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Archive for the ‘End of Year’ Category

Happy New Year 2020!

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Approaching our ten-year mark on the field, we feel the long-term consequences of being away from loved ones and the constant goodbyes on both sides of the globe. Not being able to worship and connect deeply with people in our heart language for many years can be isolating. The life we left behind has moved on without us and seems like a distant memory. We are learning what it means when the Bible speaks about life as “sojourners and exiles”  and that the earth is not our home; we don’t quite belong anywhere.

Often in the midst of our toiling, God provides the power and comfort we need. Like in the picture above, He sends people to come alongside us, reminding us we are not forgotten nor alone. This year has also provided many opportunities to witness and experience God’s power, grace and gentle kindness. We are amazed at how God continually and creatively God provides support and community through prayers, letters & care packages, visits from teammates, short-term teams, family and friends, new friends here, MTW conferences/retreats, expat groups, etc. We are thankful for the ways our Khmer brothers and sisters embrace us and being able to learn and serve alongside each other. In preparing to speak at the MTW Ambassadors Conference this past October, we had a chance to review and reflect on what God has been doing through our different church plants. All of our church plants, including their respective pastors and families, have gone through many trials and tribulation yet the Lord has sustained them. We have seen growth, collaboration and perseverance. We are humbled at how God works despite and through us, allowing us to have front-row seats and to even participate.

This is a song we recently learned at our MTW Area Retreat in August.  Its lyrics give words to what we live and feel each day.

PSALM 126
Our mouths they were filled, filled with laughter
Our tongues they were loosed, loosed with joy
Restore us, O Lord
Restore us, O Lord
Although we are weeping
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them
Your sheaves we will carry
Lord, please do not tarry
All those who sow weeping will go out with songs of joy
The nations will say, “He has done great things!”
The nations will sing songs of joy
Restore us, O Lord
Restore us, O Lord
Occasionally we’re asked which we think is harder: to live in the States as faithful, counter-cultural Christians or as missionaries in Cambodia? Each culture, each situation, each life, each relationship, each person has their unique challenges but also their unique way it reflects the Gospel and God’s glory. Yet they all fall short of Christ, who alone fills the void and should reign on the throne of our hearts. We look forward to the new year and pray that Christ would be our all in all.
PLEASE PRAY
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Annual Youth Conference, November

For the Team:
  • Our team has shrunk to four units. Ask that the Lord would strengthen and equip us as we continue the work of a larger team.
  • We have several units in the pipeline to join our team. Ask the Lord to guide and sustain them during their process of confirming their call and support raising. 
  • Team unity, health and spiritual protection

For the Ministries (village and city):

  • Spiritual protection against the evil one who constantly attempts to discourage and distract the church. 
  • Pastors and their families need constant encouragement, support and strength. They seek wisdom and knowledge in how to pastor, disciple and grow the church. May God use the MTW team to be a blessing to them. 
  • Our church plants are small but the people have been growing in their faith. Ask the Lord to mature their faith and raise up leaders committed to the church.

Pic of Vanna being ordained in November;
Susan with those she meets regularly

For Our Family:
  • Marriage – God has provided safe relationships to encourage and counsel us these past few years. Pray for protection over our marriage and for us to prioritize our relationship, learning to serve and love the other. 
  • Both Caleb & Nate are professing Christians. Continue to ask the Father to firm their faith and draw them into a personal relationship with Him.
  • Caleb – Ask for discernment and guidance as we look ahead and being to prepare for his transition into university, hopefully in 2022. 
  • Nate – To learn to be content and to be motivated to learn and speak Khmer.

Boys are keeping their parents busy.
Thankfully they still have some shared activities and mutual friends.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!
May the Lord be with you and Christ be your all in all!

 

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This year has been a blur, full of amazing people & experiences as well as challenges. Too many to put into words but here are a handful of pictures to help capture a glimpse of our lives. Hope it captures both the difficulties as well as the beauty and joy of our lives that are sometimes so obvious but sometimes hidden beneath the surface.

JANUARY

Our welcome home after our quick 2-month East Coast HMA. A prelude to a year of house issues and construction.

Annual Pastors’ Conference

A special visit from a former intern and friend.

FEBRUARY

Short-term team from our sending church

Susan enrolls in a Khmer class at the first nearby school

Caleb’s Boy Scouts Community Project

MARCH

Paul at the MTW Asia Pac Leadership Meeting in Singapore

Paul & his PP Bible School Class learning from the Book of Hebrews

KCC says goodbye the Knutsons retiring off the field after 15 years

Reaksmey & Piseth’s Wedding – after a few months of marital counseling with Paul & Susan

Nate & His Cub Scouts Troop

APRIL

Reunited with Susan’s Mom during their family trip and her 4th visit to Cambodia

Our homeschool’s end-of-the-year performance

Nate starts cajon lessons

MAY

Bridges Homeschool Graduation

Team Retreat in Siem Reap with a handful of special co-laborers and returning teammates

Team Retreat outing to the Angkor Wat – Susan & the boys’ first time!

Send-off for the Schleper Family who now serve in Indonesia

JUNE

Paul preaches at One Covenant Church (OCC) in SG

Celebrating Caleb’s birthday at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church (PRPC) in SG

Paul speaks at a joint retreat for the two churches

Reuniting with their friend, Zach, in Singapore

Marady’s brother and KCC member passes away while away in Singapore

JULY

Intern John Lee, returns to the States

Susan restarts teaching an English outreach class at KCC

Susan’s regular fellowship with some pastor’s wives

Former teammates, Albert and Natalie Shim vist

AUGUST

Susan joins the Monday night KCC Women’s Fellowship

Paul teaches a Tuesday night Theology class

Caleb’s Boy Scouts Leadership Training with the US Ambassador

Caleb & Nate join gymnastic class with friends

Pastor Sam Ath & Vina have their third baby

SEPTEMBER

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Sending off our summer intern, Chris. Back to college!

A newly arrived intern joins us for family night w the Schlepers’ old ping pong table

MTW hosts a table at the annual Asian Christian Conference

Another plumbing issue

OCTOBER

Pisey & Samnang’s Engagement in AKJ

Caleb, Sophea & Orchea lead praise for our team worship in the village

Susan & her sprained, bunion foot

Ongoing electrical issues & blackouts

NOVEMBER

A packed month of visitors and conferences, including fellow co-laborer, Hannah, who stayed with us for a month,  teaching English at KCC and PPBS and having her first Thanksgiving meal in six years.  Former Intern, John, and Pastor Andrew, who returned for his 3rd visit, returned for our Annual Youth Conference, held for the college students of all our ministries in the city and village.
   

Sending off our dearest friends, Singapore Lees, for their 3-month HMA. How will the kids survive this long separation?

DECEMBER

Caleb’s 6th Overnight Boy Scouts Camping Trip

Our Homeschool Prince Caspian Performance – Caleb as Cornelias and Nate as Centaur & Dryad

Bridges Homeschool Cast Party

Lee Men pack and prep the ground floor for construction. Time to move?

From roof to foundation, we’ve covered it all this year.

Through all the ups and downs, changes, and richness of our lives here on the field in SE Asia, the one constant is the glaring reality of how good and great our God is. All of it is a constant reminder to remember and not forget who God is, what He has done and who we are apart from Him and in Him (Deuteronomy). As we close out the year and celebrate Christmas, we want to continue to cling to Christ our King and enjoy Him and to live a life “in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called.”

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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