Barang

Barang… (Bah-rahng’)

In Khmer, it refers to anyone who is not from Cambodia. It is a term used to indicate a foreigner. Someone who doesn’t belong. An outsider in a country. The term was used by Khmer people to us and by us to ourselves. When we were in Cambodia, we were the barang, and when we saw others like us, we would say, “Hey, look! Barang!” It’s as if we were greeting long lost family or friends. We would have conversations with our fellow barang even though we had only met 2 seconds before.  It was as if, because of the mutual feeling of not belonging, our hearts connected and we felt a little bit of home.

In America, the feeling is the same but slightly different, or as the Khmer say, “Same, same, but different.” Here too, we are the barang, because, although our nationality is American, our citizenship is in heaven. In what is fabricated as being our homeland, we are really just strangers passing through. In fact, the times that we felt most at home, both here in America and across the sea in Cambodia, are when we were with fellow citizens of heaven. We said, “Oh look, more barang, like us!” and although we had just met, it was as if we have been part of the same family for eternity… which we have.

Coming home is hard. The Khmer Christians worship with such fervor and passion, pray in authority and power, and speak with truth and boldness. It’s the thing that we first noticed about the way they live. They don’t just do church, they are church. They live the Great Commission. And the amazing thing is that the same power that is at work in Cambodia is also at work here. It’s just harder to see its effects due to all the noise and distraction that surrounds our daily lives.

In Cambodia, the veil between the spiritual world and the physical world is thin. If anyone tried to deny the existence of the spiritual realm, they would be labeled as crazy. The people are hyper aware of the spiritual, as evidenced by the little gold spirit houses in every house, shop, and street corner. There the biggest question is, “Which God?” The existence of a spiritual being is not doubted.

In America the truth is the opposite. The veil is so thick here that the question turns to, “Is there a God?” People doubt the existence of a spiritual realm because America is so focused on the material. But the gods that the Americans worship are just the same as those that the Khmer worship. The Khmer worship spirits that they pray will provide for their needs. That will give them food, prosperity, and family. There are spirits in the rice fields, the trees, and the water. They worship the things that they think give them life. American gods take a same, same, but different form. Americans worship money, love, and success. Material goods that are just as vital to them as rice is to the Khmer. But both fail to see that the true life giver is not in the creation, but in the Creator.

So what is so amazing about the church in Cambodia is that they see Jesus as the most powerful spiritual being! As the only God worth serving, because in comparison to Him, all other spirits are nothing!

In America, because we are so privileged as a country, concerns like food and medicine and survival do not lay as heavily on our minds as the Khmer people. Therefore, it’s sometimes easy to just see Jesus as the Savior of our souls, and ourselves as the saviors of our own material lives. But what we learned from the Khmer church was a fresh view that reminded us that every material possession we own is a gift from God. A provision from Him. Because in the end, we are all barang. We are all foreigners and as foreigners, all our possessions are on loan to us for a time. Our homeland is in heaven and when we get there, whether we are American or Khmer, we will no longer be barang. We will be home.

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Markets, Photos And Bugs, Oh My!

Yesterday was our final full day in Cambodia. We left early this morning to head back to the city. We had a great time in Kampong Cham, worshipping together, dancing it up, and having kid’s church! On our way to the city we stopped at an outdoor market that sold bugs. Yes BUGS! My teammates bought an out a proud of scorpions, tarantulas, cockroaches, car ickets, worms and frogs. It is so horrible!! I have yet to see any of them actually eat one. Thank the Lord!

Eventually we arrived in Phnom Penh, we went to a place called the Russian Market and shopped for souvenirs. The market is so full of vendors that you can barely walk through the aisles! From there we made our way to an amazing restauranturant called Jars of Clay. The restaurant is owned by a ministry that helps young women in need to have employment and be able to support their families. I think that is pretty cool!

The next part of the day was a grand adventure ture with my dear friend Pheap. She took us to have a traditional Khmer photo shoot. We got all made up with way too much makeup, and got to pick out sparkly gowns and do our hair in big bouffant. It was awesome! Even the boys got pampered. We had a blast laughing and being silly.

We got to ride in tuck tuk’s on our way back to the hotel where we rested until with went to a very Western pizza place near our hotel for dinner. What was really cool was that later that night we got to meet with the pastor of the New Life Fellowship. Pastor Chuck is from Harrisburg, Oregon. He wore a Beavers shirt to greet us. We got to talk about our time here and our experiences with the church plants we visited in Kampong Spue and Kampong Cham.

