I recently read some advice from a veteran Cambodian missionary: never make important decisions in April or May—the hottest, and often most discouraging, months of the year. And while this year’s hot season has been a refreshing breeze by comparison to last year’s record breaker, it’s still hot. So we’ll follow that wise advice and not bolt for cooler climes, but in the meantime, please pray for endurance, both physically and mentally. We are tired. Particularly Bonnie Ruth needs your prayers for strength and wisdom in the use of her resources.
I continue to spend much of my time honing my Khmer and preparing Bible lessons for my former language tutor. Please pray for his continued interest (which seems to be lagging and somewhat distracted, lately) in the gospel, as well as for additional opportunities for me to teach other Christians or people interested in the gospel. When I last wrote, I was praying for wisdom in the use of my time—Khmer vs. Lao. After getting input from my team leader, I am focusing my efforts on Khmer preparation and seeking only to maintain what Lao I’ve gained until next year when I will focus more fully on Lao.
Day-to-day life also provides numerous unplanned opportunities for sharing the gospel. Most are brief, one-time encounters. But a few are developing into longer-term relationships. One such particular instance is with an elderly lady, Sopeap, whom we’ve been able to help with medical care in Phnom Penh. Please pray for Sopeap as she listens to the gospel, that the healing she is receiving in her body would be matched with healing for her soul. Pray also for another young woman we have recently helped. Her medical issues stem both from her 9 abortions and possibly from an STD received from her husband. Please pray for this woman—that the brokenness in her life and body might work itself out in a truly broken spirit before God.
Finally, please pray for increased interaction with our immediate neighbors. I have recently tried to make some adjustments to my daily schedule in order to create more opportunities to spend time with them. Pray that these efforts will bear fruit for the gospel.
Perhaps the best part of life in Cambodia is the teammates God has given us. I couldn’t have handpicked a better group to work with. In February, we spent a day with our co-workers in Ratanakiri, celebrating 10 years of Cambodian ministry for our dearest friends, Brian and Lydia Kane. The Kanes’ testimony of faithfulness through frustrations, discouragements, failures, and now increasing success and usefulness gives me as great a hope and encouragement as some of my favorite missionary biographies. Following their example, I press on in hopes that my 10-year update will be as filled with fruit and gospel opportunities as I see them (finally) enjoying!
Then, for the past 2 weeks, we enjoyed a visit from one of our pastors, John Wheeler. John and his family of 10 ministered the gospel for 20 years overseas (Turkey), so we had not a few things in common. His wisdom of experience and his pastoral care for us was an immense boon, and we praise God for giving pastors and teachers to his church, even to those members who may be on an extended leave of absence!
Finally, the highlight of our year thus far was a visit from my parents, my favorite and most valuable supporters. By far, their 40 years of constant prayer and faithful modelling of the gospel have been the most influential force directing my path into missions. And certainly no one else has paid the price of “losing” this son for the gospel as they have. (Sometimes the real sacrifice of missions is paid, not by the missionaries, but by the parents who lose their kids and grandkids.) So indeed, our joy was full when Mom and Dad trotted the globe like two twenty-somethings (Jet lag? What jet lag? Stomach bugs? What’s that?) to spend two wonderful weeks with us in February. Again, I was confirmed in my desire and prayer that I (and my kids) will be like them when I grow up.