Life over the last few months

First, we would like to apologize for not keeping everyone up to date as regularly as we should. It seems that the days are so busy with daily activities and it’s hard to find the time to sit and record all that is happening. We would like to recommend that you connect with us on Facebook if we’re not already “friends”. That format will allow you to see into our lives a bit more frequently.

Grieving dad

No doubt the last 8 months have been difficult for James. Not being able to talk to or hug his dad of 47 years is a new aspect of life that is not welcomed. However, over the last few months, God has given much grace to James and James’ heart is slowly healing. James was back in the States in May for World Team leadership meetings in which James took two extra weeks to visit NC. to spend time with his mom, brother, and sister. This was a special time as the family worked on a memorial garden and placed the ashes under the maple tree like pops wanted.

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Graduation and Congratulations 

Lynette was also able to travel to NC and we (proud parents) watched Moriah graduate from Liberty University. Moriah has grown so much in her faith and as an adult during her four-year studies and we wait with joy to see how God uses her to impact the world as a light bearer of the kingdom. We also were present when Moriah was proposed to by Houston Yager on May 6th. We are excited for them both and we praise God for a godly husband for Moriah.

Wedding bells

December 17th, 2017 is the big day. The Cottle family will travel back to the US in two shifts. James will arrive December 2nd and Lynette, Rachel, and Caleb arrive on the 14th. Planning has started via Facetime calls and wedding details are shaping up. It’s going to be an awesome day.

School is out and everyone is moving up

After the cake has settled and the balloons have lost their shape we now have a University graduate (Moriah), a Junior in college (Kailyn), an 11th grader (Rachel) and a 7th grader (Caleb). Lynette is also moving. This past year she taught third grade at Asian Hope International School but will transition to Logos International School to teach Math this coming school year.

Parents in School 

Lynette is one class and a thesis away from graduating with a Masters in Intercultural Education. She plans to complete her studies in May 2018. James is also wrapping up his degree with only five classes to go. He plans to complete his studies by June 2018. Crazy times…all the Cottles are in school.

Ministry across Asia

Since October James has traveled quite a bit to the various countries (Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and East Asia) within Asia to encourage and has taken two trips to America. That’s a lot of miles.

  • The trip in November was to East Asia (sorry, I can’t give you the exact location) to meet with four families who are working among minority groups in not so friendly conditions.
  • The trip in December was to work with three other leaders to lay the groundwork for a new holistic ministry that seeks to enter restricted people groups; some of which are literally living behind barbed wire. Progress has been made but they still have a lot of work to do in the coming months.
  • The trip in January was to Indonesia where James attended the Papua field conference where he led two sessions on working in Honor-Shame cultures.
  •  In March it was back to Papua, Indonesia for annual LEAD meetings. This is when the leaders of Asia gather for mutual encouragement, process ministry plans and grow in our leadership capacity. This was an enjoyable time with 10 leaders.
  • Late April took James to PA. USA for World Team Global Leader meetings then onto NC for two weeks before returning the Cambodia.
  • On June 22nd James & Lynette will fly to East Asia for 11 days. They will visit two teams. They will lead a session on Discovery Bible Study in order to give additional tools to the workers as they seek to start small groups of believers.

Working with leaders

Over the past year, James has been working with three other leaders to create a leadership training process for emerging leaders within World Team. The idea is to identify emerging leaders early and begin developing them over time. Although World Team has done this is various ways in the past, we are trying to be a bit more focused and structured in how this is carried out. The first leadership cohort will be in November of this year. We’re currently in the process of preparing the material for the cohort.

Along with this, James and his Field Directors have been working through various leadership topics over the past 8 months. Topics such as leadership bravery, assessment, vision, planning, why leaders wear so many hats, and a few other relevant topics. All of this is geared to help each of leader grow in leadership capacity.

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Finally, this past December James started an online group (Leader Excel) where he invited five emerging leaders to join him in growing in key leadership skills. So far they have discussed the foundation of leadership, vision, how to write a plan, and last month they started a three session topic on Situational Leadership. The time together is proving beneficial for all involved and James loves coaching and learning from these leaders.

Such a joy

We praise God for what He is doing in Asia and for allowing us to participate in establishing the Church. The workers and leaders of Asia that we work alongside are doing an awesome job of ministering in humility, staying connected to the vine (Jesus), promoting the Glory of God above all else and all have a desire to grow in knowledge, attitude, and skill. For James, serving as the Area Director with these missionaries is a joy.

