In all my years of coming to Cambodia and living in Cambodia, I have never seen this many small packs of older foreign men roaming the streets. Never have I seen a refreshing of the child trafficking business like I am seeing now.
The depth of financial, food, education, and spiritual poverty is staggering and results in children being offered for sale for the vile atrocities often at the hands of these foreign men.
Rarely have I made a direct appeal for support to continue this work in changing communities, we are helping leaders change themselves, and change their own communities.
This is Giving Tuesday. I￼nternationally a big day of support to nonprofits. I am asking that if you are considering a gift to a nonprofit on giving Tuesday, that you consider incurablefanatics.org/donate here, donations are tax deductible and work to help the local community change from within the conditions that result in child trafficking.
And it’s working! In the communities f our work, there is great change. Please, if you are giving on Giving Tuesday consider.
All around the world, the face and practice of missions is changing. In the Middle East many missionaries have had to go underground to continue their work. In places like Afghanistan, some have moved their mission work to nearby countries. In China, the movement continues underground and at great risk and usually by nationals. But the work of the gospel continues to advance, He continues to save, it continues to change lives.
For Debbie and I, the face of our mission work has changed. Our ability to reside permanently in Cambodia is presently not possible, but the work we do continues every day. And we return in just a few days.
Every day in Cambodia. We are at work. Consistently. Persistently. And differently.
What seemed to us to be a good idea, being mentors and not the official leaders in each of our work environments in Cambodia, has turned out to be the sovereign direction of God. As we developed young leaders, they learned to lead while we were at their side to encourage to promote and to prepare. Covid changed that way of success in our work and kept us stateside. Now, while we no longer reside in Cambodia, we continue every day in the work there electronically and in person as frequently as possible.
The advance of technology permits us to do zoom meetings, and training with our growing leaders, who have accepted the responsibility of in person leadership in ways we could not have foreseen. We will continue to return to Cambodia on intermittent and as frequent as possible trips to move into this stage of expansion with our now mentored leaders who know well how to manage what has been started. Now they need to be mentored in expanding.
On November 8 we will return to Cambodia for whatever time is permitted and develop the strategies and plans and identify and begin work with the next group of leaders to expand the work.
It is a very special time of opportunity there right now. Many of the people who professed Christianity professed a prosperity faith that didn’t work out very well during Covid. But they have heard the name of the One. Now the work is to point them to the Truth of being a follower of the One.
If you can partner with us in this work, we would be very grateful. First, pray that we would be effective for whatever time we have to be there. Second, if, after giving your tithes to your local church, you have something left over to give please consider Incurable Fanatics.
When plans are disrupted. When the ability to plan around those disruptions goes away. When that inability extends on and on and…….on.
Familiar? Who isn’t.
So it has been during Covid days (and months and years), but doors are opening again.
On the first of February this year, Debbie and I were able to return to Cambodia for a planned 30 day stay. Long term visas have remained just beyond our reach but we were able to stay for almost 60 days as we both tested positive for Covid near the end of February. We experienced very minor symptoms. We were able to continue working right up to the hours before our departure in late March.
We were able to get a great picture of the continuing great need for the Gospel in the communities suffering from financial, educational and spiritual poverty. We are excited that the work we have continued is addressing these three factors head-on and by addressing the first two, folks are more open to the spiritual truth we get to share. It is beautiful to see transformation.
When these things happen in a community already brittle because the default setting of life is not rooted in the Gospel, a disruption of this magnitude is vast in breadth and depth. Children are frequently lost in the wake or disruption, “trampled” by those who should care for them. I am not being dramatic. This is real. This is the rolling effect of increased poverty following Covid around the world.
That is where we enter in!
We will return again to our field of work in November. How long this time?
At this point 30 days is our visa. Now there are new challenges emerging and new opportunities to help our team of Cambodians change their own community.
We have a full schedule of training and mentoring planned and prepared. The schedule looks daunting but the Lord has given us these days and we find so much joy in seeing the work advance while we encourage, enable and empower these great young leaders. We will continue to build on a firm foundation.
During this period of being more in the states than in Cambodia, we have found new ways to encourage and train. We meet weekly with our team leaders by Zoom etc., and while this has been effective, it is not the same as face to face. We need the face to face, arms wrapped around each other kind of encouragement.
If you have been a supporter of IncurableFanatics, we thank you and invite you to join us again. If you have not previously been in a position to donate to this work, please consider it now. All donations are tax deductible and so very much appreciated.
Rebuilding our support base is critical to the expansion of this growing work.
If you already support your local church and have it in your heart to do more, please consider a tax deductible donation to Incurable Fanatics.
Greetings from the heat of SE Texas. I could be saying SE Asia because the temp and humidity is quite familiar to our life in Cambodia. While the weather conditions are familiar, new normal is not. For me new normal is is not comfortable.
