Our second day in Phnom Pehn, has begun with a bang. Before I share about today, I want to recap yesterday. One thing I love about working with teams is to watch different team members grow and develop, and stretch themselves beyond their comfort zones. The great thing about harvest teams though, is they all seem to be consummate pro’s when it comes to relationship. They all act as if they have never met a stranger. It is so easy to love harvest people, but I wish everyone had the opportunity to see how our culture truly translates everywhere we go.
We believe in servant leadership, and it shows when we work in these type of settings. We believe that relationship with Christ and relationship with other believers and even those who do not know Christ yet, are very important. This team of Andrew, Allison, Amy, Kelsi, Shane, Jennifer, Jenna, Nicoli, Terry, Travis, Jordan, Kerri, Kelly R., Kelly K, Hannah, and Autumn simply put, are a collection of superstars. They are flexible, inspiring, compassionate and caring people. I respect each of them deeply; I also respect those responsible for sending them. Family, friends, loved ones and people inspired about changing the world. You would be so proud if you could see them in action.
Yesterday, we connected with our friends at new life church and jumped right in to ministry. We Toured their facility, and ministry offices and began to interact with students, with teachers, with church staff and with people just wanting to learn English. Different ones of the team had the opportunity to use their gifts and skills to help in areas that were a good fit. Travis, you guessed it, is doing his best to get all the “IT” kinks out of their system; yes it’s an issue everywhere. Jenna was able to help in the admin offices of the “at risk kids dept.” With her knowledge she was able to do some things in 30 minutes that will literally save them 100’s of hours over the long haul. Shane had the wonderful opportunity of traveling into the village with a couple of pastors from “New Life.” A couple of years ago they planted a church in this village. The village is with all handicap people. They were a part of the Khmer Rouge and in the process of the government telling them to lay down their arms, and giving them amnesty, they became outcast, banded together and live in this village. New life has gone there and started a church and now has a great work there. Shane was able to go, and do a leadership session with the leaders and then a church service in the afternoon. His testimony of the stories when he returned had us all in tears, as he had an awakening and God used him to touch others. Terry and Nicoli went to one of the pastor’s homes and did some work, that was needed, they were having issues with flooding and we were able to solve a major problem for them with minor difficulty and little money. It is amazing how far, our knowledge, our money, and our skill sets will go in this culture. We are able to help them and then educate them on how to continue that new skill. They were having flooding issues around their septic tank, with a bit of money and effort Andrew, Nicoli, and Terry were able to get a sump pump, hose, and solve their problem. Then educate them on things that need to be done to keep the problem from recurring. They also trimmed back some trees, “had to create their tools.” But did a great job.
Shane, Kelsi, and Jenna, set in a “youth party” meeting which is their major outreach and weekly bridge from the English classes to the church. They prepared for our team to do it, which is right down their ally and will be a lot of fun.
The rest of the team and many of the people already mentioned were a part of the “joy club” which is basically like a weekly vbs for street kids. They literally wash their feet clean up cuts, play with the kids, and make sure they are cared for with certain supplies and ministered to with music and teaching. No worries, they took every sanitary precaution, realizing, many of these kids are hiv positive, or have some type of physical problem.
We wrapped up the day with dinner with Pastor Jesse and Soar, and their Baby Girl Jessica. He spoke to us about the value of what we are doing, it was a great moment. We ate lunch and had a great cultural experience with Pastor Pisit and his wife Sei ha.
Then we had a team meeting to prepare for today. We are teaching English classes all day long. This is a great contribution to society and is also the major outreach to getting people into a relationship with Christ and the church. Our team put together a dynamic, interactive program, that develops basic English language skills and tons of great relationship, and then we invite them to come to the youth party with us Saturday night, this process is truly genius.
We will eat lunch with all the regular English teachers and develop relationship with them, as well as hear their testimonies and how they came to faith. Many of which were saved through this process. We are having the time of our lives, and the people of Cambodia are getting deeply engrained in our hearts. It is so incredible to see the faith of the Christians of this country and their dedication.
As the day continues, we will continue to teach English, some of the team will run for supplies for another ministry opportunity, and a small team of four will be going with the outreach team to minister to children in the slums. Tonight we will eat at the dorms, 30 men, and 30 women. This is a place they allow people to live, if they commit to come to church. Many of these people are orphans, once they reach the age of 18 they are made to leave the orphanage, so they literally have no place to go, and need help learning how to take care of themselves etc. So this is a ministry they have begun. We are having dinner with them tonight to fellowship and witness, and invite them to the “youth party.”
Then we start again tomorrow. I will be introducing guest bloggers to write some experiences they’ve had to give you a personal look at the affect of being in this atmosphere.
Again, let me say thanks for helping us, to help them.