Things you can pray for

  1. For God’s grace as the Cottle family continues to grieve the loss of a husband, dad, a brother, and granddad
  2.   Lynette and James as they continue with their schooling
  3. Moriah and Houston as they step closer towards uniting as one
  4. That the leaders in Asia will continue to grow in character and competency so they can lead well
  5. That the management team for the holistic org we are starting would work well together and that we’ll soon be able to complete all the structural elements of this new org
  6. Asia has three priority ministries, all among Muslims. Pray for more workers.
  7. The Cottle’s monthly support is averaging $600 a month shortage. We need more financial supporters and God’s grace to sustain us

Thanks to each of you who support us financially and prayer. Kingdom work is done through the power of God and in the context of community.

The Cottles

 

 

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The Goals in 2017

In this update we want to share with you three ministry objectives that we are giving attention to and we’d like for you to join us in praying for them.

Every year World Team leadership asked us to identify what our leadership objectives will be for the year. As you all know, having objectives/goals gives people purpose in their work. It gives direction in how to be and/or achieve God’s glory. Having a clear sense of what your’re trying to accomplish gives focus, which also determines how to use time and how to accept or reject opportunities that come along. Focus is a powerful friend in a busy, high-demand world where many “good things” call for our attention. The objective/goal that people identify for themselves (or company, team, Church, etc…) should represent the most needed step/s to move them forward. If the goal that a person identifies is one that burns deeply within, without question, must be done and will move towards fulfilling the overall vision rather than just a good idea–that is the making of a good goal.

For us, we have three objectives that motivate us and determine how we spend our day, how we spend money, what we pray about and so on. These objectives are to develop leaders around us, grow Muslim ministry in Asia and launch a holistic organization in Asia. These stated three are key areas for us as leaders within the Asia Area. We believe these three objectives help World Team be where they need to be and to fulfill their purpose as a mission.

Develop leaders: We meet monthly with the leaders in the Asia Area to pray for each other, talk about ministry, to learn and encourage each other and to grow in our leadership competencies.We are focused on growing in areas such as vision, planning, team building,  conflict resolution, delegation, and developing other leaders.

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Muslim ministry: We launched PRAY GREEN several years ago for the purpose of drawing attention to the great need for more workers in Muslim ministry. Currently we are working in three countries but among 4 different Muslim people groups. Each of these teams need more workers. Hundreds of millions of Muslims live in Asia but the workforce is really small. We would like to see that change.

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Holistic Organization: Building relationships and meeting felt needs are two of the simplest ways to introduce people to Christ. However, addressing physical needs is not the only focus. We want to grow the holistic organization to meet the needs of people and point them to their Creator. The holistic organization that we want to develop has one distinctive reason for its creation, and that is to gain access to restricted regions. Some of the world’s unreached people live in isolated situations and religious-sensitive areas therefore one of the only ways to access them is through a development organization. The holistic organization we hope to launch will be able to enter restricted areas–places that many organizations cannot go.

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We are looking to make progress in these three areas in 2017 but we realize that we can’t do them alone, in our strength, or without God opening doors. We are asking you to make these three ministry objectives a part of your prayer time.

From Home-Assigment to now….at a Glance

As you all know we were in the States from June 2015 until August 6th 2016. During that time we were able to visit all of our supporting churches and most of the individuals that support this ministry. When we landed in the States we were $1,500 a month below our needed support. So we hit the trail meeting new people and churches that could possibly be interested in joining the ministry in Asia.

Besides traveling to churches, I took a job with a construction company which allowed us to:

  • offset the cost of being in America
  • pay on some college loans
  • buy a car for our eldest & second daughter
  • pay for Caleb’s ear surgeries
  • pay for Moriah’s travel expenses for surgery
  • make some repairs on my parent’s house
  • and we managed to go camping at the beach

Back to 2016. In early February we,  Lynette and James, headed off to Central Asia. Our role was to facilitate Crucial Conversations training for 7 people. We had a great time meeting this team and discussing the importance, roadblocks, and process of navigating hard discussions we so often find ourselves in. This training, in our opinion, is a must for teams. We had an awesome time with this group; working through the material proved helpful yet again for us. We also saw some amazing sights and experienced a little bit of snow.

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After leaving Central Asia we headed to South East Asia where Lynette went to Cambodia to participate in a teacher training conference and James went to Thailand to join workers from East Asia. Five days later we were both in Thailand meeting with regional leaders where Lynette co-led a training on how to effectively administer ministry assessments. We enjoyed being reunited with everyone even though it was only for a short time.

At the conclusion of our broad Asia visit we went back in North Carolina where we continued to visit churches and see our financial support go up. Although it took over one year to get our support back up to a healthy level, this time afforded us more family time with my dad. Looking back, the delay in getting back to full support was a real blessing.

While in the States I continued to meet with the Asia leaders online.Each month we discussed Asia plans, progress and spent time growing in leadership skills. Although leading from the States was difficult, I  was encouraged that the leaders I work with are faithful leaders. I am so encouraged because these leaders are leading others…this makes my job easy.

