Free to be myself...
By Julie Lachapelle
It's 6:30am, early in the morning, it feels like the whole city is awake already. Cars, scooters, bikes, tuk-tuks, everybody is going somewhere. Everybody is in their own world. Life is slow. Life is simple.
It's day 2 of conference. As we arrive some students are already sitting and waiting for us with the biggest smiles! They have been very open, very funny, and warm all day yesterday. Laughter, jokes, cheekiness...it felt like Christmas in Cambodia. It is amazing to see how receptive they are and how much they participate with us.
Now for this conference, I teach arts and music as electives. Most people never learnt about music, have never drawn nor painted before now. It is amazing to see them opening up to learn new things, it astonishes me. For example, one man painted a bird with many colours. When I asked him why did you paint a bird, what does it mean to you, he said, "this is how I feel. People have tried to control me or tell me what I need to be but this bird represents freedom. I am now free to be myself, I can fly, I can doing anything."
This blew me away and it made me think that in a way God brought us here for that reason. These people have so much to offer, it's like they have gold inside of them, but they don't know it. We are telling them that they can be themselves, that God values all of them, and we let them be themselves. We can feel people are ready to fly and be their real selves. It's incredible! I'm very thankful for that God opportunity and I know God is changing all of us.