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2017 So Far…

Where to begin? A glimpse into our lives the past 6 months…

We started off the year with our annual Cambodian Pastors & Family Conference with a dear friend, Rev. Joel Kim, as the guest speaker.

 

Immediately afterwards we had a conference hosted in Phnom Penh for our students from Vietnam, due to safety issues. Our pastor from our sending church, Rev. Francis Chang, was the speaker. In fact, they recently returned for another conference this week.

With Francis came the first short-term team from our home church, who not only participated in various ministry opportunities, but loved on our family with times of laughter, shared meals, caring conversations and engaging with our boys. It was a very special monthly team worship, packed with special visitors.

 

The next months were filled with travels, both in-country or abroad. Paul traveled a few times for MTW Asia Pacific leadership meetings and for ministry in Vietnam. Recently our teammate Tim Lim was approved by MTW and is overseeing the work in Myanmar. Though he misses the people and ministry there, he is thankful for the help.

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Paul also travels regularly to our village sites, Angk’jeay and Neareay.  This year Susan and the boys made more of an effort to join him. Though traveling can be wearisome, enjoying the sites and connecting with people always makes it worthwhile. It’s been a few years but we hope to visit Prey Thom soon and give you an update.

 

Paul has also been helping homeschool the boys every Monday, while working out with them in the mornings and going through Catechism with Caleb to prepare him for confirmation. The boys are enjoying Monday school days with a more relaxed parent.

In between all the travels, we welcomed a new family to our team and recently arrived intern, sent off a couple on their 6-month HMA, and helped a teammate leave the field unexpectedly.  It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride but one that is teaching us to be thankful for the people God brings and to try to make the most of the time you do have with them.

Susan has continued her weekly English classes though with frequent breaks for her health. Her students have been a source of much encouragement through it all. Often they are taking care and comforting her.

 

People might think all missionaries know how to run a VBS camp, evangelize to anyone, and lead praise and bible studies, but Susan is an example that missionaries can look different from this stereotype. Though she never led a bible study before, she felt there was a need for both the women on the team and for the wives of the pastors we work alongside.

The monthly bible study with the wives of some of our Cambodian pastors has been one of the most humbling and challenging but encouraging times. It is a constant reminder and prayer that she would depend on Him and desire Christ magnified, through and despite her.

 

Caleb & Nate have been doing well. They face the same issues and struggles of most kids here or there. Caleb is a growing up to be a typical teenager. We are thankful for the way they embrace Cambodia; it is their home. We are thankful for how God has been faithful to provide a sense of safety, friends, and fun. Their homeschooling co-op has provided a large part of not only the boys’ but Susan’s community as well. We are currently on break and persevering to finish off the school year. 11 more weeks…

 

Well, that’s our life for the past 6 months in a nutshell. We did forget to mention the storms, flooding, blackouts, moto falls and the heat but that’s life as usual here!

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New Donation Address

Dear Supporters,

MTW will have a new donations address starting June 1, 2017.  The new donations address will be:

Mission to the World
P.O. Box 744165
Atlanta, GA 30374-4165

Thank you for your patience with the continual changes and glitches. If you have any problems or concerns, please feel free to contact us directly.

 

Thank you,

The Lees in Cambodia

A Christmas Reflection 2016

Merry Christmas from Cambodia! Even after six years, it’s still strange to celebrate in hot, humid weather and with no snow angels and snowmen in sight. Our family and loved ones scattered yet we’re thankful to have Susan’s mom here with us for the third time. It’s even more special is to celebrate our Savior’s birth with her as a sister-in-Christ.

This year has been busy and has stretched and challenged us. Our homeschool co-op went from four families to eleven families (over thirty kids). We welcomed our new housemate, Emily, a returning intern and friend. We hosted almost twenty visitors and teams. We’ve become pros at packing and navigating airports.

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Homeschool Co-op: Raising crickets, Stage Combat, Science Lab @Hope…so much more
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Ministry Moments: Short-term teams, Baptisms, Weddings

Like the last few years, we faced more transitions on our team and challenges within our ministries, flooding and a subsequent house move, medical concerns, and pure, straight-up exhaustion.

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KCC Building Move
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Plumbing and flood issues finally led us to move. Thankful to Yeoun, our tuk tuk driver for his help.

This year has taught us a little bit more of what it means to rest in Christ. The following quote in a book about teaching and raising our children has been the overarching lesson this year.

“Rest begins with acceptance. Or, perhaps more accurately, with surrender. There will always be more you can do. You will never complete your tasks entirely, because just on the horizon is tomorrow, and tomorrow the to-do list starts anew. It is so exhausting— sometimes even demoralizing— to realize that our work in raising up and teaching our children is never really done. But we must remember that we were never intended to finish it.” (Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie).

