Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Cambodia Update - July 2013


I tried to keep this update short, but for those who don’t have the time to read this whole article or my future updates there is a very important preface that needs to be read.

First - God is good all the time. If you are waiting and praying about something. Don’t quit. There are too many Bible verses that make it clear we need to continue in prayer.

Second - Look at your prayer list. Do any of the things there require faith? If not, you may want to rewrite or expand it to grow spiritually and see just how great your God is.

Third - As I write about the events of the past month or so, I am so thankful for the people God has put in my path to help me. I am forever indebted to Chad and Linda Phillips and Rodney and Rebecca Ruppel for the hospitality and assistance that they have provided over the past weeks.

Update From Cambodia - July 2013

The Week before leaving -

I have been in Cambodia now for over one month. It has been a blur so far and that will probably continue to be the case over the next month or two. Several folks have been asking, so I did want to write an update to share the great things the Lord has shown me over the past several weeks. While this will be a shortened version of the events that have transpired, let me say that I am hoping to write something more in depth later. God has been so good to me, and my friends and family so encouraging, I want to share as much as I can how my heavenly Father has shown me the next steps for my “path of life”. (Psalm 16:11)

My flight to Cambodia was on a Monday and I was able to spend the week before that being encouraged by my family, friends, and church. I had some great meals with family and friends, and was able to enjoy some extra time with them. On Sunday morning I was able to say goodbye’s to my friends in my Sunday School class and on my bus route. The most memorable thing that happened though was on Sunday evening after church. My mom and aunts had set up some refreshments in the lower level of the church. There I was encouraged by the many folks who stopped by to say goodbye. I am so thankful to have been a part of Victory Baptist Church in Loganville, Georgia for over 20 years and I can’t wait to get back.




Week 1-

My flight to Cambodia was not as bad as I was anticipating. It was 28 hours of travel, but in the end it was all worth it. As I arrived at the airport I was greeted by a group of folks, including the one I came for, Theary. This was a special moment for several reasons, and reality set in that I was in Cambodia with my future wife. (Proverbs 13:12)

On Wednesday, I was able to visit Theary’s church and then the Phillips church on Thursday night. On Saturday, I was able to go to the Olympic Stadium with Theary and the Ruppel kids, Blake and Dee Dee, to watch a soccer game. This would prove to be a very important activity, as I was able to scout out a spot to get engaged.


Week 2-

The next Monday was probably the greatest day of my life. Theary works with the Phillips family on weekdays, so Monday morning she came there as usual. What she didn’t know is that Chad & Linda, Dee Dee, and I had come up with a special plan. We had a Tuk-Tuk ready to go when Theary came to the Phillips and I was able to take her out for a special day. I didn’t tell her where we were going, but she soon realized that we were headed back to the Stadium. However, since we had Dee Dee with us, I told her it was because I really like the Stadium and I wanted to get a good picture with her. As we got to the top of the Stadium steps, I tried to find the ring in my pocket. For some reason it felt like looking for a needle in a haystack. There was a split second of panic, but then I found the small ring in a fold of my wallet. So once I had it in hand, I told Theary where to stand for the picture, and made sure Dee Dee was ready, I popped the question “Will you marry me?” And she said “Yes”.

We then went to the Palace lawn to feed the birds and then a nice restaurant for a meal. The smile on Theary’s face was worth everything. It was truly a special day. And a special thanks to Dee Dee Ruppel for taking some great pics.





Week 3-

I was not sure what to expect the week of the 4th of July in Cambodia. Over the years it has always been a fun week leading up to some sort of party or cookout with family and friends. This week started out with busywork and gathering paperwork. Also, an elderly Cambodian man who was a faithful member of one of the churches here passed away. I was able to attend both the funeral service and burial service. It was amazing to see the turnout of Christian brothers and sisters, and then to hear about his testimony. Though I was not able to understand much, it was very clear that he loved the Lord and loved his wife. He even wrote a final love letter to her which was read at the funeral. It was a very unique experience, and it was a great opportunity to see God working in Cambodia.


On the Fourth of July, I was able to go have a fun day with Theary. We got to go for a boat ride on the Mekong River, eat at a Mexican restaurant, and believe it or not I got a Kit Kat Blizzard from Dairy Queen!

On Saturday night of this week I was able to go out to Theary’s village where she lives, and where she grew up. Almost all of my time here in Cambodia has been spent in the loud, bustling city of Phnom Penh or in the smaller, but busy neighborhoods of Ta Khmao. Going out to the villages is a completely different experience, especially when you are going to meet your future family members! The drive out to her village is on a long dusty ride that went through both busy little towns and vast open farmland. It is a much different feeling when taking in the beautiful scenery and quiet surroundings. Once we arrived at Theary’s house, i was in for an experience that I will never forget. Many of Theary’s family and several friends and neighbors were there. After greeting them as best I could, I got a tour of their yard and the house I have heard so much about. Perhaps I can share more later, but basically Theary’s old house was not a very safe structure for their family to live due to termites and other factors. Even though this was the case, Theary gave sacrificially to the new building fund at her church. When this story was shared by Bro. Ruppel when home on furlough, some were impressed to have a better house built for Theary and her family. This is just a part of the story, and just one of the many stories that makes Theary’s testimony so wonderful. But back to the special night, there was a special dinner prepared and Theary and I got to eat by candle light in the middle of their yard. It was an awesome experience.

