October 16 to November 13, 2016
The Mission of Operation Christmas Child is “to demonstrate God’s Love in a tangible way to needy children around the world and together with the local church worldwide, share the good news of Jesus Christ.”
We can all be involved in packing SHOE-BOXES! Anyone can bless a child by filing a box with school supplies, toys, hygiene items, clothes and more, and then adding a personal note and photo. Each box is an expression of hope, joy and love to hurting children. Our Canadian boxes will go to Haiti, Nepal, Ukraine, Costa Rica, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Senegal, Guinea, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast.
A Story from Uruguay:
A teenager named Florencia had been attending church for a few months when a shoe-box distribution event happened. She was happy when she opened her shoe-box and school supplies were there. She was even more amazed that her shoe-box also contained kitchen tools, which are not a common shoe-box item. But they were perfect for Florencia because since her mother started working outside the home, Florencia was the one who cooks for everyone in her family!
God knows what each child needs and He is faithful to provide it.
For more information and stories about OCC visit Samaritan’s Purse or call 1-800-303-1269. Check out these Facebook sites: Operation Christmas Child Canada or Operation Christmas Child – Central Alberta
Empty shoeboxes, brochures and coloring sheets will be available in the foyer on October 16 to November 6, 2016.
Church contact: Peggy Kingcott: email@example.com or 403-342-1227
It’s so simple! A Box, A Label and Shop!
James wrote in 5:13, ‘Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing.’
Interesting. This subject matter was in my heart, from a slightly different angle, as I pondered a family reunion that was on the calendar to attend. My reflection was – I am not proud to say – of the, ‘O Lord help me survive this!’ genre. It’s not that I dislike family reunions – they are actually a great place to eat, sit, test your memory, and grow your listening skills. People want to chat. People want to share about their lives, their kids, their kids’ lives, their pets’ lives – a treasure trove of topics really. All the more frightening? Maybe.
I realized early on before the event, I was quivering with anticipation. And not the positive kind. In fact, quite the opposite. I hadn’t been scarred at the hands of any past reunion participants. I hadn’t been ruined by the inevitable T-shirt, attenders are asked to wear. So what was my problem?
Me. I was getting in the way of myself, and more importantly, in the way of God to work through me. I fully knew that this reunion would be attended by largely unchurched individuals. What an opportunity for Jesus! It was here when, through prayer, I asked God to move my heart & mind from dread to receptivity. To be open to interactions. To expect possibilities. My focus shifted from me, and onto God and others. Interesting. James did instruct us to pray when we are hurting!
After arriving, eating, finding my memory somewhat name retentive (I’m as surprised as you are!) and meeting other reunion-ites, my spirits lifted as I glimpsed no T-shirt tables! ‘Yes!’ I shouted to no one in particular – my newly bought reunion top still in place.
I then bumped into a cousin-in-law Heather, who greeted me with a hug and announced she had almost died last summer, to which I replied – me too. Heather embarked on her health journey which rivaled any heavyweight Hollywood movie by big name producers. I was indeed astonished that she had not died. Heather was moved to tears in the telling of the tale, now over a year in the past. She invited me to tell my story. And as did Heather, I wept as I recalled for her the account of my experience.
I must describe this as a deep connection. A sisterhood rising from the aftermath of hospitals, meds & recovery. Heather asked me an interesting question as I shared my story – did I have any death dreams? My answer – no. Hers – yes. She dreamt she had a tray of tea & cookies to serve to people just at the edge of her vision. As she approached this glowing yet vague crowd, an arm reached from the side and gently halted her explaining it wasn’t yet time. Go back, were her instructions. She obeyed and awoke in her hospital room. I asked her – do you suppose that was Heaven? She answered – absolutely not. When I probed further into her adamant answer, she qualified it by her surety she would not be given admittance into Heaven in the first place, so it simply couldn’t have been Heaven. Do you not know what I ‘was’? What I ‘did’? What I ‘believed’? – she asked. Do you not know my past?
