Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The King is Good

Wow. Where to begin. I'll try to give a brief summary of each location we've been in since I last updated.
After Chiang Mai we spent about five days in Pai, which is a small town further up into the hills. It seems to exist almost solely for the purpose of offering backpackers cheap accommodation, food, trinkets and all variety of trekking, rafting, elephant riding and other such adventures. We found it a surprisingly frustrating place for ministry. We were able to meet people here and there but didn't develop relationships as deeply as we had in Chiang Mai. Our favourite memory from Pai was riding elephants bareback and splashing around with them in the river.
After Pai we spent two loooong days of travel down to Siem Reap in Cambodia. Our main reason for doing this was to renew our visas for Thailand. (We started with 30 days and now we have another fifteen after reentering.) I got some food poisoning on our overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and was outrageously sick for most of the night. I wasn't able to eat anything the next day but God gave me strength to get through the rest of our traveling and border crossing. It actually turned out to be a really good day for ministry. Early in the morning we met Mark, a middle aged American guy who got laid off and is traveling for the first time, who was headed in the same direction and asked if he could stick with us for the day. Of course we happily agreed and I was very glad to be able to help him through a lot of his first time experiences with international travel. I'm really kicking myself now for not exchanging contact info with him. He continued traveling on to Vietnam but I'm praying that we will somehow be able to meet again or that he will bump into other believers who will be able to continue pointing him in the right direction. But I digress, we also met two Canadian girls that we crossed the border with and then we were able to spend some time with them over the next few days. Malori was able to go quite deeply into spiritual matters with them. Pray that her words will have impact and that the Holy Spirit will continue working in their lives and drawing them to Jesus. Anyway, so we spent three nights in Siem Reap and got a chance to tour Angkor Wat. My favourite part, by far, was our last night there, which also happened to be the half-way point of outreach. We splurged on a slightly less cheap but still dirt cheap meal, bought banana pancakes for kids we met on the streets and took communion together. By placing the cross squarely in the center of our outreach I wanted to give an opportunity for confession and laying things down from the first half of outreach and have a time of "picking things up" and claiming the power of Christ's resurrection over the second half of outreach. It was a really powerful time and drew us together in even greater unity than we have experienced already. We were all feeling a bit of heaviness after all the traveling and missing several times of worship and intercession but after that evening we all had so much fresh excitement and vision for the next part of outreach that it almost feels like starting all over again! I thank God every day for this amazing team (better than that, this amazing FAMILY) that He has brought around me. They all have such pure hearts and it's a real privilege to serve our Loving Father together.
After Siem Reap we had another crazy two days of travel to get down to the Island of Ko Samui. We were all pretty sick on the 4 1/2 hour ferry ride but we sure are glad to finally be down on the beaches! Last night we spent the evening thanking God for all His goodness to us and committing this next portion of our time to Him. Today we are taking a much needed Sabbath day and already it has been so refreshing to spend some extra time focused on our personal relationship with God and resting in Him. Later today I'm also hoping to get caught up on budgeting, outreach reports and planning for the next few weeks. Pray that I have wisdom to prioritize my time well. Already we have had good opportunities to meet fellow travelers and I had a great time chatting with Stan, from the Netherlands, yesterday. He's 25, just finished med school, started traveling alone for the first time a few days ago, is eager to make friends and I believe I see a real longing in his eyes for true purpose in life. Pray that I get more chances to share Jesus with him.
I realized two things today. (Well, a lot more than that but two that I'll mention right now.) One is that almost all of the good witnessing opportunities that I have had are either with people traveling for the first time (who are often scared, helpless and open to just about anything) or single, middle aged guys who are hardened after a lifestyle of traveling and searching for meaning. I have a real soft spot for both. Another thing that I realized is that I really want to focus on talking more about JESUS... not just about "faith" or "christianity" or even "my own spiritual journey". Those things are all fine and good but they've never done diddly squat to redeem a man's soul. Jesus is the one that I'm madly in love with and He's eager to make Himself known to every tribe, tongue and nation. Pray that I would actually put this into practice and not just acknowledge that it's a good idea.
Let me challenge you in this as well. Do you have anything to praise Jesus about today? Even the tiniest little thing? If so, go tell someone else about it. Seriously, you'll never regret it. Let me know how it goes.

" I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations."

"He became sin, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God."

"Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!"

1 comment:

  1. Great Blog Ben
    Good to read about what's been going on for you and your team.