June 2017 Update

The 2016-2017 school year draws rapidly to a close. Only one month left. This has been quite an amazing year!

  • It’s been the first year HoofTrek classes have been run. We’ve learned so much – mostly about what not to do! We are continually jotting down new/different ideas for next year. It has been very educational and I have enjoyed watching the students learn to interact safely with the horses. I have been told by some of them that they have learned patience and how to be confident learning new things.
  • It’s been a wetter year we’ve had rain nearly all year – even during April. This has kept the grass alive for which our horses are thankful.
  • Living by faith – may times this year we have come to the end of our financial resources. But we serve the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills and He has never let us or the horses go without. And God has not only provided for HoofTrek, but also for Wat Preah Yesu. He is ever teaching us to come to Him on our knees and proving over and over again that this is His work. His grace towards me is amazing, I don’t deserve any of it. I have and am having some real relational challenges this year, soem have been overcome, some still to be overcome, but God is faithful and if I can get out of the way He will do what He needs to do in me
  • Ely, Matthew and I have been learning to read and write Khmer on Wednesday afternoons with Rathom, one of our Gr. 10 students. She is a good teacher and I am amazed at how much I have learned and that I can actually read a bit (not perfectly, but better than before 🙂 )

Rathom is at the front

We have had some truly wonderful volunteers this school year. Matthew, from the USA, has been here since last September and Christel, from Denmark, has been here for a bit over 4 months. They have been great friends and teachers. Matthew will leave at the end of July and Christel leaves next week 😦 I appreciate them and all they have done for us here at WPY; I’m sure the students will miss them too.


For the last month we’ve had 4 ladies from California. They arrived just when we were short of teachers. Their love for God and for the students was very evident in their behavior and we made many good memories before they left yesterday. One of them, Rebecca, led us through a 10 days of prayer for Revival and Reformation. I learned a lot and am glad we had this opportunity. God is so good, and there is ALWAYS something to learn.

Students
Just after the April holidays we had a mini exodus of a few students who decided to go study elsewhere or work. This happens every year, and we pray that they will remember the things they learned here.
My Grade 7B English class I picked up after Anna left early February. I have enjoyed teaching them. They are energetic and friendly and have been doing really well.Over this last month they have been getting restless and noisy. This too tends to happen as exams get closer. God has been teaching me patience and love as sometimes the students have staged mini rebellions (trying to convince me of something and refusing to do what I wanted until I would give them what they wanted etc)

Gr 7B – pc Matthew

Tim has held a few staff meetings this year mostly discussing how we can implement True Education here at KAS. Please pray for Tim and all of us staff here as we look at making some big changes.

Thank you for all your prayers and support. May God bless you and continue to guide you into His perfect will..

Thank You for Horses

This has been a wonderfully wet rainy season. Our ponds are full and overflowing. We have been blessed that our afternoon HoofTrek classes haven’t often been disturbed by the rain. It hasn’t been this wet since my first rainy season here back in 2011.

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We have a new volunteer, Marissa, from Australia. She is living with Ely and I, and being a wonderful help in many areas including HoofTrek. She even brought enough donations to help us purchase our 4th and final horse, Starr, who will arrive next week , as he is currently recovering from his gelding procedure.

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Marissa, along with all our other new volunteers, Matthew, Conchis, and Kim, have all fitted right in to the programs here. The students especially are benefitting from the hard-work and love the teachers are giving. Anna is still here and still giving 110% to her classes as she always does. We are very thankful for them all.

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Gr. 8 Bible class is mine first thing every school day. They are a great bunch of students and we are going through a Righteousness by Faith study using a book by Morris Venden. One thing I have my class do every day is write down (at least) three things they are thankful for. I was reading some study somewhere about success – a topic my students are very interested in. The study said that often we think that success brings happiness or that successful people become happy people, but actually it’s not true. The truth is that happy people are successful people, and the secret to happiness is being thankful. Apparently it’s not something that comes naturally to many people. It is however possible to change our brains to a more positive, grateful way of thinking. The article suggested taking the time each morning to write down the things we have to be thankful about.

