Monday, October 20, 2008

A story of healing

Pastor Kieu Sophal came by our office this morning to help with lesson planning for our health volunteer training workshop that starts tomorrow. I was just sitting at my computer as she told this story, so I am quickly typing it up to share with you.

A woman in Sophal’s district had been battered by her husband and received a back injury that caused her to be in bed unable to walk for about three weeks. Sophal, a new pastor since July, heard about this woman from one of her church members. But Sophal told us that she was worried and hesitant to visit the women: “I don’t have money, what could I offer to this woman.” Sophal doesn’t have a moto (motorcycle/scooter), but the church member took her to see the woman using her own moto.

Sophal told the battered woman, “I don’t have money to offer you, but I have God, and I would like to pray with you.” She came with three other church members and they all prayed for the women. The members reported a sense of the presence of God in that place. “Everyone in the room could sense the awesomeness of God in their hands and throughout their whole bodies.” The battered woman was very encouraged. The church member continues to visit with her and reported that within a week she was able to walk again. Everyone felt that the prayer meeting was a turning point in her recovery.

I wish I could convey to you the sense of gratitude and awe that Sophal brings when she tells this story.

Irene gives thanks to God for Sophal’s testimony… not only for the healing that took place but also for the attitude of the pastor. Many of the pastors in Cambodia feel discouraged because they feel like they don’t have money to offer to people. But Irene likes to remind me (and them) that Jesus sent us out to do ministry without taking anything with us… the people will take care of us or not… but we need to trust that God will be sufficient and provide what we need for the situation… we need to act first and trust that we will be able to find the resources we need for the situation, but if we just sit at home then there will be no way for God to act through us.

It reminds me of the song we used to sing at VBS: Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee. Let’s start by giving people what we have. We have the love of God in Jesus Christ.

Irene says, “many times I don’t have money to help poor sick people, I can only give advice and prayer… but I just take the person to the hospital and sometimes we can find a doctor who can help us or another way becomes clear.” We can’t be paralyzed by our fears of what we don’t have. God asks us to just do what we can with what we have and the rest will come.

The song Silver and Gold
Peter and John went to pray, they met a poor man on the way. He asked for alms, and held out his palms and this is what Peter did say: Silver and Gold have I none, but such as I have I give thee, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk. He went walking and leaping and praising God, walking and leaping and praising God. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Updates from Cambodia

Life in Cambodia is a constant learning experience. My language is improving much slower than I would like, but step by step. My writing is good enough that I can create posters for workshops even though I can't understand many of the words I am writing. Tomorrow will be the first day of the level 2 lessons at the University, but I also decided to repeat level 1 since I didn't learn it 100%.

We had a wonderful Annual Meeting at the end of August. The highlight was the ordination of 6 elders and 12 deacons, essentially doubling the number of ordained Cambodians. A president of The World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches (one of our mission partners here), gave a stirring speech about celebrating 40 years of autonomy with the theme "self-proclaiming, self-governing, self-supporting". It really gave a hopeful vision to our goal of supporting the formation of an autonomous church here in Cambodia.

I've posted a few more reflection here and at http://chad-cambodia.blogspot.com as well as some letters that I wrote to the Vacation Church School kids at Wesley UMC in Bakersfield, CA about water, cows and health.

Thanks for reading, your prayers and support!
peace, Katherine