I am sure everyone has those memories that rise to the surface when you hear a special song, smell a certain smell, taste a specific food, etc. I had that flood of senses return when I walked out of the Phnom Penh airport Sunday night to be welcomed by the high Cambodia heat and humidity. There was our friend Jesse waiting to greet us, then we lined up behind our luggage for the ceremonial picture to show all our friends on the Stronghold Cambodia Facebook page that our group, again arrived safely. Then Mr. Long showed up in the shuttle to drive us to our home away from home in Phnom Penh, The 9 Dragon hotel. It felt good to be back!
I think about the special times, the Highs and Lows, the devotions, and the challenges of this mission field that have become special blessings in my life. Six years ago I would never have believed that in the next six years I would travel half-way around the world not just once, but 3 times to share the love of Jesus with the Khmer people. I count my blessings that God chose me, and our congregation to open the hearts of these people and that I had the faith to face this challenge with an open mind. I know I have gotten so much more out of these trips than I have given, and the friendships I have made and relationships that have been built both in Cambodia, and at St. John are priceless. There is a special bond between the team members who have gone to Cambodia, and on this trip 3 out of our 6 team members have taken this trip together before. God knows the plans he has for each of us, and isn't it thrilling when he reveals them!
We always spend our first day in Cambodia, exhausted, learning about the history of this country and the evil that has existed. How could a genocide of over a third of the people of this country happen? As we visit S21 and the Killing Field, we realize that from this horrific era in time that a new generation of people is eager to hear about and come to know Jesus. He is using St. John Church in Ellisville, for such a time as this to share the hope and love of Jesus with these people.
This week our team will share the love of Jesus, with the hope for a bright tomorrow to the people of this country. Over the next 8 days, this team will build new memories, share priceless moments and plant the seed of Jesus's faithfulness.
We pray that what we leave behind brings bright new memories to the people of Cambodia, and takes away the darkness of the past.