From Here to Khmer

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Summer!!!

Today kicks off my summer push for Cambodia!

Though I may take on a responsibility or two, I have set aside this summer –and however long into the future fundraising takes–to FOCUS.  I have learned that because networking is probably my weakest skill-set, I will let whatever comes along my path to take precedent in my life.  I do say that I needed some distraction to maintain my sanity, but the time has come to buckle down and let God be made strong in my weakness.

I will worship and rest in Today and believe His promises are Yes and Amen.

Your prayers are always welcome, and do not be surprised if you get a letter or phone call.

Blessings!

Some of my students in front of the new building – exciting times!
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Good Year Good God

This past year I have had the privilege of teaching Math to an amazing group of students at the local Christian school.  Even though my focus has been split between teaching and itinerating, I am positive that God, knowing my heart and my weakness, ordained this season for me to recharge and recommit.

At times in this journey Cambodia became an empty, almost theoretical goal, something said but hardly believed.  One such season hit me at the end of last August.  I had pushed all summer to fundraise and search out opportunities to share the vision, but I felt nothing was progressing.  I felt like I was failing.  A failure.  I had become engrossed in my feelings and my value was tied to my accomplishments.  Most of all I felt like I was letting others down because I was not trying hard enough.  My focus was on the theoretical goal, and not the God who gave the vision.  I became burned out.

But God knew.

Upon coming to this realization, I voiced my hurt to a friend, and within 24hrs I was given an opportunity to be an influencer once more.  With no foresight or pursuit of the postion, I was offered a job teaching, something I always wanted to do but did not think I would be able to due to educational requirements.  My timetable was discarded, and in return I was given a chance to use my giftings on a regular basis.  God began healing my disillusioned dream and turning my identity and self worth back to the creator and sustainer of all life.

This year has been a year of falling in love, running away, and finding myself back again in the arms of a true and just father in heaven.  In both practical and spiritual realms, I know my experiences this year will be invaluable to the adventures before me.  With my expectations effectively altered, I am again ready to pursue the next season in Cambodia.

It has been a long journey, but hey, what’s three years?  I have been tested and tried and my hope remains on the one true God who sent his son to make a way that All people groups can be blessed in eternal love.

Simply, in every season, I go to edify, to serve, to love.

Be Blessed.

Altars

Throughout the old testament the Israelites were instructed to build altars and remember. After the great flood, Noah built an alter and was told to remember God’s sovereignty (symbolized by rainbows.)  When Abraham was given the promise to be the father of the chosen people of God, he built an altar.  Moses built an altar at the foot of Mt Sinai where he received the Ten Commandments, and the trend continues.  These altars were used as reminders of encounters with God and his promises. When a traveler or the builder himself passed the altar they were reminded of what God had done. Furthermore, you can see the importance of remembrance in Jewish celebrations and traditions. Passover was established to remind the children of God of when Death passed over them and how they were subsequently delivered from Pharaoh’s hand.  In the New Testament, Jesus told his followers to continue this ritual but gave it new meaning.
God knows man better than man knows himself. He knows we are prone to forget. We forget the goodness of God when bad things happen. We forget forget God’s provision when we do not have what we want when we want it. We forget the light when the sky turns grey. Our forgetfulness clouds but does not change the infallible, constant God. I have a few altars that I carry with me to remind me that he is good and deserves my all. For that reason I also understand the role of ceremony in our lives even though it may just seem empty religiousness at times. Let us remember the purpose and heart when we come together. Let us remember, and not allow the darkness and cynicism to rob from the truth.  Let us remember.


This coming week I am joining my church to assist an inner-city church. I do this to remind myself of the big picture and why I am pursuing Cambodia in the first place.

Politics, Social Networks, and Christians

To some of my more politically active acquaintances, friends, and family, I may be perceived to be complacent in my opinions of current political issues due to the lack of comment through social media.  Believe me; I have written myself into a few debates waged in the arena of comment boxes before rethinking and deleting myself out of the ensuing carnage.  Of course I have opinions and beliefs for which in the past I have debated to the point of shouting–people who don’t know my stubborn aggressive side will doubt this statement, and honestly, I hope to be a better man than to show it to you–but I do try to keep my political stirrings away from facebook.

How amazingly interesting is language?  I don’t think I will rattle too many feathers by stating that most conflict is a matter of communication difficulties.  When in a dispute, I have found defining key terminology to be quite helpful.  Otherwise, people with a decent vocabulary can twist any statement by being indirect just enough.  I guess an example should be made.  Take the difference between saying, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” and “I . . .” well, you get it.  That is an extreme because it was just plain lying, but the concept works (with the right legal aid).  English may not be the most efficient language, but it is flexible.  Look up how many words Shakespeare invented.

Go back a bit, I have thought of a more current example.  Sorry, the subject matter is once again sex, but there is nothing Americans are more coy about than coitus, getting down, the horizontal hula.  So, take mother Lockte’s remarks about Ryan only having time for one night stands.  Of course his mother did not intend to inform the world her son was a man-wh***; however, the words are out there, and now they are on damage control.  With such a differentiation between the intended meaning and the perceived meaning of what we say–which is only exemplified in written word since tone and inflection are not easily conveyed–I avoid controversial issues on social networks.  On my blog, I give myself some leeway since  1.  web logs have become known for political rants and polarized social topics,  2.  posts are not inserted into someone’s reading wall/newsfeed (one must visit the site,) and  3.  the format allows enough words to explain a stance before chaos and emotions ignite.

