Archive for March, 2013

In His Shoes

Missing things has become a regular feeling for us over the last two years.  Whilst in Cambodia we miss our friends and families so much but now that we are back in Northern Ireland we are missing everything about Cambodia, our church, our friends, the sun and many other things. Don’t get me wrong we love being back with very special people but God has given us a complete contentment in our new life.

This week has been very busy but enjoyable starting by speaking at Navan Elim church in the Sunday morning service. Pastor Richard and Pastor Darren were so welcoming and this was mirrored by the congregation who were very friendly. Our service in the evening was cancelled at Dromore Elim due to the snow but has now been rescheduled to Sunday 7th April starting at 6.30 pm. If you are able to, please come along and hear about what God is doing in Cambodia.

The rest of the week was spent catching up with loved ones and on Thursday morning we had the honour to speak at RAF (Retired and free). We always love spending time with the senior members of Bangor Elim because we know they are faithful and cover us daily in prayer. Pastor Hugh led the meeting and we broke bread together, and after that we had the chance to share about the last year.

While bringing a short message I mentioned a phrase which I’ve written in the front of the book I use for my sermons and as I’m writing this on Good Friday I want to share with you and also challenge you.

It simply says –   Jesus stepped into my shoes on Calvary’s Cross, now I’m standing in His!

You and I as Christians are Jesus’s hands and feet in this world full of darkness and sin, we are told to go into all the world and make disciples. Our world is Cambodia and for some of you it may be overseas as well, but for the majority of you it might mean shaking free from your comfortable lives and stepping out into your community or family.  It is time to show Jesus not just in your talk but also in your sacrificial walk. It’s up to us, those we love are going to Hell if we don’t and I think that should really motivate us.

This Easter are you willing to stand up and be counted? Trust in God for opportunities and then the boldness to follow it through. People may not be accepting of the truth but at least we have given them a chance to receive God’s amazing gift of Salvation.

We brought snow instead of sunshine!

At the start of this blog I must apologise for the weather – there were many times in Cambodia I prayed for snow and I think my prayers were answered this week!  We know how much the Khmer would love to see snow but they would be absolutely freezing as we have been in the last few days.  We collected our niece and nephew from school on Friday as they commence their Easter holidays and as we watched the children wearing gloves and heavy coats we wondered if we had travelled back in time and it was really winter instead of spring.  We have been told that when we next complain about the hot temperatures we endure and have the Cambodian glow we will be reminded about how cold we have felt in the last few days.

It was wonderful to worship in our home church Bangor Elim last Sunday and to be reunited with friends.  One little boy who is very special to us gave me a massive hug and when he finally let go said, ‘Esther did you dye your hair?’ When I stopped laughing I said ‘Yes Jamie I had to cover my silver highlights’.  We were honoured to share with our church family about what God is doing in Cambodia and although we are the missionaries on the ground in Phnom Penh everyone in Bangor Elim (and everyone else who supports us) is a part of the ministries because of their prayers, giving, volunteering and attending fundraising events.  The work could not be completed without all of these elements and we cannot express how thankful we are for each and every person who prays, supports and encourages us.

We are looking forward to the team from Bangor Elim which is coming to us in August and so it was great to meet with all of them on Thursday night.  We were able to share some of the culture differences they will encounter and answer any questions or concerns they have about the mission’s trip.  Please pray for the team as they organise fundraising events, have vaccinations and prepare their hearts for how they can make a difference to the lives of the Khmer people they will spend time with.

In this past week we have enjoyed spending time with friends and family: facebook, emails and skype are wonderful for keeping in touch but nothing compares to sitting face to face with loved ones and having a cuppa and a chat.  David’s parents organised a coffee morning with some close friends who pray for us regularly and although they would receive our newsletters and read the blog it was wonderful to share in person about God’s faithfulness, constant provision and a mazing opportunities we have to show the love of Jesus to the Khmer people.

Tonight we are looking forward to visiting ‘Thrive’ at Bangor Elim and then tomorrow we are thankful for the opportunity to speak in Navan Elim in the morning and Dromore Elim in the evening.

Have a blessed week, be safe when you are travelling and stay warm. Hopefully some Cambodian sunshine will visit us soon!

Reunions

Last Sunday was one of those days that will be etched in our memories forever. We had the privilege to speak at Dewsbury Elim, for those of you who don’t know where that is, it is about 15 miles from Leeds.

The church is pastored by our friends Paul Hudson and his assistant Sue Nicholls.  Paul is the most amazing person, I don’t think we have ever met anyone who is as passionate about missions. He just lives and breathes it; being about him makes his passion infectious and we saw that in the way the congregation of Dewsbury Elim responded in a commitment to support us on our journey in Cambodia. We thank Paul and his wife Greta for making us so welcome, we also thank our dear friends Sue and Gez for looking after us so well.

In the evening we travelled to Bradford Elim where again we got to share our story of what God is doing in Cambodia, we had another special time and had the opportunity to see our friends Zoran and Margaret who attend our Khmer church. After church we were treated to Krispy Kremes and McDonalds which finished of an amazing day in style!!

