Archive for May, 2014

Reunions

It is now over two weeks since we left our home in Cambodia, our friends that we love so much and of course Meg! We are not coping well with being away, we don’t worry about the work, everyone that is managing things are amazing and doing a great job, but because our lives are spent with our friends in Cambodia! Khmer and foreigner alike we miss you all so much!

Since we arrived back in the UK we have been catching up with loved ones, it is really special when you get the chance to call in and see your family or friends. As usual we haven’t stopped to catch our breath, many days we have had morning, afternoon and evening dates with people and we love it, catching up and sharing our hearts and vision for the future. Our first Sunday back we had the privilege to speak in our church and we loved every minute of sharing about what God has been doing over the last year.

Beautiful Bangor marina

Beautiful Bangor marina

Stunning Portstewart promenade

Stunning Portstewart promenade

Ruth and Emma at Be Free stall

Ruth and Emma at Be Free stall

Of course as most of you know we came home for a very special occasion the marriage of Esther’s youngest brother David to Dee (Deirdre). We were not disappointed; it was fantastic, everybody thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was really nice for all the brothers and sisters to get together in the one place, the first time in over 8 years! Both Dee and Dave were stunning and the choice of venue in Cork was both idyllic and spectacular. We wish them well for the future and pray God’s blessing upon their lives.

Newlyweds Dave and Dee

Newlyweds Dave and Dee

Sisters, sisters

Sisters, sisters

All dressed up for the big day!

All dressed up for the big day!

During the week that has just passed we went to see the end of year play in Ballymagee primary school. This year the production was “What a Knight” and is was truly magnificent, we would like to applaud all those that helped make it happen especially Mr Paul Totten and Mrs Suzanne Hanna. But the biggest applause goes to all the children who were fantastic, we were so impressed by them all. A special message must go out to our very good friend Andrew Rogan who was simply brilliant! Afterwards we got to meet Suzanne’s class P7H because we had been helping with a school project via email and it was so good to get the chance to meet all the boys and girls. We also gave them all Cambodian bracelets which everybody seemed so happy about and thanked us which was really nice to see the manners the children have.

Last night the mission’s team held a charity football match at Bangor’s ground at Clandeboye Park. It was a fantastic night where the Bangor Elim staff played against a missions select team. I was playing left back for the staff team and we won 3-0, I wish I could say it was to do with my performance but to be honest most people didn’t know I was playing. A special thanks to Ruth McKee, the Missions Team, the Pastors, Maurice Beattie and the Bangor FC team that assisted us so well and all those that came along and played or spectated. A fantastic night helping raise funds to make a difference in Cambodia.

Missions Football Match

Missions Football Match

We visited many people over the last 2 weeks and have loved every moment, I am writing this as we are sitting in the airport heading to Guernsey to kick off our tour of the UK. If you are going to be able to get to one of our meetings, please start praying now that the Holy Spirit will speak to your heart as we share what God is doing in Cambodia. Please pray for us as we travel and bring the reports of God’s blessings in Cambodia that we will find rest and strength for the busy times that lie ahead.

Back in our homeland!

I am writing this week’s blog post while waiting to board our flight at Doha airport which will bring us to London Heathrow with just one more leg of our journey taking us to Emerald Isle, our Northern Ireland home. This morning we left Meg off at the kennels where she will be well looked after, and a few tears were shed but we are looking forward to weekly updates on how she is doing on her holidays. We then popped in to say goodbye to our friend Julie before having breakfast with our friends Jonny and Jill. We are thankful to Chamnap and Nita who took us to the airport and we were pleasantly surprised by the turnout to wave us off. We then joked where they having a party at our house to celebrate us leaving!!

Our send off party

Our send off party

I know we have said this many times over the past few weeks but we are so blessed with the leaders that are in place to manage the various ministries within Elim Cambodia and we would ask you to remember Chamnap, Nita, Sarak and Sokim in the weeks and months ahead. We know they are more than capable and we are leaving Cambodia with peace in our hearts and thankful for God placing people in roles that are perfect for them.

