Over the next couple of weeks, different team members are going to tell you stories from Cambodia. David kicked off the series last week with his blog about the retreat.. Here are a few more details which will give you the overview for all our stories! We would also love to invite you to come and hear more in person on Monday 27 July, 7.30pm at the Weimer’s home.
Team A: June 30- July 5
Team A consisted of Matthew Spainhour, Kelley Spainhour, David Hanke, Liz Gray (team leader) (Restoration) and we were joined by three lovely people from ChristChurch, Austin who are also working on developing a relationship with CCOP and the Blaines, Kim Polk, Sara Morris, Jason Morris (Christ Church)
The Anglican Church of Cambodia (ACC), under the leadership of Rev Tit Hieng invited Restoration (in partnership with Christ Church, Austin) to run a ‘Listening Prayer’ retreat for the Pastors and Leaders of the ACC. The retreat was held at a centre outside Sihanoukville, and 11 pastors attended – including Rev Gregory Whitaker (CCOP), our very own Jesse Blaine and Guy Benton (Youth Pastor).
We were asked to include some teaching, plenty of time for reflection, the inclusion of prayer ‘techniques’ and plenty of prayer and down time. Every day included Biblical teaching, Lectio Divina, various prayer activities, small group prayer, focused individual prayer and some riotous games! Every member of the team had an opportunity to lead and guide the group – which was a fun learning experience for all of us.
The time flew past, and we were weary at the end but overwhelmed by God’s goodness as he spoke powerfully through his word, through the prayer times and through 1-1 conversations. We were all encouraged…. and I hope we all learned a little more about listening to God!
After the retreat we returned to Phnom Penh, for a lovely weekend. On Sunday we attended the Khmer and International services – and David preached at both. In the evening we spent a lovely hour or two praying with the Blaines and Whitakers before David (to our sorrow!) flew home.
Team B/Omega: July 6-14
Team Omega (as they prefer to be known as) consisted of Matthew Spainhour, Kelley Spainhour, Liz Gray (team leader), Jen and Mike Dodson, Bev Westergren, Caitlin Staples, Brent Jones, Matt Lowery, Christine Wilson and Regan Wilson.
The main object of this section of the trip was to run a Vacation Bible School for the kids at CCOP (International). We ran a 4 day VBS, 8.30-11.30am each morning. 35 kids registered plus 10 in the nursery (which we were not responsible for!). There was some fluctuation in daily numbers but overall the team worked extremely hard and the VBS was deemed a HUGE success by parents and kids alike! One parent approached Liz at the end and said, “Thank you so much fo coming, and for loving on our kids, we feel so refreshed!”. What more could we ask?
In addition, in our spare time we visited a number of projects: IJM, Project Khmer Hope, Agape (AIM) as well as prayer walking the red light and political districts, and exploring and drinking coffee at our favorite local coffee shop, Browns! We visited Tuol Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields. Some of us visited the National Museum. Most (10/11) of the team attended the CCOP (International church), and some of worshipped at a Khmer service as well. We also ran the service at a small rural church, Rokokos, on our last Sunday afternoon: liz preached and we also told stories and played games with the kids. It was a lovely time.
At various stages, some of the team had some tummy issues…. and we were reassured by the local missionaries that being ill occasionally is part and parcel of life in Cambodia; whilst we were there 3 of our close missionary friends each had 24hrs+ of being unwell as well. A stark reminder that life living in another culture can be challenging in so many ways.
The trip was very full. Afternoon activities were deemed optional, but most of the team took part in most activities. We were all pretty exhausted by the end – but when time in country is so short it is good to maximize exposure to all that the city holds.
Rev Hieng is keen for us to work with ACC further in the future. Gregory Whitaker will be coordinating ideas for the future with all of us… we are hoping for a return visit in June/July 2016. Gregory oversees all Anglican mission teams to Cambodia, CCOP (international) and all Anglican missionaries in Cambodia. In the future we would love to support each of these three groups – working closely with Christ Church, Austin. We also await with anticipation and hope the prospect of Jesse being approved for ordination, and the unfolding of his dream to church plant…. watch this space!
THANK YOU all for praying for us, for supporting us with money and encouragement and so much love. We could not have done these things without all of you behind us. We are grateful.