As she shared the details of this ‘past’, I was stunned. Not by her tragic testimony but the belief, and further, the acceptance of her eternal lostness. Heather had, for a brief time, been a part of a church when her children were younger – wanting something more for them. And through this, she had come to an awareness of Him. And an awareness of her even larger sin.
I reflected back to her what I had heard to ensure I was clear: that she was dirty, damaged and destined to be unadmitt-able. That based on her past choices, she would be ever unworthy. That the God she believed in was not ALL powerful, just somewhat powerful being as He could not find His way to her around the sins. And that Christ died for SOME on the cross but not all. So His sacrifice clearly was not enough. Is this what I am hearing? – I asked.
Shaken she quietly offered – I hadn’t thought of it like that.
Do you suppose He did die for you after all? – I asked – For everyone? That NONE should perish? That His love is the power? That you – bad choices and all – are worthy?
Her answer – yes.
Tearfully she reached for me, and I to her over a rough and faded picnic table, as the Scavenger Hunt was announced. This is why I came this weekend – Heather declared. To which I replied – me too. I wept again knowing He had created and crafted this moment for both of us. To experience Him and each other in a synchronized dance of pain and the past. Of regrets and redemption. Of healing and Heaven.
Heather and I hugged many times over the weekend, and affirmed with each other that moments planned by our Father are around us and available, have power and promise, and are life changing.
We both left the reunion different. Secure. Peaceful.
Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing.
I’m still singing!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for giving me a unique place to serve using my gifts and talents to make a difference for you and in the lives of your people. In Matthew, Jesus said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.”
The harvest is plentiful in Red Deer but the workers are few so would you raise us up to be available. Lord, give me the courage to be brave and obedient in serving you. Show me the specific role you have for me. Help me discover the gifts and talents you have given me.
Make us a church that encourages each other and builds each other up. Fill us with your Spirit so that we can serve from full hearts. As we are obedient to your calling, may your Name be glorified as we seek and ask, “Lord, where would you have me serve?”
In Jesus Name, Amen
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
Do you have a rising concern within, about the downward moral spiral of our nation, province and region? I do! Do you long to see the Holy Spirit of God sweeping across entire families with a spirit of repentance, turning them to Christ? I sure do! I believe that the Lord wants to put in motion another great awakening where people cry out to Him for mercy and to experience life-transformation in the process. It will happen as we enter in to the call of His heart in the verse above. He wants us to become a people who seek Him continually. “Without Him we can do nothing!” We desperately need Him all the time, every day.
So my invite is to humble yourself before Him, asking Him what He is grieved with in your life and then surrender that up to Him. Friends, let’s turn from our wicked way, so we become assured that He hears our desperate cries for mercy and will respond.
Pastor Ken Lehman
Thank you that you are a good, good Father who is for us no matter our circumstance. There are many among us who are parenting alone so would you show us how to best care for them and encourage them. Would you send mature people to provide respite, support and friendship to them. Please give them financial stability and job security. Show them what grace looks like if they are dealing with the other parent so that You are glorified in everything. Protect the children from any negative effects of their situation. Show them that you will bring restoration because You have compassion for them. This is what the LORD says: “I will restore the fortunes of Jacob’s tents and have compassion on his dwellings; the city will be rebuilt on her ruins, and the palace will stand in its proper place…” (Jeremiah 30:18 NIV). Draw each one near to You so that they know You alone are their source of strength, joy and peace.
In Jesus Name,
OK, so recently I have been listening to my ever favorite radio station SHINE FM, and came across a new song by Francesca Battestelli: If We’re Honest. This is an amazing song! It speaks of being at the edge of something exciting yet terrifying. Of being honest with oneself – really seeing: becoming aware of choices we make in our lives. Francesca includes words like brokenness, love, healing, and mercy. If we’re honest, these words are powerful. And provocative.
I am making my way through an excellent course by Brene Brown which focuses on 2 of her most recent books: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. Daring Greatly encourages the reader to embrace vulnerability (defined as NOT weakness but a path to courage and connection) and imperfection. It challenges us to live wholeheartedly – allowing ourselves to be seen and heard, and having the courage to show up – as ourselves. The material covered in Rising Strong acknowledges that if we dare greatly enough, often enough, we WILL fall. The book is about getting back up.
