The thought of going to Cambodia had never crossed Millie Carson’s mind. While seeking God’s will for her life in January 2011, a friend suggested that she go to this third world kingdom in Southeast Asia for a few months. Millie had recently finished several semesters of Calvary Chapel Bible College in her homeland of York, United Kingdom, and also in California. Being more inclined toward traveling, mountains, cowboys, rodeos, snowboarding, a great cup of coffee, and forests, the thought of going to the jungles of Cambodia made her laugh. Yet Millie remained open to God’s purpose on her life. She promised her friend that she would pray about it.
That night God sparked an interest in Millie’s nineteen-year-old mind for Cambodia and its people. She told God that the idea sounded ridiculous, but if He provided the funds for this mission, she would go. The following day she learned that her recently deceased grandmother had left her some money. Millie had four months of financial provisions, and determined to obey God’s call.
By May Millie had joined Calvary Chapel ministry called Water of Life in Phom Penh. This ministry supports a boys discipleship home (ages 12-25yrs), girls house (ages 12-25yrs), an orphanage (2-18yrs), and numerous other outreaches.
Millie spent the first few months at the girls house. She did anything that came up—village medical outreaches, bible studies, taking out the trash. While thankful to serve the Lord in this part of the ministry, she felt she could leave Cambodia or stay. Millie felt no real tug on her heart in either direction. But the tug started inside of her during her final planned month. She began to spend time with the children at the orphanage, the Children of Hope. This orphanage is home to no more than thirty children at a time. They were abandoned, rescued, or lost their parent. Most are nontraditional orphans who simply need someone to love them, care for them, and teach them about the love of Jesus Christ, as opposed to selling them in the thriving sex-trade industry.
At the end of her four month commitment, Millie had planned to return home to York, yet she now yearned to stay. God had captured her heart through the children of Cambodia. She sought the Lord, and heard Him say, “Go home, get rid of everything you don’t need, and come back December 6th.”
Knowing that God had so much more for her with the children, Millie obeyed. She made a two-year commitment to Cambodia and Water of Life, yet she can’t imagine doing anything else.
In Millie’s own words, “The biggest thing I have learned, being in the mission field is this: When you have given up all that you possibly can of mind, body and spirit, when your heart is worn out and broken and you have nothing left to give…give some more, because the only thing you will have left to give is Jesus and Him alone. That sounds backward, but we are called to turn the world upside-down, and that requires giving all that we have and then giving more. With God all things are possible.”
To learn more about Water of Life and Children of Hope, and how to pray for and support this ministry.
All photos taken by Inspire a Fire’s Artist of the Month… Casey Arneson!
Love the story and the photography. Thanks for the window into your heart for Cambodia. Casey, you’re the best.
Although extreme poverty and the lack of law enforcement are mainly to blame for child sex trafficking in Cambodia, I think the Cambodian people’s casual attitudes toward sexual predation also contribute to the problem. Cambodians generally look up to foreigners, especially Westerners, as wealthy and benevolent. It’s unfortunate that some foreigners are in the country to take advantage of children.
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