It was a good day, and it has been a beautiful blessing watching the work the Lord has done through and in the lives of each one of us. Through being stretched in ways thta we were not always comfortable with, God answered the faithful prayers of our loved ones with courage and boldness and an outpouring of the His Holy Spirit! Our God is SO faithful!

Team mom,

Wendy Davenport

Our Last Day In Ministry

Today started off with a trip to the church, where we lead a children’s program. The kids were delighted to have us join them. We played multiple games and had tons of fun!!

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Later we had our very own Moriah and Zach practice with the worship team. After that we had lunch with the leaders of the church in Kampong Cham. We then went to the hotel for some rest time. We had a surprise experience with some durian fruit that Pheap bought at the market for us to try. Some of the team thought it smelled like stinky socks and made them want to throw up, for others it was good! “It was sort of a taste between onion and pineapple and stinky socks” by Andrew Davenport. Kim thought it smelled like cantaloupe.

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In the evening, we attended the church service and enjoyed Zach and Moriah expressing their gifts and musicality as they played along with the worship team. It was really awesome being able to sit in a Khmer Sunday service.

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The worship was on point and “so was the boy’s hair as the girls had curled it earlier with Jess’s curling wand” (by the girls on the team).

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After that we went to dinner and had awesome egg, cheese, and bacon hamburgers.

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We then proceeded to go to the night market where there were clothes and some not so wonderful smells. We ventured back to the hotel in our wonderful air-conditioned bus and now I am reciting this blog as Nisha types.

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-With much love,

Andrew Davenport 😉

 

New Friends In New Places

Yesterday we drove from Phnom Penh for 3 hours to Kampong Cham province. When we got here we had an hour to get settled and then we went to the church in the province to teach the English classes there. Our team was split into two groups, one to teach the adult English class, and the other to teach the kids class. The students were eager to learn and participate in the games and lessons we had for them. We taught them American conversational skills and even got some of them to say, “Sup?”

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After these two classes, we went to join a cell group that meets near the church. The cell group is made up of some of the leaders including many of the youth leaders and youth pastor, administrators and other leaders in the church. We got to worship with them and pray in pairs. Their stories are so amazing! Most of them have only known God for a few years, but they are so on fire for him! Many of them are the only believers in their family, or have one or two family members who told them about God. Those who have unbelieving family members are so passionate about praying for their families that they would accept Jesus. It’s so inspiring and convicting to see their faith in God and their trust in His provision!

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Today, we met at the church with some of the leaders and then headed out to pray for two families in the community that are part of the church here. One of them is an elderly woman they call “grandmother”. She isn’t able to walk and is mostly blind, but she is so happy and filled with joy! We got to pray over her and her family including her granddaughter who is pregnant. The next family we visited was a husband and wife who have six grandchildren. Two of them have a rare skin disease that makes their skin crack and peel. One of the boys with this condition is concerned that his skin will mean that he will never be able to get married and have a family. We were able to pray for him and speak truth over him and his family.

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After this we went to lunch with many of the leaders who were in the cell group the day before and some new leaders in the church that we hadn’t met. In the afternoon, we went to visit the women’s dorm and Wendy Davenport shared her testimony and we prayed for the girls who live there. This evening we took part in the church’s youth outreach. We were able to teach them the dance to Cotton Eyed Joe, continuing to be trendsetters in Cambodia! 😉 Moriah shared her testimony and Andrew shared the gospel through scripture, encouraging the students to walk in the hope of God’s salvation.  The outreach ended up turning into a dance party! We even learned some popular Khmer dances. For dinner afterward, we took the youth leaders to a bbq place in the town. The food was amazing!

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Kampong Cham province is beautiful and sort of reminds us of  Corvallis. It’s so green and has so many trees. It has a city center but also plenty of rural countryside, and the city is not insanely crowded like Phnom Penh. Some of the girls on the team were even able to ride on motors behind some of the youth leaders who live in the women’s dorm, which was an amazing experience. We were also able to climb up a tall abandoned watchtower that has become a tourist attraction, which was mildly terrifying for some of us since the steps to the top are rickety metal ladder-like stairs with two inch wide steps. However, the view was worth the climb!

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As we’re nearing the end of our trip, it’s starting to hit us that we only have a few short days left in Cambodia. Many of us are excited to be coming home, but all of us, I know have a part of their heart here and will leave it here when we leave. The next thing will be to ask God what plans He has for us when we return!

