Archive for September, 2016

Be a Disciple Maker!

We have had another great week in Cambodia with Roy and Lainey, it has been really amazing to see so many people impacted by their ministry but it’s not a surprise they are simply a blessing. We have been very privileged to meet and get to know some special people because of our role as missionaries and these two are right up there. We pray as we enter their final few days that they will go home blessed and full of joy because they have I believed made God smile.


Roy & Lainey speaking at joint church service on Sunday

During the week I had some time to think about life and what it’s all about.  I sadly heard the news of our friend Phil’s brother passing away, and then a young girl that many people from Bangor have heard about and knew for her bravery, young Megan who also lost her battle with cancer. Both families are in our thoughts and prayers, life is worth so much yet for so many of us we let the little things be the things that dictate our lives rather than living in a way that makes God smile.

So what makes God smile?  What is our purpose as Christians?  What is it that God wants us to do?  How should we live our lives? Well from when we arrived in Cambodia and even before that I always said to any new believer your main goal now is to become like Jesus, by doing what Jesus did. So what did Jesus do?

The more I look at Jesus the more I see not only the sacrificial lamb, our saviour, our substitute for the punishment we so desperately deserved, but Jesus was a disciple maker. Jesus’ main purpose was to take our place but it wasn’t his only purpose. Jesus was a disciple maker, he took a bunch of sinners and eventually after a hard three year slog made them into disciples that would carry the good news to us all.

So what’s the rocket science? Well I think one of the biggest problems in the Christian world right now is that we are so desperate to see people saved.  We get them to church, watch them respond to an altar call, pat them on the back and expect them to know how to be a perfect person. Problem is a high percentage of people are drawn back to the world, or they lose interest.  Why?  Because they were never taught how to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, they weren’t discipled.  Friends we aren’t called to make converts, we are called to make disciples.  It was so important to God that Jesus discipled 12 men for three years! That’s our benchmark we need to put the hours into people so they too can be disciple makers, that’s our mission, that’s each of our commissioning!

Jesus taught those around him by the way He behaved through his actions, He also taught through stories and his words, words of affirmation, encouraging words.  How are you influencing those in your backyard, how do you behave when you’re in work or spending time with your friends, are you a good influence, do you create questions because you stand out or do you fit in because it’s easier?  Do your actions and your words make people want to know Jesus or do they think you’re like them in the world?

I want to work harder at making disciples so what about you? Our church in Phnom Penh concentrates on growing Christians.  Our attendance of 60-70 may not be massive but the congregation have great depth and we know that they not only have been discipled but that they are disciple makers. We don’t always get it right, but I have no doubt at all that as we work to see people reach a point where they change from being discipled to be the disciple maker that is something that makes God smile massively!

This week why don’t you think again about how you can become that person Jesus told you to be, a disciple maker. I believe that being strategic can help as you try to teach people how to live for Jesus and of course we have the Holy Spirit to guide us and help in the journey ahead, lets together do our bit to disciple our world whoever that might be!

In closing I want to wish a very Happy Birthday  to my sister in law Ruth, we wish we could be celebrating with you but know how much you will be in our thoughts on Friday.  It’s a busy time for Ruth and Billy as they also celebrate their 19th Wedding Anniversary this week.  Congratulations and sending much love your way!


Church Planting Team

I have been so excited to witness our team take shape over the past few years, in fact I never imagined for a moment we would end up with the people we have within our team. Only God could have transformed them, only God could have changed the hearts, desires, visions and future dreams of the members of our team.

Our vision for the next five years is to plant 125 village churches throughout Cambodia. We have our God given strategy which we believe in and are pressing forward already seeing opportunities open up that fit exactly into what we need to make things happen.  At the minute we have been part of developing a church planting resource centre with all the other Christian church planters in Phnom Penh and further afield. We are united to see this nation won for Jesus.

