Rhiannon and I are enjoying our time in Farmington, New Mexico. Since we've been here, I've had invitations to speak in four different churches. Just the other day we were meeting with a pastor of a good sized church here in Farmington. It was about 20 minutes before the mid-week service began and I was sharing with him the power of taking simple Bible stories and anchoring messages from the stories (as opposed to beginning with pre-existing points and taking bits and pieces from several stories to prove the points). The pastor was so excited that he immediately introduced me to his son, the youth pastor of the church, and asked me to take the youth service for the evening.
Normally, not having time to prepare a message would have rocked my boat, but since I already had several stories in my repertoire, all I had to do was pick one. I ended up telling the story of a leper that was healed by Jesus but disobeyed His orders to not tell anyone about what had happened. The story is found in Mark 1:40-45. After I told the story, I was able to throw out questions to the youth group to make them think about what the story teaches about grace, healing, the character of Jesus, how we should treat others, and, ultimately the price of disobedience. I could tell the young people were blessed, which in turn blessed me because I don't get a chance to speak to young people very often.
Next stop: Cambodia!!
I've been to Cambodia three times in the past. One of those times my wife was with me. To give you a brief history. From 1975-1979 the Cambodian people suffered under the brutal regime of Pol Pot, one of the most cruel dictators in human history. Millions of people were relocated from their homes and forced to live in agricultural communes. Those deemed as a threat to the regime, like intellectuals and Western sympathizers, were tortured and killed. By the end of the nightmare, somewhere around 2 million people were killed, which is why the words "killing fields" are often used to describe the tragedy of Pol Pot's rule.
But thanks be to God, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ has grown exponentially since that awful time period! Shortly after my wife and I arrived in Farmington, New Mexico I was invited to Cambodia to join a team of three other men who will be teaching the "Simply the Story" method to missionaries and national pastors throughout the country. The format will be the exact same format used when my wife and I went to Thailand in November. To give you an idea of the power of this workshop, I'd like to share a report from a missionary in Thailand about what happened as a result of the last trip that we took. Shortly after the workshop, some Karen Bible School students decided to cross the border into Burma and put into practice what they had learned. Here is what happened:
I didn't get out of the (name of the camp omitted) until later in the evening, then a trip down to (name of the camp omitted) where I had a chance to speak with (name omitted) regarding his STS usage during the December evangelism campaign. (name omitted) is just recovering from Malaria, so you may want to keep him in your prayers.
Anyway, (name omitted) said that he and (name omitted) took 15, 3rd year students and went to 3rd & 5th brigade which covers 20 villages. I've been to 5th brigade and it is a heavy war zone. He shared of one very close call where Junta troops attacked the village just as they left from ministering STS.
These area's are heavily Animist and reluctant to the gospel. (name omitted) did say roughly 2 dozen adults received Christ as a result of STS. He said there were so many children acknowledging Jesus that they promised to return to the villages this March after Bible school graduation and try to disciple them.
They had several invitations to return to the villages as the leaders want to hear more of this "Jesus". Doesn't that just sound like the days of ACTS?
I count it an honor and a privilege to have played a small part in this. Please pray that God will do similar things as a result of the Cambodia workshop. I'll be out of the country from February 6th-24th.
I can't wait to give you a positive report when I get back!
While there is still time,
P.S. If you would like to make an online contribution to our ministry, please go to my website.