It was three years ago, in February 2020, I returned home from a two-week trip to Cambodia. At that time, I wrote the following: “If I can develop strong leaders among the men in Cambodia, the ministry can outlive me and continue to thrive into the future. That is why my focus on each of my visits is training men.” The knowledge of God’s Word would carry them through tough times to come. And those tough times came.
Who could have guessed what the world has experienced since then? For a decade, I made about two trips each year to Cambodia, and it all came to a screeching halt in 2020. But now, much of the fog has lifted. Most, if not all, of the restrictions for travel, are gone (at least for the time being), and there is a semblance of normalcy in Cambodia. Because of that, I am grateful to be able to head back to Phnom Penh in February to help strengthen and encourage the men. When I notified my staff leader in Phnom Penh, Mout (pronounced M ‘oot’ in foot), of my return, he wrote enthusiastically, “Lord willing, we will be with you for almost 3 weeks!” Offhandedly I responded, “You might wish it was only a week?” Mout put me in my place and, with all joking aside, wrote, “We wish you could stay as long as possible. Your presence will be so encouraging to us all.” His words were humbling, to say the least. For the men there, it is no laughing matter. They need to be encouraged in God’s Word, and I am praying I can do that.
All the details are not set, but since I will be in Cambodia for three Sundays, I will preach in the International Baptist Church service as well as the Khmer, Cambodia-speaking church. During the week, I will lead Bible studies and work at building up the men who need it most. There are several who have struggled through the pandemic and need help getting back on track.
I’m not digging a well, or repairing a roof, or working at an orphanage and I know for some, a Gospel missions teaching ministry may seem uneventful. Yet I am building; I am building men and families. I guess for me that is the only missionary endeavor that I am interested in.
I would ask for your support and prayers as I make the preparations for the trip. My departure date is February 23, and I will return on March 13. Travel costs, as well as hotel costs, have soared over the past three years. These are hard times for many, and I always struggle with sharing needs, but I was told by a wise friend that I need to let people know how they can help. Candidly, there isn’t enough to finance my entire trip as of this writing. I am about $3,000 short which I can make up with my own savings if needed. Essentially, travel is around $2,000+, the hotel for 16 nights is about $2,000. And while I usually do not spend it all, I like to have $3,000 cash on hand for on-the-ground expenses: helping the men, local travel, and emergency cash since I am so far from home. Your tax-deductible gift would be appreciated.