Sought After

And you will be called Sought After, a City Not Forsaken…

Archive for January 2011

Heaven: I can’t wait!

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And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.  And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.  By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day-and there will be no night there.  They bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.  But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  -Revelation 21:22-27

So I read this yesterday and thought, “That’s kind of cool.   Heaven should be a good time.”  Then I went to an International Fair here in Phnom Penh and God put color to the text.  As we were walking around there were people dressed in traditional outfits from countless nations, aromas from tables full of tasty ethnic-ness, music and dancing from all over the world.  I ate Malaysian fried rice, listened to Lebanese music, watched Baliwood dancing and realized this is a fantastic day, but a small, pathetic glimpse of what Heaven will be.

Revelation 21:26 says, “They will bring into it the glory and honor of the nations.” The glory and honor of the nations!

Picture this: An endless, eternal international city with the best architecture, art, music, dancing, food, natural wonders, clothes, traditions, fun and anything else you can think of, from every nation and people group throughout all of time, all redeemed and to the glory of God!

No worries about spending the day on a beach and walking away scorched by the sun.  No thought of, “Is this delicious street food going to send me running to the bathroom in an hour?”  No frustration of language barriers.  No culture shock.  No long travel days.

Just the glory and honor and beauty and splendor of the nations at our fingertips to enjoy forever.  And at the center of it all?  The Lord God Almighty and the Lamb, being our temple and the light by which we see everything.  As though the person of Jesus Christ and the physical presence of God would not be enough on their own, we get all the other stuff too, just because that’s how much we are loved!

So, if your heart is in the nations but your body is not, no worries!  This is what we have in store!  If you’re like me and would like to be in at least five different countries on any given day, it’s coming!  I, for one, cannot wait!!

Note: The verses above are only six out of 27 in this chapter, all describing the awesomeness of Heaven, you should read the rest and get excited!

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Written by stephndavis

January 30, 2011 at 3:27 am

Wait…Sacrifice is supposed to be HARD?!

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When I quit my job to go on the World Race, people complimented my willingness to sacrifice.  When I lived in a tent or slept on floors for the better part of a year, I was praised for my eagerness to surrender.  But here’s the secret…that was the easy part…Walking away from a 9-5 sit-at-my-desk job was more of a joy than a sacrifice.  Living in a tent in the African bush was more adventure than surrender.  Not that it didn’t have its challenges or require faith, but those are the challenges I prefer and the type of faith I enjoy building.

Homesickness was never an issue; being immersed in a new country, new culture and new language every four weeks doesn’t really leave much time for dreaming of home.

But now I find myself five months into an indefinite commitment to a country and a people not my own.  I love Cambodia, but it’s not all elephants and fried tarantulas.

This Christmas was not my first away from home, but it was my first in a hot climate.  It was my first Christmas morning waking up alone.  It was my first Christmas spent with people (awesome people) with whom my longest relationship was four months.  This year I missed my brother’s home-coming from a 12-month deployment in Kuwait, two of my best friend’s visits to West Virginia and another best friend’s daughter’s first Christmas.

I knew being a “missionary” would not be easy.  I was prepared for the work to be hard, the air to be humid and the culture to be strange.  What I was not prepared for was realizing that giving things up is hard.  Dealing with false guilt (self-imposed guilt, to be sure) over where I should be spending Christmas is hard.   I finally realized that in choosing to be here I have chosen not to be home, among people I love.

It seems to be a self-evident concept: sacrifice is hard.

I know now that in choosing missionary-ness, I am choosing sacrifice.  Small as it is compared to what others have or are giving up , it is sacrifice all the same.

As I am learning this I pray that I will fall so far in love with Jesus that He truly satisfies not only all my needs, but all my wants. When you pray for me, ask God to so captivate my heart that everything else disappears.  I am convinced that this, above all else, will empower me to serve Him and love His people.

Written by stephndavis

January 14, 2011 at 6:29 am

My Cambodian 2010: A Year (or 4 months) in Review

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So, I stink at blogging…this is common knowledge, I think.  My once-a-week goal has ended up being a once-in-four-and-a-half-months reality.  But that was last year…so let’s forgive and forget, shall we?  Rather than try to blog about everything that happened since I’ve arrived in Phnom Penh I’d like to offer you some highlights.  This blog may be a bit long, but think of it as 18 really short ones…one for each week I’ve skipped.  Enjoy.

