Traveling is not something I like doing. What I like is getting to my destination. Over the years I have traveled thousands upon thousands of miles. Each journey requires lots of prayer and preparation.
When I arrive at the airport, I have anxiety until I get through the TSA checkpoint. I know, I know, “Do not be anxious about anything!” That is truth. But truth is also admitting some things are easier said than done! I guess I am as weak as the next guy!
TSA is not a big deal, really. The problem is the unknown. Do I take off my shoes? Do I remove my belt? (I wear a belt with a plastic buckle now). Will my watch set off the alarm? (The guy always tells me it will not, but sometimes it does). Do I remove my laptop? While not that big of deal, I do not relax until I am through TSA. Then, all systems are go and I focus on my mission.
Several days from now I leave for trip number 11 to the Kingdom of Cambodia. I have spent about a half a year in the country since my first visit in 2010. It is no longer exotic. Was it at one time? I think so. Seven years ago it was all so exciting and different. Today, it is still exciting, but I see the country differently. I am no longer a tourist. The people are spiritually vacant of God’s love, truth, grace, and freedom. The deportees from the U.S. are surrounded by spirit and ancestor worship. This is why God has placed Hope Now there.
I arrive in the capital city of Phnom Penh the first week of April. The length of this trip is only two-weeks, about a week short of my usual stay. Lord willing, later this year I will make a longer journey.
What are my goals?
First, I get the privilege of performing a marriage ceremony for my good friend and staff member Mout Iv, and his wife Mary. They are married, but have a desire to restate their vows. In 2015, their ceremony was cultural, and they “did not take their vows in front of God”, as Mout put it. God is blessing them, but they want their marriage founded upon Jesus Christ, and they want to make that public. It will be fun and an honor to perform the ceremony. I cannot wait.
Second, I am leading our staff in our second Institute for Christian leadership and Development. I will ground them in the Word. Our staff member Van is traveling from Battambang in the north to Phnom Penh in the south so he can be a part of the Institute. His wife Ravy will travel with him.
Third, I am excited to lead several Bible studies, taking various men through parts of the book of Ephesians. What a privilege and joy to teach the Word of God and encourage men.
Fourth, as always, we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in helping deported, lost, and destitute men—some are homeless on the streets in Phnom Penh, many are poor, all of them are depressed and missing their families in the United States. We help them cope. It may mean doing something as little as buying them a cup of coffee and letting them know someone loves them and cares. It could be finding them a place to live for a month or two as we help them look for a job. Whatever and wherever the Lord directs us, we go. It is always the most exciting part of the journey.
Our staff needs attention also. I will spend the bulk of my time with Chantha, Mout and Van, listening, encouraging, and giving them overall support. They are hurting too. They need our prayers, our love, our financial support.
Here are some financial needs I have. If you can help, it will encourage me.
Need #1: We always need Bibles. I take as many English Bibles as I can carry in my luggage without paying additional charges—about 20. The Bibles I like are ESV large print paperbacks. I am able to purchase them in bulk. They are light, and are nice Bibles for $6.99 each; $140.
Need #2: Materials for our Institute. It takes work putting the curriculum and materials together, printing, etc., for our training—about $100.
Need #3: Every time we help a deported man on the streets it costs money. Food, clothing, housing—a minimum of $600.
Need #4: Extra travel expenses. To bring our staff member Van and his wife Ravy from Battambang to Phnom Penh there are travel expenses. Four days food, lodging, and transportation—around $360
In addition, any help with some wedding costs for Mout and Mary are appreciated. We have to rent a small venue since they are desiring their close friends come to witness their vows. We are providing light snacks and refreshments. They are part of our staff family and are making the right decision to state their vows as believers in Jesus.
All gifts given are for this trip for Cambodia. In all (sans the above needs) it costs Hope Now about $4,600 each time I travel. Several people give a tax-deductible gift to Hope Now Cambodia on a monthly basis. Those gifts help us pay our staff a stipend each month and cover their expenses. But as noted above, there are more expenses incurred.
I love this ministry and I love the people I work with and interact with while I am there. It is one of my great passions in life. It is what God prepared beforehand, that [I] should walk in it (Ephesians 2:10). As usual, I will keep my website updated regularly so the reader might join me on this incredible journey of helping so many in need.
All gifts are tax-deductible. Go to “Give To Hope Now” in the menu tab above. It is secure and easy to use. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your financial support, your comments, and your prayers.