The Last Days

The last several days are all consuming and fly by more quickly than I would like. It is now the day of my departure and while I am looking forward to getting home, it is bittersweet to say goodbye to all my friends, new and old. This is the twenty-first time I have done it, and it is never easy.

Dr. Tom is having a hard time with my leaving. We have spent hours together, studying the Bible, learning from each other how to best communicate God’s word and lead a church.

A typical scene. Every spare moment Dr. Tom and I studied together. This is one of the reasons I do not bring anyone with me when I come to Cambodia. They would never see me!

Dr. Tom jokingly texted the men last night,

It has been an intense three weeks of training, encouraging, building relationships, strengthening faith, laughing, consoling, reconciling, singing, and lots of eating.

A Mighty Fortress Is our God

On Sunday I concluded my final preaching sessions in the Cambodia (Khmer) speaking church service, and the English service. The men I work with all attend the English service, but their spouses often go to the Khmer service.

An amazing little orchestra at International Baptist Church

We also got to share Dr. Tom’s birthday (65) with him. The Hope Now men love him, as do his church members.

Dr. Tom is the epitome of a missionary.

Some of you might remember Piseth. He came from Long Beach, California and when he arrived in Phnom Penh he couldn’t get it together. He hit rock bottom, homeless and dirty, and came very close to death from drinking homemade rice wine—a cheap and deadly concoction.

We never gave up on Piseth. We prayed for him, dumped out his wine whenever we saw him on the streets. Sometimes we would rent a room for him so he could get cleaned up. He’s such a likable guy and it was tragic to see him spiral downward. That was 2018.

We found Piseth on the street in 2018.
Piseth without any hope.

But this is 2023. Five years later Piseth is a thriving business man. With our help he opened a small burrito stand “Piseth’s Cali Burritos.” He has two employees and a steady stream of customers. Five years ago he had no front teeth, but a generous Hope Now Cambodia donor helped us solve that problem.

Today Piseth is a happy man.
Showing off his Burrito stand. It’s about to undergo a remodel soon.

When Piseth was literally lying in the street, a young soup vendor passed by and offered him a free bowl of soup. It was one of the turning points in his life, in fact since then, the woman walks by Piseth’s business, and every day he buys a bowl of soup from her; Even if he’s not hungry (he may just give it away). Piseth is kind and tender hearted and has not forgotten those who helped him. I think that is beautiful.

Piseth, Buying a bowl from the soup vendor.

I have met many new Hope Now Cambodia men, and many new friends from other parts of the world. The little International Baptist Church not only teaches the gospel correctly, they have a love for one another that most of us covet for our own churches. I have become friends with several Singaporean believers who have moved to Cambodia to create an organic farm. We have had long conversations about composting, microbes, what heat thriving plants will do the best in Cambodia, along with Bible questions. These have been good times.

A nice little meal after the Wednesday night Bible study.
More eating with some of the guys.
Happy men.
Some of my Singaporean friends.
Dr. Tom saying goodbye to me in the Church service.
Lunch after Church at a Mexican restaurant owned by a Californian.
Our last Sunday staff meal. From bottom left, clockwise: Abel (Mout’s son), Joseph (standing, Tom’s and Anna’s son), Jonathan (Tom’s and Anna’s son), Me, Mout, Abby (Mout’s daughter), Mary (Mout’s wife), Dr. Tom, Anna, and Nancilynn (Tom’s and Anna’s daughter). Tom and Anna have another daughter, Victoria, who was not able to join us.

This morning, after I hit “Send” on this post, I am meeting Mout and Dr. Tom for breakfast. Then they will take me to the airport where some of the other guys will meet us. I’ll try to post that later.

It has been a little harder communicating the last several days. I gave away my MacBook Pro to a staff member. His was on its last legs, and a new computer here is too expensive. Mine is fairly new—I’ll pick up a new one when I get home. Likewise, Dr. Tom’s phone was very old. Being a medical doctor as well as a pastor of two churches he is ALWAYS answering a call or tending to an issue, medical or spiritual. He got my fairly new iPhone. I took his old, clunky one, so that I can communicate with Carol when I get to LAX. Had I known their computer and phone were in dire need of replacement I would have planned for it before coming. But, over here, things have to be done spontaneously. It’s a different world, for sure.

I’m glad you could come along with me. Thank you for your financial support that makes this ministry happen. It is truly unique, and as I leave for home, I am considering this to be the most productive trip I have made in the past 13 years!


  1. When I awoke very early this morning I asked God who I needed to pray for. You came to mind. My prayer was you would have the strength to finish this trip well. It appears this prayer was answered perhaps in that very moment.
    Thanks for the update on Piseth. He has been in my prayers too. We serve an awesome God. Praying for safe travels. I will be in touch.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow what an adventure brother . Thanks for taking us along the journey. It was a pleasure meeting and seeing the actual people who you encounter and encountered over there. We will continue praying for your safety back home and all the people in Cambodia. Can’t wait to see you back in California!

    Liked by 1 person

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