God has continued to be faithful and gentle, powerfully present in our lives. Often it is tangibly expressed through His people and their prayers and countless acts of love. Sending emails, letters, and gifts to remind us we are not forgotten but loved. Couriering our cargo with needs and goodies. Fellow homeschooling moms who stop to notice, ask, listen and pray. Neighbors who open their homes and hearts. New neighbors who drop by with a plate of cookies. Former students who drop off fruit or check in and care for us. Our Cambodian church members who becomes a friend. Teammates sharing responsibilities and being our family on the field. Short-term teams coming to love and serve alongside us. Friends sacrificing time, money, energy, family and vacation time to visit us. Meeting needs like giving us medical advise, helping us find a pediatric ophthalmologist, hosting, praying. Praying and more praying. We are humbled and encouraged. Thank you to all of you, individuals, families, teams, churches.

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When being faithful is about putting one foot in front of the other, living moment by moment, and getting through the day; when loving others is about receiving and having nothing to give; when devotion is simply about existing before and in God, we are learning the truth of Christ Alone. 

Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.
(Rock of Ages, verse 3)

We want to take this time to thank our Heavenly Father for His abundant love and to thank you for your support in all its wonderful expressions.

Update on Nate

Dear Friends,

This past week since being alerted regarding Nate’s eye has been a bit tense. Trying to maintain our usual homeschool schedule and prepare for our quick Singapore trip while exercising trust and peace was challenging.

After deciding to try to get an appointment with a pediatric ophthalmologist as soon as possible, Susan was able to get an appointment for this past Friday with a doctor with the Singapore National Eye Center (SNEC). We learned later that it usually takes months. Our flight over to Singapore was accompanied by our Singaporean friend’s mom who lives in Cambodia but plans got mixed up and, to all our surprise, was on the same flight as us. The same friend, Serene, arranged for us to stay at her close friend’s home, a 5-minute drive to the hospital. They provided all the rides and meals. The grandparents provided spiritual encouragement and love. God has been gentle with us, reminding us all the along that He is with us.

The news: After hours at the doctor’s office yesterday, the end result was Nate has uncommon but healthy eyes. He does not have amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (abnormal alignment). We need to go for a follow-up in 6-months to monitor his eyes.

The amazing testimony through this is the strength of Nate’s faith in His Father. It doesn’t mean he didn’t stress or fuss at all but his trust in His good, powerful Father was steadfast; one that pointed his parents to Christ.Thank you for your thoughtfulness and coming alongside us. We are humbled by all of your prayers and acts of kindness.

Please Pray:

  • Thank the Lord – We want to give thanks to Him for all the things He did behind the scenes that we don’t even know. We want to thank Him for all the tangible ways He walked alongside us, comforted us and provided for us. We want to ask Him to help us thank those who loved and cared for us by blessing them.
  • Nate’s eye – Please continue to pray for the health of Nate’s left eye. Pray that the doctors and us would have keen insight and make wise decisions.

Prayer for Nate

Dear Friends,

It’s been a busy and challenging year for us. Thank you for being patient and faithful despite our ability to keep up and keep you as updated as much as we’d like.

We need your prayers. Right before returning to Cambodia last year, we tried our best to jam in some health check-ups, especially for kids. It seemed that there were some concerns that Nate’s left eye might be diagnosed with amblyopia (lazy eye). We rushed to make due with a pair of glasses and a commitment to monitor his eyes.

It’s been almost a year and a half and we finally went to an eye glass shop in town. His vision has worsened significantly and fails to focus even with corrective lenses. We are concerned.

Please Pray for:

  • Nate’s eyes – to find and have access to a competent, compassionate doctor and be able to diagnose correctly.
  • Our hearts -Please pray that we can trust God in this process. Please pray for Caleb who is trying to be a strong, calm older brother but is very anxious. Pray for Nate that he will continue to have faith in his loving, powerful heavenly Father.
  • Spiritual Protection – We earnestly believe our ultimate struggle is not against flesh and blood. Pray for protection against the Evil One.

Once again, we are facing another set of changes.

TEAM MTW CAMBODIA

Almost a week ago we said goodbye to the Shim Family, after serving closely with us on the field for four years. A second change is with the Boniao family from the Philippines. Though they will continue to live in and partner with us with the work in Neareay, they have decided to leave our team and work as tentmakers. Alongside all this, two families have also left this summer for their HMA.

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One of the many recent airport runs

In the midst of all the goodbyes and airport runs,  we recently welcomed into the world our youngest long-term teammate, Asa Smith, Luke & Sokha’s second child, and our summer intern, Caleb Robey.

