Many of us never get to know a missionary face to face. For that reason, we are going to try to introduce some of our very own “Bethel-sent” women to you on the Bethel Women’s Blog. Our hope and desire is that you will be touched and inspired to pray for these brave women who have given up much to serve God. Here is our first post by Sara Richardson…
My name is Sara Richardson and my husband, Matt, and I are serving overseas in Cambodia, fighting human trafficking with Agape International Missions. We first learned of the horrors that were going on in this country through AIM, and that the ministry was making major headway amongst the evil. My husband was the first to go to Cambodia on a short-term trip, and almost immediately knew God had more for him there. Shortly after our wedding we went together on another ministry trip, and I too fell in love with not only the Cambodian people, but also the ministry and what they are doing there.
We have now been in Cambodia for one year and my, has the time flown! The program that I am helping to run is an Emergency Foster Care facility where we provide a safe place for kids in the community who have been abandoned, abused, or have a history of trafficking in the family. It is such a blessing and privilege to be able to serve those sweet kiddos and work with some amazing local men and women to help protect and love them. Matt is directing an employment center where people in the community can work for fair wages, in good conditions, and full benefits. Right now our prayer is that God will make our next step as clear as he made our original call to move to Cambodia. God has been so faithful through our journey, and in this obedience we have found comfort.
The subject of grace has been on my mind quite a bit in these past few days. I don’t know if it is because of certain circumstances in my life right now, or if it is just the general aura I am receiving. Nevertheless, God is bringing me revelation after revelation and new peace after new peace, that truly surpasses understanding – and I am so grateful.
“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
After returning to Cambodia for the second time from America (in May), there are so many emotions that I feel and moods that I go through. The first time, we came back after spending the holidays with family, and as we tried to settle back into our lives here I developed a stubborn anxiety that I could not shake. Was it leaving family and comforts of home or was it coming back to the heat, garbage and stressful work that caused this anxiety Perhaps a mixture of both. Eventually it left as I began to lean more on the Holy Spirit and less on my own strength.
“But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:12-14
This time was different. I can’t exactly explain why, except for His grace. I have no doubts about the work I am doing here in Cambodia, the kiddos I am serving and the incredible local people I get to serve alongside. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t have down times. Times when I am too hard on myself, too hard on those around me, times when I am operating in my own strength. This second time around returning to Cambodia, God has taught me a truly priceless lesson. It is as if he told me “Stop. I have this.” Stop stressing, worrying, stop trying to figure everything out on your own.
“Twas grace that taught my heart to fear and grace my fears relieved.”
When I heard this and agreed, a peace fell upon me like no other. When I remembered that when I ask, God forgives. That when I seek his Kingdom first, the rest will come. That when I accept his Grace, his unbridled, amazing Grace, my fears are relieved. Thank you Lord for these revelations that have made this transition one that is so beautiful.
Sara Richardson is a semi-newlywed living and serving in Cambodia with her husband. The ministry they work for is Agape International Missions, where they fight sex trafficking in the world’s epicenter for child prostitution. Both Sara and Matt were raised in Richland, WA.