I must confess that I'm a bit hesitant to publish what I'm about to write here. There is always the danger of a missionary coming across as a whiner if he includes in his written reports descriptions of his discouragements and difficulties. But I am willing to take that risk in this post, because I believe anyone who reads this entire article will walk away with a renewed understanding of the Good Shepherd's spiritual protection over His sheep.
For the past couple of weeks I have battled discouragement as I have attempted to spread the Gospel here in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Having been in Cambodia for over two years now, I thought that the feeling of "being out of place" would have been long gone by now. The feeling of being an outsider who has no right to speak of such things as death, hell, eternity, and salvation, it seems, should have already vanished. But recently I have found myself discouraged because those difficult feelings are still very much a part of my life here in Cambodia. I knew that being a church-planter in the Kingdom of Cambodia was going to be an intense spiritual battle- I knew it theoretically. But now I know if from experience. Today, the battle seemed especially intense. Thoughts like, "It seems like an impossible task to make any kind of difference here," kept repeating themselves in my mind. I was feeling pretty low.
About forty-five minutes ago, I opened up an email from one of our dear supporting pastors, and it brought tears of joy to my eyes. Here is the email:
I just wanted to drop you a note because this morning, as I was praying for you, I "sensed" an overwhelming burden for you. I don't know if you have a particular burden or battle that you're going through but I just wanted you to know that I love you brother and I am praying for you."Be strong in the Lord......"
All at once, I knew something in my heart that I already knew in my head: I have have a Shepherd Who is watching over me. He knows what I need, and He provides what I need. I needed encouragement, and He provided it for me.
And if Jesus Christ is your Savior, He is your Shepherd as well.