Suesday, Aloha, and hello! What an awesome month it’s been! So grateful to the amazing group of leaders I work with who have been able to give me this month to travel with Naomi connecting with family from all over the world.
First Bible Core Course in Cambodia
Our family of missional leaders in Poipet have pulled it off again and we’ve officially graduated the first ever Cambodian Bible Core Course. After 3 months of intensive bible study our 14 students are now equipped with a biblical worldview and a lifelong understanding of how to study scripture in context. I’m so proud of our students and leaders and grateful to have been apart of the school’s leadership team.
After Naomi and I taught in one of the final weeks of the school we started to get ready to visit her friends and family in Hawaii. She was born and raised in Oahu and grew up in an amazing church her father pastored in Aiea. Connecting with her Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, and church family gave me a much greater glimpse and insight into the crazy beautiful person I knew I’d be asking to be my wife a few weeks later.
After a few short days in Oahu we flew over to Kona to connect with my sending base at Port Ywam. The Ywam Ships family hosted us so well and celebrated with us all that God has been doing in Poipet and in our lives. So much of what we do in Ministry depends on God’s grace and a combined effort of literally hundreds of volunteers giving their time, money, and prayer.
After almost a week of connecting with Ywam family and some financial supporters we hopped on a plane for the mainland. Naomi and I separated ways for a couple of days so she could connect with one of her supporting churches in California before joining me here with my family in Portland.
We had an awesome week together and my family quickly fell in love with her just like I have. That was the last little confirmation I needed to take the next step which was asking her to be my wife. The proposal worked out perfectly with us alone having a picnic on top of a 2,600 mountain. We were talking about what we would want out of a marriage and how we both share the same heart to spend the rest of our lives going to the hardest places to make the radical love of Jesus known. After over 20 years between us doing just that I know we meant it and partnering with her for the rest of my life seemed like the most exciting opportunity since pursuing Jesus. She really is the person I can’t live without out and I’m beyond blessed that she said YES!
We had an engagement dinner with family and the next day one of her best friends Amy flew out from California to join the celebration. It was a short but precious time with Naomi before she flew back out 3 days later to California to continue connecting with her friends, family, and financial partners there.
All of this time has shown me a beautiful picture of how the whole family works together to make something happen. Naomi and I couldn’t do what we do if we didn’t have awesome people investing their time, prayers, and finances into our ministry.
Tomorrow night some of that family is going the extra mile and putting on a fundraiser for us at a local church. After 3 years on a 125CC moto I feel like purchasing a vehicle would enable us to do far more, with more people, for much longer. Our desire isn’t simply for greater comfort but for greater impact. If you’d like to give towards our first vehicle please click here and follow the instructions. Welcome to the family and thank you for being apart of our lives.
Naomi in Cambodia - Teacher Training - Leadership Meetings & Conference - Teaching Romans - Social Media Missions
Hello my friends! It’s been a while and as usual so much has happened since my last update. By far the best part of the last few months has been having Naomi here with me in Cambodia for the last 3 weeks. Well actually we haven’t been in Cambodia the whole time but I’ll explain more about that in this update. We’ve been on quite the adventure since her arrival.
Naomi in Cambodia
We started our time out maybe a little presumptuously on my part by joining in on one of my best Cambodian friend’s family vacations. Not presumptions on the end of my friend as he was thrilled to have Naomi with us. Presumptuous rather towards Naomi for not thinking fully through how she might have felt touring around Cambodia with 12 people she’s never met at high speeds over bumpy roads, on boats in choppy seas, and driving up curving mountain roads for 4 days.
If I had any doubt previously as to whether or not she would be able to hang with me in all the craziness of my life, I now know without a doubt she’s the girl I’ve always prayed for, dreamed about, and in my more audacious moments hoped that God would provide someday. She’s won the hearts of every person around me, been an endless source of encouragement, and has pushed me deeper than ever towards God. Our time with my friend’s family (all non-Christian, very influential, leaders of Business in my city) was phenomenal. In fact we are going to have dinner with them in a few hours. Those first few days here in Cambodia are full of memories I know we’ll cherish for years to come.
