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Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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It’s already March 2016!

The last couple of weeks has been a lull after hosting back-to-back visiting teams. It’s been a time of catching up on with family and with our day-to-day ministries. Susan has been keeping herself busy with the usual, driving around town on her moto (sorry, no pic!), and would love your prayers and encouragement.

EVERYDAY LIFE
Most of Susan’s time is filled with typical housewife duties and homeschooling responsibilities. What’s exciting has been seeing how God provide opportunities to form new relationships or how He is deepening existing ones with people in our block or in our everyday lives.

Please Pray:

  • Be a Light – Pray that our family can be a Light in the darkness. Ironically as missionaries, we too can be busy with ministry that we forget to utter the Good News and share with love. Pray that we can be a witness in both word and in deed.
  • Juliette – Susan recently shared the Good News with someone in our homeschool co-op. Pray that the Holy Spirit would change her heart so she could see the light of the gospel.
  • Nisah , Michael & Sah Sah – Three of the boys’ friends (cousins with each other) who live on our block. Pray that God would give us an opportunity to share and that we’d be ready with boldness, confidence and love to share.

KCC ENGLISH CLASSES
This month she restarted her English classes at KCC after taking a year break in 2015. Although her weekly Saturday and Sunday classes means she is teaching something and someone everyday, she is genuinely thankful to have a venue to express love and build relationships with her students.

Please Pray:

  • Susan’s Health – Please pray that she can keep up with her daily responsibilities. Pray that she has the wisdom and strength to be consistent and faithful.
  • Effective Teaching – May the Lord provide the ability and wisdom needed to teach and communicate well and with patience. Through her weakness may God be magnified.
  • Above all, Love –  More than everything else may Susan love her students genuinely, pointing ultimately to Christ.
IMG_1954Celebrating a student’s bday – his first time ever.

MTW ASIA PACIFIC REDESIGN
There has been a lot of growth in the work God has been doing with MTW Asia Pacific. With growth and opportunities come challenges. Susan has been asked to be a part of a Redesign Committee that hopes to prayerfully assess what God is doing and where He’s leading and how we can build each other. Susan leaves for her first set of meetings in Bangkok this weekend.

Please Pray:

  • Susan’s Health – She is currently sick. Pray for healing and strength hopefully in time for her departure on Thursday. Pray that God would grow and stretch her, be used according to His will and be an encouragement to the others.
  • Paul & The Boys – Pray for Paul who will be holding down the fort back home and homeschooling the boys while Susan is gone. Pray that their time together would be a time they can grow closer to each other.
  • Paul – Pray for Paul’s health as he continues his work and cares for the boys. He will also be flying out for his 5-day Asia Pac meeting the same day Susan returns.

CALEB & NATE
The boys continue to keep her busy with homeschooling, co-op, and extra-curricular. The boys are slowly kicking their way up to black belt. They switched to an Advanced class full of boys that focus on sparring and they just passed their green belt test.

We’re thankful for the many different resources that are available here. We’re especially thankful for our homeschooling coop. Caleb is enjoying a Robotics class while Nate is learning about various cultures from our fellow co-op families who are from all over the world, including Holland, French & Spain, etc.

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Please Pray:

  • Culture of Grace – Oftentimes the busyness of life causes a lot of stress that is put on the children. We’ve been intentional in slowing down and taking needed breaks. Pray that we can all have a posture of humility and grace with one another. Pray for wisdom for all of us as we learn to be faithful with who, what, where God has given us.
  • Learning Khmer – We have been committing more time for the boys to learn Khmer. They meet with their tutor, a student from one of our church plants, RCC. Pray for diligence but also encouraging progress.

