26 August 2007

Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

This is a hymn that I came across recently... it has tremendous power in it's words... Fernando Ortega performs a very nice version of it...
Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted

“Stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” Isaiah 53:4

by Thom­as Kelly, from Hymns on Var­i­ous Pass­ag­es of Script­ure, 1804

Stricken, smitten, and afflicted
See Him dying on the tree!
’Tis the Christ by man rejected;
Yes, my soul, ’tis He, ’tis He!
’Tis the long expected prophet,
David’s Son, yet David’s Lord;
Proofs I see sufficient of it:
’Tis a true and faithful Word.

Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress:
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave.

Ye who think of sin but lightly,
Nor suppose the evil great,
Here may view its nature rightly,
Here its guilt may estimate.
Mark the Sacrifice appointed!
See Who bears the awful load!
’Tis the Word, the Lord’s Anointed,
Son of Man, and Son of God.

Here we have a firm foundation,
Here the refuge of the lost.
Christ the Rock of our salvation,
Christ the Name of which we boast.
Lamb of God for sinners wounded!
Sacrifice to cancel guilt!
None shall ever be confounded
Who on Him their hope have built.

Nothing to think about...

Yesterday I put deoderant on three times.

20 August 2007

Just cute kids...

Cambodian Night Life

Late at night in Phnom Penh (when you can't sleep), there is not much to do if you want to keep your nose clean, so I built this Bavarian Mansion... kind of fun...
it did not take nearly as long as I had expected...

Now that's a big butter cow...

Now that's a big cow...

Howard the baby buffalo

My first real moto injury!

It doesn't look too bad, but it really bled at the time... I did not make it into the statistics of moto accidents in Cambodia because we didn't get killed, but at least I have left some more skin on the pavement to prove that I was here...
Don't worry, I was not driving, and my friend Rhy is fine too...

17 August 2007

Good friends

Some of you may wonder who is doing the nitty gritty work with all of the Cambodians here... we SO appreciate the work of these wonderful people... we had a dinner for the staff in Phnom Penh just to make sure that they know we love, and appreciate them...

Is it the middle of August already?

It seems amazing that I have already been here for over two months... next week will be two and half months, and I am still loving being in Cambodia.

Since the teams from the States have gone back, I have had a few different things to keep me busy...

I had to go to Vietnam for a day to renew my visa. I am not 100% confident that it was done correctly, but my visa says that I can stay for another 3 months if I desire. I am not sure what happens at the end of that time, but, that is in the Lord's hands. Vietnam was a lot like a combination of Thailand and Cambodia. Many of the modern amenities of Thailand, and many of the familiarities of Cambodia (motos, trash collectors, street shops)...

I also took a brief trip up to Battambang to see the children at the orphanage there. It is amazing what two months of nice clothes, good food, regular care, and meaningful love can do for children. When we got to Cambodia in June, these children had just moved into the home and were visibly insecure and uncomfortable with their new living situation. Now we are seeing the fruit of Christian love and care that has already transformed these children into joyful, playful and (sometimes) downright bubbly kids... great to see how the love of Christ through people like Seng You (Battambang orphan's home director) and his wife and their staff have truly transformed the children... on another note, it is so good to see their happiness, because I got to do a little bit of work on the stories of these children lately, and many have experienced horrible things in less than ten years of life. Some of their parents died of HIV, malaria, and even in one case, suicide. Life has really stabilized for them now, and God is at work.

Something that I am excited about will start next week. I will go to Khmer language school! I can not believe that I am going back to school, but on the other hand, this is something that I want to do! I have learned a lot more of the Khmer language this year, but it is like catching raindrops sometimes... so this will be a formal one-on-one situation where I can get some good direction.

I had mentioned that Samaritan's Purse had a job opening that I was really interested in. I was disappointed to find out that the position had already been filled. That just means that God has something else in mind... His mind always provides what is best, so I am looking forward to what that may be. Keep me in your prayers though...

I will sign off for now, but thank you for your prayers, emails and encouragement... it has been a great ride so far, and I am looking forward to more... check out the blog for some cool pictures of flowers here in Cambodia and Thailand!

May God bless you in every way. Graham

Flowers in Southeast Asia

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09 August 2007

Vietnam in living color

I had to get my passport renewed in order to receive a 6 month visa with Asia's Hope, so strangely enough, I had to leave the country and come back to Phnom Penh... so right now, I am in Ho Chi Minh City... it was raining a lot when I got here, and I had just sat through a six hour bus ride, so when I got to the room I just collapsed... woke up around dinner time, just had a nice dinner in the hotel restaurant and now typing away... I will only be here less than a day... just did not want to spend a lot of money right now when I am not sure of my bearings and what there is to see here... I will have to come back some time... it is a lot like Phnom Penh in some ways, but more like Thailand in others...

