27
Jun 14

Why I went to Nigeria and Cambodia

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.

Nigeria
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.

The teams of World Horizons USA and Hillside Missions worked hard and well to be sure the trip was fruitful. I think they 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.
I spoke and prayed at this church in Abuja. Many of the congregants here are relatives of abducted girls.

I spoke and prayed at this church in Abuja. Many of the congregants here are relatives of abducted girls.

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.

Cambodia
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
teaching chinese mission students in cambodia

That’s me teaching mission to Chinese students in Phnom Penh.


23
Jul 13

Preventing Idiocy: Classes people should take as adults

This list is in progress. Feel free to contribute thoughts.

The bare minimum essentials:
Creative Writing
Visual Design
Public Speaking
Hermeneutics
Statistics
Geography
Philosophy
Nutrition

Electives:


20
Jun 13

Bad Conscience Medicine

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.


19
Mar 13

I’m in Indonesia

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.

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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.


15
Mar 13

Today in Phnom Penh

This morning we worked at the youth outreach ministry again. We taught English, Bible and Bread-Making (round two). It went great.

Poverty
Train Tracks
Nudity
Chaos
Jumping
Singing
Praying
Play-dough
Bible
Mexican Candy
Dinner Rolls
Braided Bread

This afternoon we had lunch at “Mike’s Burgers”.

Burgers
Pepto Bismol
Canned Refried Beans
Taco Seasoning

After lunch we went to a former “Killing Field” site that now serves as a memorial to the victims of the genocide.

Mass Graves
Prayer
Smell
Bones

Later we walked through a touristy market.

Shopping
Souvenirs
Rings
Paintings
T-shirts
Place Mats

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11
Mar 13

Today in Phnom Penh, we’re teaching “Why are foreigners so strange?”

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.

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10
Mar 13

Today in Phnom Penh, we’ll teach “How to Make Bread and Enjoy God”

It’s Monday morning in Phnom Penh, Cambodia – the start of our second full day here.
Today, we’ll be teaching at a ministry that houses and disciples Cambodian students. It functions like a house church and ministry training program.
We’ll be teaching an English, bread making and theology lesson called “How to Make Bread and Enjoy God”.
The ministry makes and sells snack foods to help cover its expenses. We’ll be teaching how to make a couple snack foods that they can sell.

Yesterday, we spent a few hours with the World Horizons team that lives here. There are about 18 people on the team. They have people from England, Ireland, France, Indonesia, Canada and the U.S. It’s a great group of people. They’re leading ministries for orphan care, church planting, art as mission, business as mission, ministry and discipleship training and after school youth outreach. I’m glad to spend some time supporting them.

This is where I’m sitting right now. Its nice.

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09
Mar 13

Sunday Morning in Phnom Penh

It’s Sunday morning in Phnom Penh.
This week I’m traveling with my friend Jon (he lives here in Cambodia), Aleesa (she’s an American member of our organization who lives in Mexico and will join us on Tuesday) and Hope (she’s an American from Virginia who has been on a mission trip to Cambodia before).
We’re staying at a guest house/hotel. It’s pretty decent and has air conditioning.
Today, we’ll have lunch with the World Horizons team that lives here, then we’ll go to a church that meets in the afternoon.

Here’s Jon with an inflatable Josh Conrad.
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08
Mar 13

My Rules for Air Travel

1. Pack the night before the trip. Not before.  There is a separate list of rules for packing.

2. Book a window seat for early morning flights so you can sleep against the window. Otherwise, pick an aisle seat – the freedom to roam is important.

3. Anything other than a window or aisle seat is crap and should be sold at half price. Therefore, the poor guy stuck in the “middle seat” gets to use the #$@^% armrests.

4. Always carry on (don’t check) your luggage. Always.

5. Have a toothbrush, individually wrapped face wipes, a book and downloaded movies at hand. A real pro also has good cookies for the flight and a fresh shirt for arriving decently.

6. Inflatable neck pillows, fanny packs, passport carriers, hidden travel wallets, safari vests, camel-packs, matching t-shirts? No. Don’t be that guy.

7. When someone is sleeping, reading, writing or wearing headphones on a plane – it means “please don’t talk to me”.

8. The guy in front of you can feel it every time you put that tray table up, tap the touch screen on the cool in-flight TV or rest your head on the tray table to sleep – do the right thing.

9. The armrest and seat cushions are very important borders. Stay inside your space while seated.

10. Just because you’re not in a rush to get out of your seat, into the aisle and off the plane once its landed, doesn’t mean the people behind you aren’t. Get out of the way.


14
Nov 12

Things I saw in my kids’ school cafeteria today

A lunch lady in a faux fur vest and purple apron.
School-issued lunches consisting of a thin slice of unnaturally colored mystery meat on a hot dog bun.
Offensively indiscriminate use of ketchup and mayo packets.
A child with an entire salt shaker in her lunchbox.
So much open-mouthed chewing.
Fruit cocktail from a can.