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So after explaining this to my class, they all agreed that we should use a few minutes of each Bible class to write down what we are thankful for. It hasn’t always been easy for them to always find different things to be thankful for. What were they to write on the day their classmate and friend had to leave the school permenantly, or on the day they woke up to find that one of their fellow orphans had died in his sleep? But after nearly 2 months they are getting better at it. I think if they and I can develop a happy, thankful attitude that will be a very successful outcome for this year.

“Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the Lord, He is God. It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves. We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good. His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures ro all generations.” Psalm 100:1-5

There are many things I have to be thankful for. I am grateful to God for allowing me to be here doing what I am doing, being a part of His work. I am thankful for all the people who pray for me, and all other missions. I am thankful for those who support me and other missions, and especially for those who are actively involved in spreading the Word of God, this blessed Hope we have, to all around them.

What are you thankful for today?

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Not in Vain

“God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause His face to shine upon us. That Thy ways may be known upon earth, Thy saving health among all nations. ” ~ Psalm 67:1-2 ~

These holidays have been productive, but also included a couple of very sad occasions last week..

We lost two students.

1.
Khon got sick about a year ago. He went to the hospital here and they said it was tuberculosis and gave him medicine. Well the medicine didn’t work, so his Aunt (who is a house parent and teacher here ay WPY) took him to a hospital in Thailand, and they said it was a form of leukemia. They said it was quite advanved and treatment would be expensive. He comes from a poor farming family. Well he sold his share of the farmland to purchase medicine and treatment, but worsened and died the morning of Monday the 22nd August. He was 19.
We held the funeral service at his home in the village, but buried him here at WPY on Tuesday, as per his wishes. He wasn’t baptized, but in the words of his family, “He wasn’t a Buddhist.” and never attended the pagoda with them. The whole village got to hear the gospel preached to them from the 4 or so sermons over the 2 days of the funeral. We spoke about sin, death and the hope of the resurrection. We used the local custom of loudspeakers. We pray that seeds have been planted that will bear fruit and his death won’t be in vain, and are glad they allowed us to do a Christian funeral.

Khon was always a good, quiet student for me. A bit shy, but would talk when he warmed up to you. He got along with all his classmates, never rude or crude to girls, and although not the highest academically, always applied himself to his work. I remember one time being in the back of the ute going to the airport to farewell a volunteer, and the other boys were talking about how many girlfriends they have had, currently had, or wanted to have. Khon turned to me and said, “Teacher, I don’t want a girlfriend…. I want a wife!”

Khon - red shirt

Khon – red shirt

2.
David got sick about 2 months ago. He was a HIV positive orphan that has been here since he was about three years old. He had a bad reaction to a change in his medication, and lost most the skin on the upper half of his body. They took him to hospital, where he contracted a strain of antibiotic resistant bacteria which affected his intestinal tract. The poor boy suffered from chronic, explosive diarrhea, and it took a while for them to get on top of the bacteria. The first antibiotic they tried, he had a bad reaction too. He improved and came here for a week. Although we then got the diarrhoea under control, he was finding it hard to eat, due to a thrush infection from his mouth all through his intestinal tract, and lost weight. The hospital decided to admit him again when he went for a check-up, and sure enough the diarrhoea started again, as well as possible internal bleeding. He continued to lose weight. We aren’t sure if he caught another bug at the hospital.
Tuesday early morning he slipped into unconsciousness and was admitted to ICU and died early that afternoon. He was 14 years old and weighed less than 25kg. We buried him late Wednesday morning.

I once disciplined him with a cane to the hand when he was making class unbearable for Ely. But after that we got along quite well. When he came to ride the horse he looked very proud of himself. He always used to greet me when we would pass each other by the way.

David

David

Khon wasn’t expected to die just yet, the herbs he had been taking were actually making the lumps in his neck go down. David wasn’t expected until the day Khon died, and even then we were praying he would pull through. I am glad that they aren’t in any pain anymore.

I am so glad for the Bible’s teaching on death. We can know that our loved ones are sleeping in Jesus and will be awakened at His Second Coming, where there will be no more pain, suffering, tears, or death.

