Tuesday, July 31, 2012

So, What Did You Do?

That, dear Reader, Friends, and Family, is a very good question. My younger sister and I just returned from the Kingdom of Cambodia in Southeast Asia, and everyone we encounter wants to know what we did. Well, to be quite frank, we did not really do anything, but the Lord was at work and has accomplished much over the past seven weeks. Over the next few weeks I'd like to share some of what He did, in order that He might receive all the glory due His name, but for now this is simply an overview of what went on during our nearly two months away.

After two weeks of intensive training at The Lord's Boot Camp in Merritt Island, Florida we finally arrived in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. From there we took a seven hour bus ride north to Siem Reap, the tourism capital of Cambodia where the famous 11th century Buddhist temple Angkor Wat is located. We entered as ambassadors of Christ, and our first goal was to function as a conduit of His love and truth to the beautiful Khmer (Cambodian) people.

Each morning we set off down Siem Reap's main boulevard on bicycles and made our way toward the tourist centers of the city where countless locals make their living by selling souvenirs. After parking our bicycles and splitting into pairs we made our way from shop to shop. We had no intention to make purchases, but every determination to make friends, build relationships, and seek opportunities to talk of spiritual things. The Lord graciously granted boldness, helped us work through language barriers, and softened people's hearts to His message.

After returning to the local Teen Missions base for lunch we would head out again, this time to the outlying villages. At times our mode of transportation was again bicycles, but more often we enjoyed wearing down our tailbones as we rode the base truck over roads that looked (and felt) like they had been bombed and then flooded. In the villages we helped the Teen Missions in Cambodia Bible School students conduct Good News Clubs. After a short musical presentation we taught phonics, played games, presented the Gospel using the wordless book, and sat with the children as they heard a Bible story in their own language. The children look forward to the Good News Clubs each week, and the local Bible students faithfully conduct 7-10 of them in different villages each week.

For two to three weeks this was our almost daily schedule, then, toward the end of our project time we uprooted from Siem Reap to travel nine hours (in the base truck) to Kampong Chhnang, a province in the south of Cambodia. There, at the second Teen Missions base in the country we helped prepare the property for the local boot camp. Just as boot camp is held in Florida, boot camps are also held in dozens of countries overseas as a way of reaching young people with the Gospel, discipling them in the Word, and sending them out among their own people to make more disciples. We cleared brush, trees, and stumps from the obstacle course path, helped a local family plant their rice fields (paddies), and began planting a field of coconut trees.

At the close of a week there, it was time to head back to Florida by way of Hong Kong where we enjoyed real beds, hot showers, and amazing food. So, there you have it, the answer to your question. Not very exciting, I realize. What is exciting is not what we did physically and practically over the last two months, but what the Lord did in the lives of the Cambodian people and in our own hearts. In my subsequent posts I will be focusing on those things with stories, Scripture, and more pictures.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Meeting Again

Greetings in Jesus' Name!

I just wanted to post a short note to let you all know that I and my younger sister are safely back from Cambodia. God worked mightily in and through us, and though we are still processing everything we learned it is good to be back with our family. In a few days I hope to have gotten my thoughts in order and will begin posting anecdotes, lessons learned, and some pictures here. Thank you for your abundant prayers, they were certainly felt over the past eight weeks. Please continue to pray for us both as we readjust to American culture and food, and seek to apply in this setting all that the Lord has taught us.