All I Want For Christmas

by Don Brewster

The other day one of the girls at ARC asked me what I wanted for “Merry Christmas.”  I told her I’d have to think about it and let her know later.  Then I received an e-mail from Jane Conwell.  Jane  is a nurse from Australia who volunteers in our Rahab’s House medical clinic and is training our Cambodian staff to take over the clinic in the future.  In her e-mail Jane spoke of a couple of patients she had recently seen.  Following is an excerpt.

“Many times at clinic I have to tell my patients that there is nothing I can do to help them.  Last week, I had a 26 year old man who came in from an outer province.  His mother had heard that there was a free clinic in Svay Pak and she had brought him to see me. Three years ago he started to have pain in his feet.  He is no longer able to walk; the muscles in his arms and legs wasting away; likely some muscular dystrophy.  I was the first medical attention he had received.  They graciously accepted it when I told them I couldn’t make it better, and listened carefully to suggestions for stretches and exercises.  His mother then pulled him onto her back and carried him back to the waiting motorbike taxi, tied his body to hers for support and off they drove – back to their village.  

“Today at clinic a woman was carried in by her family.  Yesterday she had a stroke.  Her family didn’t understand what had happened, but they knew that the clinic was open the next day and so they were first in line.  Her left arm and leg have lost all control, her eye and mouth with a slight droop.  We talked about exercises for the muscles and what causes a stroke.  I checked her blood pressure (predictably high) and started her on medication and aspirin.  Ultimately, however, I had to tell a family that I couldn’t help them – there was nothing I could do to fix this problem.  After thanking me graciously, they carried her back home.”

Their acceptance of life’s tragedies, and contentment in the face of unmet expectations, challenges me. There is no feeling of entitlement – no anger at the unfair nature of their experiences.  All they expressed was gratitude for Jane’s efforts.  They were so grateful in spite of the disheartening news. So now I know what I want for Christmas…I want my attitude towards life to be more like theirs.

There’s one more thing…All of us at AIM want to thank all of you.  God has done much this year to bring restoration to dozens of traumatized girls and to prevent the trafficking of hundreds of others.  And He’s done it through the support you’ve provided.  We’re forever grateful.  Below are photos of the ARC and Rahab’s House staffs wishing all of you a Happy Merry Christmas!

I pray the love and peace of Christ will be yours this Christmas,