Writing your story is not an easy thing. There are so many twists and curves and details. It is personal and real, especially when you go through a trial. That is exactly what we are coming out on the other side of… a trial. The trial has deeply impacted us, our hearts and the work we do in Cambodia. As we come out of this trial, a bit beaten down, a bit shaken up, we can see what God has done and we have faith He will continue to reveal to us His plan. We desire to be in His will and we believe He will honor this.
So to make an intricate story as short as possible, I am going to write our story of Cambodia.
- 2013: We go to Cambodia for the first time with friends that are with Hope Rising Missions, out of their church. Before we leave we learn about Cambodia, we read about it, we pray. God knits our hearts to Cambodia before we even go there. We arrive at the end of May. As the plane is landing, I am overwhelmed with emotion. It is day and I can clearly see the landscape of Cambodia. Part of me feels like I am home. We fall in love with Cambodia, the Khmer people and we meet amazing friends and build relationship. We see God move in Cambodia. We see God move in us. On this trip we meet a new friend. He has a heart to build a school and teach. As we leave from our 2 weeks there, we commit to getting this school built. (I love how naive we are.) We get home. We immediately want to go back to Cambodia. We miss it. We loved it. We try to drink mango smoothies from Kroger, and it is not the same. We are sad. We are moved. We are ignited. We are now on a mission. Sam and I are able to get our home church Community Christian Church on board and excited about Cambodia. They commit to funding the building of the school! Construction starts.
- 2014: The school is built! The teacher is a committed guy and has been teaching for months. He started with 10 kids and now has 60 children going to school. Our pastor and his wife decide to come to Cambodia with us to see the school and meet all of the wonderful people we are connected to. They come. They become advocates for Cambodia too. It is exciting and we are all going to do some big things together. They bring the vision of Cambodia back to CCC. Our home church catches the vision.
- 2015: We begin to plan our first ever team trip! It is set for January 2016.
- 2016: January – We take our team trip and it is incredible. We are able to evangelize where the school is located and one other village in the province we visited back in 2013. All in all we preached the gospel to over 5,000 people. In each village we gave away shoes, and gave a presentation on human trafficking, how to keep your children safe and gave out cards with a number they can call if they are in trouble. We also gave a water filter (that cleans 500,000 gallons of water) and a New Testament audio bible in the Khmer language. We have visited 11 villages. We put on a leadership conference. We poured all we could into our Cambodian friends and they poured into us. It was an amazing trip. On one of the last days of the trip is was a very odd 75 degrees. Usually Cambodia is very HOT… but today it was a perfect day. There was a gentle breeze and we were with a pastor friend, talking about God. It was here that God gave me a vision of what He was calling us to do in Cambodia. It was when the vision for Mission 25 was born. We were so excited, overwhelmed and amazed. We are moved. We are ignited. We are still on a mission. Even if we wanted to we can’t let this place go. It is good. We come home. 3 days after getting home, Sam’s heart goes into A-fib and he is in the hospital for 2 day. He recovers but is a little shaken… the rest of 2016 follows this pattern. There is an “event” (not his heart, but other things) and we are a little shaken…..
Part II coming soon!