Earlier this year, Pete Greig stepped off a plane in Cambodia, with his sons Hudson and Daniel. He wrote this reflection before he left for home…
Coming to Cambodia with my two boys has been a life changing adventure. I’m here with my sons, Hudson and Daniel. We are on an adventure as a family with Tearfund, to track human trafficking and try and understand its causes.
At one level I’m going home tired, as this has been emotionally, mentally and occasionally physically tiring, but on the other hand I’m going home feeling like I’ve had the best holiday you could have. The Maldives eat your heart out! Come and engage with those who know Jesus in the poorest part of the world, and you discover joy.
I can’t tell you what a joy it’s been to say prayers with them every night as we’ve travelled around, sometimes staying in quite basic places. Instead of saying the usual prayers they say at home, they pray about the woman they’ve met that day that’s got HIV; about a child they’ve met who’s been trafficked.
They kept saying, ‘It’s just been so incredible, Dad, it’s been so amazing.’ They’ve been so stretched and so expanded. I’ve been watching my kids growing up in front of my eyes, into the kind of people that I prayed they would become, with big hearts and a big vision for a big Church, in a world that’s really very small.
I think if we are serious about parenting our children, in the very tough environment of the Western world in a media age, one of the best gifts we can give them – beyond our time – are the cross-cultural experiences which help them understand the world in which they’re living.
It can be even tougher being a Christian parent, because on top of survival, we want to see our kids grow up knowing Jesus and loving the Church. The Church isn’t always as lovely as we might hope, but coming somewhere like this, you see how lovely the Church can be.
It’s been such a privilege to journey with my kids as they are stretched, as their worldviews expand, as their hearts are moved. What a privilege to have them ask you questions about social injustice, and about why God lets certain things happen. What a joy to see them see how big the church is, and how big the heart of God is, and how relevant the gospel is and how very small the world is.
We are a close family, but we are going home closer. What a joy to not only send my kids on an adventure but to come with them and experience it with them. I feel like we are almost going to go home different: different when we go shopping, different when we watch telly.
It’s going to be exciting going home and praying by name for people that we have met here. It’s going to be exciting processing with my sons how we’ve been changed, blessed and what we’ve learnt by engaging with people that materially have so much less than us, yet in every other way have the kingdom of heaven.
We’ve had such an incredible time here in Cambodia. If you get the chance to travel to a completely different culture and see what God is doing with your family, I would seize it with both hands, it could be one of the best investments of time and money that you ever make.
Find out more about our family trips here.
Find out more about our No Child Taken campaign here.