Saturday, October 13, 2007

Them crazy Canucks

Two days ago we were joined by a group from Westview Bible Church in Montreal, the congregation that sponsors our orphan home in Battambang. It’s been a joy to see these guys -- all first time visitors to Cambodia – react to the kids, the country and the ministry.

Their pastor (Steve), a zany 40-something guy who at times makes me look taciturn brought one of his longtime friends (also Steve) who has joined him on many international ministry trips and a quiet PhD (Corey) who has never done a missions trip of any kind. All of them are having a blast. Even the Steves are finding it a bit challenging to take everything in; Cambodia is a sensory assault on many levels. Corey is also doing great, and is learning to control the gag reflex that kicks in the first time you walk through a meat market in 95 degree weather.

Tomorrow, the Quebecers travel to Battambang to meet their kids. (I really wish I could be there to see it, but I have unfinished business in Phnom Penh. I’m also not sure I want to subject Chien to another 12 hours of car rides before we take leave the country on Wednesday). I know that this will be a powerful experience for these guys. I’m so happy for them. Each child in that home owes his life to Westview Bible Church. What an amazing blessing to be used by God as a conduit of his mercy!

Today we took all of the kids from the Phnom Penh and Prek Eng orphan homes to the waterpark (thank you Central Vineyard Church for providing those funds!). We had a blast. Four hours of splashing, climbing, sliding, swimming and towing kids around on innertubes has left me sore and tired, but very happy. As Jeff Cannell said, “Orphans at a water park. Is there any better picture of the Kingdom of God?”

Amazingly, I took no pictures. The kids wouldn’t let me. Every time I got out of the water, tiny, wrinkly, brown hands tugged at mine: “Daddy John! Please sweem with me!” Chien also had a fun time, but spent much of his afternoon playing by himself. I think he was a little overwhelmed by the hundreds of kids that packed the park. Trying to sort out familiar faces among the crowd is difficult even for me, and I know the kids pretty well. I know that Bobbi Campbell took a bunch of photos. I’ll make sure I get some from her.

We returned to the guest house and took a very short rest before heading out to dinner with the senior staff from the Phnom Penh area. (also funded by CV. Thanks, guys.) It was another emotional evening. We had more than 20 people at the table, so I literally ordered one of everything from the Asian food section of the menu. After we had all eaten more than enough, we bagged up the rest for the kids and spent about 40 minutes talking. Savorn and Narin translated as we told staff members how much we love them and they expressed their affection and appreciation for us. I know I say this a lot, but it is such a privilege to work with these people. Amazing.

Tomorrow I have some very important, very difficult meetings. Please pray for me. Bobbi and Jessie will babysit Chien. He has lots of movies to watch, so I’m sure he’ll be fine.

I’ll try to post pictures again soon.


Anonymous said...

John, We will be in prayer tonite for you and the others in the meetings.

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

I know I haven't been commenting, but I've been reading every word and praying for you both. Thank you so much for going for us and doing all this ... even though I KNOW you are having all the fun! I'm so glad someone is there to take my Srey Poa swimming and photograph her doing karate, although that photo looks more like her sister Srey Ka. I'll be praying about those meetings ... if I'm too late, God can use them retroactively, right? That's part of my theology. God can do more than I can ask or imagine.