06 August 2007

The whirlwind has come and gone...

Today we send back to the US the team from Quest Church in Westerville. They did a fantastic job, but it was a FAST week and a half that they were here... some of the highlights were an outreach dinner to business professionals in Phnom Penh, an outreach to high school and college age students at Gospel Commission Fellowship, Bible studies with the college students, a dinner honoring the Asia's Hope staff, lots of games with the orphans, a trip to Battambang, service to the new Grace Brethren International Ministry center in Battambang (cleaning desks, bathrooms, floors... and the like) and various other stops along the way... I honestly can not remember everything that we did...

This group had a LOT of energy, and seemed to gel with everyone we spent time... they particularly enjoyed getting to know Savorn (AH Cambodia director) and his wife Sony, all of the college students, our rent-a-van driver Vuthy, Pheakdey, Sreykan, Seda and the whole crew... there did not seem to be anyone that they did not enjoy spending time with...

Because this team primarily was in Phnom Penh, we were able to work in a few of the cultural stops as well including the Toul Sleng genocide museum, The Killing Fields, a brief stop at Wat Phnom, as well as the Royal Palace... Even though these things sometimes feel a bit 'touristy' I think that they are vital to understanding the greater Khmer culture, their history, as well as their traditions and religion...

I thank you for your continued prayers for myself and all of those here in Cambodia. August will include a bit of job searching... you can pray for me specifically as I have found out about a possible opening with Samaritan's Purse (Franklin Graham's ministry) that I am really interested in. I am actually sending an application with the Quest team back to the US to be mailed. I don't know if it will bear any fruit, but I am trusting the Lord... it would be a great opportunity.

Thank you to all of you who have written back to me, as well as prayed for me. It is always encouraging to hear a few words from those on the other side of the big pond. May God bless you all in every way... Graham

05 August 2007

God gave me a gift

The other day I was in Lucky Market (the western grocery store)... and there, several cases high was a stack of... Diet Dr. Pepper. Unbelievable. I never thought that I would see it in Cambodia. At least not for a few years... but there it was. I, my friends, am pleased as punch (or at least pleased as a Diet Dr. Pepper addict can be). And yes, I have had a few already...

02 August 2007

Miles Davis

I just finished reading Miles Davis:The Definitive Biography by Ian Carr. It was a 600-700 page biography of one of the greatest musical and cultural figures in American music in the 20th century. I am a recent 'convert' to the music of Miles Davis. I first really got interested in his music about 1 1/2 to 2 years ago when I watched the PBS JAZZ series by Ken Burns. Even though he was at many times a very disturbing and even mean man, I felt drawn to the brooding, contemplative, tension filled, even disturbing aspects of his music. He was always one to push the limits of music, and one musician was quoted as saying that other musicians always waited for Miles to come out with a new record so that they would know what to do next... it was a great biography... well documented, well written and easy to read. I did make a considerable difference that I knew a lot of the music that was being talked about, but I learned a lot in the process. If you want to start listening to some good stuff, check out the albums Kind of Blue, Sketches of Spain, or Milestones. There are hundreds of albums, but that is a good place to start... also check out the new link that I put on the sidebar for www.milesdavis.com... great stuff...

Just showed up for my own life...

This is a rather 'pop' song that I came across recently that has just been sticking in my mind... the lyrics have been great for me to think about...

Just Showed Up For My Own Life - Sara Groves
Spending my time sleep walking
Moving my mouth but not saying a thing
Hoping the changes would take by working their way from the outside in
I was in love with an idea
Preoccupied with how a life should appear
Spending my time at the surface repairing the holes in the shiny veneer

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real
And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright
I'm going to live my life inspired
Look for the holy in the common place
Open the windows and feel all that's honest and real until I'm truly amazed
I'm going to feel all my emotions
I'm going to look you in the eyes
I'm going to listen and hear until it's finally clear and it changes our lives

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real
And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright

Oh the glory of God is man fully alive
Oh the glory of God is man fully alive

There are so many ways to hide
There are so many ways not to feel
There are so many ways to deny what is real
And I just showed up for my own life
And I'm standing here taking it in and it sure looks bright