Asian Young Women’s
Leadership Development in Cambodia – Day 5

I am so glad at how close we have grown with the other participants!
After a long day outdoors yesterday, we had a refreshing morning devotions at the center lead by one of the Singapore representatives.

Rev. Hikari led both of our morning sessions, on “Learning Human Reality through History”, and “Communication and Conflict Resolution”. For our first session, we researched on wars, genocides, significant events, and women’s rights from the 1900s until 2015. We learned that although we cannot change the past, we must be aware of what happened in order to stay away from making the same mistakes. It was extremely relevant as we had just visited the Killing Fields, Tuol Sleng, and the Royal Palace yesterday. We learned that we have been given the present and the future to make change, and that the dash between our birth and death dates is what is most important, as we can choose what we do with our one life.

For the communications session, we learned how miscommunication leads to pain and distrust. We learned many communication and conflict resolution skills which can be applied to a variety of circumstances. We learned that peace only comes because of conflict. I believe this gave us a new perspective of conflict itself, as an opportunity for peace rather than a hinderance of it. This was a really helpful, practical as well as inspiring and life changing session. I was deeply impacted by Rev. Hikari’s words of truth and insight.

In the afternoon, we had two more sessions on “Peace building” and “Being a Peacemaker”. We learned that women have a special role to play in society, and we God rejoices when we live in harmony despite our differences. At the end of the fourth session, we learned and danced to the song “Break the Chain” wearing black shirts and orange bands. We learned about Thursdays in Black and “Orange the world,” which is a yearly 16-day campaign, both raising awareness against gender-based violence. It was great to participate in these with this group of women leaders as well as being a fun way to seal what we have learned and begin our journey’s together as peacemakers in our communities, our countries, and our world.

Our teammate, Suzuna, was feeling sick so she unfortunately could not join all of the seminars. But thankfully, she was well enough to join us for part of the dinner.
At night, we had a farewell celebration dinner which began with worship and a bonfire. I believe we all had hearts overflowing with thanks to God as we reflected on the week and sang “How Great Thou Art” in Khmer, English, and our other languages. We then each added a stick of wood, which was symbolic of the big fire we can build when we work together, rather than burning alone.

Each country was called up to lead a dance, which was interesting and fun to join in as Japan does not have much of a group-dance culture other than Bon-odori. Team Japan danced Soranbushi led by Natsuko-san, which left us quite sore.
It was a very festive and joyful way to celebrate each others cultures overcoming language and cultural barriers, displaying peace between all of the participants. It truly is an honor to get to know and have fun with these these wonderful women who are chosen to be leaders in this generation.

Megumi Wilson (Participant from Japan)