After a wild few days traveling all over Cambodia we arrived safely back in Poipet at around 11pm just in time for Naomi to do teacher training the following morning for about 50 mostly Buddhist teachers at my friend Bong Thary’s private school. Translating for Naomi, hearing her heart for education, her love for students, and her knowledge and wisdom as a teacher was incredible. I don’t know if any of you have ever translated before but when translating for someone brilliant and inspiring it’s an amazing experience where you share a little in the glory of what’s being said and the impact it’s making. Probably a little bit like the donkey felt carrying Jesus all the praise being heaped on Naomi made translating for her a real privilege.
Leadership Meetings & Conference
The next week was spent connecting with over 120 leaders from all over our Ywam organization. The highlight of this time was having our sending base leaders Brett and Karen Curtis around to glean wisdom from and build relationship with. They came out to Poipet to visit our Base, encourage our team, and connect with leaders of Business, Governement, and Education in our city. It was a great way to prepare our hearts for the following week where our larger YWAM family gathered in Pattaya, Thailand to hear from different areas of the world where God is using YWAM in amazing ways. There were almost 4,000 of us gathered together and I was simply blown away at the extent to which God is using all of us funny Ywamers. Simply listening to God, obeying what he says, and not giving up is bearing fruit all over the world.
After an awesome final day in Pattaya where Naomi and I were able to join in some of the regional leadership meetings we returned to Poipet with a Community development team from Kona. This week we’ve had a full house with over 34 people in our small base eating worshipping and praying together. (God is telling us to buy a bigger house ) The community development team taught biblical conservation principles and sustainable technology to over 150 students at a local school, built a bio-digester for our food waste, and helped a local ministry design their newly purchased farm in a strategic way. 2 Amazing media volunteers are helping us create promotional videos for our upcoming January Discipleship Training School, and Naomi and I have been busy teaching the book of Romans to the 14 students in our 3-month Bible Core Course. Again, translating for her this week I’m stunned by the amazing knowledge and sincere love of God, mixed with her wit and charm to communicate the gospel more accurately and clearly then I’ve ever heard before. Our community of missional leaders here are jokingly calling us Mom and Dad, and in some way, it feels right to be finally spiritually parenting alongside of someone else.
Social Media Missions
On the social media front God is continuing to blow my mind with how powerfully social media can be used to share the gospel and influence change in a country. I’ve been building a following now for almost 1.5 years and slowly God has given me the topics and words to communicate more and more about the things that are really on His heart. Speaking identity and encouragement into the Khmer, sharing the hope available in God, standing up against the drug trade and just last night I posted a viral video taking a stance against sex trafficking.
One of my fears with Facebook was that I might be relegated to the sphere of the funny white guy who can speak Khmer well but doesn’t really have anything interesting to say. There are probably a dozen or so foreigners who have used the “I’m white and I speak your language” thing to gain a little public attention but rarely have any of them been able to turn their platform into something more than a novelty. However, Cambodians and God have been incredibly gracious to me. The video I posted a month ago where I shared my testimony and faith got over 63k views, my video standing against drug trafficking got 333k views, and the one I posted last night encouraging Khmer to take a stance against human trafficking is currently at 41k views and climbing.
With Facebook users topping 2.5Billion half of which live in the Asia Pacific region I think it’s time for us to begin talking about how we pack out our Facebooks rather than our stadiums. It’s much cheaper, anyone can do it, and it’s reaching people where they’re at even in difficult to reach places. With that in mind I reached out to a few of you about helping to donate towards some better media equipment and I’m so grateful to all of you who’ve given so generously towards that. I was able to purchase an amazing basic camera setup off of Craigslist and am looking forward to trying it out. So far I've been using my 8 year old macbook and barely functioning iPhone 6 : ) If you believe in what I do and want to give towards my work you can click below to find out how. To my awesome team of friends and supporters I thank you for making this all possible.
I hope that no matter how you’re being led to influence and love those around you you’re experiencing similar grace and inspiration. We get to live the greatest adventure of all working with one another to build God’s kingdom and share his goodness to all we meet. Thank you so so much for being apart of my family and ministry. I pray God will continue to bless and prosper you wherever you find yourself. Until next month remember, listen to God, obey what he says, and don’t give up. You can’t go wrong.
Girlfriend - Miracles - Viral Social Media - Training Schools - Mercy Ministry - Quarterly Leadership Meeting - & You!
I just now realized that it’s been almost 3 months since I last updated my blog! Hold onto your seats because the highlights from the last 3 months are pretty epic. I pray this will inspire you guys to continue to cultivate intimacy with God that will overflow into your families, your career, and your community.
