November 2007


My son, Jon, keeps a very interesting weblog of his ramblings and musings (www.jonandnic.com). We don’t. We do mostly ramblings. I’m thinking I should emulate my eldest more and muse more. So this is going to be the first in series of lessons the Lord is teaching me about Himself, and myself, and other selves that are important to me. I’m sharing them with you in the hope that the Lord may have something in this for you as well.

 

Lesson 1: God is everywhere. This hardly seems earth shattering, does it?  But stick with me a minute, I mean more to it than you might think. Yes God is everywhere in the sense that when we arrived in Kuala Lumpur He had a job/ministry for me and one for Pam as well. That may not be necessary for every couple, but for Pam and me it was, and He knew that. He was here in the sense that we found a place of Christian worship immediately, within minutes in fact. He was here in that He had a lovely place picked out for us to live that is neither luxurious nor wretched, but something that nourishes our minds and bodies without extravagance. We have friends that know Him, and others to witness to, and He has been in all that.

 

But there is another way that God is everywhere that I am coming to understand. It is said that crossing an ocean doesn’t make a man a missionary any more than crossing a street makes him an evangelist. What is important is the intention of the heart. I have been learning a tremendous number of things about God that I am hoping to share with you in this space. But the thing is, I could have learned these things just as easily at home, if I had been listening.

 

I didn’t need to come to Asia to serve Him. I could have served Him equally well at home right where I was working. I didn’t need to give up everything to listen to Him. I just need needed to put those toys down and listen. God is everywhere, including London, Ontario where I am from. Why do we figure we have to jet half way ‘round the world to find where He wants us to be? Where He wants us to be is open to His leading, obedient to His training, serving Him by serving others without regard for the cost or the inconvenience in order to show the world a picture of Christ. Little Christs, that’s what the diminutive ‘ian’ ending means.

 

You can be a little Christ, a Christian, right where you are. You don’t have to live in the world, or for the world. You can live in Christ, and for Christ regardless of the external circumstances of your life. External circumstances are not going to promote or hinder holiness, or servanthood, or anything else of eternal worth. It is a decision of the will: to trust Him, or not. That seems like such an elemental lesson, doesn’t it? But I’m happy to have learned it, even if I had to come half-way ‘round the world to do so. More on Trusting God later.

Advertisements

Thank you Larry and Kim, we are back on line again with our Rogers email!

rogerscable.jpg   I would start this post with “Rogers Cable, we hate you,” but then I would sound like my son, and we would both hate that even more. So when we got the message that the Banmans were no longer supporting our Rogers email, I just sighed and said “Figures,” and knew immediately where the problem lay. 

Kim and Larry, who if you haven’t met are just wonderful people, did their level best to ensure that our email service would not be disrupted by their move to Delaware. They maintain our email address under their service while we are out of the country. They had every assurance from Rogers that what has just happened would not happen. But neither of us believe anything that Rogers says, and our cynicism, it seems, was well founded.

So until Larry can get this sorted out, please reroute your emails to us through steve@spwise.com or pam@spwise.com both of which are currently active. Those links and our weblog are both maintained by Jon, our son. We are just hoping that he is not planning on moving his wee family in the immediate future or we will be really up the creek.

Love to all. Keep us in your prayers.

traffic2.jpg 

It is good to be home again and to have time to digest all that I experienced in this past week.  I know for sure that the task we are looking at is huge but the people of Cambodia are so amazing that I am excited about the prospect of working together with them.  We spent many hours bouncing around in a van, talking with listeners, seeing what others are doing in that country and exploring ways to present information through radio programs.

img_3698.jpg 

The country is a real mix of crowded city streets and wide expanses of rice paddies but everywhere, life happens out of doors, either on the streets or under houses built on stilts.  People are very poor but are very industrious and are able to set up a business with very little resources.  If you have wheels of any sort, it is a moveable business.  carry a fire source and you have a restaurant.

It is quite amazing to walk down a street in the evening and watch as large amounts of inventory disappears and is replaced by families eating supper, watching TV or playing games.  As the evening progresses the family moves deeper into the building and the shop floor becomes the parking area for safe storage of the “moto” overnight. 

img_3707.jpg  img_3836.jpg

motordupe81.jpg  motordupe121.jpg

We have had two very busy and amazing days.  The TWR Cambodia staff are so sweet and gracious and totally committed to the work they are doing.  Marie, who is the Women of Hope Co-ordinator here has done a wonderful job in planning to maximize our time here.  We met briefly with the entire team Tuesday morning after a hair raising trip through Phnom Penh’s morning rush hour.  The streets are packed with cars and trucks to begin with and then there are masses of motorcycle type vehicles ranging from single passengers to complete families of five, groups of students or workers.  When used as a delivery vehicle, it is just unbelievable the size of loads they carry.  Add a trailer and it becomes a conveyance for mass rapid transit, a moveable restaurant complete with cooking apparatus or a stall selling any type of goods you can think of, including gasoline in Pepsi bottles.  These motorbikes weave in and out at unbelieveable speeds, with very little margin of error and with little consideration of the direction of traffic flow.

We spent some time watching a team filming in the downstairs studio at the office and then headed out to meet with a local doctor who is the Clinical Director of a women’s health organization.  This morning we drove out to a small community near the city and met with a lovely group of believers who are regular listeners to the program.  I was so good to talk with them- through an interpreter of course- and to get a sense of what their needs are.  It was very clear that they have almost no basic knowledge or understanding of the things that affect their health and well being.

Phnom Penh reminds me so much of our experiences in Bangladesh and I immediately felt very comfortable and at home.  

Pam is away in Cambodia, so I get to post to our weblog for this week. So what am I going to write about? School of course!

olc-403.jpg

This is the first class I teach in the morning. I do feel sorry for them! There are a nice bunch, but they suffer all of my glitches in preparation. I don’t know if they notice, but I grimace each time I deliver something that could have stood a little more tuning before delivery.

olc-405.jpg

This is my afternoon class, same subject, one period later. Now I have not only prepped but practised as well. My delivery is better timed and I am more relaxed as a consequence. Things are a lot smoother for them. That doesn’t mean my lessons are error free. However, this class will gently correct me if I stray!

eng-4c.jpg

This is my last class of the day, and by far the most interesting. By this point in their English development this kids can not only articulate, but debate and defend their arguments. We have been examining The American Dream through To Kill a Mockingbird and Death of a Salesman, and I have found it very rewarding. Their presentations (see the images in Flikr in the sidebar) were excellent.

It is a challenge keeping up with these kids and my days are long, but it has been a lot of fun. It is hard to imagine that the term is over in just twelve more days!

img_3479.jpg 

Oct 31st turned out to be a real treat for us as the college decided to spring for a turkey dinner.  Not only are turkeys a rare commodity here but non of us have ovens and the thought of a microwave turkey is not very appealing.  Anne Marie and Gertrude, the wives of two of the teachers, cooked us a couple of fine turkeys with trimmings and it tasted so good.  You can bet that Steve was right in there to help with the carving.  We all felt a little homesick, I think.