Mission to Cambodia #13 – Sprinting to the finish

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Missions
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So what do you do when it’s 1am and you can’t sleep? Write a blog article, of course? 🙂

Today was wonderful and exhausting at the same time. Having been blessed by God (though the efforts of Pastor Dave & Pastor Ivy), I was given all three class sessions today in an attempt to finish the book of Matthew. That gave me 6 hours to teach Chapters 24-28, which ended up only being one class session shy of my original plan (which was to teach the Olivet Discourse and Passion Week through the 4 days this week).

Session 1 (8:00-10:00) was supposed to be Matthew 24-25 – the Olivet Discourse. We were able to teach all of 24, and got started in 25, but ran out of time before the end. That was the fastest I’ve ever taught Matthew 24, but we were able to cover some pretty deep waters even from an overview sort of perspective. Of course, that meant session 2 (10:30-12:30) needed to complete Ch 25, and try to make it through as much of 26 as possible, which we did, though we were not able to complete Ch 26. After a lunch break (and a trip to the gym for me to knock out 6 miles while the students rested), we were back at it from 3:00-5:00, with the task of going through the remainder of Ch 26 all the way to the end of Ch 28. Although we went over by 15 minutes, ultimately we finished…all to the praise of God.

It’s interesting to see the difference in various languages. The Khmer language is very different than what I expected to hear while in Southeast Asia. To my ears, it does not sound remotely like Japanese or Mandarin, but is highly inflected with vowels and nasal tones, rather than pitch. It also seems to take much longer to communicate than English. For the majority of our teaching time, I had the students read the passage of Scripture we were about to study, and then I would teach it. There is much power in the Word of God alone, and I wanted to ensure we gave time to its reading. However, it seemed like some passages that were rather short in English took an immense amount of time to read in Khmer. By the time 4:00pm rolled around, I knew there was no possible way to finish unless we transitioned to simply summarizing the text. By that point, we were teaching about Jesus’ trial before Pilate, and the Biblical passages were familiar to the students. So we rolled up our sleeves, and went for it. By the time we got to the Great Commission, the excitement in the room was palatable, and the students applauded as we finished…it was a celebration of what God allowed us all to do together.

I’m so grateful to our translator, a young man by the name of Adam. He speaks English wonderfully well, and obviously he spoke as long as I did today (and has done so every day!).

The Khmer Christians truly love the Lord. They have gone through a horrendous past, and they are rebuilding their culture from the ground-up. Some of the pastors in the room had personally been engaged in terrible sins. And every single one of them could rejoice in the blood of Jesus that was shed for them. All of them could take joy in the fact that Jesus is resurrected from the dead and has been given all authority in heaven and earth. And all of them take very seriously the commission to make disciples by going, baptizing, and teaching.

It is always a humbling thing to teach fellow pastors. Who am I, other than another sinner saved by grace? Who am I, other an a fellow servant of God, just like they are? We are brothers together, engaged in the same work, called by the same Lord. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been here and to help equip them as they continue to equip their churches for the work of the ministry.

As for us, our teaching is completed, and all that remains is the final test for the students, a question/answer time, and a celebration of the Lord’s Supper together. Afterwards, the team will spend the afternoon shopping & resting, and we’ll be headed to the airport by 9pm (9am CST). Then it’s off to Seoul, and then on to DFW. It’ll be a long journey, but we’re all greatly looking forward to it so that we can see our families again.

Thank you so much for your prayers – they have been felt and so appreciated. Please pray for the pastors tomorrow as they take their final exams, and pray for us as we travel back to the USA. May God greatly bless you all, and I can’t wait to see you in Tyler!

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