Today I’m being reminded how privileged I am. I’m in Battambang, Cambodia teaching on a DTS with my good friend Evan Thomas. We are teaching about 30 students and 10 staff about the freedom we have in Christ. Tomorrow is day three and I am blown away at the stories of these students lives!
Today I met a student who has a prosthetic leg. He shared the story of how he was about 10 years old and was in a train accident and lost his leg. Through the trauma he completely lost the memory of his life prior to the accident and has no family since then and lived on the streets in Phnom Penh for many years before finding Jesus and getting plugged into a boys house in Battambang. Now he is sitting in a DTS learning about Jesus and joining the YWAM family where he could serve the rest of his life in international missions with people from nations all over the world! He sat beaming as he asked me to pray for him that God would direct his steps after he completes the DTS in the next few months.
I also heard the story of a YWAM staff who serves all day with all his heart on the base in Battambang and then spends the nights working at the local market doing basic labor jobs to help provide for his family that lives in a nearby slum.
Another woman who cooked for us today survived the Khmer Rouge years in Cambodia by sneaking into the fields at night to steal corn for her starving family to keep them alive during those devastating years. Anyone in this nation who is older than 35 has a story similar to this woman.
During the first day of teaching I was speaking about how you have to be willing to overcome any obstacle when you are pursuing the dreams God has laid on your heart. I shared my sob story of God asking my family to sell everything we owned to join YWAM in Perth, Australia. Then came the clincher…we had to give away our children’s dog to a friend. I shared about how my kids cried that day and I had to keep telling myself that I wasn’t the world’s worst dad and I wasn’t ruining my kids lives. Of course the western students in the room seemed to really connect with my teaching. The Cambodian students listened attentively and were very respectful. However, in the next day I realized a couple things. First of all, dogs in Cambodia aren’t quite the same as dogs in America. Most dogs here aren’t the cute cuddly little creatures that you let sleep in your son’s bed at night. Most dogs here are gaunt, flea infested, sick animals who will hardly acknowledge your presence when you pass them on the street. Second of all, they eat dog meat in Cambodia.
What did the Cambodian students think about me having to give my dog away? Well they may have thought how lucky I was to be able to get rid of my dog and find someone who would take it from me. What a fool they must have been! Or they may have thought I was being rather wasteful to get rid of such a wonderful source of food for my family! You have to love cross-cultural teaching.
Through all these stories and experiences I have been given a powerful piece of perspective in the last few days. I want to wake up each morning and thank the Lord for the blessings He has poured out on my family.
Thank you Jesus that my children are being raised in an environment where they can experience the diversity of the nations of the world and the beauty of all God’s people. Thank you Jesus that I have friends serving the Lord all over the world and I get to work alongside them and lift their arms during the battles! Thank you Jesus that you have called me to pour into young people who are passionate to see the nations reached for Jesus! Thank you Jesus that the whole world is not American and I can actually learn something from nations who aren’t just like mine. Thank you Jesus that you can take a broken nation like Cambodia and give it hope through people who are willing to lay down everything to share the truth of the Gospel with these amazing people. What a great day today is!
Enjoy a few pictures from this week in Cambodia. We are building a “Foodmachine” on the YWAM base here right now and are so excited to multiply that this Summer. The crowd of people around us as we are building is growing each day. I told Evan today that when we have water in the system and plants growing we will probably have about 30 people standing around in amazement of what is happening! Loren Cunningham has shared that he wants a “Foodmachine” on every YWAM base in the world. Well, we now have #1 and #2. Kona, and now…Cambodia! We have doubled the work and are looking forward to seeing #3 and maybe #4 this summer!
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