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Prayer requests:

– Continued prayer for the sick in our group

– Strength and joy to continue the trip and finish well

– Wisdom to be hearing God’s callings on our lives.

 

Let The Little Children Come…

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Over the last three days, we have been in Phnom Penh teaching English at the school that New Life Fellowship runs. We’ve been teaching grades ranging from preschool to University students. On Tuesday, we taught the fifth grade and sixth grade classes in the morning. The kids were so excited to see us and talk to us! That evening we went to New Life Church and facilitated two of their English classes for adults and university students there. It was really amazing seeing how excited these students were to practice their English with us and learn more about where we are from. We also learned some Khmer from them! That night we had a wonderful surprise from our fearless leader, Kim. Since it was the Fourth of July, we had Indian food for dinner on a boat on the Mekong River. Kim had bought sparklers and a big cake and we had our own little Fourth of July celebration in Cambodia. It was interesting thinking about how much oppression and suffering this country has gone through, and how blessed we are in America to have the freedom that we do, even if it is not perfect.

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Wednesday was our really long day, We taught three English classes that morning: a 2nd grade class, an 8th grade class, and a 4th grade class. We danced, sang songs, played word games, and shared our stories with them. We had a few hours break between the morning classes at New Life School and our evening classes at the TSK school, so after a satisfying lunch of burgers and fries with the leaders of the New Life School, we decided to explore the Central Market. The market is nothing like anything we have in America, and you have to barter for everything which was a new experience for some of the team. That evening we headed to the TSK school, where we split into four teams and each taught one class. The classes were made up of students ranging from elementary age to college age depending on their level of English. After this, the university students who live at the dorms near the school came over, bringing dinner and fruit with them. We ate and talked together and two of the team shared their testimonies. It is interesting how we can be in a completely different country with a different culture and language, and yet when you meet someone who is your age and in a similar place in life as you, the barriers that separate us seemed to fall away and we were able to just talk and laugh and pray for one another.

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Today we finished our last three classes at the New Life School. All of today’s classes were around the preschool to first grade age, and so teaching consisted of lots of songs, games, play-doh and face paint. After lunch we got to spend the afternoon and evening with Pheap at her apartment.

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“While we were at Pheap’s apartment, we had the opportunity to talk to a guy named Josh, from Destiny Rescue. Pheap invited him to share with us about their organization and how they help rescue, restore, and rehabilitate young women who have been forced to work in the sex trade. This is something God has put on my heart for a while now, and it was extremely moving for me to hear about the horrible situations these women are in, and the way God is using this organization to change their lives.

One of the ways they help restore women is to give them training in an occupation that they want to work in, and one of the popular occupations desired is hairdressing. Hearing about this was so exciting yet also terrifying for me, because doing something similar to this has been something God has been giving me a heart to do for a while now. As Josh was sharing about this, I couldn’t help but tear up. When he was done talking Pheap asked if we could pray for me, as I’ve told her things God has shown me and put on my heart with this.

As we were praying and worshipping tonight, I couldn’t help but think of all the fears I have if I were calling to commit to something like this. When I brought each of these things before the LORD, He simply said “I know” in a comforting way that reminded me that He has all things in His hands and is greater than all my fears. I don’t know exactly what God has in store for me in Cambodia beyond this trip, but a big part of me believes this is only the beginning, and I am praying and trusting that God will give direction in that. One thing Pheap has reminded me a few times over the course of this trip is that we are always safe when we are walking in God’s will for our lives. This is the safest place we can be–in the guidance, comfort, and protection of His arms.”

– Moriah

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Prayer Requests:

– Continued prayer for the sick on our team.

– -Visiting Kampong Cham Province. We will be spending most of the remaining time in one of the Provinces and could use prayer as things will be completely new again.

–  Wisdom and direction for God calling on our lives

 

 

 

 

Days of Rest

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For me, today was the best day of our trip so far. Starting out this morning we left the small province church we were visiting. It was nice to be heading back to the city but it was super sad to leave the sweet kids and very friendly Cambodians we got to know.  Once we got back to our hotel in the city we had about 3 hours of free time, which was amazing. All of us swam in the hotels salt water pool and had a lot of fun relaxing for a bit. Finally this evening we went to the New Life churches  3rd service that started at 5:30. The service was truly amazing. The pre message worship might have been the best worship of my life. Being surrounded by God-loving happy Cambodians that are bouncing around singing and raising their hands in praise to God was so awesome. Worshipping along side them with a combination of English and Khmer speaking people sounded so cool. What I loved about tonight was that I was reminded that God is the same all around the world, and that his overwhelming love reaches everyone everywhere.        -Myles

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Days of rest are so necessary, especially when you’re in the mission field. They allow you to sit back and reflect and be filled up again in order for you to be sent out again later. Today was a day of rest for us.. This morning we helped lead a children’s service at the New Life church in Kampong Spue. It was so much fun sitting with these little children and playing games and making bracelets with them. (Some of them are expert bracelet makers!!)