We are excited about being reunited with friends and family, worshipping with our church family: Bangor Elim, enjoying cooler climates but most of all sharing about the wonderful people we have left behind in Cambodia. When we think back over the past year and all God has made possible, we are in awe and praise Him for the wonders He has performed. We have seen lives grow and develop in Jesus and as much as we will miss our Khmer family, we are excited about sharing about the work of Elim Missions in Cambodia over the following two months.

Our itinerary whilst in the UK:

Sunday 18th May at 10:30 am – Bangor Elim
Sunday 1st June at 10:30 am – Delancey Elim, Guernsey
Sunday 1st June at 6:15 pm – United Churches, Guernsey
Saturday 7th June – Longton Mission Day
Sunday 8th June at 10:30 am – Stafford Elim
Sunday 8th June at 6:30 pm – Crewe Elim
Sunday 15th June at 10:30 am – Sellyoak Elim
Sunday 15th June at 6 pm – Longton Elim
Sunday 22nd June at 9 am & 11 am – CLC Sellyoak
Sunday 22nd June at 6:30 pm – Kingstanding Elim
Sunday 29th June at 10:30 am – Harrogate Elim
Sunday 29th June at 6 pm – Dewsbury Elim
Sunday 6th July at 11 am – Lurgan Elim
Sunday 13th July at 11 am – South Belfast Elim
Sunday 27th July at 6:30pm – Bangor Elim

As I finish writing this blog we arrived back in Northern Ireland to a beautiful temperature of 20 degrees Celsius and were greeted at the airport by the four smiling faces of Ruth, Phil, Emma and Heather McKee. Because our flight to London Heathrow was delayed we just about made it on to our Belfast flight and that included running through the airport and asking people if we could go in front of them when we reached queues. Thankfully we made it, almost needing oxygen before boarding the plane, but our luggage didn’t. It arrived a few hours later being sent on the next plane. Our first day consisted of calling in to my sister’s work to see her for a few minutes before driving over to David’s parents’ home which will be our base for the next two weeks. It was wonderful to see them both and they then surprised our niece and nephew Emily and Matthew who were joining us for dinner. We really enjoyed a home cooked roast dinner followed by their infamous trifle, all tasting even nicer being with family. Being away for a long period makes us notice how grown up our nieces and nephews are and that they are no longer children but becoming young adults. This was particularly evident in the evening when we called over to see Jessica and Andrew. Last year Andrew was the same height as me and now he is taller than David! Although we are so thankful for Skype it is wonderful to see our loved ones in real life!

Good to see the green green grass of home

Good to see the green green grass of home

Reunited and we brought sunshine

Reunited and we brought sunshine

Welcome home dinner by David's parents

Welcome home dinner by David’s parents

Not wee Andrew anymore

Not wee Andrew anymore

We will continue blogging during our time in Northern Ireland but will not post an entry next Saturday as we are attending the wedding of the year. We are delighted that my youngest brother David will be marrying the beautiful Dee and we will get to enjoy a family reunion that doesn’t take place too often. We will update you the following week and ask for your prayers for travelling mercies as we journey to Cork and back.

Have a blessed week and for those reading this that attend Bangor Elim, we look forward to seeing you at church tomorrow morning!

Trusting God in the storm

One of the most frustrating things of living in Cambodia is the frequency of power cuts at our home. They are usually not that long but every so often they last half a day or so! Last Monday was the mother of all power cuts; our electric turned off at 11 am and did not come back on until 6pm Tuesday, a total of 31 hours. We were sweltered at night time yet once we stopped moaning and thought about it how many people throughout the world live like this every day, we couldn’t cope with one night never mind always!

On Tuesday morning I was in my hot office talking to Sarak when Sokhom came in with the sad news that Dren and Chantha who were expecting their second child had found out that they had suffered a miscarriage at 5 months. Both of them work for us, they are very important within our church family but most of all they are our friends. Both of them were heartbroken yet in that storm they both said that they had their eyes fixed on God! We had prayed for months as a church for them to conceive and we had celebrated with them when they did. We walked the five months with them and then all of a sudden this happens. We don’t understand why this happened but we have a sovereign God who knows best, and that’s not easy but it’s true! Please pray for Dren, Chantha and their 5 year old daughter Kanika that they will continue to focus on God and have a peace that can only come from God!

