The men’s dorms at NLF are a really interesting place. In a large emptied room we were ushered by around 20 young men with the biggest smiles you can ever imagine. We were invited to sit on the tiled floors and sat in a circle, 40 eyes glued intently on us with anticipation about what it was that we were about to say. We introduced ourselves, explained what we did, where we were from and how old we were and then invited them to do the same. Most of the guys are between 20-22 years old and all of them were from the provinces, having been sent to Phnom Penh to study, work and forge a better future for the family. Learning English give them a great step up, and some of them are learning multiple languages. Some are trying to finish school, some are in University, and the sense of pride they carry about their endeavors is tremendous.
When we got to the question about what they want to do in the future, that was when things got really special. Aspirations of becoming teachers, lawyers, businessmen, doctors, pastors and becoming ministers of parliament filled the room as they talked about how they wanted help make Cambodia a better place of Jesus. One young man talked about how it continually breaks his heart seeing the orphans and street kids without a home, without the love and support of family and how his dream is to change that.
They work so hard to support themselves, long hours working, studying multiple courses and volunteering but it’s not their work ethic that is inspiring to me but the sense of hope, and joy, and vision they have about their lives and possibility of a better future they have not just for themselves but for all Cambodians.