If we’re honest, if I’m honest, I cower from these times and places. I fear these times of emotional nakedness – I sense unfathomable risk. But – Brene defines WHOLEHEARTEDNESS as engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think – no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough. It’s going to bed at night thinking – yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid but that doesn’t change the truth that I am worthy of love and belonging. How does one digest the words wholehearted and worthiness – in the same sentence no less! Is she mad? Am I mad? But at the same time, these notions hold the possibility of something else that is within reach for us. What would my life look like if I lived wholeheartedly? Can I honestly say I am enough? Even at the end of a really jagged day? Clearly, Brene says YES!
It is here I must insert the notion of calm. Other words that appear alongside calm in the dictionary are: serene, tranquil, relaxed, and unruffled. I can appreciate that once a person comes to a place of surety – firm belief – in their worthiness and thus live wholeheartedly, they exude calm. But, can a person have this serenity along the way?
Bill Gaultier says yes. He is the author of Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke. Bill challenges that Jesus is with us 24/7, and that He is calm, therefore we can be calm with Him. In the book, Bill quotes Dallas Willard as asking during one of their frequent lunches, ‘If you could only use one word to describe Jesus, what would it be?’ Bill replied, ‘love, compassion, holy, Lord, teacher, healer.’ Dallas said, ‘Relaxed’. Think about it. If we’re honest, a teacher, healer or Lord who is NOT relaxed would be alarming and at many levels, disconcerting. Following them would be a combination of egg shell walking, other shoe drop waiting and exhaustion. Jesus, our CALM Saviour. With and within us. Even when facing terrifying possibilities and sentences with emotional exposure type words in them!
In Mark Buchanan’s excellent Foreward in the book Crafting a Rule of Life, he states of building spiritual robustness, ‘It is a long obedience in the same direction. It is forged in the daily and tempered in the ordinary. It is a slow and steady and deliberate gathering of the years. It is a combination of keen attentiveness – to God, to self, to others, to life – and holy indifference to trifles, to insults, to useless distractions. It is planned, not in some goose-stepping mechanical way, but in the sense that it builds on a resolve to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of you, and to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.’ Not in some goose-stepping mechanical way … in other words, with intent and with calm.
I cannot, though, simply say these words and believe them without a WAY to move past the things within myself that derail my authentically owning them. There must be a process. Brene calls it cultivating courage, compassion and connection. Mark Buchanan refers to it as a long journey of keen attentiveness to God, self, others and life. Plus a holy indifference to trifles, insults and useless distractions. Bill Gaultier challenges us to be calm alongside our relaxed Savior. Francesca speaks of sharing our brokenness with others, allowing love to heal with mercy waiting.
So, can we confidently step forward into ourselves and our best lives? If we’re honest, it is a thrilling possibility worth the risk.
Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I’m a mess and so are you
We’ve built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard but the best thing we could ever do
Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
If we’re honest
Francesca Battistelli – If We’re Honest
Talking with the Lord (prayer) helps us lighten our burdens and experience peace during troubling times while learning to trust that we are his children and he will provide for us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book Life Together, says that the physical presence of other Christians is a source of incomparable joy and strength to the believer. That’s family. We are encouraged to do life together at CrossRoads in small groups because we are a large family. We can offer each other the gift of listening then take what we hear to God in prayer. In community-in family-the highs and lows of life can be shared with others and carried by many. Now is the time to share our burdens with our family-our community- so that we can all take them to God in prayer …together. Praying for each other is one way we care for one another. The Lord asks us to come to him with our prayers, in a quiet place with simple words. He knows what is in our hearts so coming to him in prayer isn’t complicated, it’s just us showing him that we know he is in control. Join us as we lift up our family and their needs during these really hard financial times.
