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Day Thirteen and Fourteen - Nearing the Finish 10/30 - 10/31
Refreshing to be in Cambodia on Halloween because they do not celebrate it here!
Pastor Ivy and I have finished our teaching one day early in order to give more time to Pastor Tim. He is in Matthew 24 right now and has until tonight to finish the book. We are here in class offering our support.
The past few days have been as much about relationship building and remembrance as teaching. His does the old saying go? "They won't care how much you know until the know how much you care." We have been eating with the pastors which really is key. Today Pastor ivy and I went to get Donuts at a bakery. A treat these men hardly ever eat for their morning break. Just a little way to show we care about them. Yesterday we took pictures of them as individuals to help us remember them.
Tomorrow the pastors will take their final tests, pack their bags and head for home. We will stop by for testing then head out for a short day around town before going to the hotel and packing for our late night flight.
As the close of our trip nears I am blessed to have been here and to see what God is doing in this country. But, I am also saddened by seeing how much the Devil is doing here as well. Truly this war will be waged for many years to come. A war that we all have a part in through the tremendously powerful vehicle of prayer.
When I return this Sunday to the pulpit I will share on this trip and on how we can affect change in the world around us. This trip has been a life changing one indeed.
See you soon!
Day 15 - Saying Good Bye and Heading Home. 11/1-11/2
This morning we wereblessed to sleep in a little then all three of us went over to the Bible College to share in worship communion and prayer with the pastors before they head home until next semester. I was blessed to preside over communion and have included the text of that service at the end of this blog.
Truly these people have left an indelible mark on our lives. I pray that what we have been sharing with them will leave a mark on them and their ministries as well. Perhaps the most powerful part of our stay was when we kneeled on the floor and the pastors prayed for us, our churches, and families.
We will be treating those that have helped us out to dinner tonight then taking quick showers and heading to the airport to go home. It will take many days to process what we have seen and learned. But, the emotions of leaving these new friends are already beginning to rise to the surface.
The only thing that makes the bitterness if saying good by better is the joy of knowing that I will be home with those I love in the states soon. Hope to see you Sunday!
God Bless You All,
Turn in your Bibles to Luke chapter 22 with me for a quick look at the meaning of communion before we partake of the elements together...
Before we read the text and take the elements ... I want to let you all know on behalf of my fellow Pastors...what a great privilege it is for us to have spent the past two weeks with you all...
This has been an experience we will not forget as it has changed us in many ways... We look forward to the next time we meet with you again...whether here or at the great feast of the Lamb in heaven... And you will be remembered by us in our prayers presently as you labor for the kingdom here in Cambodia.
There is perhaps no better way to close out our time together than with the celebration of communion.
When The church today...gathers to celebrate communion... We in a sense looks at the things of God from the same three perspectives we have and will look upon out trip... Communion looks at the things of God in relation to ... the past, the present, and the future.
All Christians agree that one of the reasons for the Lord’s Supper is to remember what Jesus did for them on the Cross. ‘Do this in remembrance of me’... is a command from our Lord not to forget.
In the Old Testament an New testaments as Pastor Ivy and Pastor Tim both taught... apostasy... Or the falling away from the truth... Is always associated with the concept of forgetting....
So Jesus is urging his disciples... no matter what else they forget of all they have seen in His company...not to forget the significance of the event we remember as a church to this day.
Every time we break bread and drink the cup, we are to do it in remembrance of Him.
So when the church follows that mandate in its celebration of the Lord’s Supper...it looks to the past... but...as Jesus stresses...there is also a sense in which the celebration of the Lord’s Supper is a foretaste of the future feast that God has promised for his people in heaven... He says He won't eat of it again until the kingdom ... But then they will all eat of it again...
Then we will sit down with our Lord and celebrate the great wedding of Christ and his bride...the Church.
So we look to the past and we look to the future... but what about now?
As the people of God come together... looking back to the past work and looking ahead to the future promises of our King... there is also the present enjoyment and blessing of being in the presence of Christ...
So let's now remember the Lord in His words with the elements He Prescribed... Looking forward to the day we will eat of these elements with Him in the kingdom to come... Allowing this time to bring peace to our hearts presently as we go our separate ways in service to Him.(((read, partake, and pray)))
Day Eleven and Twelve - The Culture Challenge 10-28-13 / 10-29-13
Try for moment to remove yourself from the things you know about family and American societal norms. Travel with me to a land that spent 40 yrs in the throws of war, and 5 yrs under the rule of a genocidal maniac. Try to think of life without at least one of your parents maybe both. If you can do that you are close to understanding the plight of most of the male population of Cambodia. Now add the position of second class citizen, fear of beatings, rape, molestation, and forced prostitution and you are close to understanding the plight of women and children in this country.