That’s what I love about being united by the cross we may not believe everything in an identical way but we all know that there is only one way through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That there is salvation through God’s grace, that we have a living God and Saviour through the resurrection of Jesus meaning our hope is built in the fact that we are redeemed, we are saved, we are safe in the knowledge that the price has been paid. Not one of us deserved it for a second but we have it because of love, God’s unwavering love for all of us.

By the end of this year we had a goal to plant our fifth church but we think we could be ahead of target by having six started by then. By the end of 2017 we are praying that we can have 15 churches up and running.

So what does a church plant look like in a village and how do we start one? The first thing we have to do is go to the authorities, this is always an interesting process.  We visit the village chief and ask his permission, when he agrees he takes you to the community chief.  This man usually oversees many villages, once he is on board he sends you to the district governor and that’s when you get the permission required to start the work in the village.

Once we have the paperwork in place we do two things; firstly we approach the local school so that we work in harmony with them and secondly we set about making sure we have the man or woman of peace on board. These are two of the most vital steps.  By building a relationship with the local school, it not only shows you respect the work they do but also that you want to work together with them not against them. Finding a person of peace is absolutely essential to seeing the work grow in the village, if the person whose house you operate from is not on board then why would anyone else come to hear the good news you’re sharing. The person must at least be keen to learn if not already saved.

We then press ahead starting with a kids club which arouses interest within the adults as many come to hear what is being taught to their children. In some villages we provide English classes and start youth groups but in most we go from running the kids club to starting a church. In each village it varies on how easy the start-up is but we all need to persevere when it’s only one or two coming.

The key to our church planting strategy is teaching our team to train up leaders within the villages.  For example in Toul Kday we now have 25-30 attending the church and we have a local man called Pauleap who has been saved quite a while, he is an excellent communicator and knows the word. We bring him to the city and he joins us when we do our leadership development training.  Recently we asked him what God was challenging him about and he said God wants him to mentor three more men to be ready to plant three churches in 2017.  Already we are seeing a leader in Pauleap, someone who can eventually oversee a number of village churches.

Currently we are at different stages in our church planting.  In Toul Kday we have a strong church plant and community relationship, as already stated we have up to 30 people associated with the church.  This church is ready to plant a new church in the very near future. Our second village in Chroy Chrey has a church with about 10 people coming to it but we might need a new place to meet and that’s difficult but not impossible.  We are going to do a survey in the community that should draw out an obvious family to open up their house and show the interest required of a man of peace. The third village Chnam Trop is establishing the kids club and getting to know the adult community, we have a Christian family as our peace family and that is always a massive advantage.  Our fourth church plant is at the district governor stage and we hope to meet with him in a few weeks time.


Hymn book at Toul K’day church plant

Pastor Chamnap oversees the Village Ministry Team and builds their capacity to lead.  Sarak runs the team whilst in the villages and they all work tirelessly.  Dren, Sokchea, Rith, Sophea, Sokhom, Bong Paula and myself all play our parts in different ways but I thank God for giving us men and women who are like minded in their desire to see this country won for Jesus.


Sarak leading worship


Dren playing statues with the children


Sophea and Rith taking the story and quiz


Bong Paula praying with the children

There are many areas that we need prayer; especially for protection in the physical and also in the spiritual realm, please take time to continue to cover us in prayer, by doing this you are being part of the team just playing a different but essential role.  If you are in a position to help financially as there are costs involved to making the church planting strategy come to pass, please drop us an email at: and we can show you how to go about helping in this area.

Finally we want to thank everyone especially Linda Murray, Paul Hudson and all the International Missions team for all their hard work in preparation for the second Be Free charity dinner.  If you are going tonight to this event in Cardiff thank you for supporting the amazing work of Be Free worldwide not just here in Cambodia. We have seen many girls lives changed over the past 3 years and hope to see many more in the years to come.  Please be as generous as you can because every penny you donate goes towards lives being set free all over the world.


