The grey building in the very center of this photo- with the bright green writing in the building's top, left corner- is Sumitivej Hospital, where, Lord-willing, Emily Faith will be born in just a few weeks. This picture was taken from the roof of the apartment building where we are staying.
Our current situation is not what I would have picked for our family. Because Linda is showing signs of a premature delivery, we have come to Bangkok, Thailand to receive proper medical care for Linda and the baby in the case of premature birth. Because of airline policies, we would have had to fly here one month before the baby's due date even under normal circumstances; but under doctor's orders, we have come about three weeks earlier than originally planned. As we wait for the arrival of our third child, I cannot help but think, "I was sent to Cambodia to work, not to wait."
A couple of weeks ago, I called Rodney Ruppell, one of my mentors who has been a missionary in Cambodia for fifteen years. I told him, "You know, I bet Adoniram Judson is in Heaven looking at me and saying, 'What a little pansy! He's not a real missionary! Going all the way to Bangkok to wait for the birth of his daughter! What a wimp!'" But Bro. Ruppell kindly corrected my thinking with these words: "No, I don't think he's thinking that at all. I think he's probably in Heaven thinking, 'Wow, I wish I could have had the opportunity that he has. World class medical care only an hour away? I could have used that more than several times when I was in Burma!'"
So, following his and others' sound advice, we have entered this situation believing that we have the Lord's approval- which is the only approval we seek- and trusting that He has a purpose in all of this. I have been greatly encouraged by this quote by Pastor Paul Chappell: "Waiting times are not wasting times." Naturally, my earnest desire is for us to be back at home in Cambodia- and Lord-willing, in a few more weeks, that is exactly where we'll be. But as we wait for that blessed day when we will set our feet back on Cambodian soil, there are several endeavors that will keep me occupied as we await the arrival of Emily Faith Phillips here in Bangkok.
First, apart from maintaining my personal relationship with the Lord, my relationship with and responsibility to my family are of utmost importance. Since my wife is supposed to be on bed rest- something that is almost unattainable for such a determined individual- I must help care for Elisabeth and Judson. This mainly includes my role as a referee to keep them "in bounds", as well as to break up various skirmishes that inevitably occur between them every day. Other smaller roles are included also, such as being the full time diaper changer, full time bath giver, and full time Ovaltine preparer. Praise God, Linda still manages to feed us!
Secondly, I have a good opportunity to write sermons that will be ready to be translated into Khmer upon our arrival in Cambodia. Right now, I am working on a ten to twelve week series on the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5. If I am able to finish writing all of these sermons, I will be able to move on to outlining the book of Colossians.
Thirdly, I am using this time to review all of the Khmer words that I have learned in these first two and a half months in Cambodia. If I can completely integrate all of these words into the vocabulary that I already had before our arrival, it will be of great benefit. I have also brought some Khmer material that I have been reading to keep my mind fresh with Khmer script.
Fourthly, I thank God for some time to read some very helpful books. I have already read For Missionaries Only by Joseph Cannon, a powerful, practical work covering a broad spectrum of subjects related to missions; as well as In Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer, one of the most insightful books I have ever read on the subject of having a true thirst for God. Two days ago I began reading Disciplines of a Godly Man by R. Kent Hughes, and I have already been challenged and convicted. The next book in line is The Attributes of God by Arthur Pink, followed by Lectures to My Students by C.H. Spurgeon.
Fifthly, I am grateful for the opportunity that Linda and I have to build relationships with some Khmer speaking staff members of the apartment where we are currently staying. Please pray for us on Tuesday, June 28, as we buy lunch for these folks and eat with them. Pray that God will open their hearts to the Gospel. Pray that Linda and I will know exactly what to say to them, and when to say it. Pray that these people will sense the love of Christ, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
So, as we wait for the arrival of Emily (Emmy) Faith, we do not want to miss the opportunities that God has prepared for us. Please pray that we will remain useful in His hands during this time of waiting.