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.

img_3511 img_3520 img_3582
Homeschool Co-op: Raising crickets, Stage Combat, Science Lab @Hope…so much more
 15698299_1196860253703302_6094170369015808976_n fullsizeoutput_1b54 15622271_1346397735424961_5789158065786192298_n
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.

img_3599 img_3603
KCC Building Move
     img_2594 img_3366 img_3493 img_3462
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.

sl-kcc-gno lees-w-kcc-guys 13214982_989653471083683_1841483441_oimg_0104 13769514_10153884265739952_331744588156300844_n img_2713 img_3105  img_8017-jpg img_3473   img_1711 img_2502 13939973_10153570016052142_1078728075_o

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.


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.

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.


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.
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.


Sam Ath (Lead Pastor) & Vina

Samath & Family

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

12512530_1666550293614823_4312549812117828243_n  10169445_1589721668018195_1987425703311295068_n

Vanna (Associate Pastor) & Vannary


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.


  • 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.

What’s Susan Up To?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.




Happy Valentine’s Day

Recently Susan posted an article on Facebook about some of the issues and dangers on Valentine’s Day in Cambodia. Issues that is evident in the fact that guest houses and hotels are unusually packed. Issues that exist beyond February 14.

12657898_10154540604530410_9121159172972731101_oMary Flo speaking at Angk’jeay

Yet, we are thankful that God is greater than any darkness and drives out all fear. He works in and through His people. One of those ways was evident this week with our special guests, Mary Flo Ridley, Dave, Hester and Caroline. Throughout the week, Mary Flo spoke at different venues and to different target audiences. Her main desire is to encourage and equip parents to engage with their children in teaching them about sex, marriage and love. She met with people both in Phnom Penh, including  our MTW Cambodia team, our national pastors, university students, and parents at Logos International School, and at one of our village sites in Angk’jeay. For many, both Cambodians and expats, it was something new or something tangible to take back and implement.

Let’s Talk About Love ConferenceIMG_0568

IMG_0571 copy

Please Pray 

  • Thanksgiving – We are humbled and thankful for many of you who have been covering us with prayer. We have senses and seen some of the fruits. Though at times there were challenges, God met all of our needs and has protected their time here.
  • Mary Flo and Hester Bouwer (UK) – May God give them wisdom and energy and continue to lead them where and how He wants to go. May God bear fruit in the work He’s begun during their time here this week.
  • Travel Safety – Please pray for safe travels and health as Mary Flo & Dave Ridley, Caroline and Hester travel back to their homes in Dallas, TX and England.
IMG_1852Another farewell…until we meet again