Update: April 2010

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s called the, “Question”. “Father, how do You want to humbly serve me today?” For many of you that may seem like a strange (maybe arrogant or even blasphemous?) way to start the day, but that’s what we’ve been doing since Beth Barone (Bethy) was here to teach the leaders of our “Young Tigers”, “Young Lions” and Elders.http://www.missionreports.com/beth_barone_workshop Most Cambodians see God as the ‘Boss with a ball bat’, who’s more than willing to ‘whack’ you. God as a ‘Loving Father’ is a ‘hard sell’, especially if you’ve been taught the concept of a ‘Benevolent Dictator’ for a few years, and grown up under the concept of karma (You get what you deserve). That is, until they see what God has to say about the subject.  I bought into the new point of view a couple of years ago, but some things sink in slowly.

For years I have had a scripture verse that has been, for me, one of the most encouraging, (Rm 7:18) “For I know that in me nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” I think, “Great! Paul was as screwed up as I am!”  I also have a verse that is the most disconcerting.  You got it! (Rm 7:18) “For I know that in me nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.” I think, “Yikes! Paul was as screwed up as I am!”  So, which was is it? Both! Paul was on a journey and so am I. For all of you injured on the path, I sincerely apologize and ask your forgiveness.

Bethy would call it a “Revelation”, but for me it’s more like the lights getting switched on. Have you ever noticed how you can see something for years and never really “get it”?  I am amazed at how dense I can be. I was in that twilight zone between sleep and consciousness when I asked God the, “Question”. The answer surprised me. “I want to give you apure heart “. Now, I’ve prayed Psalm 51: 10 (“Create in me a clean heart O God… “) for years, and hadn’t realized I wanted to keep one foot in the dirty water. At that moment, I really wanted to be free of pride, anger, lust, deception, and the whole grimy list, so, I simply responded, “Okay, let’s do it!”  Decisions like this always get tested!

Man did we get tested! First of all a home church was meeting in Khampong Cham, a drunken group of neighbors lobbed in a hand grenade and killed two of the three pastor’s children, and wounded 13 more including the pastor and his wife. It was a dispute over a land easement. The pastor and his wife are expected to recover from their physical wounds but please pray for their church and healing of the loss of the children. Two of the five perpetrators have been caught by the police. It’s a hard time for them.

Next, I’d researched the best rice variety for our growing conditions, tracked it down on “Agri-Seek” (A service that is supposed to connect buyers with reputable sellers). I Checked out their website, ordered the rice and herbicides from very knowledgeable agriculturist, got a ‘Bill of Lading’, and a website for tracking the container, all of which turned out to be false. We got ripped off for $16,000US of the orphan’s money. I was ticked, but those crooks are in a real bad place! (Ex 22:22 -25) The kids have been praying.  I found some more seed in Vietnam . It should be here tomorrow.

I could continue my tale of woe about land mines discovered on our pasture land, 30 of our new hard drives being stolen en route to Cambodia , UNICEF trying to close down our church/homes in favor of their version of foster care (which turns child care into a profit center), our limestone quarry being purchased and closed by a Chinese company, and on and on for multiple minor irritations, but I quit. We won on all fronts. The kids are in heaven, God will deal with the crooks, UNICEF’s program was deemed “Culturally Inappropriate” for Cambodia by the local authorities, and we found another source for limestone, so PTL! It’s almost Easter. He arose and so have we!

(Soapbox time) A word about UNICEF : They try to impose their, basically, Western, humanistic, standards for child rearing by pumping money and jobs into the appropriate governing ministries of developing countries. Much of what they have to say is just common sense, but they totally ignore the soul, and fail to recognize that man is designed for relationship with our Creator. The only place that they have zero traction is with the Islamic community.  Muslims openly beat women, children, and even some men that they deem errant, and guess what? That which they (UNICEF) despise is going to consume them. UNICEF is an endangered species. By the time their (European humanistic) grandchildren are though college, they will be under sharia law. Humans demand a relationship with God, and they will settle for a polluted version over atheism. Cambodians resent this condescension. I have traveled much of the world and I have never seen such well behaved children as I have encountered in Cambodia . I’ve been in America and Europe , and if any place on earth needs help raising kids, its there! UNICEF should export Cambodian child rearing philosophy to Europe and America not vise-versa. And, “NO!” we do not beat children, but neither do we worship at the altar, or cash coffers, of UNICEF or their unwitting lackeys. “Ok Ted. Put the box back!”