With all our support in we returned to Asia in August 2016 which also marked our 15th year in Cambodia. It doesn’t really feel like fifteen years but this picture is a clear reminder that time has passed by.

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Since our return we have been quite busy. Lynette is teaching third grade and has 40 students. She is paired up with another teacher which has been a blessing for both….and the kids too!  Lynette has also been making progress on her Masters courses.She has two more classes and a capstone project and then she’ll be done.  I have been touching base with the leaders and ministries within Asia. Since October, I have flown to Thailand, America, East Asia, and the Philippines and have enjoyed meeting with leaders, teams, and working on ministry strategy.

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Situational Leadership training with leaders from Cambodia

One of my priorities is developing other leaders.In early October I co-led a training on Situational Leadership. Just this month a new leadership development group was started (Leader Excel). I meet with these leaders every month to discuss different aspects of leadership with the goal b eing to grow in leadership character and competency.

Today, we, like most everyone else, are gearing up for Christmas Day. Moriah and Kailyn have arrived from the States ( a week ago) and we’re enjoying them being here. It’s like they never left. The Cottle family is taking this time to rest, spend time with each other, attend Christmas meals, musicals, and parties. It is that time of year.

As we get closer to the end of 2016 we are reminded of God’s love, power, provisions, sustaining right hand, protection, and the many ways He has shown Himself faithful. As we turn to 2017, we look forward to the exciting opportunities God will bring our way. We look forward to how God will continue to work in our own lives molding us into His image. We look forward to how God will transform our children and build their faith. We look forward to how the Church in Asia will grow and expand.

Thanks to each of you for the role you play not only in the ministry of Asia but in our very own lives. We realize that your love, prayers and financial giving provide the encouragement we need and the resources required to continue working here in Asia. Thank you.

We hope you have a Merry Christmas,

The Cottles

My Dad’s Birthday

Today, November 30th my dad would turn 73. To a young man/woman in their twenties 73 may seem far off, but anyone that has reached their 40’s will tell you that life goes by very quickly. Like a high speed train. God tells us this too. In several places in the Bible God reminds us that life is like smoke, water vapors, the blooming of a flower, and dew on the ground…..it’s presence is brief.

We should not be overly concerned about how brief the moment is, but rather who will we be and what will we do with that “brief” moment we are given, that should be our focal point. We are made to love God and love others; that is the most power yet simple description of how our life is to be spent. May the sum of our life be focused on these two points.

I have attached a poem which was used for my dad’s eulogy. It doesn’t explain it all but it gives you a sense of who my dad was and how his presence in our lives shaped us kids. The poem was recorded and sent to my dad on September 25th. The poem was my way of acknowledging the influence my dad had on me personally and it was my personal thank you to him for being a great dad. The poem is called There. Click on the word there  above the pic to get the link.

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Our heavenly home

Three days after I wrote my last blog sharing how difficult it was leaving my parents to return to Asia I received a phone call from my mom. It was call I knew was coming at some point but one that you can’t really prepare for. The Lord called my dad to his heavenly home in the dawn hours of October 19th. My older brother had stopped by the house that morning on his way to work (as was his custom) and was with my dad and mom during my dad’s last moments.

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Two days later I boarded the plane and I arrived at my parent’s home on the 22nd. What I walked into was a home filled with love. Love that was expressed in cards, flowers, food and the presence of family and friends. I also walked into a house that was very different than when I left on August 6th. I would be lying if I told you I was’t expecting my dad to be sitting in his room when I got home. He was supposed to be sitting in the chair asking; “what are you doing son”…a common question he would ask as I walked through his room on way outside.

The following day our family held a life celebration service. It was a time of sweet memories. The words spoken by family and friends were a testimony of the impact our dad had on the lives of many people. It became apparent as we listened to each person at the service and through other encounters that our dad was the same giving, encouraging, a developer of lives, a believer in people, and a thankful person to everyone. These remarks were not a surprise seeing that he was the same with everyone and he didn’t appreciate pretense. What you saw is what you got.

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Dad and James in Koh Kong, Cambodia

Now ten days later the family is missing an awesome man. A man that valued impact over praise. A man that would rather give to a need than horde for himself. A man that cared about the mission of God and found great joy in doing his part in seeing the Church established. A man that was excited that his children loved the Lord and were serving Him.

Losing a loved one is hard. It cuts deep into the inter-most part. It’s real pain. I know people (some I work with) that have lost their parents. As hard as you might try to identify with their grief you can’t fully grasp it until you are faced with it yourself. Today, we’re faced with that grief.It hurts. Really hurts. Life is different than it was before. Along with this pain is the truth that our dad (and my mom’s husband) has laid down his treasure at the Lord’s feet. He is worshiping the Father; even now as I write these words. WOW! That truth has never felt so real as it does right now. There are tears mingled with a smile. Moments of hurt followed by an awe that Kenneth Cottle is with God.