IMG_2615Our Team

The one constant that is greater than the constant state of flux in this life is the Love and Presence of our Father. God is always at work in our lives, whether you’re coming on or off the field. Through all the adventures and instabilities of life, He wants us to cling to Him. He wants to give Himself to us above all things. Would you help us by interceding for us?

PLEASE PRAY for Team Cambodia

  • Grieving Ask the Lord to help our team and our family to grieve in a godly way, finding comfort and hope in Him alone and trusting in His plan.
  • Workers  – “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:37-38). Pray that God would raise up healthy, long-term workers, who are committed to his Kingdom work, a heart for Cambodia, and fitted well with our team. 
  • Leadership & Unity – Pray that the Lord would provide vision and wisdom so Paul can lead our lead during this time of transition. Pray also for strength and encouragement as he leads team here in Cambodia. Pray for unity among our team as well as our national partners to continue the church planting work.

THE LEES IN CAMBODIA

What does this mean for the Lees? Honestly, it’s been a time of stretching and growing. We’re learning once again to trust in the Lord for emotional and physical strength, for provisions, for hope. Learning when to press on and when to ask for help  or lay things down.

Functionally, Paul now oversees the whole Cambodia team and all its different ministries. Paul continues to support and train the national partners through teaching, discipleship and counseling in Cambodia as well as in Myanmar and Vietnam. Susan continues to focus her attention on homeschooling the children, participating in the MTW Redesign Team and teaching English at KCC. God has provided several relationships at KCC. She is excited to see how these relationships can grow and deepen. Lastly, Paul and Susan will continue to coordinate short-term teams as well as take on the new responsibility of the team’s bulky finances.

PLEASE PRAY for the Lees 

  • Health & Strength – Pray that the Lord provides the humility, strength and wisdom needed to do the work He gives but also to rest. Pray for protection over our health and, especially, in our travels.
  • Marriage & Parenting – Pray that the manner in which Paul and Susan do things in the midst of busyness and tiredness would be pleasing to the Lord. May we show grace, sacrificial love and patience in a season of life when dates might simply be taking naps together. Pray that Paul and Susan would not take their stress and anxiety out on the children but rather love and appreciate them.
  • Love  – All of our responsibilities involve people and affect lives. Pray that, above all things, we would love deeply (1 Peter 4:8) the people God placed in our lives.
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The Lees in Cambodia

Spiritual Warfare – A term we hardly used when back in our passport country. A term reserved for…others. Although we’re still learning, we can’t but help to be alert to the constant spiritual warfare that’s going on around all of us.

Perhaps when everything coincidently is going wrong or perhaps your ministry is growing and is fruitful but then troubles starts brewing out of nowhere…We’re not always certain how to discern what exactly is a result of spiritual warfare but we know we need to be alert, put on the full armor of God, and to pray.

The next few blog posts will focus on different areas of needs of prayer.

Prayers for Our Pastors

Our national partners, like all people in public ministry, are under incredible amounts of stress and face many challenges. All of our pastors are bi-vocational pastors, juggling between raising a church plant with all its joys and struggles and making ends meet, in a developing country. Not to mention, all the usual that we all face – health battles, dealing with gossip and disunity, striving to forgive, discouragement and loneliness, fighting against temptations of money and pride.

For the sake of privacy and security, we will not post pics or share names of everyone but we ask you to intercede along with us for our national partners who we work with and serve alongside in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam.

This post will focus on one of our church plants, Khmer Christian Church (KCC),  which had its first service on January 1, 2012, and where our family worships every week.

MEET KCC’s PASTORS:

Sam Ath (Lead Pastor) & Vina

Samath & Family

Vanthet (“Thet”, Associate Pastor) & Marady
(recently just gave birth to their third child!)

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Vanna (Associate Pastor) & Vannary

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PLEASE PRAY for The Pastors:

  • Relationships between pastors that they would mutually submit to each other and be an example of servant leaders to the congregation.
  • They would receive encouragement through times of trials and difficulties and continue to trust in God and his leading.
  • They would trust in God during times of financial instability, knowing that God will meet all their needs.
  • Generally, please pray for continual wisdom and humility as men called to shepherd God’s people and build God’s church in Cambodia. Pray for their health.

PLEASE PRAY for the CHURCH:

  • The church would bear the fruit of the Spirit, bearing the Light in the midst of darkness, in the midst of challenges.
  • The members of the church would grow in their knowledge, faith and love for their Lord Jesus and for one another.
  • The members would remember their first Love, be faithful and committed, and know their Shepherd’s voice.
Pictures from Susan’s English Class and
Prayer over an expectant mother of the church.