The following Sabbath we attended another funeral. The father of one of our students passed away. He wasn’t a Chrisitan,  but his family are and wished to do a Christian funeral. There, in that village, the Gospel was again preached to some who may not have heard of our hope before. Again we pray for a harvest from among those villagers, and for each family who suffered the loss of a loved one last week.

In other, better news, we also had three new volunteers arrive this week. Kim, she is from Germany; Conchis from Mexico, and Matthew from the USA. We are very thankful they arrived safely, and thank God for sending them.

Less than one week and then school will start again. Ely and I not only have some classes in the school, but will also commence teaching Hooftrek. Our first students will be from our Special class. These kids struggle academically, and some behaviourally, and a couple are physically disabled. We are excitred to have a chance to help the students in this way.

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ue know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:58 ~

Prac Teachers and Plans

This time last year I was in Canada with my wonderful Canadian family. Time has really flown by!

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We have school holidays this month, with the new school year commencing on the 5th of September. Here’s what happened over the last couple months of school.

Avondale

After missing the 2014/2015 school year, prac teachers from Avondale College (MOTO Team) arrived late June for a three week prac. They took over almost all the classes. Working in pairs they not only gave us here a small reprive, but also showered our kids with much love and attention. As we were monitoring nearly all our classes, many of us KAS teachers were able to learn some new things that we could do to be more effective teachers.

We really enjoyed having them here. The KMET team cooked 3 meals a day for the 30 visitors, and their food was much appreciated. Grade 9 was also able to practice their cooking skills every Wednesday,  when for their home economics class they would take a turn preparing the meal for the prac team. They would also stay and eat with the Avondale teachers, and have a worship time afterwards.

Activity with Avondal teacher

Activity with Avondal teacher

Towards the end of their stay we could see that they were getting tired, but it didn’t dampen their enthusiasim one iota. As a gift to the teachers here at KAS they took us out to dinner at a local vegetarian restaurant. They also provided funds for the Grade 9 class to take their own trip to the same restaurant a week or so later.

The day they left was a sad one. The first class of the day was cancelled as the entire school gathered around the bus. There were many tears on both sides. My Grade 8 class was especially upset as they said goodby to Micaela and Bree, who had been their teachers for the past 3 weeks… in fact for them, the tears flowed for about a week more! I still have them coming and showing me pictures of themselves with their Avondale teachers.

I thank the Avondale teachers for the time they spent here and for loving the students here as much as I and the other staff do. We wish them God’s blessings and hope to see them again one day.

Shiyra

A high point for Ely and I during Avondale’s stay here was that we were able to take a three day trip down to Kompong Cham province and purchase our third horse for the HoofTrek program. God really guided and provided for us on that trip. You can read the story here.

Shiyra has proven to be a very gente, easy going horse that the children have become attached to very quickly. She is quite smart and is learning her lessons very quickly.

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David

For nearly two months, one of our teenage boys from grade 6, David, was in hospital. He ended up there because of a medication reaction that peeled all the skin off his body. While in hospital he picked up a drug resistant bacteria, and for a while there it was touch and go. Prayer was being held for him all over the world, and while he is not yet back to full health, I am happy to report that he is now back at WPY, staying in the Jungle House with the KMET team taking care of him. Please keep him in your prayers, asking God for not only for phsyical healing, but also that David will come to know God as his Redeemer and Friend. David is quite skinny, and having trouble eating due to some lingering intestional problems.

Graduation

On the 28th of July we had the Graduation Ceremony for Kantrok Adventist School. Littered throughout the program were musical items from some of our talented students. Our music teachers, Ely, Chiva and Niet have done a wonderful job with them. We thank God for the successful completion of another school year, and ask that He continues to bless and provide for us, that we all, students and staff, may be a light to the community.

Me with my top 3 students - Leang, Sun and Sophall

Me with my top 3 students – Leang, Sun and Sophall

What’s Next?

During these holidays I have been working with the horses, getting them ready for the HoofTrek program which will start in September when school commences. We praise God for this opportunity to use our love for horses this way, and ask you to pray that He will be glorified by the program. We will have two groups of 6 students for the first semester. They will come from our lower school special class. These students have one thing in common, and that is they aren’t doing very well academically. The reasons for this are varied, some have mental disabilities, and some have attitude problems. I am excited to see what God will do, and what He has to teach me.