Our ability to raise rice is the key to long term sustainability. So, we’re slinging dirt, digging canals, throwing up dikes, and building roads as fast as our bulldozer and excavator can work. We even bought our own fuel tank truck to keep them running. We will soon be planting our rice and, with the help of improved varieties, limestone, fertilizers, and improved water and pest control, we hope to more than quadruple our production this year.http://www.missionreports.com/rice_farming_improvement

Cambodian youth are “counter cultural”. Maybe it stems from the past generation’s abuse under atheistic communism? I can’t explain it, but they get radical about their faith. The adults keep trying to infiltrate their meetings. In Rattanakiri an 80 year old granny snuck into their youth meeting and received Christ, was baptized, and filled with the Spirit. In Pailin three young children came up and asked for the full treatment. They got it! http://www.missionreports.com/pailin_youth  These “Young Lions” won’t even allow old “Geezers” like me to tag along. They do like to receive training, so we opened up a meeting with Bill Norton and Sonny Weimer when they were here, and many were challenged to reach for new levels of ministry. http://www.missionreports.com/empower_young_lion   They clamor to get involved, and press for opportunities to travel anywhere at any time to present Christ. It is truly amazing. They’d like to bankrupt us just keeping them traveling but they leave hundreds of new believers in their wake every trip.

Annual meetings are being held at the District levels this year for two reasons. One, we no longer have a facility large enough to accommodate the numbers, and two, transportation is too expensive. So far, three meetings have been held and the church is being encouraged by their leaders coming to them. http://www.missionreports.com/conference_district We’ve learned that we really do need to connect with the local church.

I fear that teams sometimes feel we are using them only to help us make improvements to physical structures. They do help to do that, but what they fail to realize is the encouragement they bring to a community that sees people from half way around the world coming to their aid. They leave behind re-vitalized congregations, full churches, and greatly encouraged leaders, plus wonderful help for the orphans, widows and the communities they serve. Karen Davis brought a team to a church that was started ten years ago by a repentant cattle rustler. Their soybean crop failed last year and they were discouraged. One member of the team, Chris Taylor, who was a great help with our Women’s dorm, brought his son. He stayed on the job even though he suffered from Amoebic dysentery. I was upset that we were not alerted to his condition, but Chris just plain wanted to stay in the action. We prayed, pumped some pills into him, and hopefully he is happily recovered. The entire team is truly a group of servants of the highest order. http://www.missionreports.com/karen_davis_team

Of our unsung heroes few get as little credit, and do so much, as those who send food and supplies to the kids. Warm Blankets Orphan Care Int. has paid to ship dozens of containers of food through Lou Binninger at the Glad Tidings Church . They put together a fantastic team of supporters through Gleanings for the Hungry, The Butte County Rice Producers , Feed My Starving Children , and many others. I wish you could see the blessing they bring! Maybe this will help? http://www.missionreports.com/rice_meal_10 Thanks! You guys saved our necks! When we were being criticized for the amount of money we spend on food, we showed the governmental “experts” what we supplied for free. They apologized.

You probably have not seen many Palm Sundays like this. Pastor Peter called me and asked about the significance of the day. We talked, and I mentioned the road Jesus traveled being strawed with palm branches. He literally did it. I don’t know how many palm trees he “trimmed”, but the effect was electric. His sermon on our expectations of God and His role as a loving Father brought a little girl, who couldn’t go to school because she collected scrap plastic and steel to feed her aging grandmother, to the alter. It was a good day! http://www.missionreports.com/palm_sunday

I understand many of you have not been receiving our updates. We are trying a new mailing system. If you have not received the past updates you can get then on the left column of the following link:

www.missionreports.com/cambodia  This new program will also allow those of you who are receiving this and don’t want it to, “opt out”.

Have a great month! We will!

Ted (Pa Thom) Olbrich,
Sou (Mak Thom) Olbrich
And the Cambodian Team


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