Tuesday, October 29, 2013

CAMBODIA: Leaving A Lasting Jesus Impression

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." 
Hebrews 10:23-24

Have you ever met a person in your life, perhaps you spent only a short period of time with them, yet they forever changed you? Someone who embodies this Scripture; who has spurred you on toward love and good deeds?

One of THE most special aspects of my trip were the people I was able to meet.  Hearing their stories, watching them reflect Jesus in all that they do, and humbly serving alongside them HAS CHANGED ME FOREVER.  Without question: Meeting them has spurred me on toward love and good deeds.

I'd like to introduce you to a few of these people.  My descriptions will NEVER do them justice.  These are incredible people. 

Meet Chetra & Vadna
Our Leaders

This incredible Cambodian couple run the Life Center.  They provide and care for the orphans.  They teach in the Life Center school (which is open to local village children as well as the orphans).  They pastor the Life Center church (comprised of the orphans, Life Center staff, and Cambodians from the local village).  They have two beautiful children; a one year old daughter & a five year old son.

Chetra is a charismatic man of God.  He's an encourager.  He's a visionary.  He's faithful to what Jesus has called him too.

Vadna is a strong, godly woman.  She is a teacher & a preacher (we discovered her preaching skills while watching her translate the Gospel message in the villages and high schools).  She is bold and strong.  She is kind and nurturing.  She is full of God's love. 

Honestly, I was (and am) in awe of this couple.  Their love for Jesus drives ALL that they do.  Their faithfulness and commitment to what He has called them to do is remarkably inspiring.  I was completely humbled and honored to spend a week with them.  God taught me a handful of lessons simply through watching them.

Meet Win
Our Driver

Win drove us around all week. 

Win has one of those powerful stories of coming to Christ.  As a young man his life was deep in sin, yet God miraculously put people in his life who introduced him to church and to Jesus.  Slowly he began to read the Gospels and came to know Jesus personally.  Jesus changed his life.

He teaches at the Life Center school.  Less than a month ago, he and his wife had their first baby.  A little girl they named Sarah. 

He is a bit shy, but witty and outgoing when he finally comes out of his shell.  He has the heart of a servant.  He is one of THE most humble men I've ever met.  His heart is tender for God to touch the hearts of his people.

Win affirmed for me the power of humble service.  His witness for Jesus was illuminated and effective as he day in and day out served.  Pride never reared its ugly head, even after 2 flat tires, one transmission break down, and a van completely stuck in a deep rut... he still remained humble AND he never stopped serving.  What an example for me when it comes to motherhood.

Meet Moto
Our Chef & Friend

Moto cooked delicious meals for us at the Life Center.  He also traveled around Pursat with us to the villages and high schools, helping wherever needed.  He became incredibly dear to us; a friend for life.

Moto was an orphan at the Life Center.  He now works there helping run the place.  He will be moving to Phnom Penh (the city) this coming year to find a job.  He believes it is time for him to make his own way.

Moto is a tender soul and so incredibly kind.  From the first day we met him, he extended his hand in friendship.  He has a true heart for worship, loves to sing praise songs.  He walks with Jesus and has a humble heart to serve Him.  He was incredibly warm with the orphan children, a strong brotherly figure to them.

Moto taught me the power of friendship...how no matter how different I CAN reach across the aisle and show sisterly love to each and every woman and child I meet.  His tender soul spoke volumes to me about kindness and caring for the people God puts in my path.

Meet Janice
A member of our Team from Texas

Here she is catching a lizard in my room.
Janice is a photographer for Life Outreach International.  She has literally traveled all over the world capturing sights we couldn't possibly imagination.  She's had a baby die in her arms of malnutrition in Africa, she's witnessed the horrors of sex-trafficking in places like Cambodia & India, and she's seen devastation & death all around the world because of a lack of clean drinking water.  The images she has captured on film would simply blow your mind and break your heart.

Yet, her love for Jesus inspires her to bring HOPE to the many people across the world she has met.  She has a fearless passion for serving Him.  Her heart has been broken by the oppression and pain she's seen across the world, and she is doing something about it.  She is the hands and feet of Jesus wherever she goes.

Listening to her stories, hearing her share the Gospel, and watching her photograph taught me many things.  She is a woman who makes no excuses and doesn't get caught up in what she doesn't have.  She serves Jesus with a joyful heart and looks for any and every opportunity to tell others about Him.  I am thoroughly impressed by her dedication to the Gospel message and am spurred on by her to love others however I can.

I hope you have caught a glimpse of how incredible all these individuals are.  These individuals have given me courage to be bold for Jesus.  They've shown me that no amount of weakness or shortcoming need get in the way of God's call on my life.  They've displayed the power of a humble and kind heart.  They've inspired me to serve Jesus without excuse.  They've highlighted the importance of encouraging and nurturing the Body of Christ.  They've given me new vision for helping the poor and oppressed.  And they've spurred me on toward righteousness and good deeds.

And as I've thought about how they've changed my walk with Jesus, I cannot help but pray there will be people who come into my children's lives and do the same.  People whose life choices humbly reflect Jesus and set an example for the believers; spurring them on toward righteousness, love, and good deeds.

I've also thought about myself.  I've wondered if my daily life choices leave a good Jesus impression on others.  I've wondered if in me others have seen compassion, humility, and kindness.  I've wondered if my walk with Jesus has set an example for believers; spurring them on toward love and good deeds.  I pray it has and I pray it will.

Join me today and let's pray.

Jesus I pray that my walk with You impresses and changes others for the good and for Your glory.  Likewise, I pray that my children's lives and relationship with You would impress and change others.  In pray their words and actions would spur others on toward love and good deeds.  I also pray that they will have the great privilege of meeting incredible men and women of God like those I met in Cambodia; men and women whose reflection of Jesus is so incredible that it changes them and make them more and more like You.   

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