One Family


Window of Opportunity 12x16” pastel by Alain J. Picard

“Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.” — Ephesians 4:3-4

I encountered her as I walked down narrow boardwalk planks built over sewage water in one of the many city slums of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It was August, with tropical heat and humidity regularly reaching 100 degrees. She lived here amid a community of families huddled in ramshackle homes built on wooden stilts over murky wetlands. My new friend gazed at me over the hiss of her sniffling nose through the window of her one-room home. Two younger siblings were inside with their mother, who was caring for the youngest of the three, an infant. A toddler-aged boy romped around the room naked, at one point climbing the window to say hello. 

She was stringing up a hammock to the iron window bars, perhaps for her brother to play with, pulling the bright green colored rope tightly with her hands, which were adorned with white, yellow and red arm bracelets with chipping nail polish on her fingers and gold looped earrings in her ears above a colorful pink blouse decorated with the faces of kittens. Though a bit untidy, she was certainly beautiful. 

As I watched my new friend through the iron bars, she looked back at me with a kind of sadness in her eyes and a curiosity. As if with some encouragement, her childhood playfulness might still emerge. 

She lives among a generation of children who stand to inherit the brokenness of their parents — domestic violence, rape, disease, drug and alcohol addiction, gender inequality, malnutrition, and ignorance. Human trafficking of the poor and vulnerable is a grave risk here in Cambodia. One-third of trafficking victims in prostitution are children. We can look away and pretend it isn’t happening, but that won’t change a thing for her. 

We are one family, bound together by the extravagant love of a heavenly Father who sent His Son to set us free. We are children of God redeemed by Jesus Christ. No matter what threatens to separate us — be it language or culture, socioeconomic status, ideology or geography, the color of our skin, or the cancer of our hearts — this truth remains. God doesn’t have favorites. He only has kids, lost ones and found ones. And He loves them all with the radical love of a Father. 

Our Walnut Hill team has just returned from Cambodia, where they helped train and equip leaders with Fountain of Hope, a wonderful ministry that reaches out to children and families with Christ’s love in both practical and spiritual ways. I look forward to hearing more about their experiences in the weeks to come.

Together, let’s fully embrace the truth that God has called us to be one church, bound together as a global family by His great love, and reaching out to a world greatly in need of His healing. Prayer is the avenue that unites our hearts, creating windows of opportunity to reveal the love of the Father. May you pray in the unity of the Spirit today, releasing the Father’s love both near and far. 

Our God Hears,
AJ Picard