This month it seems that the Devil is trying to attack God’s work here in Cambodia more than ever, when I arrived back from visiting my parents in Thailand I learned that one of the house parents had died while I was away. Not only that but one of the children in our orphanage died also that same week. And then as if things couldn’t get worse another child died last night and was buried today. All of these happenings have started me thinking about what I am really over here for, is it for the adventure? is it for the climate? what is it for? As I write this I am surrounded by Buddhists who probably have never heard of the true God, and who have no real hope of a future after death. I have come to the conclusion that God has placed me here for one purpose, and that is to show His love to those I meet with here in Cambodia, which includes not only my own students, and those that come to visit our school, but also the not-so-nice people who I meet in the market, on the street. This is not a unique job that God has given me to do, He has given it to each and every one of us, He does not ask all to go to Cambodia or Thailand to serve Him, but He does ask that we share His love with everyone that we meet, because we do not know what the future holds, and we don’t know if that person will have another chance to hear of and accept of God’s love. This we can do where ever we are, whether in Europe, America, Africa, or Asia it matters not we can still do something to further God’s cause.
Well school has finally started and we are getting back into to the routine of teaching, Which means that I am becoming very busy. I got up at 5 am this morning and was greeted by the sound of the birds singing, but unfortunately I was not able to lay there and relax, here in Cambodia I can be very busy on Sundays. After worship and bath I had to get ready to go to the market. Now this is just a little different than your normal run-down-to-the-grocery-store trip so why don’t your come along with me and find out what it is like. Our trip begins at 7 am and as we drive down the road on the motorbike we pass villagers riding bicycles to work and the market, everyone is happy to see the “barangs” and some of the kids shout hello as we speed past. Some of the obstacles we must watch out for include dogs, cows, bicycles, other motorbikes, and cars, so we carefully weave to this side and that on the road. As we approach the market a myriad of sights and sounds greet our eyes and ears. Colorful sun shades wave in the morning breeze, and the smell of fresh fish and vegetables greet our noses, we walk in the main entrance and to our left we can have our choice of 5-6 different kinds of rice, while to our left is an interesting array of clothing and other essentials. As we walk deeper into the market you may be starting to feel a bit nauseous as we walk through the meat section, the meat is covered in flies and the smell is dreadful but we survive it and make our way through to the vegetable section, where we buy food fit for vegetarians like myself! Here we see an endless variety of vegis some that we have in the states and some that we have never seen before. We carefully sort through our options being sure to select only the clean looking ones. When we finish in the vegetable section we head over to get a few loaves of delicious Cambodian bread MMMmmm. As we head back to the motorbike we add up our damages and find that we have spent a total of 16000 r ouch! that is a whole $4! After a wild trip back to the school dodging all the obstacles we arrive safe and sound ready to start our next adventure.
I thought this time that I would show you just a little of what Cambodia looks like.
We’ll start with the more well known stuff.
More about Cambodia.
This week has been somewhat of a trial for me, as I have struggled with teaching some things that I have never studied. The problem subject is one that none of the other teachers here enjoy teaching, so I have been unable to trade subjects with any of them. I was getting more and more frustrated… when… I was reading about when Jesus fed the 5000, and the thought came to me that if God could take care of feeding 5000 people then He shouldn’t have a problem with 20! That is good news because I don’t need to get frustrated any more, since I’m going to let Him do the teaching in that class! God truly is good all the time. Whenever we need Him, He is always there. Keep trusting Him.
The night was dark and the moon was partially hidden behind the clouds as she moved silently, stealthily towards the well lit house. She knew that her past history of crimes meant that she would probably not be shown mercy this time if she was caught. The door was slightly ajar and she cautiously slipped inside, stopping for a moment to quickly glance around to make sure no one was watching; then she padded on into the kitchen and towards all the treats that she knew would be waiting for her. There on the counter she saw what she has been longing for with all her heart and eased over to the counter where she gracefully perched herself and began deciding where she would start. Oh my! so many choices! Should it be the red bottle, the yellow bottle, or the bread? She was unable to decide at first, so she started smelling them and… BANG! She knocked over the bottle with the yellow stuff in it, MMmmm that smells good she thought to herself as she began licking it up off the counter, forgetting all about watching the door to make good her escape.