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We will also be training 4 students in horsemanship after school on Mondays to Thursdays. They will learn everything that we can teach them… caring for the horses, riding the horses, training the horses, and even how to teach the HoofTrek classes.

Ely is currently in Australia. I miss her very much. I hadn’t quite realised just how much I’d miss her until I had to do everything alone…. we really do do almost everything together! She will be back at the end of August. Some of the orphans have been kind enough to help me with different jobs. Some cut grass for the horses, and Khim helps me prepare the evening meal for the horses by cutting up the banana tree.

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When I look at world events,  it seems like ti e really can’t last much longer. But there is still so much to do, and so many people and whole people groups who haven’t heard the Good News. May God send labourers into the fields. My prayer is that all God’s children will catch a glimps of the bigger picture, and be fully surrendered to God for His purpose and glory, that He may come soon and put and end to sin, suffering and death forever.

“And now Lord, look at their threats, and grant to Your servants to speak Your word with all boldness, while You stretch forth Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of Your Holy Servant, Jesus.” ~ Acts 4:29-30 ~

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This Year

This year has been amazing! In fact, the latter half of last year was pretty amazing too. Meeting the Balasingams, aka my Canadian family, in April 2015, which led to me spending summer in Canada. Where I was blessed, refreshed, and got to meet many wonderful people.

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Balasingam Family + 1

This year, I got to spend Christmas with my wonderful mother. Our first Christmas together in 5 years. My second summer for 2015. As a bonus, I got to visit Tasmania, where she had moved to the year before. I’d never been there before. It is a beautiful state, full of big-hearted, kind people. 2015 was the Year of Two Summers.

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Then I arrived back in Cambodia to a whirlwind of activity as God opened the way for Ely and I to purchase two horses. Then we had a couple of different groups of visitors who arrived bearing gifts of tack and equipment from different donors in their respective countries. Not only that, I’m still teaching full-time so with the horse duties added it makes for a very full schedule. I fall into bed exhausted each night, but constantly amazed at God’s sustaining power, His love, and leading.

I am also blessed to be able to be teaching Righteousness by Faith to my Grade 8 Bible class. It is exciting to see them start to understand and catch the first flickering of hope and love for God that I see in some of them. I’m using Morris Venden’s book 95 Theses on Righteousness by Faith, and I highly recommend it for everyone! Please keep all the students in your prayers, we long to see a Cambodia filled with young people who love Jesus and are actively sharing Him with their fellow countrymen.

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Fruit shakes with 2 Grade 8s

April is the time for Khmer New Year; also the New Year for Thailand, called Songkran there. My Canadian family was headed to the Bamboo School, in Kanchanaburi, Thailand, to build a library for the children there. Would I join them they asked? Oh Yes Please! And so I went. It was so good to be able to spend time with them again. I was very interested to see the Bamboo School, meet the children, and help out with food preparation. I can’t believe I’ve only known the Balasingams for a year, it feels like forever. It was very hard to say goodbye and leave them once again.

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Last Sunday, I put one of our donated saddles on Khzak, and rode him with tack for the first time. Today, we saddled him up again, and this time Ely rode him. Her smile matched mine. As Khzak is not quite 3, we are only riding him for 15 mins on Sundays, and only at a walk. He is proving to be a fast learner though. We are working on turning, halts, and backing-up, and he improved by more than 100% for only his second ride. We are so blessed with the horses that we have. Hopefully both boys will be gelded this month, and God-willing we will be able to purchase some bigger, older horses for the program.

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This year is not quite half way over, and yet I feel so full of blessings. God is amazing, God is awesome. God is love. I hope you can know, this year, how much God loves you.

“How great is Your goodness, which You have laid up for those who fear You; You have worked for those who trust in You before the sons of men!” ~ Psalms 31:19 ~

2016 Update

This school year, (started – Sep 2015) has been quite enjoyable for me. Admittedly, I did miss September as I was in Canada. I also missed most of January because I was visiting my Mum for Christmas for the first time in 5 years. It was a wonderful time. I got to visit a part of Australia that I’ve never been to before, attend a thought-provoking Camp-meeting and make many wonderful new friends.