On the ride home, i was able to enjoy the darkest sky that I have ever seen. The stars seem even more beautiful when stretched out on a solid black canvas. I was also able to reflect on God’s goodness. His word had somehow reached this village in the middle of Cambodia to bring salvation to many, including Theary, my soon to be wife. It is hard to comprehend in my simple mind, but it is times like this when I realize how great it is to serve an omniscient God, who has a special plan for even me.


So that is the first few weeks. This story is To Be Continued……, so please stay tuned. I will get you another update as soon as I can. Please be praying for me as I continue to ask God’s help for some really big things.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Lighthouse - a film by Andrew Garcia


I just recently found out that Andrew Garcia is in the process of starting a new video project - “The Lighthouse”, and you can help him “Kickstart” the project. If you are not familiar with Andrew Garcia, in 2011 he released a full length documentary about the Wells family and their ministry in Papua New Guinea called “Two Hats”. (I wrote about how I learned about it - here). You can get more information about “The Lighthouse” film in the link below, but the site describes it as “A dramatic tale of fatherhood, relationships and dedication based on the story of The Prodigal Son in Luke 15”. If its half as good as “Two Hats” then it will be worth watching!

Andrew has created a Kickstarter to help fund this project, and their is only about 24 hours left until it closes. I would encourage anyone who is a fan of quality Christian entertainment to check it out and consider donating to the Kickstarter fund. is a creative new fundraising website that allows you to be a “backer” for a particular project. The originator of each project is required to give you certain details about what the project entails and there is a deadline for monies to be raised. If the amount required is raised then the project is officially started and the originator gets all of the donations that have been raised for the project. Really pretty cool! The Lighthouse has already reached it’s amount required, but I would encourage you to help out with this worthy project. Also, if you donate at least $25, you will get a copy of the film before its official release. Check it out!



Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My First Video Project - The Phillips Family in Cambodia


I know many folks read one or two of my blog posts back in November and December about my trip to Cambodia. (see Here) Honestly, I think I had more blog traffic those few weeks than all other weeks combined. It was a great experience and on top of that, it was a great opportunity to work on a very special project. In what has been a whirlwind of a last few months I am finally finished with my first major video project “The Phillips Family - Our Ministry in Cambodia 2011 to Present”

Several have already viewed it, but I did want to share this with all of my Facebook pals. Enjoy!

I also want to take a minute to thank my friend Chad Phillips for this opportunity; both professionally and personally. Last October I never would have dreamed I would make a trip to Cambodia, observe the wonderful work the Lord is doing there, and then make a video about it before the year concluded. It is very humbling. Also, It was truly amazing to witness how the Lord is using Chad and Linda in Cambodia, and to see their great love for the people. The Lord showed me so many things during my stay, and he has shown me even more since my return.

Thank you Chad. Thank you Linda. I pray the Lord will bless your short time here in the states, and that your joy of serving the Lord will inspire others to serve him as well.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Welcome Home Phillips Family



If you kept up with my recent Cambodia Trip posts you know that I had the wonderful opportunity to visit my friend Chad and his family where they serve in Ta Khmao, Cambodia. The purpose of that visit was for Chad and I to work on a video report for his upcoming furlough trip home. (see Here) Well I am glad to say that It was great to see the Phillips family again tonight, as they have finally made it back to Georgia. Seeing how they will be able to be home in Loganville for Christmas and the new year, i thought it would be good to introduce each of them to those members of Victory Baptist Church who have not met them yet. Here are some pics that I got on my trip. I hope that they will help you get to know and remember the Phillips family.

First up is Chad and Linda


Their oldest Child is Elizabeth. She is 4 years old. Whether she was singing a song, or giggling at something funny, I truly enjoyed seeing her joyful spirit each day of my stay with the Phillips.


Next is Judson who is 3 years old. I think the word that best describes him is “Imaginative”. Just look at the pictures, need I say more. I can just picture the thought cloud hovering over his head with some crazy story or stunt he is thinking up. haha, Judson is definitely a lot of fun to be around.


Last is the little girl that many of us have prayed so much for. After just getting to Cambodia and some potential pregnancy complications coming up, the Phillips had to head to Thailand. Emily Faith Phillips, “Bundle”, was born 16 months ago in Thailand, healthy and strong. You can read more about her name here. Even at this young of an age I could already see some of her personality through her many facial expressions. On more than one occasion I would be passing by her playpen and see her giving me a look with her dark brown eyes saying, “you don’t have to pick me up and carry me around if you don’t want to, but I sure would appreciate it.” haha, how can one resist?


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cambodia Trip: Post 9 - Boat Ride


On Monday, my departing flight was not until late that night, so we were able to take advantage of the full day. In the morning we did some final work on the video and then headed out for lunch. We headed toward the riverside area and were planning a boat ride. This is a very scenic stretch which included the former King’s Royal Palace and a row of national flags. Chad told me that just about a week before this area was flooded with Cambodians and visitors mourning the recent death of King Sihanouk. (More info Here) About the boat trip, Chad had mentioned how they had done this a few times before. We would show up on the docks and a bidding war would begin as the boat drivers competed to see who give us a ride. Much to my dismay, it did not go down like this. haha! Apparently, there had been too many altercations with the boat drivers recently, so the process was made to be much more civilized.


The boat ride was awesome. When you get a boat, it’s just for you and your party, so it’s very fun and relaxing. On the ride we got to see a fishing village on a nearby island, and also a beautiful view of the Phnom Penh skyline from the river. All of this was the backdrop for our lunch from “the Pizza Company” and a few friendly (sometimes) games of Rummikub.


After the boat ride, it was back to the house to pack and prepare for my 25 hour trip home.
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