If you hate social networking so much why are you participating in the facebook-twitterverse?  

I love social networking.  I use it to stay in contact with those whom I may not have had any contact.  Furthermore, I am soooo grateful that I can be directly connected to my family and friends back home while over seas.  On previous travels, social networking had just been getting started.  As a practical tool to spread my voice and the mission ahead of me, and for communicating with those supporting me, I find social media invaluable.

I can also understand making declarations.  If you want to stand on a digital box and declare your position or view of the world, I do not hold it against you.  For myself, as a Christian leader (which I am weather I like the title or not) and in this culture, I am not going to arbitrarily alienate any group of people because of the values I hold for myself and those who have chosen to follow my lead.  I want to be known as a man of love.  I desire to be invited into the home of the tax collector.  I want to give my life to those who are hurting, to see them find purpose, and that will not happen in 150 characters or less.  This passion drives me to the people of Cambodia.  They hurt and they deserve a chance.  I go to edify, to serve, to Love.  Not to condemn the corruption and debauchery, but to equip them to rise above.  Ultimately, I want all people to know the love of God.  The process of sanctification comes later and most likely not through facebook posts.

Please take note that I do not have any certain persons in mind when writing this.  I simply want to make my perceived lack of stance understood.

If you want to know my views on gay marriage, who should be the next president, healthcare, gun control, or whatever, ask me in person so that I can tell you to your face, I love you!

Olympics

I generally do not watch kayaking on TV.  Actually, the previous statement is too generous.  I do not watch kayaking on TV, or volleyball, or gymnastics, or skeet shooting, or even swimming (“even” because I was in swimming.)  As it is I don’t watch a ton of sports on the tele.  Yet, here come the olympics, and I find myself squirming and holding my breath as US athletes maneuver, dive, vault, pull, and sprint towards gold.

Eight years ago, I was walking through a room broadcasting a random team event in Athens.  It was America verses Australia.  Being in Oz, this was a rare moment to see the United States compete, so I paused to watch.  The match was over and the Americans had won gold.  With the Stars and Stripes rising and the Star Spangled Banner blaring, my eyes began to water.  I loved being in Australia and the Australian people as I will love being in Cambodia and the Cambodian people, but I am American.  May God use and bless this land.

Being called away from home, I love seeing the world come together.  Multiple nations in one place makes oceans feel a bit smaller, and it is pretty powerful seeing people from all over the world unite even if at least to sing Hey Jude.  

I was impressed and excited to see the six Cambodia athletes join in the procession.  I believe we will see many more join in the ultimate procession one day singing a new song in unison and worship with every language and people group.

God Bless Cambodia, Australia, and my people, the USA.

Getting There

Speaking openly and honestly, at times during this season of life, I would pause and have a little freak-out.  As previously stated, I prefer to have control, so I don’t do debt.  A little payment here and there to keep my credit up, but nothing close to being more than I could outright payoff.  But this is bigger than me.  This mission is bigger than me.  I cannot control this or simply sign my name to make the outstanding balance even.

God is faithful.  I know this because in my latest time of doubt I came to the realization that if  all my facebook friends would pledge $4 a month, the balance would be met.  I know that is not realistic.  I can see it though.  I will get there.  I will get there.

I cannot make it happen, but it will happen.

Photo courtesy of Babbitt AG – Thank You for being such awesome people!

Been A While

Whew! How easily everyday life can take over. Although in truth, I was busy organizing, planning, and implementing my sister’s wedding.  Ultimately, they said I do and the necessary documentation was filed, so I am back.  I am back focussing my time and cognitive abilities to getting myself to Cambodia.

Around the beginning of this journey, a missionary friend advised me to not discount the time spent in prayer.  I need to heed that advise.  I really enjoy event planning, seeing a vision turned to reality.  I can make that happen; I have the God given skills.  The vision from God for my life, however, I cannot make happen.  Before I even new where Cambodia was, God obviously was stretching me to believe for the biggest and best.  When I was on staff at my local church, our lead pastor–who I blame for a lot of this–had us reading books as a group.  One of the authors we revisited a bit was Mark Batterson.  His main point is to chaise after God and the vision he has for your life.  If life is boring and too easy you are not really following what God would have for you.  In his latest book, The Circle Maker, Batterson gives a little more into how to see these God sized visions come to be.  Simply we are to give them back to God in prayer and be obedient when he opens the door.  Isn’t that the way?  He gives us life and then he asks us to give our life back to him.  As christians we understand it is a sweet surrender because as we loose our life, our control, that’s when we find true life.  Life with purpose overflowing exponentially.  We find identity.

This journey of losing and finding takes faith.  In myself I like control.  I like to know the answer, but that is not faith.  I can push, and I have been pushing…  It is time to relent.  It is time to pray.

I am being really picky with my time now, and I should be able to update all of you more regularly.  We’ll see how it goes 🙂