Heavenly Father- Jehovah Jireh,
Thank you for being the God Who Provides. Thank you that you care about your people and their needs. Thank you for the church family at CrossRoads. Forgive us when we forget to pray for each other. Show us how to care for one another. We are in a time of economic strain as a community. There are those among us who are overwhelmed with financial burdens, who need to find employment and provide for their families. Lord open doors of opportunity for the people of Red Deer and show them where to find meaningful work. Provide projects for local business owners and protect the jobs of their employees. Let no family be without food or home as they try to pay their bills each month. Bring your people out of debt and financial ruin so that they may glorify you and your great deeds. Make us aware of the needs of those around us and show us how to care for each other as a family. Your Word tells us to call on you in our day of trouble and you will supply all of our needs. Lord we are dependent on you, lead us in the way we should go. Help us to lean on You during these difficult times so that we would learn to lean on you all the time.
In Jesus Name, Amen
It’s that time again to highlight a ministry area and the budget. This is the biggest ‘ministry’ that we will be highlighting as it takes up 50% of the overall budget. If you haven’t figured it out yet I am talking about the staff. If you’ve been reading along you know that we have highlighted many ministry areas already and covered a few of the paid positions as well but there are many more people who play a vital role in the day to day operations of CrossRoads Church and I hope to give you a behind the scenes look at some of them. The staff here cover a wide variety of roles such as Administrative Support, Reception, Human Resources, Event Coordinator, Facility Team, Communications Team as well as the Pastoral Team. There are 44 people on staff. There is a 50/50 split between hourly and salaried staff as well…so 22 are hourly and 22 are salaried. Since I like details, I broke that down into categories and discovered that 11 of those staff are in an administrative support role, 3 are in communications, 11 are on our facility team, 2 in the human resource department and 1 receptionist.
This is a very hardworking group of people who work many hours in order to make sure everything runs accordingly..and they often serve and give their time in those areas as well. For example the administrative support staff put in 320.5 hours between the 11 of them. These hours include more than booking appointments, fielding phone calls, paper work or managing a calendar. Many of these people are actively involved in the ministry they are supporting and work throughout the week to build service teams, lead those teams and build relationships in their ministries. Whether it’s organizing a baptism service, leading the Welcome Teams, mentoring Sunday leaders in CrossRoads Kids and Pre-K, leading Jr. High or Sr. High student small groups, typing out countless chord charts and mentoring musicians, keeping tabs on the many short term mission groups sent out, delegating to a prayer team, tracking the numerous amount of volunteers that serve in our Family ministries, preparing curriculum for Sunday, and sharing their heart for the ministry they serve through writing on the blog…this group of people put their heart into the work they do during the week. That’s a list fit for Paul but I wanted to give you the broadest sense of what goes on from the role of an administrative support role so when you see one of these people make sure to ask them what’s going on in their ministry world and if there is a place for you to serve with them.
The Facility group puts in a combined 332.5 hours a week between all their staff. These people not only make sure the nuts and bolts of the building are functioning they also clean up after us during the week, help set up and take down events, host the facility during the week, monitor our impact on the environment and coordinate the many internal and external room and event bookings that happen during the week. They also work together with the rest of the staff to make sure that the facility is being used to it’s maximum capacity. They are our first resource with anything related to the building and grounds. They can also be the first face a new person the Red Deer or CrossRoads meets when they are booking a wedding, funeral or community event. You may not recognize these staff members as most are working hard during the week when most of us aren’t here, but if you see one of them you could tell them how thankful you are that they keep our church in good working order because they work hard to steward what God has given to us and they all do it with huge hearts.
The last few groups, communications, human resources and reception make up 195.5 hours together. A lot of these staff are again behind the scenes on a daily basis. Our Publications Designer and Communications Tech stretch their creative hearts on a daily basis in order to give us an up to date web page that is user friendly, keeps us current on social media with accounts on Twitter, FaceBook and WordPress blogs for everyone, families and missions, they create event pages with user friendly registrations so we can engage in activities, they create many different posters, web banners, postcard invitations and booklets that are used internally by ministries. They also create a monthly newsletter called The Crossing which is an in-house publication created uniquely for everyone who walks through the doors. The Technical Director and team work during the week to make sure that everything we hear and see during a Sunday service is enjoyable. This group leads a large group of servers that volunteer their time on Sunday to record and transmit the service so we can engage in worship by seeing the words, read along with scripture during the sermon, or livestream from just about anywhere. Our receptionist embraces the role she has and takes it seriously. She knows that most of the people that contact her have never stepped into our church and possibly don’t know Jesus personally. She is the first voice many people hear when they call in and answers hundreds of questions, directs traffic on the phone and email to the appropriate ministries, and has prayed for and with many many people.
