Update: August 2010

Dear Friends and Family

Several, apparently healthy, young men suddenly died along the Voen Sai River in a remote region of Rattanakiri early last month. The Kavet Tribe, a small ethnic minority group in N. E. Cambodia, claimed the deaths were due to spiritual attacks, and that the victims had two small holes in their necks where the spirits sucked out their blood. Medical examiners claimed that the three young men they performed autopsies on died of strokes, but they cannot explain the holes in the neck. “Maybe they fell on nails?” is about the best they can do.  According to village elders the spirits were angry because of land clearing by a mining company in their mountainous region.  One of the elders, in the community of around 500 people, said in an interview, “We saw the spirits coming down from the mountain.” I heard about this while eating lunch and listening to a Cambodian news broadcast.  I was 650 Kilometers away from Voen Sai, in Balang ,Cambodia , covered with grease and oil from working on a combine, getting the machine ready for our impending rice harvest.   http://www.missionreports.com/combine_fix  I recognized the name of the village as we have a church/home there. I called our District Supervisor, Krew Muth. “Yes, it’s true!” blurted Muth, “But did you know that the entire surrounding community is gathered at the church?”  Puzzled, and totally unaware of this news, I queried a “Why?” Muth, surprised at my ignorance, responded, “Because it’s the only place people are safe from the spirits. We could use some help! They don’t have much food.”

I called Mak Sou for some advice, she said, “The ‘Young Tigers’ (A group of Cambodian pastors raised in our church/homes) are looking for something to do, and we have a five ton truck load of food, Manna Pack Rice, Bibles, ‘Proclaimers’ (an audio player with two versions of the Cambodian Bible) and three more vehicles with medical supplies, and bottled water ready to go.” The caravan was organized. http://www.missionreports.com/rattanakiri_trip_olalai  Sou called Pastor Peter, our National Church President, and within an hour 28 young pastors were on the road.  The next night I called Sou for a report. She explained that there were 551 of the tribal people gathered at the church. “And guess what?” she asked excitedly. I took the bait, “What?” She came back, “They all received Christ!” I couldn’t believe I’d understood correctly. “How many?”, I asked. “All 551 accepted Jesus as Lord”, she said.

Later, when we were all back in Phnom Penh , I asked Naret, our Chief of Staff, “What exactly happened up there?” Naret started down a chronological list. “First we cast the evil spirits out of the people that were possessed, then we prayed for the sick and got them healed, then we gave them some food, and then told them about Jesus Christ destroying the power of Satan and rising from the dead, and they all wanted Jesus in their lives. Oh, and we asked them how many wanted power over the spirits, and they all did.” “All 551?” I asked. “Yes, all of them Pa Thom.” I said, “This iskingdom of God stuff!” “What’s that?” asked Naret. I said, “Look at Luke 9:1-2 and read it to me.” Naret opened his Bible and read, 1When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”  I looked at Naret, “What part of that did you do?” Without a blink he affirmed, “All of it Pa, all of it!”

While all this was beginning Dr. Mike, our dentist friend from Clinton , Iowa was here. They’d treated a number of our orphan homes in Preah Vihear Province and went to the provincial prison, about 50 of the inmates received Christ, so “Proclaimers” were given to ten leaders so they could study the Bible. Since then, as we understand it from our follow-up team, most of the prison population, nearly 500 men, have decided to follow Christ. http://www.missionreports.com/prisoner_proclaimers   Something that Dr Mike discovered was that one of the Church/Homes seemed to lack “Life”. He commented that though the place was clean and the kids were healthy, he just didn’t sense the presence of the Lord as he did in most of our homes. We decided to check it out, but who? How? The answer was clamoring in the background. More “Kingdom” work was about to happen.

