“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 ~
His name is Jesus, and this is His story of what He has done and is doing in me.
My name is Kathleen. I am from Western Australia. I am a volunteer missionary at Wat Preah Yesu in Cambodia, and I have been here since January 14, 2011.
Originally I never wanted to leave Australia, my family, my horses, or my job. I was fully convinced that for me, I would serve God in Australia, in the comfort of all I had and knew. I see now that I just didn’t want to give up “my” lifestyle or “my” plans for my life. Not that my plans were much – just work so that I could always have horses and generally do whatever I felt like.
One Sabbath afternoon, I stayed after church for the afternoon program. I’m not really sure why I did it. Tim and Wendy Maddocks were going to be telling us all about their mission, Wat Preah Yesu, in Cambodia. I had known about Wat Preah Yesu for a long time, because I used to attend the same church that Wendy’s parents attended, but I’d never thought very much about it. During the program I felt impressed that I should volunteer. I thought that was crazy and said no, but the impression wouldn’t go away. I decided that I’d at least try to talk to them. After the program, I waited for a chance to talk to Tim and Wendy, but many people were trying to talk to them and I couldn’t see how I could get a word in edgewise. So I thought I was off the hook. My friend, Alex, was talking and telling Mr. and Mrs. Maddocks that she and another friend would be coming to volunteer at Wat Preah Yesu the following January for one month. The only thing was that Alex was only 17 at the time and I could see her mother standing beside her looking very worried. “Maybe if someone older goes with you, Alex.” she said.
And then I heard myself say, “I’ll go.” I was absolutely stunned by my words, but I couldn’t take them back, and by the time I’d gathered my wits it was all sorted. Alex and her family arranged everything. I’d never travelled overseas or by airplane before so I was thankful for their help, and six months later, on the 4rd of January 2010, I found myself stepping off the plane onto Cambodian soil. Even up to the very day that I left Australia I was not one bit excited or looking forward to this Asian trip. It didn’t help that I was nervous about flying and Alex kept telling me horror stories of flights she’s been on or known about.
That month I spent at Wat Preah Yesu completely changed my life. I realized that there was much more to live for than myself, and my horses. I realized that there was a way for me to serve Jesus that was tangible and real. I discovered that I could be happy following God and His plan for my life. Not that I became a changed or perfect person all at once. I made (and still do make) many mistakes, but I believed I’d found God’s calling for my life.
I returned to Australia, found a job, and worked for the next nine months or so saving all I could and paying of all my debts. I planned to return to Cambodia in January of 2011. As I worked I could see myself getting easily trapped back into the life that I’d had before. But I tried to pray and keep God as the focus. I was so tempted to just stay in Australia. I had a good job, and my boss wanted me to stay. There was my family that I would have to leave behind, and I had my beloved horse, and I was sure that I wouldn’t be fully happy without him in my life. Nevertheless I returned to Cambodia on January 14th 2011, originally planning to stay for 18 months – to be a teacher! Something I said I never wanted to be!
The first morning that I had to teach here, I woke up early and went and sat outside in the dark. The tasks that were set before me for the day weighed heavily on me. What was I doing here? I am not a teacher! I don’t know how to teach! I’ve only finished high school education (and that was 5 years ago!) and I wasn’t nearly the top student in any of my classes! I was very, very scared. I didn’t want to let God or Tim and Wendy down, but I was sure I just couldn’t do it. So I opened my Bible, and I read the story of Jesus feeding the multitude with the 5 loaves and 2 fish, and it was like God said to me, “You are like that little boy. You don’t have much to give, but you just have to give it all. I will take it and multiply it and use it to bless many, then My name will be glorified by the work I will do in and through you.”
I was so humbled and encouraged. And He has kept His promise, and He has helped me every step of the way. Yes I’ve made many mistakes, but I’ve learnt so many things. I am still learning so many things about God, about teaching, about witnessing, about serving. And all of it has been because of God and His power, none of it has come of my own strength or wisdom.
It has not ever been easy. There have been many attacks by Satan to discourage me, but through it all God gives me a peace and inner joy in the work I do. I discovered, much to my surprise, that I can be perfectly happy without a horse, so long as I have God. He provides all my needs – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. I love serving Him, and I never want to go back to where I was in my life and just live for me again. Living for God gives a joy that must be experienced to be truly understood. I thank God for His marvelous grace and mercy. He never gives up on me.
Some people have asked me if I want to go and study to be a teacher. Truthfully – No! Not that study is bad, but I did pray about it, and I haven’t been directed there. I do fear of getting trapped by study fees or the lifestyle again because I am so weak to resist. I do believe that God equips the called. I believe He called me and He is equipping me each day for that day. The only thing that I’d like to study more is Bible. I’d like to know more about it and have more tools for sharing. Fortunately there are many ways to learn more about the Bible that I can do here in Cambodia.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” ~ Luke 17:10 ~
Some people have asked me when I’m going to return to Australia and get on with my life. Well, this is my life. Serving God is my life and wherever I go in the world I aim to do just that. The Christian life is a walk, an upward walk, a daily growing. So long as we say, “Yes!” to God at each step of the way, He will provide the training, and all needs. This is His work!
For the foreseeable future I will remain here in Cambodia. God has given me a great love for this country, for its beautiful people, lifestyle, and even the weather! I have a great desire to help train and equip Cambodians to be able to teach other Cambodians about God. I want to see God glorified in Cambodia.
Do I recommend missionary work? YES! Even if it is just a short term (3 months to 1 year) trip. There is no better way to discover God’s will for your life than to give it all to Him for a time and see what He does with it and where He leads. Don’t say that you can’t go somewhere and do something because you’ve never done that before. A wise friend gave me some advice when I was considering returning to Cambodia, but not sure if it was what I should be doing; she said that even if it wasn’t the exact thing I was supposed to be doing, that because it was for God and service, that it wouldn’t be a waste of time, and would definitely be an experience that would lead me closer to Him and His will for my life. If God is suggesting missions to you, pray about it, and go! You’ll be surprised what He will do in and through you!
To God alone be all glory, honor, power, praise, and worship!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. ” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17 – 6:1 ~