We’ve been in the US since early April and Cambodia seems a world away, both geographically and temporally. As I’ve shared with many of you already, moving a young family of nine around the world for nine months was not exactly my idea of “furlough” (noun. Military. a vacation or leave of absence granted to an enlisted person)! But what if our brief visits with you could somehow lead to more focused, knowledgeable, and Spirt-led prayers for the gospel’s advance in Cambodia? I’m definitely up for that and have been begging God to bring it to pass. Perhaps our biggest take-away from these years in Cambodia has been that if Christ does not build His House there among the Laotians, all our best and most diligent efforts are in vain. This has been a painful and humiliating lesson, but we see in Scripture that it’s exactly where God likes to position His servants, leading them to call out to Him to accomplish His work in the power of His Spirit. So once again I urge you, brothers and sisters, to pray that God would call out Laotian men, women, and children in northeastern Cambodia to be part of His church; that in Stung Treng, Siem Pang, Sesan, Veun Sai, and Lumphat, there would be Laotians meeting week after week, listening to the Scriptures in Laotian, praising the triune God with Laotian hymns, and exhorting one another in their heart language of Laotian.
Enriched in every way
So that’s why we came back–because we need an army of pray-ers to work with us. But so much more has happened in our visits with you. You’ve lavished attention on us, praying with us and for us, exhorting and comforting us, and feting us like kings, thoroughly giving the lie to that old line that missionaries are a forgotten and neglected race. (Actually, you’ve proven this already throughout our past 4 years in Cambodia.) Thank you, dear friends, for your ministry with, and now to, us.
This one thing you lack …
But even your most kingly treatment has lacked one thing, something you just couldn’t provide: a home. Moving from castle to castle, from feast to feast, has filled our hearts and bellies; but we are longing to be in one place for more than a few nights at a time. And in God’s kind provision, this is what’s next for us. On Wednesday we arrived in Nashville, TN and quickly moved into what will be our home for the next 4-5 months.
During these months, I will continue visiting those partner churches that we haven’t yet seen. We’re also very thankful to be a part of Reformed Baptist Church here in Nashville, enjoying their fellowship for more than just one week at a time! And finally, we’re all eagerly looking forward to the opportunity our school-aged children will have to attend a “real” school (I guess Bonnie Ruth doesn’t count as a “real” teacher) here in Nashville. We do covet your prayers for us during this time—that our meetings with partner churches would continue to be profitable for the gospel. We’re also praying for a continued smooth transition for our kids. Thus far, this American life has felt to them like one 4-month long vacation–how’s that for the much-dreaded reverse culture shock?! But we expect that will be changing soon as school starts next week. Please pray for their success—spiritual, social, and academic—in this new venture.