When Carolyn and I first came to Restoration, we heard the pitch to join a small group. Despite being active in church, we hadn’t ever been in a small group together during our 15 years of marriage. Eager to build community, we landed in Jesse and Sarah Blaine‘s small group. Crammed into their tiny one bedroom apartment, we enjoyed their warmth and hospitality and admired their passion for Christ and desire to serve overseas. We deepened our sense of community at Restoration, and fell in love with the Blaines.
Fast forward five years. Along the way the Blaines settled in Phnom Penh to serve orphans. Another thing I hadn’t done for awhile was participate in an Outreach project. Liz Gray finally sniffed that out, and last spring I found myself headed to serve a church in West Asia. The trip was so much more than I imagined. We led a church retreat for an English-speaking congregation, and our team came together beautifully. Everyone shared in the work and cared for each other — no one complained or hesitated to help when needed. We were enriched by the believers we served, as well — by their courage, perseverance, love and joy. As a bonus, we visited Ephesus, and the lives and stories of the New Testament became vivid and alive for me in entirely new ways.
This past summer, the irrepressible and nearly irresistible Liz Gray invited me to lead a team to serve an English-speaking congregation in Phnom Penh… where the Blaines worship. How could I resist? I’m thrilled that this time, my wife and kids will be joining me to serve the leaders of the Church of Christ Our Peace Anglican. I’m going with another outstanding team of people from Restoration — Scott Buckhout, Liz Gray, Laurel Hanke, Kathy Kenyon, Julie Kenyon and Laurie Souryal. In addition to the retreat we’ll host, we’ll also visit a number of Christian service and outreach organizations, including IJM Cambodia, where Restoration gave its Easter Sunday offering. We’ll also prayer walk through Phnom Penh.
The theme of the retreat we’re hosting will be Complete Joy from 1 John 1.4. We’ll touch on some of the themes throughout book, but the striking thing to me is that John says our joy is only made complete in fellowship with the church, and in community with believers across the world. I’m learning that this is one of the reasons we do Outreach at Restoration, and why we’re going on this trip.
- Sign up for our prayer list to receive emails and updates.
- Pray for the team’s preparations and work one day each week.
- Adopt our team for prayer in your small group during our week of service.