I leave Cambodia in several hours for the long journey home. This trip has been incredible with ministry and new connections to help me in my fight against the child sex trade. With all that happened here… I’m much closer to infiltrating a well guarded group of precious children who are being used in the most heinous way imaginable. Izac is my first grandchild. He is 11 years old. He taught me a valuable lesson before I left for this trip.
As part of the 4-H club in Colorado, Izac had spent several months raising a pig. I loved watching the process as it’s such a great way for children to learn responsibility. I watched as “Z” (his nickname) would climb into the pen and clean it, feed and water Mr. Wiggles (the pig’s name), and even play with him. When it came time for the Park County Fair, Z proudly showed Mr. Wiggles with hopes of winning his first belt buckle (a very big deal in 4-H). Well, lo and behold, Z and Mr. Wiggles earned the title of Grand Reserve Champion!
As a result, when Mr. Wiggles was auctioned, he brought Z over $1,000. The young people in 4-H use much of these funds for a College Fund (after expenses). When my daughter Jeni (Z’s Mom) suggested that he “tithe” 10% to the Church, Z asked his mother if it would be okay to give it to Papa to help him rescue the children. She said “of course.” I remember when Z called me that day and asked me when I was coming home. When I asked him why, he said he had something to give me. When I walked in the door, Z did not waste any time. He immediately greeted me with a hug and handed me $100. When I asked what it was for, he told me it was his gift to JOY International so I could use it to rescue the children.
He did not know what they were being rescued from, he just knew that his Papa was rescuing children that desperately needed help. Needless to say, I had to excuse myself as I went into my bedroom and wept. The gift from this precious child – to help children from a life he has no idea of, was more than I could handle. I was overwhelmed. The pride I felt in calling this young man my grandson is immeasurable.
I don’t know many adults who would be willing to make a sacrifice like this, but this 11 year old saw a need and gave above and beyond to help. I can’t wait to get home and share with him that I was very careful who I gave those funds to. I handed half of that $100 (plus more from JOY) to “Lida.” Lida is a young Cambodian woman with a ministry called Precious Women. With JOY International starting a new division called Women For JOY – we have invited her to have her ministry become part of the Women For JOY Coalition. Lida goes into the brothels searching for young women and helping them to get out and start a new life. I chose her because of her success in achieving something that very few others are doing in the rescue, restoration, reintegration and prevention of children forced into the sex trade. She is literally fulfilling all of this.
I gave the other half to Dr. Yem. He is my Cambodian friend and co-worker in this fight to use the money you gave for the children from the garbage dumps. He feeds them every day. He also has a program with them where they board a beautiful bus to learn, sing songs and escape their world of poverty for a few hours each day. It is also a wonderful example of the Prevention side of what we are trying to do, in caring for these children so they are not taken or sold to the people who want to do really bad things to them.
Z, you’ve planted good seed in good ground. God loves to multiply seed like that. It was a very special moment for me when you gave me the $100. It was even more special when I handed half of it to Lida and the other half to Dr. Yem. I don’t know how God will multiply the blessing to you – but he’s already blessed me by giving me the opportunity to call you my grandson. ~ Jeff