Wednesday, March 14, 2007

In the name of the Father...

It’s Thursday, 8:05 am. I leave in a week, Jeff and Jordan leave today. Jeff has been a bit under the weather, and is somewhat discouraged that he has missed some of our last few days’ activities. I’m praying that his trip home is uneventful, and that he is able to sleep for as much of the flight as possible.

I’ve been a bit frustrated with my inability to find decent internet access on this trip. If I didn’t want to hook up my laptop to upload pictures, it’d probably be a lot easier. I’m sorry for not posting very often – maybe this next week will be easier.

Yesterday morning we woke up bright and early (well, early anyway) and drove to the orphanage. When we arrived, we packed about half of the kids into our car and half into a tuktuk. Sophal rode with us to give the directions, and we set out through the busy city streets.

As previously noted, traffic in Phnom Penh is completely nuts. The general rule for right-of-way is based on some unfathomablely complex calculation based on speed, size of vehicle and proximity. But mostly proximity. If a hole in the traffic appears for even a brief instant, countless motos, bicycles, cyclos (bike-powered rickshaws) and cars rush into it as if drawn in by some irresistible natural force. Sort of like a black hole. Or like a zillion spermatozoa charging toward some unseen egg.

Driving in Phnom Penh is hard enough by oneself, but with 4 adults, 11 chattering children and a set of side-mirrors that have been locked into position to prevent theft, it’s darn near maddening. We made it across town, over the bridge and around the bend without incident, and were met by Narun and the tuktuk full of children. With much ado, we loaded kids and car onto a ferry bound for lands unknown on the other side of the Mekong river.

When we reached the other side, we retrieved the car, rejoined the tuktuk and hied the children away across a rutted road that ran along the eastern bank of the river. After a dozen or so bone-jarring minutes, we reached the home of Narun’s aunt. Or sister. Or some relative.

The children rushed to find toys, and Jordan and I changed into shorts. Narun gathered 7 of the older children, and we walked past cows, roosters and naked babies down a dusty path to the edge of the Mekong. As we walked, Narun prayed aloud: “Prepare the children, prepare our hearts.”

Soktoun, Vilaiy, Saran, Khay, Srey Pa, Srey Ka, Soriya and Jordan had all come to be baptized. We waded into the muddy waters, and gathered together in prayer. One by one, I baptized the kids, while Narun translated and prayed. “Do you believe in Jesus, and trust him alone to be your savior and lord?” I asked. “Do you promise to follow Jesus throughout your whole life? It am so happy to be here today to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

What a privilege. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again here. It is such a privilege to bea part of these kids’ lives. I have no idea why God chose me for this job, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Still, this is emotionally and physically exhausting work. So much to do, so many issues to resolve, so many emotions to encounter. On top of all the emotions I’m dealing with related to the ministry, I miss my family terribly, and I wonder what the longterm effect on my kids will be.

I hope my children grow up valuing the ministry, maybe carrying it into the future after I’m gone. I know it’s difficult on Kori and the kids, and I worry that they won’t experience the blessings of the ministry, only the costs. And it’s always difficult when I come back. I’m always exhausted, and starved for affection, and they’re always stir crazy and ready to have me jump right back into wrestling and cooking and helping around the house.

Returning to work is also a challenge. Whereas coming back to my family can feel like jumping into a blender, stepping back into work is like walking off a fast moving escalator – it’s difficult to move from work that feels so significant to handling requests for proposals and making changes to newsletters and print ads.

Thank God, my family and my employees are fantastic. They’re easy to come back to., and are pretty understanding about my situation. I pray that in my absence, they can experience God in a special way and receive blessings for their part in this ministry.

Well, I miss you all and can’t wait to see you all again.

Grace and peace.


Beth said...

You know what I see when I see your family? Thriving and loving kids. A strong wonderful wife who loves you and even realizes her unique role in this ministry (and God sees that in her too of course). I also see a church family eager to love and care for your little family while you're away...yes, there are difficult costs for you all, but your kids are growing and will grow to understand that their own costs mean untold benefit for others. Your kids are AWFULLY blessed in their parents -- and their Dad going go Cambodia doesn't change those blessings, except to underscore how much bigger and needier the world is than we like to admit, and that's a GOOD thing for them to learn. Trust God to use this ministry to bless them, not just cost them. He's a good Father like that, you know?

We all miss you and look forward to you coming back. No one else can scat at home group quite like you. Tim tried, but well...

Much love.

maureen said...

just want to add a ditto to the comments...

"I hope my children grow up valuing the ministry, maybe carrying it into the future after I’m gone. I know it’s difficult on Kori and the kids, and I worry that they won’t experience the blessings of the ministry, only the costs."

the man you are and the impact that this ministry has clearly had on who you are is an intangible payment that is significant and deep.

no intention to downplay some of the practical things that effect your families life...

be well and know that we are praying for you!