less someone else. However, I knew I could not resist that still, small voice of the Almighty’s because of the power behind it. So it was there at a concert that God challenged me to give His money that He had bequeathed to me to a child who was way less fortunate than I.
Six months later, I strode on the high ground of a railroad track on the last leg of my journey. As I stepped onto the trail which entered the small village, I was greeted by many people from a small village in the heart of Cambodia. One of the first people I saw was the little girl whom God had called me to support. A great smile crept onto her face as her inquisitive eyes stared up at me. Even with the language barrier, non-verbal communication radiated between us. Thankfully though, we were able to carry on a short spoken conversation through an interpreter who also read to me the letter she had written.
It was amazing and heart-wrenching to have the privilege of seeing Srey Lam*, my sponsor child. To see the small hut they called home with a single mat surrounded by mosquito netting was saddening when I think of the luscious bedroom I am blessed to have. I have always heard that we are spoiled here in America, but now I know it to be true. What struck me is how we have so much and are still unhappy and want more. In Cambodia, they have next to nothing. They are doing well to get enough food to eat for their next meal, and still, they smile. They are so willing to give and share their best with us regardless of the fact that they have so little. Oh, that we could learn from their example. Although not wealthy by American standards, I am a millionaire to them. I know that I have been moved to share the abundance that God has given me.
In Cambodia, Holt International works with their local partner organization, Pathways to Development, to provide food and necessities for vulnerable families — such as building restrooms or getting the family animals so they can make money. They have worked hard and have built and are now running a rice bank from which needy families can borrow until they have their own harvests, and then pay back with a little interest on what they borrowed. This keeps the families alive until their own harvests come.
It was so amazing to see the work that Holt International and Pathways were doing with these families to make a difference in their lives. I went there to see what was being done with the monetary gift I was giving Holt, but discovered something much better. The gift was not the money I send to support Srey Lam and her family, but the knowledge that God is using me to further His kingdom. She was precious, a gift of God to me, and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to meet her. God is so good!
* name changed