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5:00pm | Sanctuary

The worship style St. John is known for with biblically-sound real life messages, band and vocal music that enhance worship and the message while maintaining a focus on the sacred and encouraging you on your LIFEjourney with Christ.

The Parents' Room is also available if you need to step out for a moment with your child.


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Sunday

The worship style St. John is known for with biblically-sound real life messages, band and vocal music that enhance worship and the message while maintaining a focus on the sacred and encouraging you on your LIFEjourney with Christ.

9:00am* and 10:45am*|Sanctuary

 

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*Children's Ministry options are available for children from birth through fifth grade at the times marked.  Children are always welcome to worship with their families. A Parents' Room is also available if you need to step out for a moment.


 

 

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Showing items filed under “Diane Esala”

Cambodia: Same, same, but different

During our first year on God’s mission with Stronghold Cambodia we spent much of our time out of our comfort zone physically, emotionally and spiritually. We talked about how our “right” and “wrong” boxes had shrunken but the greatest change was in our “different” box as it grew in leaps and bounds. There is a saying in Cambodia, “same, same, but different” which pretty well sums up our acclimation to living in Cambodia.


Initially, relationships took a direct hit from Satan as we struggled with separation from our family and friends and acclimation to the Khmer culture. Skype, email and face book helped bridge the gap with those back home, but it was not the same as being there. As personal family issues weighed heavy on our hearts, we came to realize that these hardships were Satan’s attack against God’s work in and through us. Our dependence upon God to work in the lives of those we loved increased because we were absent and unable to help them ourselves. God’s love shined through Jesse’s family and our new Christian Khmer friends who welcomed, encouraged and prayed for us here just as our family and friends did at home.


When we returned to Cambodia this year, we returned to a familiar place instead of a new place and our relationships grew and changed even more. Just as we had rejoiced at the reunion with our families and friends in the USA, we rejoiced at being reunited with our family (students, parents and staff at SC) and friends here in Cambodia. We now felt as if our hearts were in two places – each half way across the world from the other. We were no longer simply serving as English teachers but we were now developing deeper relationship with those we came to serve as well as those we came to serve alongside. This role change added a new sense of value to our work.


At the same time, our appreciation grew for the short-term mission teams who travel half-way around the world joining us in God’s mission to share Jesus’ love with the people of Cambodia. Their visits refresh and restore our own faith as we work together as God’s body of believers on the ground in Cambodia. God nourishes us through their love and care for us personally. The time that we gather with them to share in Holy Communion is especially precious to us. While on furlough in the USA this past summer, we were overwhelmed by the privilege of coming together with a body of believers to worship and praise God in our own heart language.


Just as life in Cambodia is “same, same, but different,” we too are “same, same, but different” as we have grown and changed through God’s work in us. Join us as we pray for the short-term mission team traveling to Cambodia now, that through this experience God return them to the USA “same, same, but different.” May we all thank and praise God that although He is working in each one of us to mold us into vessels that leak Him to the culture where we are planted, God remains the same yesterday, today and forever.


Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.
Hebrews 13:8

Posted by Diane Esala with

Dry Bones

At the end of today, we shared our personal high and low for the day.  For me, the high and low was found at the same place – among dry bones.  In an attempt to better understand Cambodian culture we visited the S21 Prison and The Killing Fields.  It was a visceral experience that involved all of my senses – the sight of mounds of skulls, dry bones & teeth, the sound of silence punctuated by gasps of horror, the smell of incense associated with death, and the discomfort of shame and guilt upon realizing that I was alive during the time of these genocidal atrocities but living the carefree life of a newly married almost college graduate who was educated but ignorant of the horrors in Cambodia  and had a worldview that did not get past my own nose.  

I was reminded of Ezekiel 37:1-14.  Like Ezekiel, I felt the Lord had set me in the middle of a valley that was full of dry bones.  These bones too had a story.  It was a story of unimaginable pain that only was relieved by death.  But it was also a story of hope and peace.  Our guide recounted the horrors of living under the Pol Pot Regime on a personal level as she and her mother eventually escaped to Vietnam but her father, older brother and older sister died in labor camps during the year following their exodus from Phnom Pehn.  At the end of the tour, an older man, one of only seven survivors of S21, was selling a book he had written about his experiences of torture and imprisonment there.    Although both had survived their gruesome past, their countenance was not one of hatred and bitterness but instead of peace and hope. 

At the Killing Fields, the presence of God was palpable to me among these dry bones of Cambodia just as he was in the midst of the dry bones of Israel.  He used the people and their stories of horror to show me that there is light in the darkness.  In Ezekiel 37, God promised to open the graves of the Israelites and bring them up from those graves so that they would know He was the Lord.  In the same way, I pray the continuation of this scriptural promise for Cambodia in that God will put his Spirit in them so that they will live and then know that the Lord has spoken and done it.

In Luke 1:79, Zechariah prophesized that his son, John the Baptist, would shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death and guide  their feet into the path of peace.  I pray that I be a willing and able participant in being a vessel through which Jesus may shine on those living in darkness here in Cambodia and so guide their feet in the path of peace that passes all understanding.  

Today, my understanding deepened and my worldview widened. 

 

Posted by Diane Esala with 4 Comments

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