Sunday, September 26, 2010


"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him." ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

God has blessed me with so many amazing people in my life, so many people who encourage me, who challenge me, who love me. I never cease to be amazed at how richly God blesses His children, though we never, ever deserve it. In the past few weeks, I have been especially blessed by one young man in particular.

I never had a biological little brother, but God has certainly blessed me with a lot of “little brothers.” I never really thought I wanted a younger brother growing up. I guess I figured the torment I received from my older brother was enough! (Just kidding, Ryan! I love you!) But, God has thought otherwise throughout my life. I have been blessed to have some amazing young men in my life. And, I know that my relationships with each one of them has brought me to where I am today, doing what I am doing now.

Destiny? Maybe…

In being here, I have the absolute honor and privilege of working alongside a couple of amazing young men to impact this nation. Whether they like it or not, I have adopted them as my little brothers. They themselves are brothers but so different (as so often happens). Today I am going to talk about one of them. (I am sure the other one will get a post at some point in the future.)

“My heart breaks for Cambodia.” Those are the words that appear when you ask this 18-year-old, recent high school graduate about what motivates him. His heart breaks for the ugliness in his nation. He wears a bracelet that says, “seek justice,” and he does. He loves deeply. He prays faithfully. He inspires and challenges me daily. He holds little girls’ hands to cross the street. He carries little boys on his shoulders. He sees the world around him and all of the things that are wrong and genuinely makes strides to change them, to bring God’s kingdom to earth. He has wisdom and maturity and faith far beyond his 18 years.

The future ahead of him is great, and I am so thankful that I am allowed the privilege to be a part of it for a season.

And it just so happens that his name means destiny…

Monday, September 13, 2010

good friends

I recently got a new Bible. The Bible that I had lugged everywhere with me for the past seven and a half years finally decided that it couldn't do as much traveling. The binding completely broke, which means that Hebrews 12 through Revelation completely fall out now (in addition to a few chapters in Matthew that were casualties of another disaster). I love that Bible, and it still came to Cambodia with me. But, I don't feel comfortable carrying it around in my backpack or taking it to church every Sunday because of the risk of losing pages. That Bible contains my life over the past seven and a half years. It is colored and underlined and full of notes in the margins. The pages are dog-eared. Not only is it God's written Word, but it is also the story God has been writing in me.
Needless to say, buying a new Bible was tough...but exciting at the same time. I knew the day was coming and had prepared myself well. I was actually excited about clean pages. Reading an unmarked Bible is like discovering God's truth for the very first time.
That being said, I have really been enjoying reading in my new Sword. And, this past week I decided that James and I, we would have been good friends. I love the book of James. So, when I read through it this past week for the umpteenth time, it was like meeting an old friend but seeing him with fresh eyes. James is practical. He is straightforward. He does not sugarcoat things. He is not afraid to be honest. He challenges. He goes against the crowd. He upsets the apple cart. He packs a powerful punch in 5 short chapters. Every time I read through the book of James, I come across something I missed the last time, or I had at least forgotten since the last time.
"My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others? For example, suppose someone comes into your meeting dressed in fancy clothes and expensive jewelry, and another comes in who is poor and dressed in dirty clothes. If you give special attention and a good seat to the rich person, but you say to the poor one, 'You can stand over there, or else sit on the floor'--well, doesn't this discrimination show that your judgments are guided by evil motives? Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn't God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren't they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom He promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor! Isn't it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren't they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear?" James 2:2-7
I read this passage, and I had images of some beautiful, fun, dirty children pop into my mind. I spend my afternoons with them in the dirt. We sing songs. We play games. We throw balls. We use glue and markers. We jump rope. I have no doubt that the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. And, honestly, I have little problem with the poor and dirty of this world.
I have a far greater problem not making judgments about the fancy and rich. I am much more comfortable on the dusty streets of a poor farming village than I am in the midst of a banquet in a grand hall. Ask me not to judge the poor, and I will happily oblige. Ask me not to judge the wealthy, and I will bite my tongue and pray for God's mercy.
Now, I didn't actually know James, but I do wonder if he felt the same as me. He saw how the wealthy were treated in comparison to the poor. He saw that the poor were often marginalized, but I wonder if he himself had a greater challenge in not favoring the poor over the wealthy. I don't have the answer, but regardless, I am confident that James and I would have been good friends...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

all before lunch!

I know many people often wonder what I do with my days in Cambodia, so I decided I would give you a little rundown of what a day sometimes looks for me. Today, for example, started out a little like this...

Wake up.
Spend some time with Jesus.
Shower. (This is shower 1 of usually 2 per day.)
Catch up on emails.
Go through some research.
Khmer lesson.
Buy a helmet.
Bike to office supply store.
Answer phone and have a conversation to set up a meeting for the next day all while riding my bike in traffic.
Go to the market and buy a papaya and some pomegranates.
Go to another market to buy some vegetables.
Bike home carrying my bag, a bag of office supplies and two bags of produce.
Sit down to sift through some more research.

And, lunchtime.

I won't even go into what the rest of my day looked like, but it did involve less running around than my morning. Now, I wouldn't say that today was a "typical" day, but I certainly wouldn't classify it as unusual.

Life here operates on a different schedule, and it is one to which I am growing quite accustomed. I love having freedom in my days and in my schedules. I love being relaxed and focusing on people and relationships. And, I love fresh papaya!