Jehovah Jirah!! LOL Yes it’s true I’m very intentionally dating an amazing young woman who is definitely beyond what I could have ever imagined. Her name is Naomi Hokyo and we actually both did our DTS at the same time in 2003. She has more or less been in ministry ever since. 5 years providing leadership to a YWAM base in Chad, Africa while starting a primary school there , 2 years in Malaysia where she received a commendation from the UN for a school she started there for Burmese Refugees and most recently spending the last 4 years in Myanmar where she serves on the national eldership team for YWAM while starting a school focused on training teachers and supporting them to start more schools to bring hope and education to their communities. The best part is she loves Jesus, Ywam, Missions, Me, is stunningly beautiful , smart, and the funniest person I know. Stay tuned for more : )
Miracles Besides the obvious miracle I just shared above where I found someone so amazing who thinks I’m the bees knees God’s been up too much more. I shared earlier about how in January we started our first DTS program with 6 students and 2 staff all Khmer nationals. We just graduated them and heard some of their stories and were blown away! 123 people committed themselves to begin living according to the teachings of Jesus and they saw over 60 miracles happen through their times of prayer and service. One of my favorite stories was when they captured a crazy man who had been running wild for years in a local village. After praying for him, they bathed him, fed him and made him a part of their group for the next few weeks. By the end he was 90% better reading, singing, eating, and laughing in his right mind for the first time in years.
Viral Social Media
I think I have officially established myself as a bit of a Facebook celebrity in Cambodia. It’s been over a year now since my first video went viral. Since then I’ve had 3 videos get over 1 million views with my most popular video getting 2.4million views. That means that roughly 1/8th of Cambodia has seen me on Facebook. Practically every day now I have people coming up to me telling me they follow what we do and thanking us for serving Cambodia. It's such a blessing but it’s been no small task praying into and thinking through how best to walk out this new found influence. Creating entertaining viral content that includes pieces of the gospel, staying free from any political topics, and still bringing helpful inspiring info? I really need your prayers on this one as moving forward requires wisdom and creative energy at a level far beyond my natural abilities.
One of my greatest privileges serving in YWAM is seeing the young leaders who come out of our training schools. 3.5 years ago I staffed a DTS in Kona where a young man named Conner King was a student. In our DTS program we assign one on one mentoring relationships between our staff and students. I was assigned to Conner and today Conner is the leader spearheading our training school programs here in Poipet. After an extremely successful first DTS we’ll be kicking off the first ever BCC in 2 weeks. The BCC stands for Biblical Core Course and is a 3 month bible school intensive. We have 17 students signed up and will read through the entire bible together while studying 15 books in depth. We will follow up our BCC with an 8 week leadership school. The vision for our training schools is to provide basic Christian discipleship through our 6 month DTS, a biblical foundation from the 3 month BCC, then practical leadership and life skills from our final 2 months leadership school. Every year we believe that the young Khmer leaders who come out of this program will be forever transformed and will transfer that change into their family, careers, and community.
Recently God has been pressing on our hearts to enter into the suffering of the community around us. Our next door neighbors live in poverty that you would have a hard time imagining, They’re a family of 5 living in a small pieced together shack with no running water, bathroom, or any amenities at all. After a construction accident the wife asked me to come and look at her husband’s foot. It was severely swollen and bruised. He assured me the local witch Dr. had recently pulled on it and said some magic words telling him it would be better within days. I smiled and took him to the hospital and payed to have it x-rayed. $3.75 later we had a picture saying the witch Dr was a liar and his heel bone was shattered. The Dr. said he needed surgery but we felt led to pray for healing and committed to help provide food for his family while he rested it in a cast. While praying for healing one day him and his wife cried and told me they’ve decided that Jesus is the true God because they’ve never had someone love them like we have loved them. Just today I went to visit them in the hospital and sat and listened while the husband shared how God healed his foot after just 2 weeks in a cast and how he’s became a Christian because of it. We feel led to continue to stand with this family as they literally get back on their feet while reaching out to more people in the same way.
