As Nika opened my office door, the sound of kids laughing and little feet scurrying out of the school filled my ears. But the teacher’s somber expression told me something was wrong. She shared that her last class had been tough. Sreyroth, the daughter of another staff member, hadn’t wanted to do the homework she had assigned, which was aimed at helping the kids recognize ways they could clean up their environment and recycle junk in creative ways. Impressed with the thought she had put into the assignment, I encouraged her to continue with her plan.
The next week I heard a rumor that Sreyroth’s mom thought the assignment wasn’t good and was going to let her daughter skip Nika’s class. Both these women are valuable members of our staff, but this wasn’t the first disagreement between them, and I was concerned that the situation might snowball. “Lord, give me wisdom to guide this situation as You would,” I pleaded. Then I remembered a biblical conflict-resolution seminar a pastor from the mission had conducted a couple of months earlier. This was an opportunity to remind my staff of the Biblical methods of conflict resolution.
In Asian culture, problems are usually resolved through intermediaries instead of face-to-face. But in our school we are striving to create a Biblical culture of interaction, even when it goes against our Western ways or this Eastern culture.
After school I decided to visit Sreyroth’s mother. I listened as she shared her perspective with me. She had misunderstood the assignment. I reminded her of the seminar about Biblical conflict resolution. We talked about how difficult it can be to do things differently from our culture. We prayed together, and I left her to decide how she would handle the situation.
Again, laughter and scurrying feet greeted my ears the next morning as another day of interaction and learning began. How would things go today for Nika’s class? Would Sreyroth’s mom resolve things with Nika? Would Sreyroth participate with a good attitude? I prayed that these two ladies would learn to work in unity.
After school, Nika again came to my office. This time, a smile lit her face. Sreyroth’s mom had come and worked things out, and Sreyroth had happily gone to class!
Ministering at the school allows me to encourage our staff in their relationships with Jesus and each other. Mentoring them in applying Biblical principles to their lives is very rewarding. We pray that as the staff members grow spiritually, they will be a light shining brightly into the darkest corners of Cambodia. I can see the light getting brighter already!