 

 

 

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Term 3.0

It’s been almost a month since we’ve left the States to return…home. We spent four months traveling to eight different states, changing our “home away from home” more than 40 times. Although it was a grueling schedule, we are so thankful we had a chance to reconnect with most of our beloved supporting churches, former short-termers and interns, friends and family. We’re thankful for the evidence of love and support during the times of worship, prayer and fellowship. We’re so thankful to so many who made time for us during their own busy schedules, showed hospitality and housed us, fed us, and treated us to many wonderful experiences. Thank you for asking questions and wanting to know more. Thank you for times of reprieve and rest. Thank your for understanding our limitations and showing needed grace and encouragement. Thank you for your friendship and partnership. Thank you…

Car Ride to San Jose
Our typical pastime while in the States when alone

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One of Paul’s Many Presentations
(Thank you, Jeany, for the photo)

Although our time in the States was one we cherish, we often longed to be back in our own home in Cambodia. We longed for routine and rest. The boys were anxious to reunite with their friends. Our first weeks back weren’t as we had imagined though.  We returned to a home damaged from plumbing issues, rains, and floods. Yet we are thankful for our neighbors, landlord and helper who watched over and cared for our home in our absence and have helped eased the whole process. We are slowly getting things back into shape.

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Repairing our Home

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Boys Reunited with Friends

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The Life They Love

Upon our return, we have hit the ground running as we start our third term here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Four days after our initial return, we flew out to Malaysia for our MTW Area Retreat (every 4 years). It was a much-needed time to be fed & encouraged in the Word and in the fellowship of other missionaries. Since returning from Malaysia, our team has been hosting three teams. Paul will soon be traveling to Myanmar and Vietnam with the annual SEAP Vision Team, which arrived a few days ago. Meanwhile, Susan has been cleaning up and repairing the home and preparing to start her 6th year of homeschooling. Caleb will begin sixth grade and Nate second grade.

IMG_1195First Sunday at KCC: Baptism of Two New Believers

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Susan Joins a Morning of Campus Evangelism w KCC & a Short-Term Team

IMG_1247Boys Start TKD

Please PRAY

  • Paul – Please pray for Paul. He leaves with the team from Thursday, Aug 20, to Friday, Aug 28, for Myanmar and Vietnam, with a few days in Cambodia in between. Pray for safety and protection. Pray for needed physical strength, health, and good sleep. Pray that God would have them see His Heart & His Glory. May He use them to also to encourage and bless the national partners.
  • Myanmar – Please pray for this country that has recently suffered severe floods earlier this month. Many of the villages and church planting work we are partnered with has suffered. Please pray for our brothers there who are in need of encouragement but also tangible disaster relief. Pray for wisdom and resources for those involved in this, including Paul who is working with MTW and our national partner there. Pray for the millions of people who suffer food shortages from the crop damage.
  • Our Home – Please pray for protection over our home from further flooding and damage. We have made some repairs and hope it will suffice. We are reluctant in moving because of its affordability and for the sake of our children who are very rooted in this community. We hope to continue to build deeper relationships with the Cambodians with whom we have gained some level of trust and respect.
  • Susan & the Boys – Please pray for the start of our new school season. We have some work to catch up on due to our long HMA and delay due to home construction. Pray not only that we are diligent but also that we’d show each other and ourselves grace, knowing when to rest and take breaks and how to juggle everyday life with supporting ministry. Pray that our homeschool group, which is also facing transition with our former director returning to the States and new family members.

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Family Update

2014 has been a full year for the Lee household that has brought us through some great highs and lows.  It’s difficult to capture it all but we hope you get a glimpse of how God is working our lives and in His people on this side of the world.

PAUL

Paul has faced the obvious challenges that come with his expanded roles and responsibilities, but he is thankful for the faithfulness of God in his life, family and ministry.

PL OrientationGiving a Team Orientation to a short-term team

Paul has grown in his gratefulness for his teammates. Working with others in any ministry context is fraught with potential conflicts but Paul is thankful that those conflicts have helped him appreciate the team in Cambodia more and more. It is confirmation that God is the one that has called this team together. On the mission field, one does not know how long we will be together so we have been learning to cherish the time we do have together.

