Dear Friends and Family,
What happened to “Global Warming”? I’m glad Al Gore is not God, even if the first two letters of his last name are the same. You know, “G” and “O”. It’s been chilly here in Cambodia, a frigid 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 C). We bought blankets and mosquito nets by the truckload. The beds are courtesy of Swiss Warm Blankets. (see photos) Warm is good!
Hey! Guess who else isn’t God? Sorry, Google doesn’t measure up, even though they also share the first two letters of their name. Anyway, I decided to ask Google. Here’s what they say: “Google, combined with Wi-Fi, is a little bit like God. God is wireless, God is everywhere and God sees and knows everything. Throughout history, people connected to God without wires. Now, for many questions in the world, you ask Google, and increasingly, you can do it without wires too.” Now, Google may think it’s “All knowing,” but I’ve stumped it on rice herbicides. Shock! It can even be wrong! So, is Google “Omnipresent”? Sorry, I can’t get it to work in northern Rattanakiri Province. Strike two! Well, finally the last test, is Google “All powerful”? That’s dumb! It won’t even change the sunrise by one millisecond. My conclusion? We better worship the one God Who still does have His hand on the thermostat, even if we’d like Him to give it a nudge, and that is exactly what the “Young Tigers” are teaching and demonstrating with “Signs and Wonders” following. (see photos)
The “Geezers” are doing ok as well. Mak Sou may divorce me for calling her one, but even though she looks like she’s 39, she’s only one year younger than, “Yours truly,” so she qualifies. Sorry Mak! She and some of our elders have covered the country this month, from North to South and from East to West. The real “Big G” has been with them as well! (see photos) Go Sou!
God does make life interesting. Talk about a shock to the system! My friends with Asia Link in Norway can’t even compete. They have a habit of inviting me to Norway in January every few years. Now, for a Cambodian rice farmer, that is a very chilling contrast, but I have thoroughly enjoyed each visit, and I have, on both occasions, experienced rather moderate weather. This year, I decided to come back to the US for a couple of weeks to visit a few of our faithful donors. Starting in Southern California, I worked my way to the Seattle area, and finally to Illinois and Iowa. I got here on Tuesday, February 1, 2011 on one of the last planes to arrive at O’Hare Field before they cancelled more than 1,000 flights, and drove through a blizzard to be with my son Tony. I was here for the “Big one”. A record snow storm coupled with -18 F degrees (-28C) is trying to make me miserable, but at least I have bragging rights. “I survived the blizzard of 2011!” (see photos) I go home to Cambodia from Iowa on Sunday evening, “God willing, if the car starts and if the snow don’t blow!”
Wow! I don’t want to overstate the obvious, but there is only one God, and He’s in charge. I just wish He’d turn up the heat a little, but then maybe He’s just trying to show Al who the boss is? How do I know that? Simple! Each one of us has failed in so many ways; failed to act, failed to stand, failed to resist. But together we have conquered, withstood, and prevailed. As individuals we lament our personal failures, but as a church we have collectively triumphed. Sure, we’ve suffered some casualties along the way. However, the offspring of victory gives us a joy unspeakable. Cambodia is different! The Church is no longer a joke! Thousands of kids that had no hope have been raised, connected to Jesus and been released into the economy, the culture and the church. They are empowered with a new value system, have the energy and enthusiasm to push forward with the kingdom of God.
As we look back at twelve years of steady struggle, triumph laced with tragedy, the summation is: “It has truly been a collective effort under the blessing of God.” Though each of us may feel our role has been small and we regret we’ve not done more, you all need to know that each part has been significant to the whole and we are eternally grateful. The orphan kids on our staff put this together. Though some of you have seen it, you need to know that this came from the hearts of the recipients. I had nothing to do with it. (watch video)
You want to see God show up? You should have been here for the Warm Blankets & Foursquare Foundation funded “Baptism Trip.” It was a chance for some of our new kids, from about 30 church orphan homes to come into the capital city of Phnom Penh, meet “brothers and sisters” from around the country, have some fun, go visit the royal palace, receive great teaching, meet up with Jesus, go to the beach to be water baptized and to top it off, get filled with the Holy Spirit. Each home’s kids wore a different colored shirt so we could keep track of them. This year 500+ of our kids brought 200+ of their unsaved friends along. Those that didn’t know Christ met Him. They all got baptized in the ocean and as far as I could tell, all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. It is a day they will never forget. And, better yet, they will export this back to their communities all over Cambodia. It was a big event for us, so there are a lot of pictures! Make sure you peek at all the pages. (see photos)
You want to talk about miraculous provision? We were in big trouble with the condition of some of our church orphan homes. Look, with 30-40 kids in a place for 10 years or more it’s bound to take a beating. Work teams have come to our rescue. I met the team from Living Waters Church, in Olympia, Washington and then I abandoned them and left for the USA. They slaved away for two weeks and actually salvaged four homes, the two that they sponsor and two more. (see photos) Teams like these are great! They actually threw an, “All church party” for the church orphan home they have sponsored the longest and 350 people showed up. But, they spent most of their time working at a poverty stricken location that has undergone a lot of persecution and the pastor was discouraged. They left behind a revitalized congregation. Way to go!
Provision has come materially as well. Rice Nutrition Meals (Manna Packs) were shipped in a 40 foot long container. One of these meals per day supplies all the essential nutrients that the human body needs. What’s more? They are rice based. (see photos) We owe a big “Thanks!” to Bill Meyer and “Feed My Starving Children.” Most of the meals have been distributed to the church orphan homes we operate along with a container filled with “Muscle Milk,” a highly nutritious energy drink that is used by body builders in the US. (see photos) The kids love this drink and it is so good for them! “Thanks!” to Lou Binninger and Erick at “Gleanings for the Hungry” for this huge blessing! God does truly provide for us, but you guys are His hands and feet!
Have a great month! Me? I just want to go home (Cambodia) and get warm!Be Blessed! We are!
Ted and Sou Olbrich, (Pa and Mak Thom)
Those doing all the work! Our Staff