Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dear Friends and Family,

Fourteen months. Fourteen months in Cambodia. It feels like I’m still on a short trip, yet I’ve been here for over a year. I can’t believe that I’m in the third quarter of my time here. Only nine more months until the end of my term.
Being a missionary has it perks. First of all, there is a certain confidence that you’re living a life pleasing to God. Secondly, there is the gratification of helping others. Also there’s the joy of seeing another part of the world and living the adventurous life. The last perk, is that people back home think you’re cool.
As amazing of a life that it is, it is so hard. Emotionally it’s draining to be pouring so much of yourself into everyone else. It’s lonely to be thousands of miles away from your family. It’s discouraging when small things set you back. It’s difficult when all your friends have no idea where you’re coming from because they’ve never been to America and can’t relate to why you’d miss it. It’s frustrating to get sick from the food and the water repeatedly. It’s scary when the neighborhood monkey tries to steal your lunch.
Pro and Cons aside, it doesn’t matter which outweigh the other because I’m confident I’m here because God called me here. I’m told that He’s doing a good work in me; and whether or not I see those results, I’ll trust His words. He told me that all things (even the rat in my house?) work together for good. I believe that. I don’t feel it, but I believe it.
This week has been so discouraging. So many things are tough. Work, church, and youth group feel overwhelming. I was starting to wonder if God knew what he was doing when he called me here. I was starting to think that I was not woman enough for the job. Surely God called the wrong girl. But then I heard the worship song, “You Do All Things Well.” I instantly was confident that “all things” probably includes when He calls people overseas. God did well when he called me over here. Even if I don’t see the good coming from my presence, God did well when He planned this season in my life.
To be honest with you, I’m feeling so weak. God said that in my weakness His strength is made perfect. I’m waiting for his strength to swoop in. I’m writing to ask you to pray for me. Pray hard because I need it. I live in a country dominated by evil spirits. The Devil has ruled this land for years. Cambodia is 95% Buddhist and 4% Muslim, Hindu, and other. 99% of this country is ruled by lies and deception fed to them by the Devil to hinder them from coming to a knowledge of the true living God. My apartment is above a Cambodian family’s home. I often here the grandmother saying chants and praying with monks. Even my home is open to attack from Satan and his followers, because I live surrounded by people worshipping a thinly veiled form of the Great Deceiver.
Missionaries all over this country are exhausted. I went to a prayer group on Tuesday night. When I looked around at the six of us, we were all tired. Not physically tired, but spiritually and emotionally tired. We need you to lift us up in your prayers. We need your prayers to support the work of God in this place. Spiritual warfare is tangible in this country, and we need you fighting on our side. I’m asking you to plead with the God of the universe on behalf of the missionaries here (if all missionaries here are too much, just make sure you squeeze me in your prayer).
When learning to teach, they always tell the soon-to-be teachers that notes, written to parents about how horrible their children are, should end on high notes. So I’ll end this letter on a high note.
The students that I teach are amazing. I love them so much. They are great kids who, for the most part, do their homework and respect their teachers. Everyday I have a new favorite student, because they are all so great. They are talented and energetic. Teaching them is so much easier this year. I finally know what IGCE stands for. The British curriculum no longer looks like Greek to me. In fact I got some great news from England. My two students who graduated and took the Cambridge exams scored A’s! I am a good teacher (there was a lot of doubt last year, so this is a revelation).
We’ve just started rehearsals for the Christmas musical, which I’m directing. It’s scary and exciting. The cast is talented and eager to learn their scripts. It should be an awesome show. If you want to fly over and watch it, I’ll save you a seat.
Thanks for your love and prayers. God is working in the crazy, smelly country; and I’m excited to watch His progression.

God Bless,
P.S. Next time you see a missionary give them a hug. A BIG HUG.

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