Now you must know that I have been sick with Amebic dysentery since last week, and I have been very weak and worn out, so I spend a good portion of my days after school lying in my hammock which is currently upstairs in my room. Another important point is that I am very adamant that the cat stays out of the kitchen; as I think that may have contributed to my getting sick (the cat eats my bread whenever it can!). So when I heard a crash and a bang coming from the kitchen I, in spite of my sickness went racing down to the kitchen and found the cat licking up my precious oil, which was still half full after I have had it 3-4 months. Now this is not the worst of her crimes that she has committed but I decided that this was the end of the cat’s residence, and my patience, I have taken up arms against the cat and hope that she will now get the point. The punishment for the cat included, but was not limited to evicting her from the house, and giving her a good lecture.
This experience with the cat has made me stop and think about how God must feel when we go astray and do the things we shouldn’t. I think I would like to make it easier on God by just doing the things He asks me to rather than being like the cat and causing trouble for Him and trying His patience.
”If it be possible as much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men” Romans 12:18
All of us volunteers sat in the girls’ house waiting and talking, once in a while we glanced at our watches and calculated the time until the “zero” hour. The minutes ticked slowly by and it seemed like ages (to me at least!) until Sannal and I were finally ready to do our work. With a “see you in a bit” we left the girls to their waiting and disappeared into the darkness on the motorcycle. Once on our way we drove quickly out to the main road and into town where we soon pulled up at a dimly lit house; a few minutes after I called on the phone Lina came to the gate and led us inside where we saw a huge pile of fruit, turning to us she asked, ‘do you need any help?’ Sannal shook his head and said, ‘no I think we can handle it’. We began loading the fruit on the motorbike and I mentioned that I thought we would need to take 3 or 4 trips, but Sannal said ‘no I think we can do it in 2 trips!’ Oh my! those were some wild trips! Because the bike was loaded so heavily Sannal couldn’t turn the handlebars so he drove very fast and just leaned the bike way over! It worked but it sure was scary!
Imagine you are a mouse sitting on top of the brick wall at the dorm, just getting ready for a good nights rest when. . . You start hearing noises. . . What is that you think to yourself. You stare out into the darkness with fear and trepidation, and suddenly you see one, two, three. . . five figures creeping around the end of the dorm looking cautiously over their shoulders and doing their best to stay in the shadows. What on Earth are they up to you ask yourself. Why do they look so much like robbers? You watch as they creep up to the door and begin trying different keys, nothing seems to work and they resort to trying to pick the lock! Oh my! They really must be desperate, they have decided to go around and try the front. Not wanting to miss anything you race across the roof and perch yourself at the front of the dorm. This time they are having better success and soon they have entered the building and begin carrying boxes and bags into the cafeteria. What on Earth are they up to? You ask yourself again. After the last box has been carried inside they carefully lock the door and disappear into the night. You sigh as you curl up in a ball and begin to drift off to sleep, I wonder what these Humans will come up with next!
After the above mentioned night time activities, things here at Wat Preah Yesu continued as normal without anyone guessing what had actually gone on that night. Friday came and went, and Sabbath dawned like any other Sabbath before it. Tim had the sermon (a very good one on revival and reformation) and in the afternoon everyone went their separate ways, some to Wendy’s class on relationships, some to Tim’s baptismal class, and some of us to catch some rest. And so the day passed seemingly uneventful, and for the most part it was, until sundown worship time. . . For the first time in a long time almost none of the volunteers showed up to sundown worship! Very strange! What were we all doing?
As worship got underway we all slipped up to the cafeteria where we started decorating like crazy! We inflated balloons and hung ribbons and brought in sound equipment and all kinds of things to beautify the place, while another one of the volunteers distracted Tim and Wendy by telling her’ testimony to them. The whole orphanage had been invited and told to arrive half an hour early, but the kids decided one hour was better! Finally everything was ready and we were just waiting on Tim and Wendy. By now I’m sure you’ve figured out that this was a surprise for Tim and Wendy which will explain all the secretiveness that went into the preparations. They finally did arrive and the program commenced, the reason for the program was that we all wanted to say thanks to the Maddocks family for letting God use them in such a powerful way here in Cambodia. The program included some tributes given by some of the house parents and kids from the orphanage, a slide show depicting the history of WPY and how God has been leading this ministry, and some songs that the volunteers wanted to share with Tim and Wendy.
Sometimes it is helpful to take the time to look back over the way that God has led us in our past and remember what He has done for us, how He has protected us and guided our steps; so that we can gain courage and strength to continue following in His footsteps and not be discouraged with the circumstances that we find ourselves in. So let us all go forward together in His footsteps, so that He use us to finish the work that should have been finished long ago.