There is a remarkable tension for us in being grateful to our Lord for new and very meaningful work of church restart/rejuvenation at Westway BC in Huntsville. I certainly remain humbled at what I see God unfolding in this place and these wonderful people. The tension comes to me as I ponder the enormous difficulty being faced by our teams in Cambodia as they continue in intense poverty brought on by continued Covid related restrictions. We so long to be at their side day by day to encourage and lift their weary hearts. It seems so wrong to have the comfort of our homes when our beloved family there frequently goes without food.
Then the tension flips as we see the developing faith of our Cambodian teams, the trust and hope they have in Christ and each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord in spite of their trying conditions.
We love the people in both places.
Daily it seems we search for new alerts that travel might open for us to make a return to Cambodia to be the encouragement our friends so long to experience. How many times can they say, “we want you to come mom and dad” and we have to say “soon”?
I feel the days passing by. And Zoom, while we do this nearly weekly with our Cambodian families, is an extremely poor substitute for real touch. They and we long to embrace and move forward with the Gospel spreading plans now delayed since January 2020.
We continue with events and desire to schedule more. Always well received and helpful when we do them here in the US, they provide both education for those here and a source for selling the goods our teams make in Cambodia and send to us to sell. For several it has been significant income over the 18 months. I believe Cambodia has been set back easily 50 years. We continue to send financial support needed for subsistence living during Covid restrictions.
The church, not permitted to meet and assemble, is struggling to find underground methodologies. We coach them in the ways adopted in so many places where the church has been underground for generations.
We will go back. If God will open the door we will go back. And we will continue our work at Westway as God has given us those people to shepherd.
For your continued interest, prayers, and support, we express our most sincere appreciation.
May we see you soon (in some way other than Zoom). Face to face would be great.
This morning I wake and feel heaviness in my heart. Our sweet brothers and sisters in Cambodia are experiencing starvation in some places due to the extreme lockdown due to Covid outbreak. Lockdown is so tight that people cannot leave their homes or where they were visiting when the lockdown went into effect. The lockdown hit during a period of significant population movement for a national holiday, Khmer New Year. People are stuck.
Food is gone from some markets. Income has evaporated as workers can’t get back to work. Starvation is actually now being reported. Even in the city, some folks have 1 egg a day and some have rice.
Saturday night I received a call from a young woman, the first girl we rescued. She has never asked us for anything. We have stayed in contact with her after her rescue and during her recovery program. We were invited to her wedding over a year ago. She became a believer and has been tracking well. Saturday she called me on FB Messenger and told me she had not eaten in 2 weeks. She and her husband were visiting her sister in a remote village and were now trapped until the lockdown is ended. No access to food. No way for us to get some to her – yet.
And she is 7 months pregnant.
But God! Some of my favorite words. Pray that God opens the door for food to arrive at their feet. That God would make a way and be glorified in doing it.
But feeling sad is not exactly enough. Food is not exactly enough. More than anything I am asking for prayer. That will be exactly enough.
Christ was moved to act out of feelings of compassion and we are to be imitators of Christ (Ephesians 5:1). Feeling bad is the reaction that is to lead us to act. Christ frequently acted out of compassion. There is no action you can take that I can point you to EXCEPT PRAYER. Prayer is the primary action in this case. Don’t let the feelings be wasted. Act in prayer. Please pray fervently and we will see what God will do.
We are hearing more about human-trafficking in the US due to the flow of lives across our southern border, many are children who are accompanied to the border from the south and are abandoned as soon as the “adult” transporting them can flee into the US.
This is human trafficking:
“the unlawful act of transporting or coercing people in order to benefit from their work or service, typically in the form of forced labor or sexual exploitation.”
The purpose of this post is not political. It is protective. The children being exploited as “tickets” to cross into the US in a presumed family are frequently exploited sexually along the way to our border and then abandoned without education, income, safety or guardians once they get across our border. Such children are then prime for another round of exploitation after arriving in the US.
Be against human-trafficking. For the safety of the children, be against it. Don’t pretend it isn’t happening or is just a handful of cases. It is dominant and the success of exploiting children in this way increases the number of people who do it.
Join us in the battle. Invite us to hold a Human Trafficking Awareness Event in you church, school, business or neighborhood.
“Same same but different” is a phrase used in the markets in Asia. When you want something red but they only have blue, the seller says “same same but different”. Or if you want something in a large size but they only have small, again, “same same but different”. The sale is more important than you getting what you want.
While 2021 is almost upon us, 12 new months, the same as any year, let’s pray for a big difference and not so much “same same”.
For six years we developed outreach and strategies for strengthening the local believing community so that their testimony grew in impact. We returned to the US confident that the Lord had begun a good work. Then Covid brought the strangest and strongest challenge – and we were concerned.
Our ability to sell jewelry which provides support to the brass artisan group ceased. We could not schedule human trafficking awareness events where we also sell goods. Import of jewelry stopped.
We are now scheduling events again. Contact Pete for info. Engage your group in this serious battle for freedom.
The school was forced to close by government edict even with no Covid infections in the students or staff. It remained closed for 7 months. This could have been devastating. In fact for many businesses it was. But our compassionate supporters stepped up and helped with sustaining donations to insure the school could hold its staff and continue to work outside the school with the kids and families. What a blessing.