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This school year I am not teaching any English language classes. We have two Khmer teachers who graduated from the University in Thailand with ESL degrees; they are covering the high school English classes. I am teaching Grade 8 Bible, Geography 7, 8, 9 & 10, and am also joint Librarian to cover half of the library classes.

We do not have as many volunteers for the school this year, and the main English volunteers are Ely, Anna, Rose Jean and myself. We are blessed that some of the IMET volunteers are willing to take some of the classes which we cannot cover. This keeps us all rather busy, but we thank God for the opportunity to serve, and the strength with which He sustains us. I must put out a call. If anyone would like to have an unforgettable experience, then please come and spend some time here in Cambodia with us as a volunteer!

We very much miss Emily and Laura, who both have returned to the US for various, legitimate reasons. It is nice to know however that there are people back in the Western world that have the same care and understanding of WPY, the children, and the work here.

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In our hearts and on our shelf!!

The little house that Ely, Anna and I live in has had a bit of a renovation and now has proper inside walls which have been painted a rather bright yellow color. It took a bit of getting used to, but it has started to grow on me. I thinking we need a happy name for our house. Tim also had a bathroom built onto the back of the house so that we could have a bit more privacy when bathing, and no longer have to make the trek down to the communal bathroom.
While I was away, Ely planted some papaya and banana trees. We hope to plant as many fruit trees there as we can fit in our small yard. We’re also trying to start a herb garden.

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At the moment, besides school, every spare moment is almost completely taken up with HoofTrek. We are in the process of finishing our fences and getting our water pump installed so that we can be ready to welcome the horses and begin training them. We hope to start the program after April holidays at the latest.

HoofTrek was at a point where we were thinking that we were wrong and that it wouldn’t go ahead, but just as we surrendered it all, God provided abundant blessings that have enabled us to move forward a lot quicker than we ever expected. Please keep the program in your prayers. It has the potential to minister to many children and youth in this area.

We have a new addition to our family – meet Hadassah. The smartest little pup I have ever met.

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There are always the normal challenges that come with teaching and with children in general. I continue to ask you to hold the students and staff here up in prayer. Satan gets very angry when his kingdom is threatened with the loss of members to the Kingdom of God.

The KMET (Khmer Medical Evangelistic Training) team have been working on a Khmer Vegetarian cookbook. It’s in the final stages of production and just in time because ADRA is bringing the CHIP program to Cambodia. Not only is the book full of great recipes in Khmer it also comes with a DVD that has all the recipes covered in a series of cooking shows done here at the SALTCAM TV Studio.

The first IMET class is in full swing. They are nearly half-way through the course and have learned many new useful skills that will equip them for sharing Jesus wherever they go. The next IMET course will start in August or September of this year. There are spots available for anyone interested in becoming a medical evangelist missionary.

Once again I give God glory for all He has done for, in and through me these last couple of months. I am daily being reminded of how much He loves me, and I hope that you too will today realize once again just how valuable you are to the King of the Universe.

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
~ Ephesians 2:4-8 ~

Don’t Touch The World!

Teacher Anna has been valiantly trying to teach all the high school students to value and take care of the things we place in their classroom. 20151203_080311

It appears that the message has been received (sort of) by at least one student. Sothearknine from Grade 8, procured this timeline from the Grade 10 classroom and has it proudly displayed behind his desk with the following sign..20151202_130328

I can report that both the world map and this timeline have so far not been touched!

I read these verses from Isaiah this morning.

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence…  And give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth…. Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.” ~ Isaiah 62:6-7,10 ~

They spoke volumes to me. As a watchman I have a work given by God to do. Lately there has been some heart breaking moments here (and around the world) and I have been brought to realize once again that I don’t have time to sit on the fence. I don’t have time to be ‘of the world’. There are souls that Jesus died for perishing all around me. There are precious people being led down dark paths to ruin, pain, and eternal loss. What right do I, who have been blessed with this Light, have to play idle games, speak useless words, and waste scarce time on things that do not give glory to God.

