Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 29, 2011

Just One Touch

Siem Reap, Cambodia en route to Houston

One of the questions I am most often asked is, “Out of all the places you have visited, which is your favorite?” That is actually a tough question for me to answer because I have been to so many places and seen so many of the world’s sugar-stick sites — those bucket-list places featured in travel books and magazines. So, I always answer that question by talking instead about the things I have seen God do in and through those who are willing to go to the places that are unfamiliar to them. For me, the particular place on the planet where I happen to be becomes the backdrop for a greater drama — that is, what God desires to do through me as I make myself available to Him in that location. That’s why I love to talk about how God has used our folks in this place or that and how I have witnessed what can happen when people go beyond everything that is comfortable and familiar to them.

I have enjoyed my time in Cambodia with my team of eleven women, mostly suburban moms who love God and the nations. If I could sum up the impact of this trip it would be by talking about the power of just one touch. Over the past several days our team has worked with orphans and children from impoverished families. As I observed our women in action I could not help but come to the conclusion that women tend to touch other people, especially children, more than men do. I don’t think I could have counted the number of times our women held and hugged kids even if I had tried. They did not let anything get in the way of hugging and holding kids — not the rain or the mud or the smells or the tattered and filthy clothing or the lice or anything else.

All of this hugging and holding got me to thinking about the power of a human touch and reminded me of something that I had read in Mark Batterson’s book, Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity. Batterson said, “Research has shown that touch has the power to fight viruses, relieve stress, improve sleep, and help us recover more quickly from injury. … The power of touch, even on a human plane, is an amazing thing. But when you add the power of God to the equation, it sets the stage for something supernatural.” Touching others was something that set Jesus apart from the religious leaders of His day. He touched and held people that nobody wanted to touch — sick people, poor people, outcasts, and children. In fact, the religious leaders of His day referred to Jesus in these derisive terms — “a friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Matt. 11:19).

This past week, Jesus used the arms of our women to touch and hold lots of orphans and poor kids in Cambodia. The smiles on the faces of the children we served testify to the power of every tender touch and warm embrace. That’s why when people ask me to tell them about the most beautiful or unique or mysterious place I have ever visited I prefer to answer in this way, “The best things I have seen in all of the beautiful and interesting places I have visited around the world are not the things you read about in travel books. Instead, what I have enjoyed most is watching God bring hope and healing to the people who live in those places through the power of just one hug or a single touch in His name.”


  1. Beautiful!

  2. Sounds like such an incredible trip! Love seeing the hope, too!

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