In 1979 Marcia of Washington was in Hawick, Scotland as a trainee for Youth with a Mission. She remembers how the serenity of their surroundings was brutally shattered by the horrendous reports of the killing fields of Cambodia under the dictator Pol Pot. The trainees were not spared the daily news reports showing graphic scenes of senseless killings, mass graves, and hundreds of thousands of refugees huddled in camps, their faces a blank, devoid of hope.
Marcia also remembers Thursdays at Hawick was a day dedicated to World Prayers. But on one particular Thursday the entire group was deeply touched by the suffering of the Cambodian refugees.
”How shall we pray, Lord?” they wondered, overwhelmed by the weight of the tragedy. If the refugees were experiencing a loss of confidence in their ancestral gods who could they turn to for comfort? Marcia and her friends bowed their heads and waited in silence for God to put his prayers into their hearts. Oh Lord Jesus, reveal yourself to these people as the true God, they prayed. Reveal yourself through the Christian workers you have sent into the camps. Let the Holy Spirit open their hearts to accept you as their Saviour. Give them your Hope.
Five years later in 1984, Marcia got to talking with a volunteer at World Relief, a former Cambodian refugee who had spent years in the camps before coming to America. To Marcia’s enquiry how she had become a Christian she described how she had lost faith in the gods of her ancestors, how she was drawn to the kindness and love of the Christian volunteers who worked at the camps. “They were so kind they even cleaned the latrines in the camps!” When there was an invitation to accept Jesus as her personal Saviour, she was one among many who answered ‘yes’. It was as if a great wind had swept across the camp and drew them to Jesus.
Marcia fell silent in awe. She felt goose-bumps as she recalled the prayers of that group of young trainees from Youth with a Mission one Thursday, five years before in Hawick.