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This month’s God Wink comes to us from our friends at Giving it Back to Kids.

Today’s journal is about Lanh Essa’s story. Lanh Essa has been living in our homes in Cambodia for 11 years. 
My name is Lanh Essa, and I am 21 years old. It is my dream to become a teacher. I am the eldest sister in a poor family of five. As a young child, I lived in a small village where my parents were farmers. My village didn’t provide an opportunity to receive education, so I was sent to my aunt’s house when I was six years old.

Living with my aunt was a complicated time and was really tough for me. I was beaten by my aunt almost every day. I had to do a lot of housework before going to school, and I was ridiculed by classmates because I am a Christian.

During this time, I did not receive any care. My mistakes weren’t corrected in a healthy andloving way. I was beaten every time I made a mistake. I cried every night and told God, “I really miss my parents,” “I feel so isolated,” and asked, “Why was I separated from my parents?” Day by day, I tried to tell myself that I needed to be patient and finish my schooling. When I saw my parents, I wanted to tell them how I felt inside – how much pain and suffering I was in – but I couldn’t, and I didn’t know why. I found it hard to talk and was afraid to be who I was.

One day, my mom brought me back home. My parents were in a bad argument, and they were separated for a period of time. My parents had heard about GIBTK’s homes through a pastor who came to my village, and they decided to send me there. It was hard for me to be away from them again. I hated the feeling of being separated from my family, but I respected my parents’ decision and I understood that they wanted me to have a better future.

Living in a GIBTK home was very different from living with my aunt. I was well-treated and had so many opportunities to study English and have access to technology. My mental health improved through GIBTK’s emotional health program, and I learned that I could work through what I have been through in the past. Those emotional health lessons have helped me reframe my painful past into something that has made me strong and beautiful. 

(Essa talking to housemothers)I have made so many breakthroughs while living in GIBTK’s homes. I believe that everyone is born for a reason, and living in GIBTK’s homes, I found that reason. No matter how life treats me, I still stand boldly. I will use my experiences to help and encourage other people who are struggling, I want them to know that they have value and purpose. 

(Essa teaching the girls English)God has guided me to the better place that I am now in. I am on my way to achieving my dream, doing my best every day to achieve my goal. I am so very thankful to GIBTK for helping me through my past. I would not be here today without GIBTK.
With Love
Lanh Essa
Giving it Back to Kids



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