I will not keep silence. By God’s grace and power, I will lift up a standard: I will lift up the Savior that all people might see, believe and live.

I will not leave the world untouched!

The Mystery

“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.” ~ Psalms 33:6 ~

Not only did the Lord make the heavens, but the verse says that the host – the stars – were made by the breath of His mouth… A star-breathing God! And most of these stars are millions of times bigger than our sun!

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“He (The Lord God) who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and measured out the heavens with a span? And whom has shut up the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?”
~ Isaiah 40:12 ~ 

Then this verse in Isaiah tells us that God measures the heavens, the universe, in the span of His hand! How big, mighty, amazing, glorious, awesome, powerful, indescribable is God?!

And to think of the condescension… That the Creator of the Universe, the star-breathing God, who holds all of His creation in His hand, came as a man to this tiny, insignificant planet; and didn’t just live here, but died a horrible, painful death on the cross – the death we deserve as a consequence of sin!

He did not give us what we deserve, but instead offers us what He deserved – eternal life with Him, our star-breathing, selfless, all-loving God. Great indeed is the mystery of Godliness!

“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” ~ 1 Timothy 3:16 ~

Take some time and think about the grandeur of God, the size of God, and the fact that He came here – because of you – because He loves you and wants to be with you for all eternity. Grace, forgiveness, love, and salvation are offered freely to you and all humanity. There is enough for you. Our God is big enough, strong enough to save to the uttermost. He sees and cares about every detail of your life. He knows you by name, He formed you and He loves you more than anyone ever could.

“Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of His understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:28-31 ~

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That barely visible dot in the ray of sunlight, is earth… taken from many, many thousands of kilometers out in space. Just how significant are we in the universe? Just a speck of dust!

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” ~ Philippians 2:5-11 ~

 Truly, the heavens declare the glory of God

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A Bigger Plan

The Choice

When I was about 19,  it came to a point where I had a choice to make… Either God was real and I would follow Him wholly – or God wasn’t real and I would continue on the path that I was currently on… that of living for myself and doing whatever I wanted, whatever felt good.

I had been raised Adventist. I had “obeyed” the rules – and I’d even felt superior to others around me because I knew the truth.. I knew more than them. But I realized that my reason for obeying wasn’t because of any love for God. It was just what I’d always done, and it wasn’t even very good or consistent obedience… deep down I knew it was right, but I didn’t have a relationship with God.

So I had to make a choice; and if God was really real, then the only way was to serve Him with my whole heart… half-hearted commitment just didn’t make sense to me.

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I pondered this question for a day or two. I thought of everything I’d ever learned about God. I thought of past experiences and I thought about the future. I prayed and read the Bible, and wrestled. In the end, I knew that everything I’d learned about God was real. He is a God of love, He has a plan, and He is coming back, and He wanted a relationship with me. So I decided that I would start saying, “Yes” to the things that He revealed to me.

Saying, “Yes”

This was not easy. I had many things that I loved that God started asking me to remove from my life. First it was certain types of music. God asked me to get rid of a lot of the music that I had. This wasn’t too hard as I’d never spent much time listening to music and I didn’t have a large collection.

The next thing God asked me to remove was movies. This was a bit harder, but God brought to my mind the verse in Philippians 4:8 that says:

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

 I looked at the movies I had, and realized that the things they portrayed weren’t true, honest, just, pure, lovely, or of a good report. They didn’t glorify God; in contrast they glorified the world and things that brought pain and heartache to people.

Then while I was still thinking about this verse, God directed my eyes to my bookshelves. I had many books. I loved books. As my eyes rested on them, I realized that most of them portrayed things that were contrary to God, His character and kingdom. I realized that God was telling me that I get rid of all the books that took my mind away from the things of God. At first I resisted. I put it off. I even considered rereading them all one last time and then getting rid of them. A lot of money had gone into those books and I didn’t want to give them up.