When you connect through any of these avenues remember the people behind the scenes that created them and thank God that He has given us such gifted people.
The Human Resource group includes the Human Resource Director and the Accounts Manager. They work together but have very different roles and responsibilities. These two are definitely behind the scenes during the week but internally they are very involved with the day to day functioning of the organization. This includes making sure we adhere to Canada Revenue laws, any paperwork and educating staff that go along with that, orienting new staff to CrossRoads, tracking finances of the different ministries and working with a budget committee and the Board.
A lot of these roles may not seem as important as the Ministry Leaders and we may overlook some of them from time to time because we don’t see them in action… but I hope you can get an idea of just how valuable each one of these staff members are and why such a large portion of the budget is used on them. We are blessed to have a staff with such depth of gifting and hearts to serve where God has placed them.
Unlocking the Bible, by David Pawson, states the Gospels are the nearest things we have to a biography of Jesus covering His life, death and resurrection. There are four Gospel books in the New Testament each with its own unique focus as God wanted to give us a number of different angles in order for us to grasp the full picture.
Each Gospel writer wanted to convey a particular insight about Jesus and so organized his material accordingly. He wanted to do more than just convey remembered words and deeds of Jesus – he also wanted to give a context in which the life of Jesus could be understood. His viewpoint is not necessarily unique to his Gospel: there is overlap between the writers, but it is clear that each writer has a primary insight.
MARK wrote the first and shortest Gospel, seeing Jesus as the Son of Man.
LUKE wrote the second Gospel and saw Jesus as the Saviour of the world.
MATTHEW wrote the third Gospel, depicting Jesus as the King of the Jews.
JOHN wrote the fourth Gospel, with Jesus as the Son of God.
We need to also consider the each Gospel from the point of view of the reader. Each writer has a particular audience in mind and is concerned to convey his message about Jesus to them.
MATTHEW is concerned for the new believers and his book is arranged in order that we will know how to live as disciples.
JOHN is written for older believers, to encourage them to hold on to their faith in Jesus and also to counteract heresies about John the Baptist and Jesus himself.
On the other hand Mark and Luke were written primarily for unbelievers.
MARK is concerned to excite his readers with news about Jesus so that they might have faith in Him.
LUKE, as the only Gentile author in the Bible, is concerned that fellow Gentiles might know about Christ.
In our next series – Luke – Gospel for Outsiders we will be looking at the Gospel message from an outsider’s point of view and the inclusion into the Gospel message.
Eugene Peterson in the Message Bible says, “Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of the New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common labourers: sheepherders; the radically different: Samaritans; the poor. He will not countenance religion as a private club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on like with no hope of gaining entrance (and who hasn’t felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus.”
Although Luke’s Gospel focuses on the outcast of society, it isn’t ultimately about the women, or any other groups of people who were held in low esteem, but rather it’s about Jesus and the joy of knowing Him.
In the fall of 2014, CrossRoads Church Celebrate Recovery group hosted a networking meeting for other groups in Western Canada to attend. One of Celebrate Recovery’s Canadian Directors ( Deb ) from southern Ontario attended to speak in several sessions. (It was our pleasure to host all those that attended, and we hope to do it again soon ). Shortly thereafter, Lois, the CrossRoads Celebrate Recovery ministry leader received an inquiry as to whether she and her husband, Dwight, would be willing to join Deb in introducing the Celebrate Recovery program to Cambodia. Dwight and Lois were indeed willing and that trip took place in the spring of 2015, presenting training sessions to approximately 60 church leaders and local NGO staff over 2 sets of training sessions.