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It was difficult to leave the province after making all these new friends and not knowing if we will ever see them in person again until we all get to heaven. But it was comforting knowing that even though we may not meet again on this earth, this life isn’t all there is and we will meet again and spend eternity together singing and dancing!

This evening we attended the main Phnom Penh’s New Life church evening service. Worship was amazing! It’s so humbling and inspiring to see how these people worship God like there is no one else around! They sing and speak and dance in such confidence and power and faith! The worship leader said “We dance, not because we can do anything, but because God is good!” And that is so evident in all the Khmer people from the city to the provinces. Pastor Jesse taught on Colossians 3:1-4, and even though he was speaking in Khmer, we had a translation app that helped us get the gist of what he was saying. Later we had some really yummy Khmer-Thai food and then came back to our hotel and rested.

This week we will be teaching in the New Life English school and visiting the university dorms and ministering to the students who live there.  Tomorrow we will also be visiting the Killing Fields. For some of us this will be our first time and for others it will be a second time but just as emotionally challenging as we see the exact location of a place that sustained the most violence during the Khmer Rouge.

Prayer requests:

  • Continued prayer for people on our team who are not feeling well
  • Strength for the days ahead, especially for tomorrow visiting the Killing Fields.

 

 

Anointed With Joy

This morning we began our day in prayer and scripture. We read Hebrews 1, and the passage about being anointed with Joy stuck out to a few of us. In my life I know that God has anointed me with joy, and that is something he has put on my heart to pray over others. There is a little girl in the province who always has a sad and serious face. She stayed at an arms length the majority of the day, but later on came and sat with me. Today she fell asleep in my arms, and when I was holding her I was overwhelmed with emotions. She is God’s precious child. I was told that her home was not happy and that is why she was so sad. I sat holding her for a while and prayed God’s joy over her.
Unlike the United States, this country is not founded on Christian Morals. To beat someone, to lie, to mistreat another person, is all okay here. These small and precious children know nothing of God’s love and gentleness. The way he comforts and heals us, and fills the void with joy.     – Jess Wagar

This morning we met the pastor of the Kampong Spue branch of New Life Fellowship at the church and then walked to a family’s house a little ways down the road. The pastor told us that we were going to be praying for the house and for the people who lived there. What we found out when we got there is that this house is right next to the house of a well known witch in Kampong Spue. The people who live in the house, a grandmother, mother and her daughter, are new believers and new to New Life. They told us that they had been experiencing spiritual attack and demonic oppression and that their land was cursed. They asked us to lay our hands on the house and pray over it and the land. We began outside and ended up moving inside and praying for the daughter and the house and the land. A vision was shared of that house becoming a beacon of light to shine into all the other houses surrounding it. We could feel God’s presence in that place even though we were surrounded by so much darkness.

After leaving that house, we went to go visit the new church building in Kampong Spue that is in the process of being built. The pastor told us that the building would be ready in 2 weeks. His goal, along with the goal of every New LIfe church is to begin with free English classes and a youth outreach program to provide practical resources for the people of that area that will draw them into the church and equip them with the skills they need to succeed in life. It’s so amazing how the pastors in Cambodia have such a heart for the people and also the nation as a whole. They want to see the people of God “infiltrating” all spheres of society and influencing the people in those areas for the gospel!

After lunch we had some needed rest time in the hotel and then headed back to the church for the youth outreach. We began again with music, trading guitars and the keyboard and cajon between people and singing together in Khmer and English. It’s amazing to see how the Khmer people worship God, They go all in, whether they sounds good or not they’ll sing at the top of their lungs, joy shining from their faces truly is amazing to see how worshiping God isn’t hindered by a language barrier! Afterward, we played games with the kids, and then Myles Axtell and Andrew Davenport shared their testimonies with the youth. Tomorrow we will be assisting in the kids class during their church service.