The “Young Lions” (our Spirit filled youth) had heard about the miraculous results in Rattanakiri, and decided that they should be the ones to lead a group to Preh Vhear. Their focus was on the youth in the provincial homes, but in the process managed to bring another 100 young people to Christ. http://www.missionreports.com/young_lion_preah_vihear/index.html  They took a load of our “Comic Bibles” and taught under the trees, led young people to Christ, got them baptized, and filled with the Spirit. The young girl pictured in the bottom left of the above photo page came to the meeting mute and left speaking. Three young men came down from our Church/Home in Chom Kasan. They were not happy and reported that the pastor had sold off part of their church property. The leaders of our young Lions went to investigate, they could see things were not right and got back to our church leaders. They went immediately and by the time they arrived the pastor had skipped town stripping the home of every item of value. The place was devastated. This time our staff sprang into action, they were on the move within 24 hours with paint, lumber, cement, supplies, blankets, food and a good dose of the power of God. What happened was like it came out of the book of Acts. The home was rebuilt, but more importantly, a rural believer received a vision of the Church/Home and heard God’s voice calling him to “Go”. He showed up and began to round up church members; they began bringing in possessions and food. It took them nearly two weeks but the place is thriving, and the ‘Rural believer’ was appointed the new pastor. http://www.missionreports.com/chomkasan_construction

The “Young Lions” had tasted victory, and they were hungry! Within a week they set out for Kampong Speu Provinceand held meetings at Phdau Penh Church/Home. About 150 youth showed up in this very rural area. We don’t know of any who left without receiving Christ. http://www.missionreports.com/young_lions_kspeu  By this time the “Tigers” were starting to feel they were not measuring up, I told them in morning devotions that the key to their success was to impart their gifts and zeal upon those to whom they minister. So, they set out on a circuit, traveling from church to church teaching the kingdom of God . Results are still coming in. http://www.missionreports.com/young_tiger_aug , but they are substantial.

While I was wallowing in mud and grease at the rice farm, and the Tigers and Lions were ushering in the Kingdom of God, Pastor Dan Boyd brought a group of laborers and did a makeover at one of our rural Church/Homes in BantemeanchyProvince .  They worked in rain and heat and the entire church was greatly encouraged. http://www.missionreports.com/santa_rosa_kon    (on page two, 4th picture down on left, you’ll see why you might not want to go swimming in the Tonl’e Sap)  Near the end of the week at about 9:30am, Jenny Robinson, one of our great team leaders was painting trim and jumped down off some scaffolding onto an ice chest. It slipped out from under her and she put a five inch gash in her face exposing her jawbone. The team contacted Dr. Lina, and he called the hospital in Poipet. The team rushed her there for some emergency stitches. I called back to her church in Eugene , Oregon to let her family know and reached Bill Proulix, who gave me some great advice. “She’s a young woman and normal stitching will leave a huge scar. She needs to see a plastic surgeon. They rebuild from the bottom up”. I had left for Phnom Penh at 4:00am, awaken by a Cambodian funeral next door. I called Sou and she and Dr Lena set out for the 500 km trip toward Poipet. I bought tickets to Bangkok over the phone, and called the Bumrungradt Hospital for emergency surgery that evening. Jork, our Cambodian Team leader, set out with Jenny toward Phnom Penh , they met Sou and Dr. Lina about half way. We had her bags packed and caught an evening flight to Bangkok , by 11:30pm she was receiving surgery. The Dr. rebuilt 5 layers of tissue. Now, the stitches are out, and you have to look for the scar. Jenny was a “Trouper” and will hardly have a “Badge of Courage” to show for all her trouble.

That brings me to the “Bobs”. Bob and Christal Hollandsworth, and Bob Richards. Bob and Christal have been serving faithfully in Cambodia for nearly four years. Bob’s a well driller, and put our rebuilt rig through the paces this month. His son Jeremiah, who just got out of the US Air Force was here to assist him. http://www.missionreports.com/well_drilling_aug  The rig performed well but Bob’s got it back in the shop for more tinkering, none-the-less, we keep digging wells! Bob Richards, who did much to teach us how to set up for large medical mission teams over the past 10 years, was here to visit the church home he sponsors at Gaw An Doc. http://www.missionreports.com/bob_richard_visit_kor  He’s a fun guy to be around, with plenty of stories about being a Hollywood ‘ Props Manager’ (He worked on the John Wayne movie, “True Grit”). He left behind some needed bicycles and a lot of fun. One of the gifts he’s giving is a solar electric unit. They last longer than the diesel generators, are cheaper to operate, run lights all night, and turn the church into a community center. We install them as fast as we can raise the $2000 for their cost.http://www.missionreports.com/solar_aug

As you can see, all in all, a very busy month in Cambodia !

Be blessed, we will!
Pa Thom (Ted Olbrich)
Mak Sou (Sou Olbrich)
And the ones who do all the work,
Our Cambodian Team!

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