It begins with a girl: A Hopeful Goodbye

It begins with a girl: A Hopeful Goodbye August 28, 2011
Editor’s Note: Daughter Shelby has been in Cambodia with a missions group from Antioch Church. They are partnering with Transitions Global to address human trafficking. This was her last post from in-country. They are enroute back to Bend, Oregon for the next 24 hours. Thank you for your prayers for this team.
By Shelby Dee
Joyful chaos. There is no other way to describe bowling in Cambodia with a dozen teenage girls, some of whom have never bowled before.It’s a race to find a shoe that’ll fit. A ball to throw. And yes, I do mean throw. The rules of bowling don’t necessarily change when you enter a new country, but in this case, there are no rules. No funny names are entered in the computer. If you bowl a strike, there’s no need to wait for your next turn to finish it off, just take another.

Everyone adds their own flair and technique. Some run right up to the line and lob the heavy pink or blue or green ball toward the pins. Others have almost perfected palming the ball with two hands. Still some lack all patience to wait for the sweeper gate to finish before they hurl the ball down the alley. The ball clears the gate by only a matter of seconds.

It doesn’t matter if you hit a strike or the gutter (and there was plenty of both), no one is keeping score. The only score to be seen is in the smiles of the girls as the pins go down. Their smiles are big. They are bright. They gleam. Their shrieks and shrills of laughter and delight drown out all other sounds. They are teenage girls after all.

Seeing the smiles. Cheering them on. Celebrating with high fives. That was the best goodbye to the girls of Transitions Global that we could imagine.

At the bowling alley they are any other girl. At the bowling alley their laughter and joy erase for the onlooker any hint of the lives they’ve lead.They are girls. Being girls. And Transitions Global is helping them to smile again. Teaching them to laugh again. To hope again.

As we head to the airport tomorrow morning, we won’t be quite as whole as we were when we arrived. For the girls of Transitions Global have stolen our hearts.

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  • It has been a real pleasure to read your travel log, Shelby. Godspeed and traveling mercies as you come home and begin to spread the word about what you’ve seen.

  • Been praying for you and your team. And I second everything miss Eleanor said too.


  • Susan N.

    Just read through all the posts from Cambodia. No doubt the seeds of transformation that were planted will continue to grow and blossom, in your daughter Shelby as well as in those whose lives she touched. Thanks for sharing the journey with us here.