The last page of the 2012 calendar has turned – and a visitor to Cambodia in the early months of 2013 would delight in this country’s most temperate weather: comfortably warm days, clear skies, light breezes and almost no rain. The harvesting of rice, a staple crop, is well underway, marking the completion of a full planting and growing cycle since Sheila’s arrival to work here in January 2012. We have followed the unfolding of her days much as we might watch the flowering of a seedling transplanted from a greenhouse into a field for harvest.
As Sheila reflects on her year’s experiences in Cambodia, the surprises have mostly been positive ones: a strong sense of feeling “at home,” the easy formation of uncomplicated relationships, and numerous mental snapshots capturing the simple gestures of family love. Yet even the hard surprises have ultimately reaped growth and perseverance instead of despair. Now, when Sheila receives constructive criticism, so uncharacteristic in the reserved Cambodian culture, she recognizes it as a sign of inclusion and acceptance. On an even more personal level, the revelation of professional limitations and the pressing need for greater business experience has taught Sheila how to adapt with faith and courage rather than yield to defeat.
Sheila once identified “seed planting” as her main purpose for being in Cambodia as a worker in a productive business. She sees clearly that her work is “only the context of the real work that is going on in the unseen world. Seeds get planted with a nod, a smile, a word of encouragement or a demand for accountability.” She has learned that her joy rests in her confidence that God has interwoven her life with that of the people she serves in a way which will ultimately honor Him and bring Him glory.
A person who desires to establish or function as part of a business ultimately designed to glorify God is one who anticipates a day-to-day life filled with confidence in God’s guiding hand. Knowing that Sheila herself has full assurance of the Lord’s perfect timing for “revealing the course precisely as needed” and that she is dedicated to running the race well, we conclude this series with the words from Psalm 1:3. “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”