4 Suitcases

IMG_3443 The big day is approaching.  In 12 more days we will say goodbye to America and adventure off to the Kingdom of Wonder (Cambodia) as missionaries with Agape International Missions.  Due to airline regulations, we get to take one 50 pound bag each and can pay an additional $100 for an extra bag.   So we have thus elected to take 4 suitcases.  We read David Platt’s Radical several years ago and always wondered what it would be like to sell it all and serve wherever He sent us.

Well, we’ve done it.   The house now echoes, we’re sleeping on blowups, eating all carryout, driving borrowed cars, the dog is sleeping inside our suitcases (that made us tear up) and saying hundreds of goodbyes.

Now we’re down to the last 4 suitcases to take with us.  I could wax all spiritual and eloquent, but instead have elected to share with you the” nitty gritty” of the important (not counting the 8 clothing sets we each took).    If you had to put everything you needed in 4 suitcases, what would you take “ o rich young ruler”? IMG_3439

I know you’re saying “what the heck”?  As a teenager my granddaddy gave me a cutting off his aloe plant and I faithfully planted it in 1970.  It is now one monster plant and has been given to a dear friend to babysit.  This little cutting of that plant is going in a baggy in my makeup case to be transplanted in our new Cambodian home.

IMG_3440If you know me I am a coffee freak and am taking a stash of Starbucks instant me with (thanks Laura).

I have been devouring this book on cross culture teaching- it has become my education “bible” while this feeble, can’t speak Khmer teacher tries to teach other teachers.  Pray for me. FullSizeRender

Have you ever thought of what you have to do with all your bills (US and Cambo), payments, receipts, the dreaded FASFA and US income taxes?  Well, all this is faithfully going with us in a specially organized notebook (I am after all Notebook Queen).  Man we lose this and we’re sunk!

IMG_3442We got rid of thousands of books (that was hard) and have it pared down to those super special to us.  I have been holding this one aside as my airplane read.  Yes, I already saw the movie.  And I always tell my students NEVER SEE THE MOVIE FIRST!

Well, that’s the first 5…the next 5 to come. FullSizeRender_1

They need a New Life

There are places where it is not safe to be a kid. Places where adults use kids for awful purposes. These places exist everywhere on the globe.  Even in places considered “civilized”.

trafficking stat photoThere are places where kids are rescued, restored and reintegrated. Where they are shown that God loves them and has a plan for their good. These places DO NOT exist everywhere on the globe.  The best places are emerging in more distant lands.  Places like Cambodia.  Places where the Gospel can be presented clearly as the PRIMARY tool to knowing a person’s worth and purpose.  There is enormous hope emerging in these places and it is hope in Christ that is the key.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Debbie and I get to see the Rescue|Restore|Reintegration places grow!  We want to press into the atrocity with the Truth of God’s saving grace.  We get to be a part of a work that is seeing over 85% of the rescued kids restored and reintegrated.  We get to see and aid in the work of the Lord to make the old pass away and new things come. In early January we will begin our two year assignment embedded in this cause.

The premiere agency in the world is Agape International Missions (AIM) in Cambodia and we have joined their staff.  While we have already begun to engage in the work, we will move to Cambodia in January to engage face to face and personally for the cause.

Child at risk
Child at risk

Help us spread the word. And if your organization needs a cause for a fund raiser, if you need a service project (ie., ice bucket challenge and glow runs), if you want to support our work, we would love your help. Visit AIM.RADICALLYMARRIED.COM for more info or contact us.  We are donor supported in this work and if this cause resonates with you, your church group or your business, please support our work in any way that you can.

May this cause lead you to prayer for the Rescue|Restoration|Reintegration of kids who need to know there is hope.  They need a New Life – one found in Christ.

If you can support the work in any way all gifts are greatly appreciated.   Please, share this post on your FaceBook page and other Social Media.  Bring awareness to the cause.

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The real “priceless”

My last few months have been quite troubling.  I have been wrestling with emotions in a way and for reasons that are different than at any time in my life.  I am seeing circumstances, thinking about lives, hurting over tragedies that in the past I found easier to dismiss.  I find myself more connected to the sufferings of others than I have been in the past.  A lot of it lingers into sleepless nights.  It is not fear, it is not anxiety, it is something quite different.

As we prepared for this Thanksgiving holiday and the visit we would get to enjoy with three of our adult children, I found myself thinking about the relationship I have been able to have through the years with each of them.  How it has transitioned from their enormous trust in me to the lessons they learned (and taught me) as they grew into their own worlds, to now me placing enormous trust in them.  Letting go and letting them let go.  I am very blessed, very fortunate.  I can sit down and discuss difficult subjects with them and we can learn from each other.  They are quickly becoming wise and more independent.  Our respect for one another seems to be growing.  It certainly is for me of them.

With that as my backdrop, let me describe what has me troubled and wrestling, what is contributing to sleepless nights.  What has me both thankful and broken down.  What gives me reason to “press on” in these days with work that is about the Kingdom of God.

“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you (Philippians 3:13-15 ESV)”.

There are little kids in the world who do not know the love of their mother and father.  They don’t have that growing respect thing going on. They only know abuse at the hands of adults.  They only know a life that is absent the visible presence of ones who love God and are entrusted with their care and upbringing.  What would a “thanksgiving” gathering be for them?

traffickedAs Debbie and I engage in the new work of Rescue|Restoration|Reintegration with AIM in Cambodia, we do it knowing that what is being accomplished half way around the world will lead to answers that will one day reach around the world – here.  Answers that come from the Gospel of Jesus Christ – the only life changing answers.  We fully get that the mission upon which we are embarking is an opportunity in our lives to live more deeply committed to the life changing impact of Christ upon a person.  These kids need rescuers.  And I do not mean Debbie or me, I mean Jesus.  They need a face-to-face, heart-to-heart meeting with the real rescuer.  Our role is simply to point the way, to be among the adults that act like the grown-ups these kids deserve to have.

I stay awake some nights preoccupied with the awesome chance to “be like Jesus” when these kids may have never seen that before.  I am preoccupied with daydreams of the atrocities committed upon these kids for even one more day.  I cannot separate my feelings from the cause.  God has gripped me with it.  What an honor.

Could this be a form of suffering for Jesus  that I have never known before?  Could the suffering of others become more significant to me than what I previously considered to be my own suffering? Yes,  I believe it is.  Paul expresses his rejoice in suffering for others:

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ‘s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, (Colossians 1:24 ESV).

Feeling the sufferings of others and the opportunity to be planted in it for a time to point to the hope of Christ!  I hope that a year from now my life will have intermingled with the lives of others such that there is a real thanksgiving for them to celebrate.

This may be the real priceless moment of my life.

If you are a “supporter” in our ministry words cannot express our thankfulness to you.  Please know that we pray for you with deep gratitude.

Please, help us spread the word in the SENDHELP! Campaign to reach the desperate neighborhoods where kids do not yet know that Jesus loves them and has a plan for their future.  Help us “press on toward the goal for the prize”.  If this message is reaching you for the first time, please consider supporting this effort with a donation before the year closes.  All donations are tax deductible.  See the DONATE link at the top of the page for more information.