Please pray:

1)For my mom as she grieves the lost of her husband and for me, my brother (Wayne) and my sister (Sheila) as we grieve the loss of our dad

2) For the grand kids, other family members and friends as they grieve

3) Please pray for Lynette as she holds down the fort in Cambodia along with Rachel and Caleb

4) Pray for those who were at the life celebration service that don’t know Jesus. That they would reflect on their life and would draw closer to God.

 

Cottles in Asia

We are finally back in Asia. Lynette arrived with Rachel and Caleb on July 25th and I arrived August 8th. I spent the additional two weeks helping my family transition my dad from the hospital back to his house.My dad has decided to stop chemo treatments; it was just too haimg_2865rd on his body and with little long-term benefit. Sitting in the hospital my dad said to me; the Lord holds all of my days anyway, so I’ll let the Lord decide the day He wants to call me home. True, very true.

Leaving my parents and returning to Asia was extremely difficult. I felt torn between two worlds but one truth brought comfort as I boarded the plane; God is involved in this situation, He loves my parents immensely and He knows how to be everything they need. God is good all the time and all the time God is good.”

Being back in Asia felt a bit weird especially after being in America for 15 months….wow that was a long time. But it feels “normal” once again. It’s taken some time for us to adjust to Cambodia’s heat, speed of life, driving, the different challenges, even the weird illnesses here but I think we are settled in now. Lynette took a teaching job at Asia Hope International School. This decision (with salary) made up the monthly financial deficit and allowed us to return to Asia. Lynette is teaching 3rd grade. She co-manages the classroom of 41 students with another teacher and two teacher assistants.

Rachel and Caleb are excited to be back in Asia and are doing well in school (they got that from their mother).They both are fully engaged in sports and loving every minute (they got that from their mother too).

img_2892At the end of August we had to cross into Thailand (at the Koh Kong border)to get new visas. This “walk across” and back took about 15 minutes .The drive to the border was 4
hours. But it wasn’t a waste of time. We got the opportunity to eat lunch with Sret and Dah whom we worked with in Koh Kong from 2008-2011.It was great hearing about their lives, the church and even how the gym is doing. Yes, the gym is still open.

In August we reached the completion of 15 years in Cambodia. That was fast! Thank you for sticking with us. Thank you God for holding us up above the raging waters.

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10 years ago

Please pray for:

  1. Lynette to influence the many children towards the light of the gospel.
  2. For James as he seeks to develop leadership within Asia
  3. For the ministry expansion into Muslims ministry…we need more workers
  4. Pray for Moriah & Kailyn. Both are trying raise money to make the trip to Asia in for December
  5. For Rachel and Caleb to engage school fully and to grow in their faith
  6. For James’ parents as they face the rough realities of cancer

Thanks for partnering with us to impact lives for Jesus.

The Cottles

Heading to Asia

Dear family & friends,

One week ago Lynette accepted a teaching role at an International school in Phnom Penh. This role puts us in position to return to Cambodia in July. We are set to depart on July 23rd from North Carolina. Just 15 days from now.

The teaching role is a paid position which helps with our financial deficit as well as school tuition costs for our two children (Rachel & Caleb). Although we have the green light from World Team to depart we are still short on monthly support by around $500 a month. We are trusting in the coming months this deficit will be overcome by more people and churches coming alongside of us through financial giving.

Now that we have a departure date we have much to do in a very short period of time….excitement is up but so is the stress level as we try to finalize the details of packing and saying goodbye to family and friends. We would appreciate your prayers during this time.

Since we’ve been gone from Asia for 14 months we will need to ‘start over’ in setting up a home. We have to find a new house to rent, buy furniture and restock the basic household items. Like newly weds we are walking in with very little. For those who would like to help with restocking the cabinets and buying beds and mattresses checks can be sent to 106 Ritter Drive, Castle Hayne, NC. 28429 before July 20th or gifts can be made directly to World Team through this link:https://us.worldteam.org/give/index We are also accepting one time gifts to help strengthen our ministry account which directly minister effectively as we begin our journey back to engage the lost of Asia with the gospel. The gifts can be given through the link above.

 

What can you be praying for:

1)That our last two weeks will be filled with good times w/ family and friends

2)Pray for James’ dad who just started a different type of chemo

3)More financial partners to join us in reaching the lost of Asia

4)That we find a good house to rent in Cambodia

Thanks to each of you for your ministry to us while we’ve been in the States. We are so grateful for the friendship.

The Cottles