This past Sunday was interesting. Jessica and I went to church,
didn’t understand a lick of what was being said, but we showed our
support for the ministry by attending, after a while you learn to
smile and nod a lot. Afterwards we joined the leadership team as well
as some of the members of the congregation for two hours of prayer.
I’ve been in long prayer sessions before but I don’t think I’ve ever
been in one that long while sitting crossed legged on a hard surface.
I don’t have much of a buttocks so whenever I sit on a hard surface
for a long time I get what I call “butt-lock,” you know when your butt
locks up and hurts. Well after sitting for two hours I had butt-lock,
back-lock, and leg lock, standing up was no easy task afterwards.
Jessica and I kept on making eye contact throughout the prayer session
and every time we did it’s like we knew exactly what the other was
thinking, the straining and wincing look in our eyes gave away how
much out butts hurt.

Though Jessica and I had some difficulty understanding all of what was
being said, we didn’t need to speak their language to understand the
type of people we are working with because the honesty and humility
that was displayed by these gentle Cambodians was so apparent. Coming
from a country where pride and haughtiness flourish I was blown away
by the brokenness and transparency that these men and women showed as
they graciously presented areas of weakness and trouble in their lives
before one another. The prayer requests that were presented were
anything but surface and shallow, people were completely honest with
what was going on in their lives and were more than willing to open up
about things that in America we most likely would keep to ourselves.

One of my favorite verses is John 3:17, it says “for God did not send
His son into the world to condemn the world but the save the world
through Him.” It is far easier to saddle up on our high horse and
think more highly of ourselves than we ought to than it is to humbly
admit that we, like everyone, have flaws. Instead of creating an
environment of mutual edification or a refuge where people can seek
help and guidance we can sometimes create a place where people feel
forced to put on a mask and pretend as if the life they live is
problem free when the truth is that we all have hurts and we all go
through difficult seasons in life. This church truly doesn’t judge
or condemn people for mistakes made. Instead of kicking them while
they are down or disassociating from them they sympathetically share
the weight of one another’s burden and walk through life side by side
with arms locked. This is a place where people don’t have to fear the
wrath of one another but are assured that there is no judgment or
condemnation within these walls. There are so many lessons that
Americans can teach to the Cambodians, but I think this is one that
the Cambodians can teach us.

Before Adam and Eve fell the two of them were naked in the Garden of
Eden and felt no shame. The two of them were vulnerable, they didn’t’
cover themselves up or try to be something they weren’t, they simple
stood before one another naked and without fear or shame. Immediately
after they ate the forbidden fruit and they became aware of their
nakedness they then hid in the bushes and covered themselves with fig
leaves. The truth is as useless as it sounds we haven’t done much
better since, in some futile attempt we still hide in the bushes and
put on fig leaves. Instead of standing before one another naked,
vulnerable, broken and transparent by being honest with one another,
we are ashamed of past mistakes, shortcomings, failures and our sins
so we put on the fig leaves. We cover up our nakedness by putting on
a smile and pretending as though life is perfect and saying, “God
bless you,” even though our whole world may be crashing down behind
close doors. We run and hide in the bushes, avoid the possibility of
being open and honest with one another, by covering up the storms in
our lives with these pretend smiles and think that we are making life
better by keeping our hurts to ourselves when in reality it is self
destructive, shame and guilt build up and rot the inside of us.

God has called us to share in the burdens of one another. When it is
me against the world I am going to lose every time, but when it is me,
all of my brothers and sisters in Christ against the world I can’t
lose. When I come out of the bushes and remove the fig leaves and am
real with others I have support, help and encouragement. There are
times when I am not strong enough to press on and it is in those
times, my darkest hour, when my brothers and sisters in Christ
strengthen me and pour light into my areas of darkness. There are
times when I am ready to quit and it is at this point in my life when
vulnerability and brokenness is needed the most.

It reminds me of when Moses and the Israelites fought the Amalekites.
Throughout the entire battle Moses stood upon a mountain in view of
the battle with his hands lifted to God. As long as his hands were
raised the Israelites were winning the battle but as soon as his arms
weakened and lowered the Israelites would begin to lose the battle.
Both the brother of Moses, Aaron, and his right hand man, Joshua,
stood besides Moses for the entire duration of the battle. Moses did
this for hours, but like all humans he grew weak, tired and exhausted
and his arms began to lower. When the arms of Moses began to fall
Aaron and Joshua were there to hold them up for him. Moses could have
acted as if he was strong enough to do it alone, he could have been
prideful and told Aaron and Joshua to leave but this would have been
foolish and he would have fallen flat on his face. Aaron and Joshua
were right by Moses and instead of mocking his weakness they stood
beside him and shared in his suffering, this is what we are supposed
to do. Instead of pretending that we are strong when we are weak we
should embrace one another and endure the storms of life united
instead of by our lonesome. If God wanted me to go through life by
myself He would have made just me, instead of making just me He gave
me more supportive, encouraging and loving people than I can count.
He did this for a reason, because He knew there would be obstacles
presented in life that I overcome alone.

Be blessed,


– The teachers here for the most part are in their early to mid
twenties. Only one of them has a girlfriend. Today in class the
other teachers were making fun of him saying that when they all went
out that he and his girlfriend kissed fourteen times. Before this
conversation I taught them the phrase, “that sounds like fun,” and as
soon as they started talking about him kissing his girlfriend all of
the other guys started saying “that sounds like fun.” I was cracking
– I gave Jessica a concussion one time. We were playing broom ball
with a college group and I slide across the ice and ran into her and
she hit the back of her head on the ice really hard. She hasn’t let
me live it down since.
– I’m trying to grow a beard…. It’s pathetic… you can call me patches
– Jessica and I went out with the staff for dinner Sunday night, it
was a pretty awesome restaurant. They brought out little camping
stoves and put pots of broth on them and then brought out a ton of
different vegetables and random types of meat (livers, kidneys and a
bunch of unidentifiable things) and you basically made your own soup…
it was REALLY good. I was fine afterwards but I guess Jessica had
some issues with the food that next morning. Cambodian food – 1
Jessica – 0
– Since this country is 95% Buddhist it isn’t at all unusual to see a
monk walking on the streets, my favorite thing to see though is the
monks on the back of motorcycles. Jessica and I have tried to get
pictures of it SOO many times but each time we fail.
– Brandon Heath is AWESOME!!!
– The couple from Canada went back home so it is just Jessica, the
Cambodians and me now
– I just got done eating cow tongue
– Before we leave we are going to be eating balute – that is the egg
with the bird in it but it isn’t fully developed… should be

Prayer Request
I’ve been sick since I’ve been here and today I felt really bad and
wasn’t able to teach the night class. Please keep my heath in your
Jessica is preaching on Saturday night

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