Today, Monday is a day that I get to reflect on my own a bit about this incredible journey that has taken me and my friends across the world. This is my last day in Cambodia, as I depart from Phnom Pehn around 11:30p.m. The rest of my hard working and dedicated teammates are enjoying the sunny beaches of Sihanoukville, with George and Shary. A well deserved few extra days for them to get refreshed before returning home.
As I have contemplated all that we have experienced by how God has used us and shown to us, I found myself amazed at the reason why we are here. As a pastor and follower of Jesus, my thoughts have led me to seeking for a divine or deep spiritual purpose. But actually the reason is quite simple. We are here because someone invited us to come. That’s right. A simple invite. One given by two extraordinary people of faith, George and Shary Frahm. Four years ago, even to the day, George and Shary presented Immanuel with a wooden carving of Cambodia with the Name of Jesus in the middle, and with that gift came a simple invitation. Nothing fancy. No glitz. No bells and whistles. Just an open invitation to come.
As my teammates also began to get to know George and Shary, they too received the same invitation. It was a lovely and wonderful invitation that was certainly compelling, but at the same time so unlikely because of constraints — time, money, resources, etc. Some years have passed since that invitation, yet George and Shary were faithful in prayer over it. And with God’s perfect timing, extreme heat and all, we accepted the invitation and with God’s help coming through many other supporters, we were able to witness the heart of this invitation.
Through their kindness and generosity, George and Shary have opened up a whole new world to each of us. We have all developed a profound respect for the sacrifices they make each day to advance the gospel. Who of us would give up the luxuries of our spacious suburban centrally air conditioned homes only to live on the third floor of someone else’s home in a one bedroom apartment, with a small a/c unit only in their bedroom, located in the heart of a crowded downtown district of a city that seems more crowded than the streets of Chicago? How many of us would be willing to live across the globe, at the farthest point from beloved family for more than 8 months at a time? Frankly, I miss my family very much in less than two weeks. If it weren’t for modern communication to stay connected, I’m not sure how I would have fared.
From the time of the first invitation until now, over the course of many long term trip over the years, George and Shary have pioneered in this land leading with the gospel of Jesus Christ, to a people who have only 2%, confess faith in Him. Together, as husband and wife, as partners in the gospel, they have laid aside all that has constrained them and embraced every opportunity to forage and cultivate relationships with the people of Cambodia. This is indeed a hard task, and one that takes much time in developing. A task that I am sure might seem overwhelming, even to seasoned missionaries such as themselves. A task that does not come without cost, especially for their own relationship, as they are together 24/7. For those of us who are married, perhaps you might contemplate being in a foreign land with your spouse every day, all day. No problem, right? Yet love prevails for them. Their commitment to the Lord’s calling is steadfast, but their entire being and strength lies in the Lord God Himself, who is their refuge and strength. For this, I, to a man, am deeply grateful for their witness of faith and their example of love and kindness shown to many, most especially to us during this trip. I am truly humbled by all the leg work they coordinated to make this trip possible from our daily itinerary to years of developing relationships with the people they shared with us. I am also grateful for their trust in playing a small role in the work they have tirelessly undergone to bring the message of Jesus Christ to people who seem eager to listen.
Thank you for the invite dear friends.
Please join me in doing the same, by remembering George and Shary in your prayers, sending them a note of encouragement, asking God how YOU might become a participant in advancing the gospel to Cambodia, or providing a financial gift to this ministry.
See you all Stateside!!