Hitched for Life

Over the last few weeks we have had the pleasure developing new friendships. It started with Johnny and Ruth Haire from Portadown Elim who I must say are really fun people who have massive hearts for missions as does the church they represent.  We must publicly thank Pastor Ross McBride and Pastor Stuart Argue for their ongoing love and support. Johnny and Ruth were great ambassadors for Portadown and Elim Ireland as a whole and we are truly thankful to call them our friends.

After a few days of being the three of us and the dogs we welcomed Roy and Lainey Hitchman into our home and our world. For those of you that don’t know or haven’t heard of them please go onto the Elim Missions website and find out more about them. They are a truly amazing couple who have been Elim missionaries in Hungary for a long time but more recently have taken up the gauntlet of investing in all Elim missionaries marriages; giving advice, spending time with couples and just genuinely showing an interest. They are also stretching us as couples making sure that we have safety nets put in place so that our marriages are flourishing and not floundering under the stress of being in foreign cross cultural lifestyles that are totally alien to everything we have been brought up to know as normal.  Can I just say that we are so thankful to Paul Hudson for caring about our marriage, most organisations wouldn’t think of this and we are so thankful he knows that Satan wants to break the things that God counts as sacred.

We felt straight away on our first Skype with Roy and Lainey that God really could use them here with our leaders; we need to follow Paul’s example and care for those that we lead. So here they are and what a great first week we have had. Unfortunately Roy was very ill while traveling but being the trooper that he is he persevered and was able to jointly facilitate the marriage seminar where 42 people turned up. We had a great day of training, soul searching and I think everyone went away refreshed and with new ideas of how to love and cherish our partners.


Khmer marriage seminar

Four mornings this week Roy and Lainey have been teaching in Be Free and the girls have loved being taught about who they are in God, learning about their identity and how to deepen their relationship with God. At lunchtimes there has been a group of ELC staff also meeting them for similar training. Throw into the mix a few personal meetings, preparation and of course skypes with other people to do with work and I’m sure you will agree they haven’t stopped.


Teaching in Be Free

Please pray for both Roy and Lainey that as they take a parenting workshop today that God will help break down things in people’s lives and that they will be open to what God is saying through them. We are so excited that one couple whose child attends our Early Learning Centre came to church for the first time because they enjoyed the marriage course so much. Today around 25 parents from the ELC, many of whom don’t know Jesus will be attending, pray that on Sunday they will come to church and start the journey to the cross!

We are so thankful to those who financially helped to bring Roy and Lainey here, because of your love and sacrifice lives are being changed forever.

Finally please pray for Southern Africa, Elim has many amazing missionaries ministering there and their families and the people they are serving are really struggling because of drought that is widespread.  Many people are starving and dying and we as Christian brothers and sisters cannot turn a blind eye, please at the very least pray but you can also help by giving to the link provided below. We at Elim missions care and if this has struck a chord with you please give what you can to help.

Visit to give.



Do not fear!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve wondered what life would be like if we lived fearlessly. If we walked in confidence through the unknown, if we grabbed every opportunity with both hands, boldly going forward and doing everything that is there for us to do. 

Over the past two weeks, the English school has begun in the evenings, held in the Elim Centre. We have two classes; one for lower level and one for higher. People from the community around the centre have come along, the youngest being age 10 and we have staff from a hotel that is used a lot by teams who visit that have come to learn to speak more fluently. Tonight, in my class, I had a fourteen year old boy who lives close to the centre and as a warm up into the lesson, and as an opportunity to get to know each other better, we shared our dreams for the future. His response? With a grin, and eyes that just lit up, he tells us he wants to be Superman. I had to smile, because at a young age we all have had dreams that seem so tangible and achievable, but to others appear to be impossible. I hope this young boy doesn’t grow up to be knocked down in his ambitions; but as a fourteen year old to dream as big as to want to be Superman? I hope he keeps that heart of dreaming big because that’s exactly the kind of spirit we need, and want, in this world where so many voices influence our directions and change the trajectory of our dreams. I’m looking forward to the direction of the school and hope that as time progresses that it grows more, that these students who come will grow in their abilities and find that it’s a place where there is no fear to make mistakes. (One thing about the Khmer culture that I’ve learnt while teaching – some who can actually speak very good English, often won’t because they don’t want to lose face. There is an abundance of shyness with speaking it aloud; how painfully I can relate to this!) Making mistakes is difficult, and I have made many, but it is also one of the most effective ways to learn how to move forward.