Finally I just want to say how amazing the team of people I get to work with here are. We just finished our quarterly 3 day leadership meetings and without the synergy created by everyone sharing and carrying this vision forward none of the above stories would be possible. We’re all volunteers but put in 110% into the work here. Long days, financial obstacles, health issues, relational conflict, constantly provide an environment to remind us of our dependence on God and each other. As I write this I’m also reminded of you the readers who are very much a part of this team. Providing the prayer and finances for us to continue advancing the Kingdom of God into every part of part of Cambodia. Sickness, addiction, poverty, injustice, ignorance, and fear don’t stand a chance as we stand together as the church to say that Jesus is coming to right every wrong and wipe every tear from every eye. Thank you so much for helping us to demonstrate Jesus, teach his ways, and carry his message to the people here in Cambodia. It’s a joy to partner with you.
Robbery to Revival
The last month has been an amazing and inspiring time. Seeing our team of 6 and 1/2 khmer DTS students being led by our 2 khmer staff taking a 2 week outreach into a neighboring province has to be the highlight. This has been our purpose since day one. Creating a platform to train young khmer leaders to share the love of God in practical ways with their community. The reality of forgiveness and hope extended to us through God I believe is the cure for all of societies issues. It’s definitely been the cure for mine : )
Another miracle was how God turned our robbery into a viral faebook post that communicated the love and grace of God to over a million people while also getting us enough donations to cover everything that was taken. Combine that with the time where God spoke through me to call out the visa department at the border for their greed and dishonesty and I’d say it’s been a successful month. The most surprising part of the whole thing was they asked me to share with their boss who apologized to me and worked with us to reduce a $2100 mistake down to $400. It was their fault but if you’ve ever been through the Poipet border and had visa issues you’d know that this is no small miracle.
Consulting in the sphere of education? I had an amazing opportunity to spend a week in Phnom Penh meeting with some business men who are trying to develop a service to help guide Khmer to the right schools. I've been seeing more and more the potential impact from strategic partnerships. If we can provide biblical principles and strategic thinking to serve the business and education community why not? They even covered my travel expenses, put me up, and took me to some delicious Indian food!
Last but not least we had an awesome week together as a core group of base leaders for our first ever quarterly leadership meeting. Our friends Joyce and Alger came out to help bring some teaching and refreshment while we met as staff for 3 days talking about what God’s done, what God’s currently doing, and what we feel God wants us to focus on for the future.
Speaking of the future we have some big things coming up! This Friday one of our core team leaders Hannah will be arriving from the Kona Ships Justice DTS with a team of 12 to help serve for the next 9 months! We’re so excited for all that God’s going to do through them during their time here. One big push right now is we’re feeling led to start a 3 month Bible Core Course here in June! It's still in the storming stage but we have 20 potential students and 4 potential staff. Just praying for a school leader.
Big thanks to those of you who have been praying and supporting my ministry financially. This has been the first time since coming back to Ywam where my personal finances haven't been a major source of stress. I've been able to give generously to others, show hospitality, and take better care of myself which has helped my leadership and overall focus exponentially. I was even able to finally sign up for health insurance!! Thanks Jordan and Mazzis!! : ) God's going to continue doing great work through us as we partner together to see his kingdom come in the nation of Cambodia.
The rest of our teams testimony
Old lady get heal eyes. Heal Swollen legs. - Eyes she can read. - Girls can eat - woman get heal by - Old lady 89 receive healing, her eyes and her ears. - 1 lady Heal her chest - caste out the demons from the guy headache. - man 54 receive healing, God healed his eyes. - director's wife receive Jesus - leg heal old lady 60+ - man 50+ get free from Demons that make him get headache Miracle. - a man receive healing that demons make him pass out.
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As a pioneering location we're just coming up on our 2nd year. On average we've operated as a team of 13 staff made up of 10 foreign and 3 national workers. If I could summarize I would say over the last year we've had 3 main focuses.
1. Grow our YDC and see it bear fruit
Starting a Youth Development Center was the primary goal we set as we began to pioneer 2 years ago. We succeeded in this but although we had 3 quarters of over 50 students our weekly evangelistic community night was averaging around 5, and none of them really showed much interest in spiritual matters. This year however has been a whole other story. Just last month we had over 150 students enrolled, averaged around 70 attending our community night, saw 60 respond to the gospel, around 20 or so make solid commitments to Jesus, while around 8 began basic discipleship.
