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.
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.
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.
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.