Dear friends and Family,
I’m an “Obsolete Essential!” I’m not sure how I feel about that. I confess to a bit of wounded pride over the obsolete part, but on the other hand, it’s good to be needed even if it does involve a bit of head banging. What am I talking about? The Cambodians do much of what we do far better. Quite frankly, I am often a distraction. There are few things I enjoy more than traveling in the countryside, but I am not a tourist. Everything we do needs to reflect back on a benefit to the Church.Pastor Peter, our national church president, and some of our “Young Tigers” demonstrated this with a trip to Rattanakiri. (see photos) Oh, how I wanted to be there! But, that would have been a disaster! Despite my insistence to the contrary, when I am there, everyone looks to “Pa.” When I’m gone they are forced into the arms of the Holy Spirit. “But wisdom is justified by her children” (Matt 11:19) even if some of the “Geezers” do pout (name withheld to protect the guilty).
Now, to the essential part. There is such a thing as “God imparted vision.” I state that as a self-assured fact, even if you do disagree with me. The point is that this is a gift, and it is noteasily blurred, tarnished or destroyed. Quite frankly, the orphan ministry can be a real pain. Yes, there are abundant rewards, and we don’t talk much about the negatives; kids who lie to you, steal from you, pastors that cheat, government harassment, extortion, lack of finances, kids with their hormones out of control, grannies who “loose it” and slap a kid, etc. I don’t know how many times I’ve been approached by leaders in the Church begging me to, “Just do Spiritual stuff and forget these orphans!” At those times I feel a little like the “Lone Ranger.” I know that our Cambodian blessing has flowed from meeting the urgent need, (Titus 3:14) that emanates from the heart of God, (Jas. 1:27) which draws people to Christ, producing the fruitfulness that manifests the promise of provision proclaimed by Christ (Jn 15:16b). (Now that is a theological mouth-full, and if you digest it you’ll be dangerous to the devil.) (see photos) These are our own orphan kids rebuilding one of their homes.
The concept of keying in on fruitfulness through anointing is more essential to me than drawing my next breath. So, I don’t compromise. We will continue to do this no matter how painful, expensive, or embarrassing until God pulls the pin! It is not just the force of human will, a neat idea, or even a well executed Biblical concept. It is a calling and anointing. So we “Mush on.” Orphan staff are now learning that true goodness is not religious activity, but something much more tangible (Is 1:17) (see photos)
Physically, emotionally, and financially we all often feel like giving up. The Government is pressing hard on renewals for the “Memorandum of Understanding”, which is the document that gives us authority to operate each home. This mandate is written by humanistic organizations, which “fund” the appropriate agencies to work their own purposes. Much of what they want is good but culturally inappropriate for Cambodia. One size fits all, designed in Europe for the entire world. The document for our homes totals 57,600 pages. (Yes, I typed that correctly!) And you thought only the US loved bureaucracy? These agencies simply want to find ways to close anything Christian. They can only do this by trying to control every aspect to a breaking point at which we cannot comply. We scramble all hands to meet the smallest requirement. (see photos)
Teams emanate partnership. Vision does unite people with a common call; but it can also divide people, and not render either party’s actions wrong. People can be in the will of God and be called to different areas, missions, or functions. In these cases they find the common ground and work together. We have had great assistance from a team made up from three churches in the US Napa Valley, led by Hope Chapel Santa Rosa, CA this past month. (see photos)
I know it may sound manipulative, but we simply could not do what we do without you! We have hundreds of partners that do tremendous labors to assist the ministry here, but as one wealthy individual, who helped us buy our first rice land, told me, “I can’t do what you do.” I looked at this extremely successful businessman, and with all honesty told him, “That’s right! But I sure can’t do what you do!” Prairie Harvest Church from Saskatchewan, Canada came to pitch in, as well as, get an overview of the work here (see photos)
It is essential that if you desire supernatural results you attempt supernatural ministry. There really was a reason why Jesus spent so much of His ministry time healing folks. It was their greatest need, and He could meet it, re-connecting them to their Heavenly Father. Has He changed? What part of that does the Church not understand? We pray, take authority over and cast out some of the devil’s junk on a daily basis. Do we bat 1000? No, but we do get quite a few home runs. The bolder the church gets, the better our batting average. I wasn’t physically present for any of these momentous events, but to mention a few of God’s “power moves” for which we have photos (see photos): there was a woman instantly healed of breast cancer in Tumnup, a baby with water retention healed in Khampong Leng, a lame man healed at Preh Toat and an insane women set free in Phdau Pen.
We also use every modern weapon against disease. Thanks to a grant from The Foursquare Foundation, and other matching fund partners, we are testing and treating hundreds of people for hepatitis “B.” Not only are people being healed through medicine, they are coming to Christ and being filled with the Spirit through this simple good deed. (see photos)
Sometimes, I’m not so essential, just handy to have around. I do have some experience raising rice, operating equipment and killing weeds & rats. After all, my favorite things are herbicides, chainsaws, bulldozers and dynamite. I went on a shopping spree that took me from Baton Rouge, LA (USA) up through Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Tennessee and ending in Versailles, Missouri trying to find and buy any gadget, machine, seed, or chemical that could help us raise rice. I came back with a 40′ shipping container filled to the brim. It arrived the day before yesterday. (see photos)
Most people won’t call me “green,” but I’ll stack the carbon credits of our developed rice land against your rain forest any day, plus we can feed thousands. (see photos) Even with our enhanced production, we still need rain and June was dry (even though some of our pictures look pretty wet) so we started praying and commanding those clouds to drop water. It did rain yesterday, but I’m greedy. I want more! I believe we’ll have a good crop.
We still don’t have enough rice to meet all the needs we face, so we are eternally grateful to guys like Lou Binninger and the “Butte County Rice Producers” and “Far West Rice” for helping us out. (see photos) Almost 30% of our support comes from partners like these and others who ship us almost 400 tons of food products, medicines, and machines each year.
Honestly, we really can’t keep track of all the baptisms the Church is seeing. One event we sponsored at the Rom Dule Church Orphan Home saw more than 400 baptized in the water of our fishpond. Our friends from Prairie Harvest Church in Saskatchewan made it possible. (see photos) We have a lot of people who criticize us for not keeping voluminous records and preparing elaborate baptism certificates. Quite frankly, we don’t have time for all the records we and can’t afford the certificates; besides, Jesus said to get them baptized, not count them! I’ve been baptized at least three times; sprinkled twice, dunked once. So what?
I’ve probably gotten myself into enough trouble for one month. Don’t forget to check out our new website: www.fcopi.org For those of you sending in contributions from the US and Canada, remember our new address: FCOPI, P.O. Box 1449, Fort Morgan, CO 80701. For those in Foursquare, FMI has dedicated a new PO box for us: PO Box 26776, Los Angeles, CA 90026.
Be blessed. We are!
Ted Olbrich (Pa Thom)
Sou Olbrich (Mak Sou)
All those who really do all the work (Our Staff)