A poem written by one of the team:

Phnom Penh
A city once forsaken
And mistaken to be taken
By an enemy with such power
While the people were forced to cower
Under submission or in prison
Scourged without reason
Accusations of treason
Taken to be killed
With fear their hearts were filled
Forgive but not forget
They say
We must learn to go on another day
Yet brokenness surrounds
And corruption still abounds
Khmer
A people not forsaken
Unmistaken and taken
By a King with all power
No longer is there need to cower
Because of His submission to the mission
Scourged without reason
Accusations of treason
Taken to be killed
His perfect plan fulfilled
Forgive them, for they know not what they do (Luke 23:34)
In that sorrowful day
He has made a way
Risen from the ground
His love forever abounds

 

Prayer requests:

  • Healing and rest for those who are feeling sick.
  • That God would pour out his love and joy on the people of Cambodia.
  • That God would protect His people in Cambodia and our team from spiritual attack.

 

The Legend Lives On

Today ends day two in Cambodia.  We traveled out of Phnom Penh this morning in our bus.  Before we left for Kampong Spue, we had orientation at New Life Fellowship.  New Life Fellowship is the church we serve with when we’re here.  They have a heart to see the Gospel spread throughout Cambodia.  They plant churches, raise up leaders to shepherd the churches and then they watch as God moves!  New Life Fellowship also offers very practical and hands on ways to help the people here.  They offer English classes, business classes, leadership training, and computer classes amongst other things.  This technique allows for them to meet very practical needs and teaching people about the Gospel!  It’s incredible.  Once we finished our orientation we did a prayer walk around the mall.

After we finished doing our prayer walk we headed out to Kampong Spue.  We were able to hang out with some of the youth.  Many of them just got saved a couple weeks ago!

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We spent time practicing worship with the youth there.  It is one of the most INCREDIBLE things to lead worship and have them sing along in Khmer!  Wendy and I would pass the guitar back and forth with two of their girls.  The guys went outside and Zach and Andrew lead.  It makes you think about Heaven and how all the nations will be praising God in their own language.  It will be one of the most glorious sounds we’ll ever hear!

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IMG_6923After a little while the girls’ worship time turned into a dance party (naturally!).  We taught them Cotton-Eyed Joe and we danced it way too many times.  One of the Pastors from another Province we visited last year says the kids there still dance to it and are teaching other kids to do it as well!  And so, the Calvary legacy lives on.  However, after one time dancing it you’ll be drenched in sweat, so doing it nearly four times is enough to dehydrate you!!  But the kids loved it and then taught us some of their dances.  They even roped Myles in!

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Please keep us in your prayers as a couple people on the team are feeling a little sick.  Tomorrow, we’ll be with the youth again and leading worship and teaching.  We’ll spend the morning traveling around praying for the people from the church here.  It’s a really wonderful opportunity to be used by the Lord in such unique ways!

-Kim

Be Flexible, And Don’t Touch The Pets…

WE ARE HERE!! Finally, after a long car ride to Seattle, a 12 hour flight to Taipei at 2am, a quick layover and another short flight, we’ve finally arrived in Phnom Penh: capital of Cambodia! We’re still shaky from the long flight, bedraggled, and sleep deprived, but so stoked to be here and get started on the plans God has for us!

Our college pastor in Corvallis, Chad Weaver, has a three rules that he gives whenever he takes a team on a missions trip: 1) Be flexible, 2) Be flexible, 3) Don’t touch the pets. The last one is more of a necessary cautious warning as animals in Cambodia are mostly strays, not pets. However, the first two may seem to be automatically understood, but honestly, flexibility is easier said than practiced.

We’ve been in Phnom Penh for 9 hours, and already our plans have changed at least three times. Today we had lunch at a missionary-run cafe called Jars Of Clay that supports missionaries in Cambodia and provides a safe place for groups to bring teams to eat really really amazing food! Instead of orientation, we went to visit Toul Sleng, the former highschool turned prison during the Khmer Rouge. For those of us who were on the team that came last year, this was our second time, but it made no less of an impact.

There is almost no family that was left unaffected by the devastation that the Khmer Rouge caused. Walking through the very rooms where innocent people were tortured and killed and young men and women were brainwashed into believing that evil was good brings a new perspective to the culture and lives of the people of Cambodia. To see all they have suffered, and yet also see how much resilience and hope they still have, makes the pain of knowing worth it.

And it makes the hope that Jesus brings all the sweeter!

