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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 hard 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).
At 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.
Please pray for:
Lynette to influence the many children towards the light of the gospel.
For James as he seeks to develop leadership within Asia
For the ministry expansion into Muslims ministry…we need more workers
Pray for Moriah & Kailyn. Both are trying raise money to make the trip to Asia in for December
For Rachel and Caleb to engage school fully and to grow in their faith
For James’ parents as they face the rough realities of cancer
Thanks for partnering with us to impact lives for Jesus.
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.
A few weeks ago we finally arrived at full financial support. Hooray! This meant time to get serious about packing and making final preparations. So, I (James) bought tickets for us to leave August 1st. Within 2 1/2 days of purchasing the tickets we got word that one supporting church had to stop financially supporting us; at least temporarily until they could recover from financial struggles. At the same time, we found out Lynette’s position at Asian Hope was terminated due to budget deficits. This is terrible timing!
The last few weeks we have been wondering what to do and how to move forward. Is it time to stop? Is it time to change directions? Is it time to….? Needless to say our heads have been spinning. We have discussed the current events with several people (family, friends and organization leaders), we have prayed and sat still listening for what the Lord might be saying to us. In times like this (cloudy & confusing) its really difficult to see the forest for the trees. So, we lean back on what we have the most confidence in not towards what we have no (or little) understanding about and trust that God will direct our steps as we move forward towards what we discern as His leading. Time to trust and move.
As of today (June 30th) we are in conversation about another job opportunity for Lynette which will aid us in getting back to Cambodia. This opportunity comes with a salary and covers our kids school tuition costs. We are waiting to hear the final word from the school’s administration on several details before we can accept this offer. Hopefully we will hear back from them soon. We do know that if this moves forward Lynette will need to leave July 22nd which is a little sooner than expected.
What do we need right now? Prayer. Time to pray our dear friends. There are many things to work through and do and we need wisdom, strength and grace. We also need more financial support. With the loss of one of our churches we are in need of $500 a month. Getting this amount in before we depart would help stabilize our finances as we launch back to ministry in Asia.
Thanks for partnering with us and we will update you soon as we know our next steps.
Children are the future for any nation. With Cambodia’s history, efforts to build into their children are important.
Teachers have unique opportunities to influence children, families and communities for good. Therefore, the EDu team is working directly with practicing and future teachers to equip and empower them to rebuild their broken education system. Our focus is to disciple and equip believers to be effective teachers in the classroom and effective witnesses for Christ in the community.
Currently we are. . .
discipling and equipping approximately 64 teachers
involved in 12-15 schools/ministries
Training 8 trainers in Tribal Literacy Schools
influencing approximately 1500 children
considering requests from the Cambodian government to train national public teachers
For this strategic ministry to continue and grow, we need financial partners!
What’s your change worth? Is it worth changing a community? Is it worth changing a family? Is it worth changing a child’s life? When you give, it means something significant and eternal is able to take place. EDu Ministry Video
The teacher-training program is influencing children, families and communities. Teachers can be catalysts for growth and change in Cambodia, but they need proper training! They can’t get it without trainers. Your financial participation:
keeps Godly trainers on the ground.
ensures that the teachers get the training and discipleship they need.
enables national teachers to build into children . . .the future of the nation.
Help us through your financial support change the direction of Cambodia’s communities, families and children.
The Cottle family has been back in the States for one year. It has been an amazing time with family, friends and visiting many churches. We have enjoyed the summer of 2015 and now entering the summer of 2016…oh how we love the heat! Although very enjoyable we are ready to return to Cambodia and continue the work God has for us there. As you are aware, our monthly financial support was low ($1,500 a month) but through the generous giving of new supporters and churches and longtime supporters raising their financial pledge we are now very close to full support. We still need to confirm the numbers with World Team financial department but according to our records we only need $450 more in monthly support. We are so close…..
First, thanks to you all. Lynette and I were talking the other day about how people are sacrificially giving of their resources for the cause of Christ. It’s really amazing when you stop and think about it. People are rethinking where they want to spend their money. It made me think of Matthew 6:21 “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be also.” Your giving to the work in Cambodia caused us to take pause and give thanks. We are quite humbled by the sacrifice. Thank you….thank you…thank you.
Please continue to pray for the remaining needed support. Lynette and I are planning on an early August departure so they kids can
start the school year in Cambodia. However, if the support is not at 100% we have decided to send Rachel back to Cambodia ahead of us to start her 10th grade year and we’ll hopefully follow her within a month or when the support is at 100%. This is not our first choice but we feel it’s a reasonable decision.
Lastly, if you have you any friends, family, businesses, or church that you feel would be interested in participating in our ministry please speak with them on our behalf.
All we need is 8 people giving $50 a month or 16 giving $25 a month. WE ARE SO CLOSE!