Monday, February 28, 2011

an elephant I encountered outside of Mondol Kiri, Cambodia

What an unbelievable journey!

I saw so many things. I saw God DO so many things! I saw the miraculous!

Many people surrendered their lives to Christ, on this trip to Cambodia! I saw two Muslim women place their faith in Jesus and had the privilege of baptizing them in the Mekong River (along with 28 others)! I saw two satanists surrender to Christ! I saw entire families receive Jesus as Savior! I saw the Lord heal!

The people of this land are starving for Truth! It was such a privilege to bring it to them! I have seldom seen such voracious appetites. The need is tremendous.

There is a major discrepancy between those who live in the city and those who live in rural areas. Few in the outer areas have water. Some mission minded folks have brought dollars to have wells established. So many need fresh water. So many are carrying worms because they do not have it, or even know they need it.

Often the pools that exist are used for bathing, waste elimination, washing clothes/dishes, etc. As a result, health issues abound. Many doctors there do not have solid educations.

Diseases or sickness that are routinely treated in the US still brings about death in Cambodia.

Idolatry is huge in this Buddhist land.

Monks walk about every area of society in their orange robes. They often beg for alms in gathering places. Alms are freely given as the givers feel they will be blessed. Their homes are poorly made but the Temples to Buddha are expensive and extensive.

Most every home or business maintains at least one shrine to Buddha. Offerings of food, drink or other gifts are set before the altar. These are left to decay or rot, just like their souls, unless intervention comes.

Roughly 80% of Christians in this land still keep these active, as many pastors are still learning about idolatry there. Truth is proclaimed and they learn. Until it is, they will practice the traditional ways.

My driver professed Jesus as Lord, but even he believed this was another path to God. It is hard for them to turn their backs on what they think they know.

Pastors there are desperate to learn. They hunger for the Word of God to be taught to them.

House churches abound, but few are educated enough to teach. Even fewer can read. The bush or rural areas are laden with illiterate people.

One cannot tell them to study their Bible. They do not have one, nor could they read it if they did.

Access to this country is present for those who would teach, like no time in the past! Few can read their native language, yet many signs are written in it as well as English.

The few paved roads that exist, do so largely because other countries gave them as gifts. In exchange, most raped the natural resources, in return.

The people are friendly and curious. I was the only white man ever to visit many of these remote villages (according to the people themselves). Most have never left their village. Most have never been in a motorized vehicle. If they do ride in one, they get sick from the motion.

Cities are filled with motorbikes and bicycles. In the agrarian areas, few have either. Only the wealthy have cars or SUV's. Routine traffic laws here, are not abided by there.

Stepping into Cambodia is reaching into the past.

I met several who fought along US soldiers during the Vietnam war. Their tales were heart-wrenching. I spoke with others who survived the Khmer Rouge (Communist Occupation). How they survived is foreign to the American experience.

It is difficult to identify with their plight. We have so much.

One pastor I spent time with, lost all three of his children and his wife during the Khmer Rouge genocide. Still he loves and serves his Savior!

One pastor had been a Buddhist Monk for 8 years before coming to Christ!

The Cambodian-American dentist I traveled with, lost his father and other family members to the Khmer Rouge. Yet, the first place we ministered was an encampment of the Khmer Rouge. The people responsible for his families loss of life, came to Christ because of his heart, which the Lord broke, for the lost!

There are 24 provinces in Cambodia (equivalent to our states). We traveled continuously for two weeks and ministered in 13 of them. God moved mightily!

Much to share. But later...


Monday, February 07, 2011

I was listening to a message by David Wilkerson today. If you don't know who he is, look for the book the "The Cross and the Switchblade" on and learn about his surrendered life! It's an amazing story!

Anyway, he pastors Times Square Church in NYC. He is an anointed preacher, and really brings the Word!

He was talking about passion and anguish. These are two things I know about! I have experienced both! His message resounded with me in significant fashion.

One of the ideas he conveyed is that 'passion is the offspring of anguish.' He spoke of not being able to have true passion unless it was born thru a season of brokenness.

How true is this? I identify with this deeply.

The passion that I have is the direct result of seasons of brokenness and anguish. As the Lord prepares me for the future, I find I am experiencing the same.

We don't like such things. We even want to avoid the topic, as most identify too closely with it. We'd rather hear messages that make us feel good about ourselves (meanwhile we walk in disobedience). However, I am not sure how many of us actually realize that God is doing a real work within our hearts as we stumble through the valley.

We are familiar with the "fight or flight" response.

There are times I want to flee. I wanna run, hard. I wanna do my own thing, or do His on my timetable.

None of those options lead to joy. Each are empty pursuits.

True passion is birthed from anguish.

I'd rather experience anguish producing passion than the obsessive lust that leads to an empty soul.

I am leaving this week for Cambodia, and won't return until the end of the month. I do not know what lies ahead, but am anxious to be obedient, and will utilize the passion He has developed within me to serve as best I can.

I would ask you to be praying for my wife during this time.

Also, please lift up my daughter Lauren and her husband and his family, as we attend her father-in-laws funeral today. He had been fighting cancer. He was a godly man who set a great example!

Lord, be exalted in each of us and the decisions we make! May we be passionate for you!