2. Expand our Base & Structure
As we started the year we quickly realized our current location and leadership structure were inadequate. As our lease came to a close God miraculously provided another location with the perfect amount of space for the price we wanted. It was a brand new building so we were able to customize some of the rooms to our specific needs. Downstairs there are 4 classrooms, a large open space living area/classroom, and a big kitchen. The 2nd floor has 7 bedrooms and an office, and the 3rd floor is just finishing with the roof where we'll be able to have large open air meetings as well as hang laundry, exercise, and create a space for a prayer room. Along with all the space we saw the need to clarify roles. We broke overall leadership into 2 areas.
3. Vision for City Wide Transformation
We've carried since day one a vision to see whatever we accomplish bring radical change in the next 10 years to every sphere of society in our city. Our influence, network, and reputation grew exponentially this year. After our base leaders Facebook went viral we saw the relationships we had with leaders in our city going viral as well. The head of immigration, people all over the city, casino owners, church, education, and business leaders are now coming together around a united vision to work towards developing our city into a place of human flourishing.
I think the highlight for us this year would be seeing our khmer staff stepping up and leading out in sharing the gospel in our Community Night meeting. His preaching was what began to turn the youth hearts towards God. You can read his testimony below.
Hello everyone my name is Ramon and I am 21 years old. I just finished the School of ministry Development and am getting ready to co-lead our first DTS in January. In my 6 months of studying and working here in the SOMD I've grown a lot spiritually. It's given me boldness, taught me to be a patient servant leader, and given me a platform to share the gospel with the students in our Youth Development Center (YDC). When I first spoke about God in our YDC He began to do a miracle in the hearts of our students. As I finished explaining about the love that Jesus has for them over 60 students responded asking Jesus to be their savior and receiving a bible. It was then that I was filled with hope for the future of what God would continue to do through my life. I firmly believe that the influence of the gospel of Jesus will continue to spread from our base into our city. God is telling me that it's the time for gathering the harvest in the city of Poipet and I'm excited for what's ahead.
- Ramorn Try
Hong is 12 years old and was born with HIV. His mother died from AIDS a few years after giving birth to him, his father is addicted to Meth and makes a living off and on as a laborer in Thailand, so he’s been raised by his grandmother whom he calls mom.. His grandmother makes a living sewing old pieces of fabric into cloths, floor mats, rags and the occasional shirt. They live at a level of poverty that is hard to imagine if you live in the west but is actually quite normal for our area. After sharing many meals with us and some prayer times Hong and his Grandma joined us one special morning for our Monday morning base worship. This morning was special because I felt to ask Hong’s Grandma if she would mind if I asked Hong to become a believer in Jesus. Hong’s Grandma excitedly responded with a yes and we explained to Hong what it meant to be forgiven by God because of Jesus and how we have to live out of gratitude to God for that forgiveness. I’m very slow these days to just lead someone in prayer to become a Christian as I want to form a community of Christians who are growing and sincere in their faith rather then just one off here and there in our evangelism times.
Hong was the first person in fact we have prayed with so far since moving to our new location. His Grandma has been a believer in Jesus for some time but alcohol, drugs, and money problems have kept her from living out her faith in many years. Hong and his Grandma are a picture of how necessary discipleship, authentic community, counseling, and just being willing to endure a bit of drama can be in ministry. This became even more obvious when $250 went missing from our office downstairs and through a series of events it came out that Hong had taken it and his Grandma had spent most of it on various things. Suddenly I was thrust into the very difficult if not unfamiliar place of not knowing what to do. We worked with the village chief and my landlord to talk with Grandma and she returned $80 and about $100 worth of children’s clothes she intended to sell, that we could then give away to the poor in our community. This left us short $70 which we were happy to forgive but simply overlooking the situation altogether wasn’t going to work either. I told hong that he wouldn’t be allowed to come over any more for one month and we’d talk again and make a plan for restoration. After one month (a few days ago) Hong began to come over shyly waiting outside to see what would happen. Just yesterday we finally talked and let him know that we love and forgive him and want to have relationship with him. He pinky promised me that he won’t steal anymore and so pinkies locked we agreed to start again.