Before you lose your religion and develop a hatred for this place, remind yourself that all of this is all that most of these people know. 97% of Cambodians are not saved, 97% live their lives in ignorance of the better things that are awaiting them in Christ. Bringing them salvation apart from discipleship is just not enough. Even the 3% that are Christians are woefully ill equipped to live like the Bible prescribes because of the cultural influences that live deep within them.
For the past few days I have been teaching studies that run counter to the cultural norms of Cambodia. It has been a trying and a blessed time of helping these men realize that they are here for "such a time as this". They are called to live biblical examples before their churches and communities and are enabled to do so by the power of His Holy Spirit living in and through them. I praise The Lord for the opportunity to share the freedom and elevated status that comes to all through Christs' love for His bride the church.
Please join me in praying that the word of The Lord will dwell richly within these men, making changes in their family lives and the lives of those around them. The future of Cambodia can be so bright if we lift them up and keep them ignited with our prayers.
Changed for Life,
Day Nine and Ten - Angkor Wat ... What?!?!? 10-26-13 & 10-27-13
We got up and had breakfast with Curtis and Bre in the morning then headed out to view Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm two temples that were discovered in the late sixties and are in the process of being restored. The word temple dies not truly express the magnificence of these structures. Angkor has the world's largest man made moat around it, measuring 5 miles long. It took 40 yrs and thousands of slaves to build this massive project. Pictures are on Instagram if you are interested in seeing them. What amazes me the most is the amount of work that went into these massive structures for the worship of worthless and impotent gods. How blessed we are to be the chosen temples of the living God, made not with human hands but by our Loving Lord.
The next place we went to was Ta Prohm which is the place where they filled Lara Croft Tomb Raider. The place really looks unreal with trees literally growing out of the walls and dense green vegetation everywhere. I was telling Jake that it was like a jungle gym for big kids. Amazing to explore it all. Maybe the most notable thing was the picture of a stegosaurus carved into the walls of this 1200 yr old temple. (Again there is a picture on my Instagram page)
After visiting the temples it was time to go back to the hotel for lunch. Curtis had been saying he had a pain in his side all day. So he and Bre headed to a clinic to get it checked out after lunch and we headed back out to the temples.
We went last to Bayon an amazing temple of faces carved into the rock with tremendous precision. To walk in places 4 times older than our country is a truly humbling feeling. No matter the reason for building such monuments one can not help but be in awe of their construction. We returned from the temple and our day went from Wat to what?!?
Curtis had appendicitis and they were deciding whether or not to operate. We hopped a Tuk-Tuk (motorcycle carriage) to the hospital to be with our hosts. Around midnight they decided to operate, as soon as they received $3,000 dollars in deposit. How many of you could give someone $3,000 if you were 6 hours from home? These uninsured missionaries could not afford it at all and certainly not in a few minutes. We began to see why everything had been orchestrated as it had. The three of us pastors made a judgement call to help him get the surgery. You all through your giving to Calvary may well have saved a life today. If they did not pay, no operation would be done and they would release him to find care elsewhere. Meaning he could die if it ruptured. We handled the bill prayed with Curtis and Bre before surgery and stayed with Bree until Curtis was in recovery! Praise God the surgery went well and he has no fever today.
In addition, had we been in Phnom Penh he may have went too a far less skilled and far dirtier hospital. But because we were in Siem Reap which has a lot of tourist because it is home to the temples, the hospital was newer, cleaner, nicer, and staffed by skilled drs. This last minute weekend trip brought Curtis to a better hospital and our being here made it possible for him to afford the surgery. Truly God is great in all His plans and timing!
We had breakfast with Bre but had to leave her and Curtis behind so we could look after the students and fulfill our teaching tasks. As I write this we are on the bus back to Phnom Penh very tired, but felling very blessed. God truly cares about every detail of our lives. Turning What?!?! Into Who!!! And pointing us back to Him.
Please continue to pray for Curtis and Bre as he recovers in Siem Reap. Also remember the pastor students in your prayers as they finish out their semester next week.
The Lord Bless You All,