About one hundred kids and twenty staff members heard God's Word yesterday, presented in a simple and easy to understand way. We are serving at a location that is more school and safe area than it is a church. In talking about and planning for yesterday I had a false impression of what we would be doing. I expected a two prong "attack" on the enemy focused around training up teachers in God's love, and us passing some of that love along to the kids via vacation bible school. And, we did. And, it was a powerful message about God's creation. And then, we found a bonus opportunity.
When we read Jonah, we a think about his mission to Nineveh. That was his primary mission, however, not his only one. I would like to challenge you to reread Jonah today. It's only 48 verses, and doesn't take more than a few minutes to read the entire book. While you are reading, before you get to Nineveh, before you even get to "the fish", pay special attention to the impact Jonah had on the sailors. First, he put them in danger. Then, they paid a large economic price in consequence of Jonah's sin. And yet they were still willing to listen to him witness about God. A simple message that Jonah was a Hebrew, who worshiped the Lord that created the sea and dry land. The same message we presented! The result? After Jonah "goes swimming" we find the sailors, pagans who worshiped many gods, making a sacrifice and vows to Yahweh. How powerful is that? A bonus opportunity.
The opportunity came in the form of the staff working there. The organization is managed by Christians, but hasn't always been. Much of the staff isn't. And yet, God set it up so we were able to meet privately with the entire staff and have a bible study, followed by breaking bread and fellowship. Each of them has a heart for service. They are in this for the kids. We will be meeting with them each day for three more days. Sharing a bit more of "the good news" with them. Yesterday, was creation. Next will be sin, followed by Christ's sacrifice and finally heaven and why God has done it all. I am having trouble being patient and waiting for it.
As always, Fifty5five's primary mission is raising up teachers and providing them the skills needed to convey God's love to the children. Most of our day, and the days that follow, were dedicated to that mission. Linda and Becky focused on working with the teachers, while the rest of us had a great time playing (ask Sharon D about her ball playing skills), singing worship songs (as you will see below, Deb C had a special ministry with the Ukulele), and teaching God's love.
Patty ... here is God's answer to your comment saying there should have been three ukuleles. He thought four would be even better. Seems that two of the staff own ukuleles, even though they didn't know how to play. As soon as they saw Sharon and Deb's, out they came. Deb C spend a little time giving a private lesson, and before lunch was over had them playing worship songs! Make a joyful noise unto the Lord!
So why the less than positive title to this post? You know you are in a stronghold of darkness when ... for the safety and protection of the staff and kids you are asked not to take pictures of the people or location ... not to share specifics about the people or location ... and not to do social media posts that might identify the people or the location. I am sorry, I know how much I personally enjoy the pictures and stories, however, this and future blog posts from Cambodia will honor that request. It is heartbreaking to learn first hand that not everyone is able to worship the Lord in safety.
Keep those prayers going. We can't do this in our strength, only in His.