It’s Worth the Asking

This was written by a fellow global worker and I thought it put into words well the feelings around fundraising.  To be perfectly honest, it has been a part of our lives that I do not relish.  I have been anxious about what people think of us;  hesitant to ask.  But actually being here has changed my perspective somewhat.  I see firsthand the need; I see how God is actually using us to reach people and I see that the funds given have a purpose.  It’s still not easy to ask.  I still worry about what people think.  But this IS bigger than us and….it’s worth it.  It’s worth the asking.

People MUST get tired of missionary petitions, because WE get tired of asking. It’s embarrassing. It’s humbling. It makes us feel like a needy child instead of responsible adults.

But missionaries ask. It’s part of our job description. We ask because…

• this job we’ve chosen is WAY BIGGER than us. So we ask you to join us in prayer, in dreaming, in completing the mission.

• working overseas strips us of the usual framework that allows us to be independent. So we ask you to support us.

• we commit to a mission without available resources to complete it. So we ask you to contribute.

• our kids LOVE chocolate chip cookies, so we ask you to treat us

• It’s when missionaries QUIT asking that others should be concerned. It happens when we grow weary of feeling like the needy child. The problem is that when we quit asking, it means that WE HAVE QUIT DREAMING. We have limited the reach of God’s work through us to our own resources. And the kingdom of God is far too big for that.

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Family blog time….wanted to share some pics of the fam; we’ve decided to homeschool the kids and Thursdays are our “field trip day”.  This Thursday we went to a wildlife sanctuary about an hour south of the city.  IMG_6649

Checking out the sun bears

Checking out the sun bears

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The monkeys were the highlight for sure; they are free to wander and you can buy bananas to feed them which they will take right out of your hand.  The kids were completely enthralled…except for Ethne.

After a monkey grabbed her shorts, Ethne was not so sure that she liked the zoo!

After a monkey grabbed her shorts, Ethne was not so sure that she liked the zoo!

Hanging out

Hanging out

Tigers!

Tigers!

It’s a little daunting to be responsible for your children’s education but it was something we knew was probably going to be necessary.  Chad & I take turns doing the special projects; this was Chad’s turn:

Learning about things that grow

Learning about things that grow

We also celebrated Evie’s first birthday this month.  It’s times like these that we really miss family and realize that our children are growing up without those close relationships.  We consider ourselves very blessed to be a part of a great team though and it eases the heartache somewhat.

The birthday girl

The birthday girl

Lovely cake courtesy of Ms. Lisa

Lovely cake courtesy of Ms. Lisa

The boys

The boys

Enjoying her cake IMG_6930 IMG_6939

The Inside Scoop

So what is it like living as a missionary in a developing nation?  I’ve been wanting to write a blog that highlights what life is really like for us here in Cambodia for quite some time.  I’ve actually started it a few times but the subject is so vast that I get overwhelmed and put it on the back burner.  So….I will now attempt to give an accurate picture of what it’s like for us and maybe even debunk a few myths along the way.  Here we go!

First, life, in many ways, is not so different (at least it shouldn’t be).  Regardless of where we live, as believers, we are to love our neighbours, care for the less fortunate in our cities, and be ready to give an account of why we believe what we believe.  That, in a nutshell, is what we are doing here in Cambodia.  The same thing we were doing in Ontario, Canada.  To be real, I struggled when we first felt we were called to Cambodia.  It’s not that I didn’t want to go but I felt we could serve where we were and that we didn’t need to move halfway across the world to live out the mission of God.  And it’s true.  You don’t have to.  Mission happens right where you are.  God eventually revealed to us that this was His perfect plan for our family and gave us peace that this was the right thing to do but I wanted to say all this to point out the fact that if we are living the way God wants us to live…than life serving overseas in a developing country shouldn’t look that different at all, spiritually, from life “back home”.  

In any given day, we study language for a few hours a day with our tutor and than try and find time to study on our own.  Chad goes to the cafe (a student ministry run by friends of ours that are also with the PAOC) a few times a week to chat with the students in English and build relationships.  I go out to the Teen Challenge women’s centre to do bible study with the ladies and crafts with the kids.  We go to Abraham & SreyRohm’s a few times a week to teach sewing and English.  In between these times, we make it a point to do things together as a family and as a couple.

Practically speaking, we still have to wake the kids up for school, go grocery shopping, do homework, run errands & cook dinners.  The biggest difference is that while it might take you an hour to go to the post office, pick up some things for dinner and pay the electrical bill…it takes us about four!  Culture stress is a real phenomenon.  We are continually grateful for the training we received in this area; it helps us to have a flexible attitude and to recognize when we need to take some time to de-stress.

We live in a house, not a mud hut, and we haven’t eaten grasshoppers….yet.  We sleep on beds and have a pet dog; though our Khmer friends don’t really get it! Sometimes we don’t show patience with our children and sometimes we yell at each other.  And we even struggle at times to put meaningful, personal time aside that we can spend with God.

Can I admit that I didn’t want to put that last line in?  You see, even though we know we’re just ordinary people…there’s a pressure to be or to at least appear extraordinary; to not let anyone know of your struggles. The truth is, we’re just regular people that are trying to be obedient to God.  There’s a beauty in this that is unsurpassed.  It’s all God. We are not here on our own merit at all.

Having said all that, I don’t want to downplay the incredible honour we feel to be a part of what we believe God is going to do in this country. And I don’t want to give the impression that we don’t take our role here seriously. Knowing that we are here for a purpose and that we have people around the world praying for us and supporting us is great incentive to be better, to strive harder. It is our prayer that God will continually mold us and shape us to be people that He desires us to be.

So that about sums it up. There’s still so much more I could share. The challenges. The testimonies. The thoughts. Another blog for another day. Thanks for reading!

He is Risen….isn’t He?

I really love Easter.  I have fond memories of my mother dressing us up in our Easter finery; matching dresses, little white gloves, and sun hats.  It was a tradition passed onto her from her mother and one I thoroughly enjoy (though my goal of making the girls’ dresses this year may not materialize).  I remember the year my parents laid a jellybean trail throughout our farmhouse to lead us to our Easter baskets only to realize once we had awoken that the mice had eaten the entire trail!

I love that my kids always want to hear the Easter story.  There is no other story on earth that fills my heart with such unspeakable joy.  The awe of it never diminishes; no matter how many times I hear it.

So usually at this time of year I am busy sourcing out fun Easter crafts on Pinterest, stocking up on chocolate eggs and jellybeans for the kids’ baskets, searching everywhere for that perfect bow tie to match the girls’ co-ordinating outfits, going to the “Easter park” (a term coined by my children for the schoolyard near my sister’s that she uses to host her annual egg hunt), and looking forward to having a meal with the whole fam after church on Sunday and going for a walk to enjoy the promise of spring!

Things are a little different this year and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit sad.  This is our first Easter in Cambodia and saying that it is a non-event here is putting it mildly.  No cute bunnies or chicks to decorate with, no stores with darling little dresses in pastels and spring-insprired prints (no spring for that matter!), no foil-covered chocolate eggs (though really, who in their right mind would use chocolate in an egg hunt in 40 degree weather).  But more than that, there’s no Good Friday services to attend and this year, there will be no dinner at Nana & Clicker’s house followed by a lovely stroll through the woods and fields.

Here is an entire nation who for the most part, do not celebrate the single, greatest event in human history.  Considering the message, that is a REALLY sobering thought.

We will paint eggs this year and we will do some kind of hunt for something that doesn’t melt because well…it’s fun…but the most important thing we will do for Easter this year is remember the message of the cross and the enormous impact it has to save lives.

Bought with the precious blood of Christ.