Moses said he didn't want to move on if he knew the Lord's presence wouldn't go with them ...
What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth? Exodus 33:16 - NIV
It’s true, if the presence of God is not with me, if I am not influenced by Him every day then how will I be any different from any other person in the things that I do.
I want to make an impact that lasts for eternity, for a Kingdom that is out of this world and to do that I need to spend time with its King, daily.
I have learnt so much about the importance of this recently and this is in no way a chore. He is a joy to be with, I just need to remember to take time to stop for him.
The second part is to "Stop for the one in front of you..." Sometimes the Lord just puts a person in front of you and you have a choice to stop for them and love them or to just carry on with your day.
One day we were out on our regular ministry to some of the street kids on the river side; who we try and see at least two afternoons a week.
As we were playing games with the kids a young man limped up to us. At first sight he was really unpleasant to look at. With one eye blind and whitened over, some of his front teeth missing and a really thin frame through lack of food. He had a limp because his right foot was crippled and his right hand was also paralysed.
He didn't smell nice because he hadn’t showered for weeks and he immediately asked for money so he could buy food. We could have just said no and carried on with our main "focus" for the afternoon, the kids, but instead we decided to stop for him.
I got some of the other guys to come and join me and we prayed for him. Afterwards he put down his bag and brought out some of his only possessions; two Khmer bibles and a hymn book. He already knew Jesus, and after a while talking wuth him he started reading from his book and bursting out some Khmer style hymns in heartfelt song.
He said he came to Phnom Penh by bus from the countryside to try and find work a few weeks before. He soon ran out of the little money he had, so he was forced to sleep on the streets; where he had also been beaten up and robbed. He was called Veesna and was only 25 years old.
I took him for lunch with another friend and we talked some more (in the little Khmer I know). Something about him really touched my heart and I was determined to try and help him and eventually ended up meeting up with him on a daily basis. He was so grateful after having his first shower in weeks and getting lots of new clothes he looked like a completely new man, smart and handsome.
The more I got to know him the more I realised how much God loved him and valued him. He would always grab me and give me a big hug each day that I met up with him to help him out.
In the end after looking for many days we realised there was nowhere in Phnom Penh that would employ him, no organisations that could take him in or give him training and he eventually requested to go back to his family in the province. The members of the church we attend put together the funds for his bus ticket and sent him back with a huge bag of rice as a gift for his family and some new clothes for him, with a view to hopefully visit him in the near future.
He had been in Phnom Penh a few weeks and with no money left, nowhere to stay and no one willing to employ him he was in a vulnerable situation. With many homeless and jobless young men in Phnom Penh often turning to glue sniffing, substance abuse and crime in an effort to survive.
He said that Jesus sent us to help him and show him love in a practical way. But it’s not only him that benefited, I learnt so much from all time I spent with him.
Sometimes by stopping to help those in need and spending time with them it can cause more change in us than in them.
New year new challenges... The run up to Christmas seemed to go by so fast and so much was happening. I was finishing my teaching job and Mollie was continuing on with the medical clinic whilst we were both continuing to do language school among many other things! Time just seemed to fly by!
As a team we went on a scouting trip to Sihanoukville in November to pray and plan for the next steps ahead as part of our team will be pioneering a second base there.
It was a great time and felt significant but it wasn’t without its (spiritual) opposition. Our team leader Shelly became very ill with dengue fever and we had to come back to Phnom Penh early. It was a hard time and was really difficult to see our close friend so unwell.
It was a time in which we faced much opposition and we had a busy month ahead of us with our first outreach team of graduates from "Harvest School" in Mozambique coming out to visit us. By the time they came we were all feeling tired and weary but in the end they were all such a blessing and encouragement to have with us. They brought so much enthusiasm and passion and they were all so filled up from living and learning in the midst of revival in Africa. (The opposition didn’t end there though with our new temporary team leader Joel himself getting ill with Dengue fever and shingles at the same time just as they were back in Australia visiting family for Christmas!).
After spending Christmas 2011 away from our families doing ministry in Thailand we decided to try and get back to see them this Christmas 2012 and we were incredibly blessed to have our flights paid for as a gift from some close family. It was a really special time of refreshing and a precious time with family which seemed to fly by. We also got to see a few friends (although we didn’t have time to see all the people we would have hoped to see) it was such a gift from God to not be away from family at such an important time.
We are now back in Phnom Penh and know we have an exciting year ahead!
The other day during team prayer and worship they asked us to write down all of the things God had done in us and through us in the previous year so we could reflect and be thankful. It really gave me perspective, He is an incredible God and had done so much - a little through us - but much in us!
He is so good :-)