"Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well."


They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. — Jeremiah 31:12–13

After a couple hours of heavy rain, the clouds parted just in time for an outdoor banquet paid for by our friends at Vineyard Columbus. We joined the Vineyard team, the staff and kids from Prek Eng 6 — the home Vineyard Columbus sponsors — and the staff and kids from the five other local Asia's Hope homes. As the children cleared the plates away, the older kids on DJ duty cranked up the tunes. Like all Cambodian dance parties, we started slowly, walking in a circle waving our arms in varying degrees of artistic and technical proficiency.

As God turned down the lights in the sky, the Asia's Hope kids turned up the volume on the loudspeakers. The playground-cum-dance floor filled with eager participants, festooned with glowstick necklaces and and emblazoned with smiles. The party hit its crescendo about two hours in: old women, toddlers, teens and kids of all sizes laughing, jumping, wiggling and waving to the joyous sounds of Cambodian dance pop played at a volume better measured by a seismograph than a decibel meter.

I danced, I shot some photos, I rested and then I danced some more. And you'd have to be here to really understand what a profoundly and pervasively positive experience this was for all who attended. Unlike every party I ever attended growing up in Columbus, Ohio, nobody was left out. No one was being bullied. No one was trying to get away with anything naughty. No one had to be reminded to keep their hands in proper places or "leave room for the Holy Spirit." No one left early to cry behind the building.

This is a good place. God is here. He is smiling on us. And we are dancing in his light.

John McCollumComment