Gently God reminded me that He wouldn’t ask me to do anything that was not for my long-term benefit, and after some more wrestling with self I was able to give those books up. There were other little things that God asked me to give up, change, or do. I got rid of some types of clothing; I began having regular personal devotions; and I started trying to use better words.

It wasn’t only self that I had to wrestle with to make these changes, but people around me noticed, and most thought I was crazy, stupid, and even my family thought I was becoming a little too extreme. But I knew that God had asked me to make each of these changes and was comforted by His presence.

I was amazed at how real God was becoming to me. I honestly felt like I was becoming a good person, and that God must have nearly finished all the work He had to do with me. I was maybe getting a little bit proud, but was secretly happy that He had never asked anything extra hard of me – like leaving my family and home, or giving up my horses….

And Then…

That is exactly what God asked me to do. This post tells how I ended up in Cambodia, and how God changed my heart to love the people and the His work. How God showed me that I was more at peace, and happier when I was following God’s will for my life.

Giving up the horses, and moving to Cambodia to be a volunteer teacher, were two things that I had never imagined for my future; but they were in God’s plan. And because I had begun saying, “Yes.” to God in the small things, I was better prepared to say, “Yes!” to the bigger things that He asked of me. How small are all our visions for our lives! God has a bigger, better, grander plan than even our highest aspirations and wildest dreams!

I have learned to trust Him. Everything that He has asked me to do – no matter how easy or hard I perceived it to be – has always been for my benefit. God has used each experience to reveal His character of love to me, and to show me even more things He wants to change in me so as to transform me into a reflection of His Son.

If I had not started said, “Yes.” to God I don’t know where I’d be today. But I know it wouldn’t be here. The blessings and opportunities I have had have all been because I decided to, by His power, say, “Yes.” to God in the small things.

When you decide to say, “Yes!” to God in the small things, I can promise you that God will take your life places you never imagined you would go. God will become so real to you – a faithful friend and guide, the peace of God will fill your heart and you will have fullness of joy.

The choice is yours!

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There is a Balm in Gilead

“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?” ~ Jeremiah 8:20-22 ~

This verse was a proverb. Gilead was a place known for the natural medicines taken from the trees there. It was also a place where the people who knew how to minister the healing balms resided. Jeremiah is a book that talks about how God’s people were constantly back-sliding. Even though they still worshiped in the temple, although they still claimed that God was their God, they had brought in to their worship many forms of idolatry; customs and activities that appealed to their senses. As a result of rejecting God pushing His blessings away, they came under oppression from powerful enemies. They looked to the Egyptians for salvation from their enemies, but no help came; there was no healing. They didn’t seem to realize that their problems and lack of peace was not because they were oppressed by powerful enemies, but because they were, by their choices, separated from their loving, long-suffering God.

“For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” ~ Jeremiah 2:13 ~

I remember times when I have hewed out for myself broken cisterns. Trying to find fulfillment in anything but God: looking for healing everywhere but to Christ, all the while not realizing that the root cause of my pain and emptiness was my separation from my heavenly Father. There is a balm in Gilead, there are physicians… but we are not healed because no man, and no medicine can fix the sin problem we have that pollutes our minds, bodies and this world. No human or medicine in this world can take away the hurt, fill the emptiness, or create morality in us.

Like Paul in Romans 7 we are frustrated by the fact that we do the evil things we don’t want to do, and we don’t do the good things which we desire to do. We struggle and fight and exhaust ourselves trying to be good, trying to be happy, trying to be content. And in the end all we find is that the world and it’s pleasures doesn’t have the answers; it can’t bring healing. With Paul we cry out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” ~ Rom 7:24 ~   

And with Paul we too can know that there is a balm – the blood of Jesus; and there is a physician who can administer the balm – the Savior, Jesus. Like Mary, when we fall at the feet of Jesus we can be healed, renewed, recreated. Like the demoniac healed in the country of the Gadarenes, in Jesus we can find peace untouchable, the fullness of joy, a reason for living, a holy purpose for our lives, and unending, unchangeable love.

Healed

Come to Jesus today, kneel at His feet in surrender, accept Him into your life, believe that He is your Savior, and you will find healing and peace for your soul.

“Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” ~ 1 Peter 2:24 ~