I love road trips with our teams of staff and interns. We often rent big vans and drive to events for our organization. Here are some of the rules.
1. No human gaseous emissions.
2. No touching, lap-sitting, massaging, head-resting on/with a person of the opposite gender – unless it’s your spouse.
3. No headphones. Be with us.
4. The driver chooses the music.
5. No ketchup.
6. No chain restaurants. We will eat good food.
7. Garbage always goes immediately into a garbage bag.
8. No uninvited backseat driving.
9. No whining.
10. An arbitrary number of good-will points is awarded to those stuck in a middle seat.
In the past 2 months, I traveled to Nigeria and Cambodia.
Both of these trips were for ministry and I am better because of them.
In April, 300 young girls were kidnapped from their school by a terrorist group called Boko Haram. As I learned and prayed more about this (and the many other abductions like it) happening in that country, I felt compelled to go. God gives me a love that makes my going unstoppable. In May, I went to Abuja, Nigeria.
I went to Nigeria not because I think it needed me, but because I was moved by the tragedy of the girls’ abduction & if I was one of the fathers, I would find some comfort in knowing that people loved enough to come from far away to stand with me.
I went there to love & learn. I think I succeeded.
Some of the things I did in Nigeria:
- I spoke, preached and prayed at 2 churches in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
- I attended and spoke at rallies in support of action to rescue the abducted girls.
- I met and prayed with the Governor of Borno (the state where the girls were abducted). I was also invited to return and travel as the guest of that governor to pray with families of abducted girls.
- I participated in a simultaneous prayer vigil event held and broadcast at the Nigerian Embassy in Washington, DC and a church in Abuja, Nigeria.
- I ate one too many snails.
- I got embarrassingly ill after eating chicken from a road-side stand.
The girls have still not been returned. As of today, It has been 74 days since the girls were taken. We continue to pray for their safe return. We’re also considering further action we can take.
One of the possible outcomes of the abduction is that the public outcry against Boko Haram would cause that terrorist group to be broken. That’s our prayer also.
In June, I traveled to Phnom Penh Cambodia because I was invited to help to plan and develop a program to train Chinese missionaries who will plant churches among unreached people in Cambodia.
The result of the trip is that there is a training program for Chinese mission interns now operating in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The program is modeled after the Hillside Missions internship program. More work is needed, but they are already up and running with 9 residential Chinese students. Awesome.
The World Horizons USA and Hillside Missions teams are now working to support this training initiative. We’re excited to see waves of Chinese missionaries making disciples in Cambodia.
Initially, John and Christa H. (missionaries with Act Beyond) had asked me to come to help them to discuss and plan for how to develop a mission training internship somewhat modeled after what we’ve built here in Richmond. Their aim is to train and mobilize Chinese missionaries into Cambodia (and eventually other nations). I have known and worked among Chinese peoples with the Harrills for about 12 years.
Samuel, a long-time Chinese missionary to Cambodia, and John H. have been working together with Chinese people in Cambodia. Samuel recently joined World Horizons as a field member. Jonny H. (World Horizons Cambodia team leader) is also supporting the development of the project.
In the long-term, the hope is that a multi-organizational collaborative training program for Chinese missionaries could grow in Phnom Penh.
I left Phnom Penh very encouraged. I believe that the time and resources are very right for this. I’m also encouraged by the collaborative prospect that this entails. We are planning a follow-up trip in October to continue to support the formalization of a mission training program there.
Some of the other things I did in Cambodia:
- I met with Hannah Look in Phnom Penh as she arrived to begin a 5-month externship as the final stage of her mission training with Hillside Missions.
- I ate Japanese food, French food, Mexican food, Cambodian food and Indonesian food.
- I spent time with old friends and made some new friends.
- I taught the 9 Chinese mission students
- I thought about tattoos
This list is in progress. Feel free to contribute thoughts.
The bare minimum essentials:
Be true to yourself.
I have/don’t have a peace about it.
That’s not my calling.
Just do what makes you happy. That’s all that counts.
It’s OK, we cracked a window.
It’ll buff out.
I’m just sayin’.
I’ll do it later.
I sent an email. I’m waiting for a reply.
Why go far away when there is so much need in your own backyard.
God closed that door.
God opened that door.
That’s just what I believe.
I left Phnom Penh for Indonesia early yesterday morning. During my 4 hour layover in Singapore, a friend picked me up and we went to lunch. It was my first time in Singapore and since we left the airport and had a good meal, I can now add Singapore to the list of places I’ve been. We also visited Bill’s office and walked quickly around downtown. Here’s a picture of my friend Bill with his office team in Singapore. Bill is the white guy.
I got to Surabaya, Indonesia at about 5PM and my friend Quan and a new friend Pastor Indro picked me up and took me to dinner. We ate well. Last night I stayed at a Bible school run by a church. There are almost 50 students studying Bible and ministry here. This is a good place.
This morning we worked at the youth outreach ministry again. We taught English, Bible and Bread-Making (round two). It went great.
This afternoon we had lunch at “Mike’s Burgers”.
Canned Refried Beans
After lunch we went to a former “Killing Field” site that now serves as a memorial to the victims of the genocide.
Later we walked through a touristy market.
Today, we’ll be working and teaching at a youth outreach program in Phnom Penh. The ministry is called MorningStar. They run daily programs for kids from 5 to 21 years old. We’ll be teaching an English lesson, a lesson on how to make “pizza bread” and a class called “Why are foreigners so strange?” as an introduction to cross-cultural communication and mission.
Cambodia has a part to play in God’s plan for the nations.
We are the foreigners and we are strange.
I just took this photo from my seat at a coffee shop. This boy and girl were flirting with each other.