March 1999 Lynette and James joined World Team. 17 years ago this month we joined World Team. It was the beginning of an adventure hard to predict at the time. Yes, we knew we were Cambodia bound but had little idea of what life and ministry would look like as we sat in NC. Trying to imagine in 1999 the things we would see, encounter, face, and do were well beyond anything we could see. All we knew was that we were packing up for Cambodia in hopes of joining the efforts of proclaiming the wonderful grace and gift of Jesus to the people of Cambodia.
With our support raised we stepped on the plane and flew to Cambodia. Landing there was an awesome feeling…we are finally here. So exciting. The honeymoon of arriving in Cambodia quickly ended as we engaged the difficult language and a very different culture. Even though our leaders talked to us about the challenges and trained us for what was to come…..it was still hard. It rocked us. There were many breakable moments when we wondered if we could even make it. Our world was turned upside down. There were many moments of doubt but one conviction held our feet in Cambodia; we knew this is where God wanted us to be.
Since completing our language studies we’ve had the opportunity to serve in several locations and be a part of a grassroots evangelism, discipleship, and the formation of several churches. Many of you remember our landlord (Puu Rut) in Preah Viheah who became a Christian but you may not know that through the long-hard work of fellow team mates, a church was started and has not only grown but is now reaching out to other villages. You also may recall our move in 2004 to Neck Lueng near the Vietnamese border. We, along with several teammates started Heart & Health where we had the joy of teaching English in a Buddhist temple, trained nine church leaders, taught basic health-care, and distributed water filters which cut significantly the illnesses in three villages, hosted mobile health clinics where we treated on average 150 people a month. Serving in Neck Lueng was such a pivotal time for us. We made mistakes but God also used that time to build His Church and prepare us for the work ahead….
In 2008 James and Lynette and four other couples were sent to Koh Kong (West side of Cambodia). It was here that the team engaged in intense prayer, connected to the disjointed church, met people from all walks of life, and finally opened a gym where we saw an average of 1,200 people walk through the gym door (plenty of opportunities to share the gospel). Through God’s goodness, power and the efforts of our team, we saw a splintered Christian community (6 different churches) come together for prayer on a monthly basis, one new church started, many dark places receive the light of the gospel and a crazy idea of opening a gym turn into a bridge to become part of the community. Although many other exciting things were done, one important piece that we now see clearly was the foundation laid in which the church/es of Koh Kong would build upon to reach their province. Today, the light of God is shining throughout Koh Kong and there are churches where before there were none. Being a part of the team and the work in Koh Kong is definitely one of our fondest memories and although leaving there was difficult in 2011 we celebrate what God done and is continuing to do through His faithful people.
Now in 2016 we’re back in Phnom Penh where Lynette is the team leader of a teacher training program that has the ability to transform the education system nation-wide, place godly equipped teachers in the classroom and build the church in dark communities. Meanwhile, James is the Asia Area Director where he is mobilizing new workers to serve among Muslims, provide leadership development among mission leaders, and innovatively expand God’s work into new unreached regions.
We stand in awe as we reflect on the God’s journey for us but we know God is not done with us yet.
We also know that none of this would have taken place without your financial and prayerful partnership. It does take a team! So, we want to say thank you for being our partners and we hope you too are rejoicing in what God has done through your participation.
Today is March 22, 2016 and we are gearing up to return to Asia but we still have a financial shortfall ($1,300 a month) that must be met first. We have set a date of April 1st to be at 75% of our needed support in order to keep our June departure date. On April 1st if we have not met the shortfall we will set another date to reassess our situation (June 30th). Upon this date if our support is in, we will set an early August departure date.
Please pray along with us that all needed support will be in so that we can get back to the work in Cambodia and our kids will be able to enter the 2016 school year. If you know of someone or a church that might want to join in on the fun please encourage them to meet with us and become a part of reaching across the globe.
James & Lynette