Monday, June 22, 2009

Another visit to Cambodia

As you cross the border from Thailand to Cambodia, you are immediately convinced that you are in another country. The roads are dusty, some local is trying to rip you off, and there are tons of beggar street kids. I have seen this scene before in other countries, but it's unusual because I live in the country right next to Cambodia, and it doesn't resemble Thailand at all in a lot of ways.

I visited my friends who are working hard to fight along side other ministries against the darkness of sexual exploitation. Especially against small children. In the tiny slum of Svay Pak is where the world's pedophiles come. My friends are working to love, and disciple these young victims. If anything could help these children from the hell they face, it has to be Jesus. I helped out with the children's programs for two days, and loved it. The children remembered me from the last time I was there. "Frankie" they yell with their little cute voices. Did some hip-hop dancing while I was there. Well, these kids can throw down! They do these break dance moves that leave your mouth hanging open. I had so much fun playing with them. I feel sad that I can't stay longer. But glad that my friends are committed to stay as I am committed to Thailand. As for the rest of the area around Phnom Penh, it's just as sad. As soon as the sun falls, the brothels, and bars open up for business. And late at night the prostitutes flood the city parks, and ladyboys come out also.

It is hope that gets most of us out of the cloud of darkness that fills some of these areas of injustice. There is hope for these Southeast Asian countries in which people of being taken advantage of, and satan is taking souls. Although there are plenty of organizations out to help, there is still the need for long term workers. Especially for the locals to rise up in the name of Jesus, and take their own children from this grip of death, and tragedy. I was reminded of this as I stood a night on the way to Phnom Penh, in Siem Reip. I was shopping for a sim card, when I noticed some people's eyes fixed on the sky. I looked and saw something I have never seen in my young life. Not one full and colorful rainbow, but two! Maybe we have forgotten the reason rainbows fill the air on a rainy day. It's God reminder that he will not flood the earth once more, no matter how wicked we are. But more than that it's the hope of glory, for all who see the colorful reminder. These three remain faith, hope and love.

Been reading a book written by the man who wrote,"Terrify No More", Gary A. Haugen. A book that is well known in the fight for the victims of sex trafficking, It documents a bust done in Svay pak. That's right the same place I just told you about. Well, he wrote another book called,"Just Courage". I love it when people challenge me. I am not done with the book, but one thing is clear, God is all about JUSTICE! But the sad fact is to do the real hard, dangerous work, it takes some courage. Courage our soft little Christian world, wants little to do with. We have fear. There is one plan to reach these hard areas of the world where spreading the gospel into hostile countries, or rescuing a child out of a brothel, or coming face to face with war zones, can mean harm, persecution, and sacrifice beyond our comfort. The plan is us. Not just us of course. God ultimately holds the cards. Jesus did his thing, dieing for the sins of the world, resurrecting, and sending his Holy Spirit. But who's job is it to physically do the rescuing? We are the hands and feet.

There is tons of scripture pointing to the responsibility of God's children to up hold justice, and mercy. A few Isaiah 1:17, Isaiah 61:1, Proverbs 14:31, Proverbs 18:5, Micah 6:8, Matthew 23:23. But none of it can be fully understood, without our minds and hearts being like God's. What I mean by saying that, is that the source, of all these acts of courageousness, justice and mercy, is his love in being in relationship with him. So don't get me wrong, working against these things are what I am all about. But, to do things just for the cause erases Jesus from the picture. I have seen people with my own eyes, get hammered just by the emotional toll working in this world of sexual exploitation, and they haven't had time to face the spiritual warfare aspect of it! One of my favorite writers, Oswald Chambers of course, says it like this,"Jesus Christ calls service to be what we are to him, not what we do for him".

Let's keep fighting my brothers and sisters. I am not into hiding my light under fear. Fear is just a word.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

I cried in a mall

It's funny when and where God can and will speak to you. Even the fact that he speaks to us can captivate me. With all the planning we tend to do, the thing we can't plan for, is how we will respond when God calls us out. Jonah ran away. Abram packed up his stuff and went. Moses made excuses. Paul laid down his accomplishments, and body. It's the story Jesus tells us about the house on sandy ground and the storm comes. It's the parable he tells us about the seed that falls on the thorns. Will our foundation lack real relationship and trust in God? Will the worries of this world get us? When we finally learn to listen to God, do we actually carry out what he says? When we find out how much we have to give up, do we want it anymore?

I didn't know what I was getting into when I stepped out of my box, and help lead a group teenagers, and college students to Africa. Never gone further then Texas up to that point, and yet God wanted this ghetto kid who grew up eating cheese whiz sandwiches, playing baseball in the middle of the street, playing in a fire hydrants in the summer time cause we had no pools, to lead. My next step was to quit my job, sell my truck and give away my dog. A year later and 4 trips to Africa brought me to another decision.

There was a group of some crazy missionary friends that wanted to form a group to reach the unreached places of the world. Dangerous corners where darkness claims the territory and peoples hearts. And God called this hood kid who, had no father to raise him, lived on welfare, stared into death at the end of a gun, to join these people. And so I hitched hiked to Kansas City, to go to a church plant school, with no money.

I end up in the country landscape of Thailand starring at rice fields. Again with a decision. Do I stay or do I go home. Let me tell you what kept me grounded in all those instances of my life, and how it led to living here. It started with a God who loved me enough to die and resurrect for my sins, Amen. This God called me out. So I faced God several times with this idea that he wanted to turn the world upside down for him and wants me to be a part in it. I got on my knees and said "Lord if i can't give up all that I have right now for you, then why do I say I believe. I am ready." Months later when God spoke to me to go, and there I was facing the fire. But each time I choose, I did it cause that is what he requires of me. Because I love him.

All this takes me to 2 weeks ago. I was coming back from taking care of some business at the US embassy, when I decided to take a break and get something to eat. I stepped into this nice little mall. I stopped at a book store just to browse. I found the South Asia book section. Books on, brothels in Singapore, prostitutes in Pattaya, Thailand, lady boys in Thailand, the poor in Burma, War and depression in Cambodia. Images filled my head like I had downloaded them off of itunes or something. I walked out and headed towards the Burger King. As I walked each women working in the place reminded me of all the broken, empty, torn hearts that I see everyday. Each man reminded me, of generations lost of fathers and killed off in wars. I cried in that mall. I wept hard inside. As people sipped up their Starbucks, I was trying not to break down in sorrow.

How does this all connect? Did God show Abram the land that he would give his offspring? Did God give a detailed plan of the things that would test the heart of David? Job know because he obeyed, he would lose it all? If we are only concerned with God then we understand why we have to do things to some degree. Psalms 25:12 "Him shall he teach in the way he chooses". But what is certain we should Believe, not just know about it, Believe! Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but things that are revealed belong to us and our children forever...".

I don't write this being the example of faith, I think some of you know me to well to claim that, but to say, Yes to God is a step closer to finding out who he meant for you to be. To share his heart for the world. I am an apostle to South East Asia! I cry out for these people.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal