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I know, I plagerized the title of Simon Sinek's book "Together is Better", but he's an eternal optimist, I'm sure he won't mind and could possibly encourage me too. :) My youth spent 2 days folding paper flowers and writing short messages in Khmer to give away to the women working in nail and hair salons and their customers, in a market located slightly outside the capital city of Phnom Penh. That's where Alive Ministries office is. So we figured, we're "in the building", we see these beautiful faces every week, there's so much to chat about when women get their nails and hair done, how about we join in the fun? So last Saturday, in the name of International Women's Day, we gave out flowers and doughnuts! Good things must be shared. Calories too.
It's an amazing feeling and a sense of freedom to make friends and build relationships for the sake of relationships, because I'm genuinely interested in what you do, I enjoy having conversations and listening to stories, I appreciate idiosyncracies and "strange" worldviews. I accept you for who you are. No agenda, nothing to sell, no message to preach. I want to build an open honest friendship, where we can laugh and cry together and do life together because I believe God called us to be in the same geographical location. I'll be here when you need me and I trust that you will do the same for me likewise.
And I think, doesn't this demonstrate the very nature of who I am, a child of God, blessed beyond measure, but like every regular person, living in this world just like everybody else? I don't want to get caught up with the numbers game, evangelizing every soul I meet or put conditions on what i deem as a gift, "take my doughnut and come to church with me". Or even setting goals to our outreach, like eventually building friendships for the sake of.... Nah, maybe I'm too lazy, I don't plan too far ahead as well. In a world where people lie and cheat for selfish gains, butter people up or betray friendships to get ahead and put up false fronts, play different roles to protect themselves, I think we could all do with genuine, unabashedly honest relationships. If discipling a nation (Matt 28) includes providing solutions to problems, the same way that Esther and Joseph did so that we can bring heaven to earth and do things God's way, then I believe building an inclusive community where there is no shame and discrimination, where everyone is accepted and allowed to be themeselves, is a great solution to the issue of worth and value. Or rather the lack of. So WOMEN, you are valuable and precious! Happy International Women's Day! Let's celebrate!