Two weeks ago, when I wrote our last update, we were in the middle of our Cambodia survey trip, and as I mentioned in that update, I had been sick. I’m happy to report that within four days of getting sick, I had completely recovered (though I still felt physically drained). I’m also glad to tell you that Amy never got sick, for which we thank the Lord (and thank you for praying!).
On Thursday morning (6/13), we completed our drive to Ban Lung. My sickness curtailed some of our plans for that portion part of our trip, but we still fit in the essentials: a survey of Ban Lung, a visit to a Jarai village (though only for a couple hours), time with our future co-workers, participation in the Saturday evening fellowship of missionaries, and worship at a local church (Khmer rather than Jarai).
If you’re interested in additional details about the trip, you can scroll down and read those further down. (You can also see photos from the first half of the trip on our personal blog, here and here. Photos from the second half of our trip will be posted on that blog over the course of the next two Thursdays.)
Plans and Prayer
Last Friday we arrived at our new home in Spartanburg, SC (graciously provided to us by Cleveland Park Bible Church). Two days later we were formally commissioned by our sending church, Hampton Park Baptist. The rest of the year will be devoted to meetings with churches and friends to present our ministry — and to making calls and sending emails trying to set up these meetings!
We thank the Lord (and you!) that our committed monthly support level is now at 27%.
Please pray with us:
- That I would be diligent and successful in setting up church meetings and meals with friends to present our work.
- That God would help us to minister effectively at our home church and in the churches we visit.
- That God would be preparing us for the transition to Cambodia (emotions, expectations, and preliminary language study).
Ban Lung Survey
Thursday afternoon, J.D. Crowley drove us around Ban Lung, showing us how the city has been growing and modernizing. Hotels have been going up, electricity has become more reliable, and most of the forest has given way to agriculture.
Ban Lung is where the other EMU families live, as do several missionaries from other organizations. Ban Lung provides good access to many of the tribal areas in Ratanakiri province: some tribal villages are less than a 20-minute drive from there.
On Friday, we drove half an hour to Blang, a nearby Jarai village. The village is situated just off of the main road (paved!) that goes to Vietnam. There’s electricity running to a house or two in the village. We spent our time visiting with a Jarai Christian leader and his wife. The husband wanted to give us his testimony of coming to Christ: it’s a beautiful story of how the love of Christians was used by God to draw him to a firm faith in Christ. He spoke in Khmer (his second language), with J.D. interpreting for us.
It was helpful for both Amy and me to spend time with the Crowleys, Kanes, and Farmers. All three families helped us get a good perspective on the challenges of transitioning to life in Cambodia. We were helped not only by asking questions but also by observing each family’s life together.
Amy’s overall impression was that Cambodia is a bit more developed than she had expected. She anticipates that one of the hardest challenges will be balancing family life and the demands of language study, especially during our early years in Cambodia.
My own impressions were colored quite a bit by jet-lag for the first couple days and then, as that was wearing off, the physical and emotional drain of being sick. I found the heat of Phnom Penh somewhat more oppressive than I’d remembered. I much preferred Ratanakiri, which is milder and greener.
Our survey made me painfully aware of how attached I am to comforts such as air conditioning, good water pressure, and clean bathrooms. I had prided myself (based on my previous two trips) on being adaptable and unattached to basic American luxuries. I’m now making it a matter of prayer and reflection to prepare my heart for the changes that await us in Cambodia. In many ways, this is basic Christianity, the willingness to suffer (or in this case, be mildly uncomfortable) for the sake of eternal goods.
Thank you for your interest in our ministry and for your prayers for us. Feel free to forward these emails to anyone else that you think would be interested in our ministry plans. (And if you received this email from a friend and want to sign up for yourself, you can do that on our website.)