One thing that anyone intending to help the poor, homeless, or hurting will quickly realize is the enormous amount of love, energy, and sacrifice it takes to encourage, coach, and walk with people to see them come into maturity and wholeness but then again who hasn’t been there? We all need an enormous amount of those things even if we aren’t coming out of as difficult a situation as Hong or his Grandma. It’s why Jesus came, it’s why the church exists, it’s God’s plan for his kingdom. With pinkies locked and forgiveness in our hearts God has called us to proclaim good news to the poor, bind up the broken hearts, and set free the people who are prisoners to darkness. Declaring that this is the year of the Lord’s favor God wants to comfort all that morn, provide for those who grieve, and give them a crown of beauty for their ashes. This is the God we serve and I’m believing God’s going to continue to do it here in Hong’s life his Grandma’s life and in our communities lives as well. It’s messy, dramatic, painful, and often very uncomfortable but what rewarding work at the end of the day. If you'd like to join me in it please consider supporting our work monthly or one time and let me know so we can keep you up to date with what's happening. For those who already give and who are praying and to all my friends joining in on the work of the Kingdom I love you guys and miss you lots! Hope to see many of you on my trip home in December. Lots of Love!
The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.
This last month has been one of the greatest tests of my life. It seems like since my Facebook post went viral and all the other transitions I discussed in my last post went down I found myself really struggling to hold onto my faith and my patience. I’m a firm believer and recipient of the power of the gospel of Jesus but what happens when that gospel stops working in our lives?
In 2008 before I left Cambodia this was my experience. The joy and peace I once felt and attributed to the work of God in my life was no longer evident and I struggled to hold tight to my faith. Eventually my desperation for relief led me to again turn to drinking and other things to just to take the edge off which only furthered the perceived distance I felt from my creator. This all ended with me walking away from my calling, my friends, Cambodia, and worst of all my pursuit of God. For years I pursued success, money, and a variety of lesser pleasures to fill the void where God had once been and had kept so well inhabited. The shallow, short lived, and fleeting pleasures were never enough and it was some time before in frustration I again turned back to God to see if there was still mercy left for me.
I was amazed as I watched God restore me slowly at first but more quickly as I went along. Bit by bit giving me back dignity, sobriety, vision and purpose. I was baffled by His grace and it led me to worship in spite of any obstacle real or perceived for His kindness towards me. However, I’m ashamed to say that after a while I began to forget all His goodness towards me and found myself awfully proud of all that “I” had done in the last few years. Self Righteousness is as deceptive as it deadly and suddenly where there was once only gratitude and awe I began to feel entitled and frustrated.
Don’t get me wrong. Ministry is going great! Our relationships with leaders in the spheres of business, education, church, government, all going great! Our new training center is fully running with over 100 students and our home has systems in place and is beginning to run smoothly. However, what I wanted to write about this month is the problem of my heart. Apparent external success in my opinion is never as important as the deep internal success of a heart positioned in grateful worship towards God. Awareness of His grace, blessings, and presence are the primary pursuits of my life and when I begin to find too much satisfaction in outside sources I know all too well how things end.
Luckily I happen to have great friends and leaders around me. As God reminded me of the importance of placing Him first I reached out to them and communicated honestly with where I was at, seeking guidance and help in restoring me to a healthy perspective. I’m blown away by the response I’ve received. As I’ve humbled myself it was like God opened up heaven to reach out and help make it happen. The love and support have been nothing short of miraculous and now find myself again in a position of humble gratitude and hope for continued grace. The gospel of Jesus truly is powerful and effective if applied regularly and generously to one’s life. Neglecting consistent cultivation of it usually ends poorly and can lead one to believe that they were never saved in the first place.
So that’s an update of my heart this month. I’ll include more ministry details in the next one but for now let me ask for your prayers regarding my heart. I want to always stand in awe and worship towards our God and never forget what He’s done and is doing. Pray I’ll hold onto that and always be ready to give an answer to others who ask what my source of hope is. Sharing that hope with the people here is my purpose behind all we do so experiencing that hope in an evident way is necessary for anyone engaged in what I’m doing. Love you guys. Also I’m turning 32 in a week and am still doing a terrible job of fundraising so if you want to give me an awesome birthday present I still need 10 $50 a month supporters and am raising money to go and teach in a DTS in Myanmar next month as well. Gifts of any amount are greatly appreciated as I quite literally couldn’t do this without you! Much Love
Hello my dear friends and family! It’s been 2 months since my last update which means I missed one month of my monthly update goal. To make up for it I’ll make a video update and load it up to my Facebook this week. Relationships were the theme of my last update and it hasn’t changed much since then. My Facebook has gone even more viral and I’m excited to see the influence and abundance of relationships this has opened up. It has however required of me an extra level of communication that I was not really prepared for. In the last month on Facebook my videos have had over 1.4 million views and my posts have gotten over 3,500 comments. I’m now currently being followed by 32,810 people, have maxed out my friend requests, and everywhere I go now I here people say …..facebook….facebook.. while chatting to eachother and pointing at me. This all has the potential for amazing influence and a potential platform for change but has created two major dilemmas at the same time.