In the fall of 2015, CrossRoads Celebrate Recovery was again requested by Celebrate Recovery Canada and the Cambodian NGO that hosted the event, to return for follow-up training for previous attendees, and to introduce the program to a new group of church leaders. Shown here, preparing to depart Vancouver, is our team, Dwight, Lois and Bobbi, all from CrossRoads CR, along with Kellea from Forward Church CR, in Ontario.
What practical purpose will Celebrate Recovery serve in Cambodia you may ask. Cambodia is a small country that was rocked by a civil war and genocide in the 1970’s. The internal death toll was 5 – 10 times that of what we hear happening in war zones today. This has resulted in a form of post traumatic stress with emotional consequences that have affected 2 subsequent generations. There are many, many ways in which the gentle process of the Celebrate Recovery program can bless the Cambodian people.
From feedback we’ve received, our first trip in 2015 has already resulted in 400 people being touched by Celebrate Recovery, offering healing for emotional scarring and beginning to change lives.
After a grueling itinerary separating us from Alberta by 14 time zones, we reached our destination in February 2016. Here is Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia as the sun sets. It looks very modern, from a distance, but don’t let that fool you. There is an abundance of poverty living between new buildings under construction. Some buildings we were told, are stuck in mid construction, because builders ran out of money. Around the city there is an abundance of new industrial complexes being built, much of it for lease. We guessed they were being built on speculation. From what we were told wealthy individuals from other Asian countries own many of the businesses in Cambodia. The Cambodian people themselves are still recovering from the genocide that destroyed their families, their culture, their economy and their country between 1975 and 1979.
Our host NGO in Cambodia was “Prison Fellowship Cambodia” (PFC). They work from small and very modest facilities accomplishing great things. These are great people, working hard to care for 800 children of prisoners (inmates) around their country. (They could use more support). They also provide additional food to prisons to supplement the meager rations supplied to inmates by the Institutions. In so doing they have earned the trust of the Institutions and are allowed to offer vocational training to prisoners to equip them with a skill of some sort when they are released. Possession or selling of drugs there can net a person a 20-25 year sentence. Conditions are not very comfortable in Cambodian prisons. Children of prisoners, if very young, may serve time inside a prison with their mothers. Those children fortunate enough to be cared for by others on the outside, are usually considered ‘bad luck’ and may be ostracized in their community. Prison Fellowship Cambodia offers counsel and support to tiny Christian churches around the country to locate, care for and monitor these at-risk children.
Donations that were raised in Canada and the U.S prior to this trip helped pay for Cambodian church pastors and leaders to travel to these sessions. Bus fare, accommodation and meals for the attendees – all are paid by our team’s personal contributions and donations from caring people. Otherwise those Cambodian church leaders outside the capital could never afford to attend.
The average wage in the country is $2 a day …. some make more, some less. But you can imagine that on that wage, it’s hard to get around much when they pay the same price for gasoline that we do !!
We spent much of the day prior to each of our training sessions preparing the facilities, planning and adjusting our agenda as needed, to be applicable, and then reviewing our individual lessons. The room offered pretty tight quarters but we managed.
The training sessions were 2 days each. That’s 2 days of sessions, breaks, more sessions, lunch, breakout practice sessions, all being interpreted back and forth between English and Khmai. You get the idea !! 🙂
The day following the training sessions was usually a debriefing time to evaluate the involvement and response from the attendees. PFC will continue to connect with and encourage the attendees in our absence.
Bobbi and Kellea did a great job, especially considering it was their first time ever doing this type of outreach, and then having to do it through interpreters, which adds to the complexity of the event.
Although Dwight, Lois and Kellea had been before, we wanted to take Bobbi to the Killing Fields memorial so she could more fully comprehend what this country has suffered through. ( likely none of us can come close to comprehending it … but we try ).
This is only 1 of 200 to 300 ‘killing’ locations where Pol Pot and his regime exterminated anyone they thought a threat. Those with education, professionals, doctors, lawyers, etc. If you wore eye glasses, you probably didn’t live long. Infants beaten against a tree. Adults killed in many horrific, but ‘inexpensive’ ways. 😦
Pits served as mass graves and were approx 15 feet deep … though they are mostly silted in with shifting sand now.