On Monday we had lunch with Paul and Sue and dinner at Paul and Greta’s house, while in between we packed in preparation for eagerly awaited family reunions. Tuesday was special, we arrived in Belfast at 10.15 am to be greeted by my Mum, Dad and sister Kellie.  There were a few tears shed and it was good to be back in Northern Ireland for a little while.

Once we got our accommodation sorted we headed to the Bogan’s, we were so happy to see them the biggest shock was wee Andrew was now bigger than Esther. But it was so good to see Ruth and Jessica and Andrew in the flesh and like earlier to be able to give a hug meant so much.

Since then we went to see my brother Phil’s family and our 15 year old nephew Christopher has become a giant in the last year, he now towers over me, it has really shocked us how much everyone has grown. It was again so good to catch up.

David and Chris

David and Chris

We are so thankful to God for this time to see the people we so badly miss, we have also seen quite a few friends already, there are others we haven’t seen yet a little further a field and we can’t wait to see them in the coming weeks.

The funny thing is we now are missing our new family in Cambodia that we have left behind and look forward to reunions with them in May.

Please come tomorrow morning to Bangor Elim at 10.30 am to hear more of what God has done in Cambodia, there is one thing for sure in this life, and that is we serve an awesome God!!

In the UK

As I write this blog we have been in the UK for almost two weeks and are still adjusting to the change of temperature.  Our Khmer church family and friends gave us a wonderful send off at the airport and we felt much loved indeed.  We have been keeping in touch with Chamnap and Nita since we left Cambodia and we are delighted to report that Srey Phose, the cook in our Early Learning Centre, gave birth to a baby girl on Wednesday.  We are still waiting to find out her name but she weighed 7.5 lb. and both Mum and baby are doing well. Please remember them in your prayers and we thank God for the safe delivery of Srey Phose’s first baby.

At the airport

At the airport

During our time in the UK we have been enjoying catching up with friends (old and newer) who have been to Cambodia in the past year and sharing what God is doing amongst the Khmer people.  We have also spent a few days at the Elim International Mission’s office at Malvern, a beautiful part of the world, where it was lovely to spend time with the team whom we email all year round and we couldn’t be in Cambodia without all the hard work they do behind the scenes.

We were privileged to fellowship with the Stafford Elim church family last Sunday and we thank Bill and Maureen for their wonderful hospitality and Ian and Katrina Dunphy for as always making us feel so welcome and at home.  We have many good friends in Stafford Elim and it is a special place to the both of us.

We spent a few days with Brecon, South Wales as our base.  David has never been to Wales and I was only in North Wales when I was much younger so we have both fallen in love with the beauty of this country.  We were delighted to spend time with our boss, Chris Jones in his part of the world and he had arranged a reunion for one of the groups who visited Cambodia last year.  Chris’s daughter Megan and two friends Rachel and Rebecca came to us for almost three weeks and they were a delight to be around.  They fell in love with Cambodia, embracing the culture and never complaining once but maturely expressing how they felt with the injustices they encountered.  Chris had organised a dinner for us to be together but we were disappointed as was Rebecca that she was unable to come due to commencing work placement and the distance was too far for her to travel.  But her mum came as did Rachel’s and we enjoyed a lovely evening together sharing some of the moments we will never forget from their time in Cambodia.

Beautiful views in Brecon

Beautiful views in Brecon

Cosy by the open fire

Cosy by the open fire

with Megan and Rachel

with Megan and Rachel

All wrapped up

All wrapped up

Megan was returning to university in Cardiff the next day so we enjoyed her company as we travelled with her to meet and spend time with one of the ladies from the Lifelink team who visited us in January.  We met Linda and enjoyed coffee and a catch up at Cardiff Bay and spent the rest of the day with her before all of us joined Chris and Hope for dinner that evening.

The remainder of our time in the UK is based at Dewsbury where Sue, one of the Lifelink ladies, is hosting us.  Sue is the associate pastor of Dewsbury Elim and we are looking forward to sharing Cambodia with the congregation on Sunday morning.  Paul Hudson is the senior pastor as well as being Development Director for Elim International Missions.  It was quite surreal sitting in Paul’s house last night when we usually spend time together in Cambodia.  Paul is bringing a youth team to us in May and we are looking forward to meeting with them tonight and answering any questions they may have about their mission’s trip.

On Sunday evening we are speaking in Bradford Elim and we are looking forward to seeing friends of ours Zoran and Margaret who moved to Phnom Penh last year but came home for a short period of time to spend with family.

We are grateful to everyone who has been hosting us, driving us around and generally looking after us since we arrived in the UK, we really do appreciate everything you are doing for us.  On Tuesday morning we fly into Northern Ireland where we are extremely excited about seeing family and friends and also sharing what God has and is doing in Cambodia.

Praying you all have a wonderful weekend and know God’s love and blessing in the week ahead.