Somehow in the midst of all this I’ve managed to have one of the best months in a long time with the remainder of our team members. June was a transitional month for us as a ministry with lots of people traveling home for a break after the last 6 months. I’ve been able to take advantage of this time and travel to visit and see various places and ministries in Cambodia to encourage and to learn. God is doing some amazing things in this country and getting his view and some perspective has been crucial as we get ready to put together a plan for the next few years. On July 3rd we will start our 2nd SOMD (School of ministry Development) in Poipet with 8 students, 3 Khmer and 5 Internationals. The SOMD is a 6 month internship program for graduate students from YWAM’s Discipleship Training Schools. It provides a structure for language learning, ministry, coaching, and on the field training to help long term international & national volunteers be effective in their work. Add to those 8 we have 3 short term base staff , and our core leadership team of 6 which makes 17 of us in all. Around this community we're expecting several teams of short term volunteers coming and going and lots of good stuff being accomplished in our city.
Now for some big news… this month we're going to be moving to a new bigger and better location! With all the growth we’ve been seeing and a strong desire to put down some deeper roots into a community for long term impact the need to move has arrived. After several months of looking, praying, and seeking God as a community we found a newly built home owned by our friends brother with 15 rooms in a rather strategic location of our city. We’re still in negotiations regarding renovations and total cost but we strongly feel this is where God is leading. Please keep us in your prayers as we set our eyes towards what is next and for the faith to take a hold of it.
I want to say how grateful I am to everyone who prays and gives financially to the work we do here. My committed monthly support is around $500 and I have a goal to get it up to to $1000 by Christmas. Please consider partnering with me monthly to help me reach this goal and keep the work here going forward. Love you all lots and lots! Be looking forward to the July update! : ) I'm confident this is going to be a month of miracles. 😄🙏🏻👍🏻❤️🇰🇭⛪️
I It’s April 17th here and that means we just finished celebrating Khmer New Year. It’s by far the biggest celebration in Cambodia and technically lasts for three days but actually stretches like the western Christmas and New Year combo for a few weeks. It’s hard to explain all the ins and outs especially to a westerner (as if trying to explain how a fat old man in a red suit, magic flying deer, lighting up a tree, Baby Jesus, getting drunk and kissing a stanger while a ball drops are any easier to explain) but it’s a lot of fun. It’s a time where families all return to wherever their mother and father are from, gather together around meals, attend festivities at their local place of worship (temples), give gifts to one another, ohh and get hammered while joining in on the worlds biggest water/baby powder fight ever. It's a lot of fun but It’s also a deeply religious and patriotic time as well. Khmer traditional games similar to tug of war and duck duck goose are played by young and old, dancing is mandatory, and every home has a similar set up as our Christmas tree covered with food for the Angels who like Santa come to visit at a very specific time every year. It’s actually surprisingly similar to our Christmas celebration in many regards. The whole idea of Santa Clause is more disturbing then ever : )
For us as a base we’ve been through a whirlwind of excitement, teams, and ministry. Here’s a run down
For me personally. Relationships have been the focus of all my time and energy lately. With teams, our staff, leadership, social media, government officials, all over the place relationships have been stretched and grown to a place where I feel I’m about to burst. My capacity to remain engaged and passionate while prioritizing my time and personal needs has been growing out of necessity. It’s been quite a fast learning curve but I guess that’s just how I tend to learn best I suppose. Prayers in this area are greatly appreciated. I hope this update finds you all happy and healthy enjoying your relationships and balancing them well with your responsiblities. The struggle is real but worth it! 😄🙏🏻❤️🇰🇭
My name's Uriah Lyford and I'm a volunteer with YWAM. My dream is to see the spiritual solution of a restored relationship with God through Jesus be made available to every person on earth. I do this through the mentoring and training of young people to build and become the Church Jesus died for.