10,000 people died in this one place alone. Men, women, children … even a large number of the rebel soldiers were not immune from accusation and subsequent death. (1.5 – 3.0 million in all at various places around the country).
Ok, enough sad stuff … on to better thoughts and memories.
These boys were playing in some ponds out behind the Killing Fields memorial. They were covered up to their necks in mud in one pond. Boys will be boys … anywhere, I guess ! 🙂
Then, they rinsed off and were working with some kind of fish net or some such where you see them here.
Our Tuk Tuk ( pronounced ‘Took Took’ ) is a carriage pulled by a motorcycle. It is reliable and inexpensive transportation. Even on a hot day ( 34 C, in this cooler season ), the breeze blowing by cooled us. This day, our driver had his son at work with him. We were 3 hours at the Killing Fields memorial and he waited that entire time for us. We dropped the little fellow off at home on the way back into town, though. “Mom” came to meet him at the end of their lane/alley.
Traffic in Phnom Penh can be challenging. But the locals seem to maneuver it with ease (and patience). We ran into rush hour on the way back … with a bit of a traffic jam at one intersection. “Motos” squeezed past our Tuk Tuk, and we, in turn, squeezed past vehicles. We got a lot of exhaust in our faces that time …. !! Eventually we wormed our way through into less congested areas.
Our 2nd training location was a 5-6 hour drive from the capital. February is nearing the end of the dry season. Things didn’t look very lush in the country side, and won’t until the rains come later. This is a sample of the countryside on our way there.
Our new training location is to be at a Bible School which happens to be directed by a North Korean Minister, who is teaching Cambodian youth. Former graduates come back to teach pre-school and young grades. It is a nice place with lots of potential, though it is not quite finished yet. There is likely a shortage of funds to finish it.
Since the weather is nice, the windows were mostly just bars to keep out looters. It didn’t always work as we heard that small children would be used by thieves to squeeze through the bars.
There was no air conditioning here, so we welcomed any breeze that blew through. Lois is doing this session with help from our main interpreter, Phanna ( pronounced “Panna” ).
We had 6 of the school’s seniors join us for the training. They were preparing to become pastors or ministry leaders around the country. Lois said that one of the young female students did a perfect job when she had opportunity to practice what she had learned about facilitating a ladies group.
At the end of the 2nd day … Certificate time…
and group photos.
Certificates for training sessions are very significant to small church leaders, and are prized.
Following our 2nd training session Dwight said that the best part of the trip for him was… getting to spend some individual time with 2 of our training participants.
The first young man picked me up on his moto and we went to his house. This young pastor serves a small church of around 30 people, and works as an English teacher part time and holds a 3rd job to support his family. His oldest son is in grade 1 or 2, the younger two sons will go to school when he is able to save enough to also send them to a good school.
He then took me to the far side of his small city to visit another attendee of the CR training, a Pastor-mentor of his who lived on a little acreage. These 2 pastors are planning on using the CR material together in a joint effort in their community. I got to ask about their lives, the local area, their ministries, and simply enjoy their fellowship. One 24 inch fluorescent tube lit the main room. So this is how it appeared as we visited while darkness fell. What a sweet family ! 🙂
The people we met and worked with in Cambodia are incredible. They love their country and want to serve their people. Please lift them up in your prayers. They need God’s wisdom, protection, and provision.
And finally … we were in transit on our way home. We could hardly wait to get to our own routines, our own beds, AND cooler temperatures.
Thank you again for the blessing of your prayers and assistance in making this happen.
Please keep in mind that several future trips are needed to continue equipping key Cambodian ministry leaders in the Celebrate Recovery program. Our goal is that soon they will be self sufficient in the ongoing training of their churches. If you are interested in assisting (prayer and/or finances) with this very worthwhile outreach, please feel welcome to contact the CrossRoads Celebrate Recovery leadership.