So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, Eph 2:19 (ESV)
When we arrived in Cambodia in early 2003 (yes, it has been that long now!) I could say without hesitation that I felt like a stranger and alien in a far away land! Nothing seemed normal and everything was a struggle! God has been gracious these past seven years to preserve and keep us in His grace and allow us to participate in what He is doing here. For me (Daren) going on home assignment this past summer was surreal in many ways mostly because I felt like a stranger and alien in my own culture. That may sound depressing but it really isn’t! Nothing is wrong, in fact our family, friends and churches extended love and concern to us in ways that we didn’t deserve. We were genuinely blessed at every stop and in every way we felt like we were spoiled rotten! But what I am keenly aware of is that my ‘home’ is not found in my own culture or even in my own country. The longer I’m away from America the less I identify with the cultural norms and values that I, as an American, hold on to so tightly. Don’t get me wrong, I love being American and am blessed by all that God has given me through His Providential working through our nation. But my real citizenship belongs to the household of God, Christ’s Church! And you know what? Everywhere we went this summer I came away thinking to myself, I love the Church! Small churches, medium churches, big churches….I love them all because that is where I find my identification with Christ alongside my ‘fellow citizens’. As we come back to Cambodia I feel the same way…..I love the Church here! With all of the challenges of a first generation Church I still love it because God loves the it and it belongs to Him.
So in short, yes, we made it back to Cambodia! We have hit the ground running here in Phnom Penh. Our family arrived the Sunday before last and the kids were in school the next day. Now that is a great way to beat jet lag, at least in my opinion! Truthfully, everyone has done well in their re-entry, thank you for praying with us. Our time at ‘home’ was both restful and refreshing, though we were all ready to return. It has been a special blessing to see how God has cultivated and preserved a desire to call Cambodia “home” for everyone in our family while understanding that we are certainly strangers and aliens in a foreign land, though right at home with those members of the household of God!
We had a special treat just a few days after we arrived. One of the young ladies from Asian Hope, Fanny Heng, launched to America to begin studies at Colorado Christian University. Pray for Fanny in the days ahead, she’ll certainly feel like a stranger and alien! I’m sure she’ll find comfort as she engages with folks who are citizens of God’s household in her place of studies. But I was especially encouraged that as we were saying goodbye she spoke of already looking forward to returning to Cambodia in hopes of participating in what God is doing here. Pray for Fanny as she begins this new leg of her journey with Christ and please continue to pray with us here in Cambodia! Here are some things to keep before the Lord:
- Pray for Mikaela, Kamryn, CJ and Drew as they begin a new year at Logos
- Pray for Jodi as she begins a new season of ministry in the classroom….she will be teaching 4th grade at Logos!
- Pray for the Shalom Mission to Cambodia Youth Camp August 24-27; we anticipate that approximately half of the students will be unbelievers
- Pray for growth and perseverance for all of the Shalom pastors and leaders
- Pray for the Action Cambodia Team – specifically for the Becks, Wells, Lopezs, Beth Andaya, Christine McDonald and Weiss family
- Pray for the Lopez kids as BJ and Andrea are in the States on home assignment and of course the Anderson family as well!! Special thanks for sending Bob, Kathy and family to us….WHCC is the best!!
- Pray for the ongoing ministry at the Andong Resettlement Camp and for Pastor Abraham
Thank you for persevering with us these past seven years….we are excited about all that God is going to do in and through us in this next season of ministry here in Cambodia. We’re blessed to have so many of the household of God standing with us!
In His Bonds,
I Cor 2:5
PO Box 1178
Phnom Penh, Cambodia