The D Word

Asia's Hope Dance Party from John McCollum on Vimeo.


It's funny. I grew up in a time and place where "dancing" was almost a dirty word. Some people were even careful to not use the "d word" when describing the motions set to music in church pageants. It was "choreography."

So, as an adult, I just plain can't dance. I don't know how. 

I didn't do it at my wedding. I never went to a prom, and I never have felt at all comfortable "getting down." In fact, at one point, a dance party would have been my idea of hell on earth.

Cambodia is definitely changing that.

Last night our staff threw a dance party in the front yard of the Asia's Hope Christian School that would loosen up the stiffest, churchiest, most self-conscious person imaginable. After an admittedly challenging meal of grilled quail (served whole -- just rip off the head and dig in) and an interesting soup of various parts taken out of the quail prior to grilling, the orphan home directors pulled out the big speakers, cranked up the Cambodian hip hop, and we got funky.

Well, we didn't start out funky. We started out walking around in a circle, moving our hands in circular motions common to Khmer traditional choreography. But as the night wore on, the music got louder, and the movements got a bit crazier.

Three hours in, the yard was -- in some places -- almost like a mosh pit. From the youngest of the kids to the oldest of the staff, everyone was dancing with abandon. There were no cliques, no "couples," no competition. No one was self-conscious, no one was vulgar or provocative.

It was just a lot of good, clean fun. And it felt to me like heaven on earth, like Jesus himself had come down and thrown a raucous party for his children. When the party finally broke up due to rainclouds on the horizon, we headed home exhausted, but exhilarated.

I took a lot of pictures and a fair amount of video (some more of which I'll edit and post at some point). Looking over the images and footage this morning, I was struck with the awesome weight of just what our God has done here.

Without intervention from God and from those of you who support this ministry, many of these children would be living a very different life. Some would still be working day and night at a construction site or on a farm, earning barely enough for a handful of rice. Others would have already been pimped out, forced to service 15 men each night under threat of torture. Others would be dead.

As David said after he had been rescued by God, “You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.” (Psalm 30:11,12)

Some time soon I’ll post some more of the kids’ bios. When I do, come back and read about the dance party again. You may do a little dance yourself.


My kids found the quail a little "challenging," but the Cambodia kids loved it!

Pak borrows a hat to complete his dancing outfit

DJ Ravi likes to get downEven the oldest of our staff danced all evening

Mary shows Kori how it's done