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be in a far off land teaching English, I probably would have laughed at the impossibility I would have thought it would be. But I know that there would have been a small whisper in my spirit that would have leapt; after all, wasn’t travelling, helping others, one of my greatest desires since having been to the Philippines three years earlier? My fourteen year old self would have scoffed at the very idea, and yet simultaneously yearned for it. I grew up naturally shy, quiet in class and happy in my own company with a good book or a blank page and a pen. I dreamed of bigger things, of foreign lands, of being able to help in any way I could in this broken world. Yet when the opportunity arose ten years later, still I hesitated. I think of my fourteen year old self, and then think of my fourteen year old student who wants to be Superman. I hope, and pray, that when he turns 24, that his dreams are bigger than what they are now and full of faith that he will accomplish them, that fear will not have crept in and stolen his passions and desires. I have no doubt that he will change the world someday if he maintains that cheeky little smile as he proudly claims that he wants to be Superman. 

Fear is the enemy of love; the Bible says clearly that there is no fear in love. It constantly repeats to be bold and courageous; because God knows we need that encouragement. I have been reading the book of Joshua and it astounded me just how many times that is repeated, and then subsequently astounded me just how many times I’ve needed that whisper of encouragement from above in my life. Yes, there is no fear in love. Yes, I love Jesus. I also fear. Why? I’m human; I fail every day and yet His mercies are new every morning. Do I fear stepping out of my comfort zone? Yes. Do I step outside of my comfort zone? I tentatively tiptoe out, heart beating wildly and every thought within me directed to Heaven. I have never bungee jumped (I would love to one day) but I imagine it’s almost like that: safe on a platform, knowing you’re attached to a harness, but still screwing your eyes shut, taking a deep breath and taking that step that sends you into the craziest moments of your life. You have a choice: take the step or back out. Every time I stand in front of a class, whether it is one person or many, I feel way out of that comfortable bubble. I have a choice in that moment – to allow fear to swallow me whole and grip my heart so intensely that I cannot teach as effectively as I want to. Or, I can allow the Holy Spirit to fill me with peace, strength, wisdom to lead the lesson with a confidence that can only come from above. In the lead up to coming to Cambodia, Joshua 1:9 was everywhere I looked. As I arrived, and entered my new bedroom for the coming months, what verse did I see hanging up on the wall? You guessed it. 

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you.” – Joshua 1:9. 

I have also enjoyed meeting and spending time with Johnny and Ruth during the time that they spent here. It’s a different viewpoint, being in Cambodia, living here, while people come out and visit rather than being the one coming over. It gave me an appreciation for those who step out of their comfort zones and endure the dozens of mosquito bites, the exhaustion that comes with the heat, to learn about the darker sides of what happens here, to get stuck in with the every day and use their giftings to help others and then go back home knowing all that they have learnt and seen and experienced, and share with friends and family. I just want to thank you, Johnny and Ruth, for your kind, generous nature, your humour, and above all, your encouragement. 

I just want to take this opportunity to wish my mum the best birthday on Sunday: being away from home isn’t easy but I know that she wouldn’t have it any other way. I know that if it wasn’t for her encouragement, support, love, and the threat that if I didn’t go to Cambodia then she would, I may have taken even more time to step out. Mum, I love you, I miss you, and I can’t wait to see you next month!

Some recent photographs:


Rainy season is here!


The Russian market


Sunset through the storm


Hot dog Ruby trying to stay cool during power cut!


Scenic walk