The rest of the week was spent rushing around preparing everybody for our absence while we are home on furlough. Be Free has the most resources to get and Esther along with Sokim spent most days buying materials, card stock etc. I have been working with Sarak making sure we have church rotas for preaching, leading, worship etc. We are very thankful to have amazing people who can manage things when we are not here. God has blessed us abundantly with our leaders Nita, Sokim, Chamnap and Sarak, along with many more wonderful staff.

We leave Phnom Penh next Thursday at 4pm and arrive in Northern Ireland the following day at a similar time after travelling for about 30 hours. Please pray for a safe and restful journey as we travel. If you are free on Sunday 18th May please come along to Bangor Elim where we will be sharing with our home church what God has been doing in the last year. We would love to see as many friends as possible, the service commences at 10:30 am.

Two weeks to go but who’s counting!

Many times in our blog we have talked about the things that being in Cambodia has cost us. We have missed the last 3 years of our nephews and nieces growing up, you don’t get those years back. We have been away from our amazing parents whom we love very much. Our brothers and sisters have been too far away to go for coffee with or just catch up. Our friends will always be friends but it’s just not the same, when you have problems there so far away. Praise God for Skype and other methods of technology which enable us to communicate. We miss our church and church family, it was our life.

Other things we have missed are mostly food related: Fish and Chips in newspaper, Little Wing pizza, Chinese takeaway with the Bogan’s and Jessica’s chopsticks, Piccolo’s, and STARBUCKS for the wife. Watching football with Phil, Jim and Gary and in a few weeks’ time we will be able to have whatever of these we want.

So you might ask why if you love all this so much are you halfway across the world in Cambodia. It’s simple. Jesus gave his all for us on Calvary’s cross; He chose to die for me and for you so we chose to live for Him! Trust me it was and is very hard to be away from those we love, but when you fully understand the “What” Jesus did and the “Why” He did it then you will know we had no choice. When God asks how can you say No!!

When we leave Cambodia for our furlough it’s very difficult because we have our Khmer church family who are amazing, our staff in the ELC, Be Free and the church and we will miss them all so much. We will miss our close friends Jonny, Jill, Julie and the Hutchinson family. Along with all the other people we are friends with. Of course we will miss someone just a little bit more than anyone else and that is of course our wee Meg, the most adorable wee dog!

Going back to the cost of being here, we can do as much as possible for the rest of our lives to honour and glorify God’s name, yet our sacrifice doesn’t even scratch the surface of what God has and is still doing for us. We live in our world of always missing someone no matter where we are but it is worth the sacrifice. Today are you really living your life in the way God requires or are you hiding behind the daily craziness of life’s problems. Is that really the life you want? Anyone that knows us knows we are nobodies and we are happy with that but God can use nobodies thankfully for us! What about you, do you hear the call from God, are you ready, surely you can’t say no to a God that knows even the hairs on your head?

Please pray for us as we prepare to leave for the UK. Pray for Nita, Sokim, Chamnap and Sarak as they lead things while we are away. Also please pray that Meg will be ok and that we won’t fret too much for her. We really hope to see you somewhere on our journey, please make yourself known to us; we will give a full itinerary next week so you know where you can find us. We are looking forward to sharing our passion and God’s vision for Cambodia.

Introducing the Be Free girls to Skype

Introducing the Be Free girls to Skype

Over the last week we have had a team from Thrive church in New Zealand with us and it has again been a wonderful privilege to spend time with them. This is the third time that Pastor Chris has been with us and ministered and once again we have been truly blessed. Chris and his wife Ruth are leaving the church after 20 years and they are taking up positions as missionaries with MAF in Australia. We as a church pray for Chris and the family as they take this massive step.

Be Free enjoyed learning new skills from fellow crafter Leonie

Be Free enjoyed learning new skills from fellow crafter Leonie

Leonie and the team taking devotions in Be Free

Leonie and the team taking devotions in Be Free

In closing we would like to extend our deepest sympathy to our dear friend Gwen Johnston who lost her beloved husband John last week. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your girls and extended family today as you lay John to rest. We may be far away but you are all in our hearts and thoughts today and will be in the days that lie ahead. John, to us, was a gentleman who we were privileged to know as a friend, and is now safe in the arms of Jesus!