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Journey to Cambodia 2017: Hope in the Slums

About a quarter of the world’s population live in slums, officially defined as “squalid and overcrowded districts inhabited by people in poverty.”  In the region we recently visited in Cambodia, that definition was sadly accurate. We passed shanty after shanty built right along the railroad track, metal shacks thrown up by squatters, with dangling electrical lines I was told were illegally and dangerously spliced in. We came to this slum in Cambodia in search of a baby girl whom Leng, our LWB Cambodia Director, first met at a border crossing between Cambodia and Thailand. Leng had been extremely concerned to see how malnourished and sick the little girl was.

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Lovable Luke

Don’t tell anyone else at Love Without Boundaries, but I am the luckiest foster care coordinator because I am the first one to get to see Luke’s smile every month. Luke’s smile can light up a room. Every month I am the first to hear all the positive words that describe this sweet 5 1/2 year old boy: bright, outgoing, kind and warm-hearted, patient, smart, conscientious, polite, aware of his surroundings, etc.  Luke loves to laugh and joke and is very lighthearted. He almost always has a smile on his face.
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Ryan’s Secret Identity

Funny…for all these months that we’ve known him, we thought Ryan was a boy, but now we have discovered his true identity as an elephant. Better keep our peanuts in a secure location!


In Asian cultures the elephant is a symbol of wisdom, famed for their memory as well as their intelligence.

Like the elephant, five-year-old Ryan has a good memory. Although he is naturally shy around strangers, he easily remembers everyone once he has met them. Ryan also loves to recite the poems he has learned at school. He is bright and picks up on new things quickly. Some of his favorite activities include solving puzzles and coloring. He may be soft spoken, but he communicates well and enjoys showing off his large vocabulary. In the classroom, his responses are loud and clear, and he shows a genuine interest in learning.
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Andrew, Warrior from Kaifeng

I first heard about Andrew from our Kaifeng program just a few weeks ago. This was first photo I saw of him:

You can imagine how my heart swelled at his sweet face!

I wondered why he had been waiting many months for a family to match with him. It turned out that Andrew was born with a form of spina bifida, which is a life-long condition, making Andrew’s chances of finding a family slimmer than many other children. So, writing a post about Andrew became more challenging than I thought it would be.
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