- Learning Khmer- I have felt on many occasions recently that my head is going to explode from constantly learning new words. It seems like once you think you are making progress in the language, you realize there is seemingly an infinite amount of words that you have not yet learned. This is truly an undertaking in which God must supply physical and mental strength if success is to be attained and sanity retained!
- Preaching in Khmer- It is one thing to learn new words. It is another thing to apply those new words effectively in front of 45 people. This has been one of the most challenging tasks of my life. But I thank God for an opportunity to totally lean on Him and see Him work miraculously. Praise God, I just finished up my first preaching series in Khmer. God led me and enabled me to preach for 12 weeks on the fruit of the Spirit. In each message I sensed God's hand of enablement.
- Establishing relationships- Unless you have gone soul winning in a culture like Cambodia's, this may be a difficult concept to grasp. As a white (very white, I might add) guy- which automatically makes me a rich person in the eyes of most Cambodians- there is a seemingly inpenetrable wall that is erected each time I meet a new person at their home. It doesn't matter how much Khmer I speak with them- the fact is, I am an outsider. In their minds, I don't understand their culture, and I don't understand their circumstances. Truthfully, they are exactly right. I've never lived in a shack over an open sewer on a monthly income of $70. I've never experienced having a sick child and not being able to afford to take him to the doctor. I've never wondered, "Will I have enough money today to feed my children?" But 80 percent of the people in Cambodia have encountered these problems and more. And they know that I don't live like they do. In these situations, it is so hard to help these people see past their dire physical condition and see the need that is infinitely more important- their need for a Savior. It is such a challenge to help them understand that the most valuable gift I can offer them is the Gospel, and that the second most valuable gift I can offer them is my genuine friendship. Sadly, many Cambodians I meet are seeking neither salvation nor a new friend. But by the power of the Holy Spirit and His power alone the hard-hearted can be made tender-hearted. This is yet another area of my life in which I am beginning to understand that I cannot change anyone; it absolutely must be the Holy Spirit.
There are many more areas of my life in which I am learning to lean on my Savior. While learning to lean on Him has been a hard lesson for me to learn, I thank God that He has been patient to teach me. This verse has taken on a new and fresh meaning in my life: John 15:5- "...for without me, ye can do nothing."