2014 Jul Lees w InternsSharing a meal w teammates, a visiting Pastor and summer interns

“Success” is also another struggle as we are starting to close in on fourth year here. God has been teaching Paul what biblical “success” looks like. By some standards we would not be considered “successful”, but we have been thankful for all the work that God is doing . Even with the absence of large number of churches being planted, many national partners in countries all throughout Southeast Asia are faithfully ministering to their churches day in and day out in the midst of challenging societal, governmental and especially spiritual difficulties. Even with the growing secularism and materialism in the educated youth,  many young national believers are leading praise for Sunday worship, evangelizing to other students even as they are rejected and persevering as they share their faith to skeptical family members.  Even as teammates and friends are called to new mission fields back home, we have learned to appreciate how God is using them for his kingdom purposes.

As a father to missionary children, Paul has been especially thankful for what God has been in the lives of Caleb and Nate. As friends have been leaving, Paul has seen his sons grow in their relationships with the neighborhood children. Initially Caleb and Nate were hesitant especially with the language barriers but they have grown in their willingness to open up to their new friends and be vulnerable and to enjoy spending time with them. Paul has also seen a growing desire in his sons to share in the ministry that is taking place. They have expressed the desire to travel with Paul to the villages on his visits to different church planting sites. This has been a blessed answer to prayer.

Daily Ritual w Neighborhood FriendsDaily Ritual w Neighborhood Friends

AKJ Boys w KidsMaking friends at AKJ during the Medical Missions trip

SUSAN

After two years of the craziness as well as the joys of being the short-term team (STT) coordinator, Susan has decided to step down. It has been a wonderful way for a stay-at-home missionary mom to learn more about and serve her team. It’s provided a way for her to meet so many fellow believers and get a snapshot of the work He’s doing through His people all over.

Campus Evangelism w KCC & CCPC
Campus Evangelism w KCC and STT from CCPC

With the end of her responsibilities as STT coordinator, Susan will restart her English classes at KCC in October. Teaching English has been a great way to show love to the students and build a closer relationship. She longs serve them well, teaching them effectively.

The exhaustion of life this year and the heartaches of the constant goodbyes have exposed many of Susan’s anxieties and desire for control and perfection; ultimately her pursuit for worth and security outside of Christ. Yet through these times, she is experiencing a nearness with her Lord, bringing much freedom and joy found only in the refuge of her Savior.

CALEB & NATE

More often than not, Paul and Susan respond to their demanding schedules with stress and anxiety. Caleb and Nate usually receive the brunt of it, whether in the form of an undeserved tirade or an unspoken, weighty expectation to keep in line and not get in the way. Over the years, God has slowly and gently brought repentance and change for all of us. Our relationships with one another has grown deeper.

Susan’s fifth year of homeschooling is starting off well. We are starting to acknowledge the fruits of our labor and perseverance. We’re thankful both boys not only appreciate but want to be homeschooled. God has been kind in providing like-minded homeschooling missionaries to be source of wisdom and encouragement.

Homeschooling w Dad: Coke & MentosScience w Dad: Coke & Mentos Experiment

Homeschool Co-op: Math GamesHomeschool Co-op: Math Games

We have been continually asking you to pray for the boys’ friends. Thank you for praying. Our God is faithful. In the midst of the many goodbyes, God has at the same time brought friends into our lives in ways unexpected. We know circumstances can always change but we’re learning to be thankful in each moment and acknowledge His good and faithful provisions.

Caleb's 10th BDay w Friends
Caleb’s 10th BDay w Friends & Neighbors

4 July Visiting Yoon Kids
4 July @US Embassy w Visiting Yoon Kids

We’re learning that “God wants to bring us to the end of ourselves so that we would see our need for a relationship with him as well as with others” (Lane & Tripp, relationships: A Mess Worth Making, p.8). We want to thank God for not settling for our temporary comfort and happiness. We want to thank God for drawing us to Him. We want to thank God for you. Thank you for your faithful friendship and partnership, love and support, prayers and gifts.

PLEASE PRAY that we would learn to live a less driven and busy life rooted in “the fear of not being enough and having enough, the fear of losing face and losing control, the fear of missing the mark and missing out” but much more of a called life (Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers).

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