The school has focused on becoming self-sustaining and the closure brought the tuition income to zero instantly. The committed staff volunteered to take a 50% pay cut just to stay engaged and our donors stepped in. What a compassionate step.
Now, we are back to regrowing the businesses and the school. We are looking to expand and start another school. We are looking to return to assist. Even if we cannot return permanently, we plan to return to advance the work.
Covid has changed the world.
If you have been engaged with us through financial support in 2020 or earlier, we say thank you. You have kept us advancing.
If you would like to engage for 2021, please consider well the accomplishments that we expect for 2021 and beyond and make your tax deductible gift here. IncurableFanatics donor info
Join with us for 2021. Give to your church first, if you want to give to additional causes, please consider this.
One of the works of Incurable Fanatics has been to train and empower local leaders, those who suffer with the bad and rejoice with the good right in their own neighborhood, to stop the circumstances of child trafficking themselves. Say NO, and then put action to the words.
At New Vision School Cambodia this is what these young leaders are doing. Changing their own lives and building a better future for the children in their community.
Covid 19 hit and the tuition stopped because jobs stopped. Jobs stopped because factories closed. Many schools went bankrupt in short order. Many closed and terminated teachers. At New Vision School, the work is not just about the classroom. It is about changing their world. So the teachers went on 1/2 salary but kept working so they could keep track of the children, their safety and provide at home lessons. All while no tuition was being received.
But generous donors stepped up to form a bridge to help them continue on. And they have.
And they want to say thank you. Watch the short video. It is a real THANK YOU.
If you would like to support the work, tax deductible donations are received DONATE HERE
Trying to make sense of Super Bowl 54 halftime “entertainment”.
Because of the value of all human life, because of my view of women inspired by God’s Word, because I have worked in human trafficking prevention and recovery and because I have seen the entry doors to brothels with children and young slaves inviting perpetrators of evil to enter in, because I know that these invitations lead to the decay and destruction of dignity, equality, honor, respect and even perceptions of the value of an individuals life; I am appalled by the halftime show of Super Bowl 54.
Last night, for the little I watched, I was peering at the “designed to entice entry to the brothel” value of women and young (very young) girls. I have seen where this goes and it is destructive to life. It certainly debases women and emboldens an objectifying view of all women.
How many men watching in bars, homes and even in their churches last night, were pushed toward lustful thoughts? How many let those thoughts run unchecked?
It hurt my heart to see it elevated as “entertainment”.
Ephesians 5:3 my dear friends is so fitting.
Dads. Next time such a display comes to your TV take your sons and daughters from the room.
Dads. Tell the NFL, and Fox Sports you would not want your daughters on that stage (even if they were paid huge amounts of money – does the dignity of your wife or daughter have a price tag?). You don’t want them aspiring to be stars of openly suggestive behavior. That is well below the design of God for women. And this is happening at a time when there is acute awareness in the US thru #metoo.
Dads, what is your life displaying to your children?
Last night, I had to get up and do dishes. My heart aches for the lost view and value of purity in the world today.
Dads, lead the charge to restore it in your home.
You can join us in this fight by supporting our drive to grow awareness to the pressures resulting in human trafficking and the drive to end it- here, there, anywhere! DONATE
When God decides he is moving, look out he will exceed your expectations.
If you support us, read here about the extraordinary model for spreading the Gospel God dropped on us. If, after reading this you want to be a part of this extraordinary model, you can DONATE here.
Our intention in Cambodia was to be seed planters and ground cultivators. We never set out to be harvesters. That does not mean we were not evangelistic. Quite the contrary. The Gospel has always been the primary motivator but assisting the local people harvest has always been and continues to be the vision of Incurable Fanatics. We do not report “decisions”. We report disciple makers and disciple making environments. Functions and people ministering to their friends and neighbors. Planting, growing and harvesting among themselves. This was the vision God gave to us.
Wow! He has exceeded our vision to make sure his vision goes on.
Our role has shifted from instigators to planters to mentors to coaches to advisors to consultants and now resourcers and idea planters. We remain connected and available but constant presence is now in their hands and the blossom of this fruit looks delightful.
At the school, affectionately called ”Purple School” in the community, staff are discipled 5-6 days per week in ongoing biblical training written and used by Debbie with the first staff group. The teachers then impart that biblical foundation into a growing group of students now exceeding 260. And that training is happening 5 days a week 8-10 hours each day in each subject. The kids are in school all day because their parents are at work in garment factories 10 hours a day. School is their safe place.
The level and intensity of discipleship is Thank previously unknown to me. It truly is a Mighty Work of God.
We also work in the community with local believers to advance micro-businesses so that they can secure more reasonable income. A more reasonable income means they can afford some tuition for their children and this in turn grows a self-sustaining school.
Join us in the next phase as look to start the same school and business program in another at-risk community. Help us help THEM deliver the life saving FREEDOM offer of the Gospel. DONATE here, tax deductible.