A Reunion for the Ages

When my plane touched down in Phnom Penh on August 13, I had just one goal in mind…to see my boy!  I was picked up by a friend at the airport and we headed straight for House of Rainbow Bridge.  When Sok Leap spotted me, there was no stopping him.  He ran down the hall and threw himself into my arms, beaming the whole time.  There was a lot of hugging and smiling for both of us and I’m pretty sure there were even tears in my eyes.  As I said in my last blog , I would gladly make the entire journey again if only for that one moment!

An Island Getaway

During the Khmer holiday of Pchum Ben (October), I had the privilege of being invited on a two-day trip to Rabbit Island with a group of teachers from my Khmer school.  It included myself, my Australian friend Cate, and about 15 Khmer people.  This meant that at least 75% of the time I had no idea what people were talking about.  But it was a blast, none the less!  We ate sea food, played in the ocean, marveled at the glow-in-the-dark algae, played games and laughed a lot.  The island was beautiful and at times I felt as though I could be on LOST…

Fun and Tragedy

November in Cambodia brings the end of the rainy season and a celebration called Water Festival.  This is a 3-day event when people from all over the country flood Phnom Penh to watch boat races, fireworks and a parade of lighted boats.  I visited Water Festival each day with the orphanage, with friends and with my Khmer school.  This year on the last night of Water Festival, there was a stampede which killed over 370 people.  While I didn’t personally know anyone who died, I have friends who lost friends and family.  Everywhere you looked people were hurting and scared (fear being a major part of the Buddhist religion and the culture of Cambodia).  People set up altars outside of their homes with food and incense in hopes of appeasing the spirits that caused such a tragedy.

Christmas Cheer

Christmas is Cambodia is certainly a different experience.  Wearing shorts on Christmas Eve was a first for sure.  But that did not stop the fun.  There were orphanage dance parties, fancy meals, stockings, Christmas music and many hours Skyping with friends and family in America.  Good times.

Village Outreach

The week after Christmas some friends and I took the love of Jesus to two villages in a province near Phnom Penh.  The villages are very poor and most of the children are unable to attend school full-time.  We played games, administered basic first-aid, cut fingernails, washed hands, taught about Jesus, sang songs, made crafts and gave gifts of toys, candy, school supplies, soap, and blankets.  It was such a blessing to be able to allow these kids time to just be kids and to let them know that they are loved and valuable.  And all my years of VBS paid off, we made salvation bracelets to help them remember the truth of God’s love.

It’s Greek to Me

Well, Khmer, really.  I have been studying the Khmer (pronounced come’eye) language five days a week, two hours a day for most of my time here.  It is a challenge to be sure!  But it is well worth the time, effort and expense.  Speaking Khmer has saved me an untold amount in market and transportation bargaining, rescued my cell phone from a pick-pocket and helped me build relationship with the people of this country who I love so much.  It is not without its perils, though.  I once asked my driver (a man) what his husband’s name is, and I constantly fear saying words I would rather not translate into English because their Khmer counterparts are frighteningly close to perfectly benign words such as “corn”, “help” and “mouse”.

I do Work, I Promise

In the midst of all the fun and adventure I have been working.  I teach English in the evenings at the orphanage where Sok Leap lives.  I have six kids in my class who sometimes love to learn English and sometimes would rather stare at their desks in silence than answer my questions.  It has been an interesting experience as I have no interpreter in my classroom and my Khmer is by no means sufficient.  It has stretched me in communication and creativity and has forced my kids to decode my bad Khmer and simple English for meaning.  It’s an adventure every day…for all of us.

You Ate What?!

Since I always get asked this question, here it is…a list of things I’ve eaten since my arrival and brief review of each.

  • Whole Fried Frog: Really tasty and really fun, like tiny little chicken legs.
  • Baby Duck Egg (Egg with baby duck inside): Didn’t taste too bad, but seeing the head and beak inside makes it a bit of a challenge to get through.
  • Tarantula:  Had this on the World Race as well.  Not bad at all.  Kind of crunchy and mesquite.
  • Crickets: Crunchy and they sometimes come with a delicious dipping sauce.
  • Grub Worm: Don’t remember the taste, but the texture did not agree with me.
  • Snake: I could take it or leave it.
  • Eel: Delicious!  Watch out for the bones!

I hope this gives you a little better idea of my time in Phnom Penh.  I make no promise of blogging each week, but I promise to try harder to communicate with you what is happening here and how you can be praying.  Thanks so much for your prayers and support!

 

Written by stephndavis

January 6, 2011 at 2:21 am

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