Dear Friends and Family,
You’ve probably heard the old story about the three pawed dog that limped into an old west saloon, plops down his six-gun on the bar and says to the bartender, “I’m looking for the man that shot my Paw” (now to those not familiar with American colloquialisms “Paw” is an expression used for “father” and, is of course, the word used correctly for a dog’s foot). If you’re over 50 you’ll know that the standard theme in many old western movies was one of a vengeful son looking for the killer of his father, which makes this more of a pun than a joke. So, whats my point? Anger and vengeance are poor motivators. They only land you in deeper trouble. You see, my dog Spud got “taken out” by a cobra about three years ago, so we replaced him with a new dog “Spuddy”.
Now, old Spud, was a cold blooded rat killer. If you put him in a pen of 16 rats in 60 seconds you’d have 16 dead rats and one happy Spud. I think the rats hired the cobra to put a “hit” on Spud. Like two gunfighters squaring off on Main Street at high noon, both the cobra and Spud went down in a blaze of glory. New Spuddy has little interest in rats, but he kills every snake within 100 meters. He’ll take out a rat if he meets him face-to-face, but he’ll walk a mile for a snake. It may well eventually be the end of him, but he’s killed dozens of snakes. Seeking revenge for the murder of his “Paw”. However, right now he’s more interested in being “Stud” than “Spud”. He’s got 13 kids and he’s only three. (see photos)
Now, to get to the point. I was getting a bit vindictive over all the plotting, jealousy, envy and intentional discord being sown by leaders and outside influences in the church. My only redemptive quality in this is that God hates it more than I do. I was simply just not handling it well; wanting to take matters into my own hands, you know, John Wayne fashion, “Shoot’em all and let God sort them out”. About the time I was wanting to “do something”, I received a request through Sonny Weimer, our International board president. I had been invited to be interviewed by Randy Clark, a well known apostolic teacher, the founder and director of Global Awakening. I was inclined to stay home and deal with problems, but I was enticed to change my mind by an additional invitation from a potential sponsoring church to come and speak with them. Since we need more home support donors, I went to Albuquerque. (see photos)
Few times in my life has such a beneficial convergence happened. Randy Clark is no “slouch” in Christian circles. We did not know each other, but at his request, I met him in a prepared interview that was being videotaped. Somehow, our souls connected. He was preparing to leave for Brazil while finishing a week long training school in Albuquerque, NM. To pack for the trip, Randy needed to return to his home in Mechanicsburg, PA where he has the Global School of Supernatural Ministries. Randy left after the interview, but returned just minutes later and asked if I would teach the morning session. It must have gone well, as he asked if I would then participate in a panel discussion at the end of the course. As soon as that finished, he asked if I would go to Pennsylvania to teach the closing session of his Global School which was preparing to graduate about 90 students.
Sonny and I set out for the east coast. On the way we stopped to visit with our partners, ICM in Hampton, VA who have helped us build over 100 church homes. We spent the night in Washington, D.C. Being an amateur Civil War historian for the past 30 years, I wanted to visit Willard’s Hotel where many covert plans of the war were cussed and discussed. I gave the free and unsolicited history lesson to a rather bored Sonny. He kept working on my heart, “Ted, God can’t deal with these problems if you don’t let them go! Bless your enemies, pray for those who despitefully use you.” About that same time we had our picture snapped at Willard’s standing with a photo of Lincoln between us, and I’d just finished reading “Team of Rivals”, the history of the gracious Lincoln dealing with a team of deeply divided leaders. The “old goat” finally got through to me. We drove through Harpers Ferry, WV, the site where I did my initial training for Laos in 1968, the building in the picture is about ready to fall down. I continued the history lesson, and Sonny renewed my faith in the power of forgiveness.
I’m not sure about cause and effect, but having 3000 orphans and widows covering your back in prayer can’t hurt. I returned from the U.S. and found a different Cambodian Church. Pastors were filled with joy. They were working together; some who hadn’t spoken to one another for years were locked arm-in-arm in worship. It was a wonderful boost for both Sou and I to see a functional Board of Directors committed to serving God and building the Church regardless of personal cost. But the biggest surprise was what happened to our “Young Lions”. We held the Inaugural Youth Leadership Conference for them and expected about 500 youth from around the nation to come, but almost 800 showed up. Some cheated. They were supposed to be in high school, but we noticed some 10 to 12 year olds. We asked, “Why are you here?” and the reply was always something like, “We can cast out demons as well as these guys.” The pictures will tell a story (see photos) but the Youtube video is a must!
Most of the kids under our care come to us with a load of emotional pain. It would be easy for them to become bitter or vengeful, but there is something about the synergy of a bunch of new brothers and sisters loving God and each other, that breaks the chains of pain. Of course, we help all we can with a “kid friendly environment”. We call these things “kid magnets” and thanks to a grant from the Foursquare Foundation and matching funds from Home of English, twenty new playground sets are being built in our regional orphan homes. Happy homes make happy kids. (see photos) Please pray for us. There is a “mystery disease” that is killing children in Cambodia. So far about 60 children have died from it, none of ours, although one of our pastors lost a granddaughter to dengue fever this month. This new disease is like an instant pneumonia that fills the lungs overnight. God is bigger than this bug. PTL!
We ate our last bag of rice in mid-June. The early harvest is still a month away. With a two-ton-per-day appetite for rice from our munchkins, this was big problem. Reach Now International to the rescue! Two loads of Manna Packs came through in less than a month. (see photos) We just delivered the last box yesterday, but it should last until we receive 20 tons of rice from the Butte County Rice Growers Assc. and Far West Rice later this month. That should get us to harvest. Yes! God is good! And those Manna Packs have become more and more popular as our cooks have really learned how to innovate the preparation with soup mix and canned fish from Gleanings for The Hungry. Thanks guys!
May your rats die young, and your snakes meet a Spuddy dog! Have a great month!
Pa Thom (Ted Olbrich) & Mak Sou (Sou Olbrich)
And all our joyful slave labor, Our Staff!