As we head to Kampong Speu tomorrow, we realize that we are here to be flexible. We didn’t think that on the first day in this beautiful country, we would be visiting a place of such emotional weight as Toul Sleng, but the experience sparked an empathy in our hearts that otherwise would have been lacking as we minister to these people. We are here to serve, not to be served, and our schedule and agenda is not always the same as God’s agenda, but in the end, His agenda is so much better! And as we continue to be flexible (and not touch the pets), God will continue to use us and stretch us to play a small role in bringing hope and healing to the people we meet.

Thank you for all your prayers as we traveled to get here! Prayer requests now:

  • Strength and stamina as we recover from our jet lag and get oriented to the different time zone.
  • Wisdom for those of us who will be called upon to share as we head to the provinces.
  • That God’s word would be spread widely and mightily as He speaks through us.
  • That it would be clearly evident that it is God working and not our own strength.
  • Openness in the hearts of the people we minister to.

The Things We Carry

3 days. We leave in 3 days. Right now, the biggest thing on all our minds is PACKING.

Do we have what we need? Are we packing too much? Too little? We have all the essentials: bug spray, lightweight clothing, a toothbrush, shampoo, malaria meds… and more bug spray.

But we aren’t just going on vacation. We’re going to join the front. We’re going into battle. Not a physical battle: we aren’t fighting people, or governments, or laws, or communities. We’re fighting a spiritual battle. Unseen, but just as real.. if not more real. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

We aren’t fighting flesh and blood. We are going to join the front where strong warriors have been fighting for truth and light and justice for a long time. We go to bring them aid. We go to bring them supplies. And we go to bring them refreshment. And as we go into battle, we carry a few other things with us.

A heart to love. 

As we go to Cambodia, we bring with us a heart ready to love people. The people of Cambodia have been through a rough season of their history, and are coming out on the other side of it. They need the unconditional love of Jesus to renew and revive their hearts. God uses broken people to bring this love. We are all broken in some way. But we pray that God would let the love that He has poured out on us pour out on the people of Cambodia while we are there.

A heart to learn.

We are there to bring refreshment to the missionaries and fellow believers that are stationed in Cambodia. But we also come with a heart to learn. Learn the language. Learn the culture. Learn their heart for their people. While we go to teach English, we are simultaneously the humble students of the people whose lives we are a part of for a couple weeks. And when we return home, we will bring what we have learned back with us.

A heart to listen.

Sometimes, it feels like we are called on to speak a lot. Our ministry is given mostly through words and actions on our behalf. But in an unfamiliar place, one of the most important things we can do is to listen. To listen to the people and hear their stories. To listen to their joys and to their fears. To be silent in respect for what they have to say. To listen for God’s still small voice guiding us as we go. Words can speak loudly, but sometimes listening can be heard better.

And the things we carry do not remain in Cambodia. They come back with us – stronger, perhaps, than before we left. The war is still raging here, even if it is less evident. We may go to bring missionaries relief in Cambodia, but we return to our own front to fight in America.

If you would like to pray for the team as we leave, we will be posting prayer requests here on the blog as we go. At the moment, please be praying:

  • Our last minute preparation goes smoothly
  • Our flight takes off without any problems
  • For energy and joy for the team as we set off on this adventure.

Thank you for all your prayers!

Life In Dead Places

Hello friends!

Today was our first full day back in Phnom Penh, and we began it by eating, reading the Word, and praying together as we have every morning. A few of use are still battling minor physical sickness and it has been a little discouraging, but God is working through all of our distractions and sickness. We then went to the Killing Fields to learn more about the history of the Khmer Rouge. This was one of around 300 such sites, where tens of thousands of political prisoners of the Khmer Rouge were murdered and buried in mass graves. It was, and still is, very difficult to grasp the scope of the horror that occurred not so long ago, less than 50 years. It was very hot and humid, somewhat overcast too, which added to the heaviness of that place. We then went to lunch at Jars of Clay with Pheab, who afterward graciously offered to do some of our laundry. Since many of us were still feeling sick, most of us went back to the hotel, while the others went to the market with Pheab. But the highlight of the whole day was this evening. We went to New Life’s dorms for college age people, and I got to share part of my testimony with the men’s dorm and spoke about sexual purity, and we worshiped and prayed together as well. It was so astounding to see so many young believers who loved the Lord and were excited to intern with  New Life and serve the Lord in general. Unfortunately, Andrew had to stay back at the hotel, but Myles and I got to get to know some of them, and it was so awesome! In stark contrast to the literal death of the Khmer past, we whitnessed life and growth in these young people now and moving forward! Be encouraged that despite such horror and such devastation, God is moving here.

Your servant,

Zachariah