Dear Friends and Family,
Spud (my dog) bit me! Can you believe that lousy mutt? He’d never seen me in a suit. (Actually, very few have seen me in a suit) Spud must have thought I was an intruder. When I yelled at him, he recognized me instantly, and apologized profusely! (That’s what dogs do when they whine and grovel. Right?) So, why the suit? Sam’s finally gotten the job done! Sam Tolle is one of our best volunteers, a great team leader, but not the fastest when it comes to romance. He’s only been here for three years! I don’t know how long he expected us to keep these girls in waiting, but on July 2nd, he finally tied the knot! It was a fun wedding for Sou and me, especially with Sam’s family here to help celebrate. ( see photos)
Seri Yen, now Mrs. Sam Tolle, is one of the original five, “Monkey Girls” from 1999. They received the name from me when they started dancing at about age 7. They were all dressed alike, and I couldn’t keep their names straight, so I deemed them the “Monkey Girls” and assigned them numbers. Yen is “Monkey Number Two”. I realize you may find it demeaning that I would use such terminology, (I have never been known for my political correctness) but, with so many new kids coming in every week, there was no way I could keep track of names back then. But, these five girls, would start dancing in unison anytime music started playing, just like an organ grinder’s monkeys, so the name stuck. And, once we organized them, and gave them some instruction, they became the basis for our “Cambodian Culture” claim for the churches around the country. It has spread all over Cambodia, as they shared their talent with thousands of people, young and old, through the years.
Now, this is going to date you. But, I’ve been gone for 15 years, so, please, cut me some slack! Let’s see how good you are at “Trivia”? Question: Take Jeb Clampertt, ( Beverly Hillbillies) cross him with MacGyver (The guy who could fix anything), and marry him off to “Wonder Woman”(No explanation needed), and what do you get? Give up? Bob and Christal Hollandsworth! That should have been easy! Now, Ol’e Bob and Christal are leaving us. Bummer! After six years of faithful service, they have become such an institution in Cambodia, that I’m not sure we’ll be complete without them. It will be hard to see them go, but Bob’s mother is aging to the point where she needs his full time help. We are keeping their apartment furnished, and they promise, “We’ll be back!” so, until then, have a look at six years of history: ( see video)
People ask me, “Why are you guys so successful?” That always trips me up because I don’t feel “successful”. Blessed maybe, but not successful. The truth is that God blesses those who care about what He cares about. Now, we all agree, He cares about people coming into relationship with Him, but the rub is, “How do you get Him supernaturally involved?” If you will take the time, I am now able to attempt to give you an explanation. A little over a year ago, I spoke at the Foursquare convention. A lot of you have asked for a copy of that presentation, but the copies were so expensive, I didn’t even buy one! And, I signed away the rights to use it before I spoke. Evidently these “Rights” have expired, because it’s on Vimeo. You can view a brief promo or if you have 50 minutes, you can watch the entire presentation ( see videos). Be forewarned, I really did not work for the CIA. I was in Laos, I did work for two different three letter organizations while there, from 1968 to 1971, but my ID card read “Contact Employee of the US Embassy”. Also, they show the three minute promo video on “Rebuilding Cambodia”, at the beginning, so, if you’ve seen that, you’ll have to suffer through it again. Sorry! Oh, one more correction, Bethy only tried to kill two people before she was 14. And, she really is the greatest teacher I know.
Yes, I did spend four days in Switzerland visiting my old friends at the Quella (Means: “Spring”, as in fresh water, I believe) Foursquare Church, pastored by my good friend Kurt Kammerman. I was actually there looking at a de-mining machine called the “Digger”, that would be very handy in clearing land mine harboring, brush covered land for rice production. All we need is a very gracious donor. I’m afraid we’ve tapped out all the churches, just trying to keep these kids alive. But, I really believe that our Cambodian Rice Production Enterprise is the road to self sufficiency for FCOP, and this would be a handy tool in getting us there. (see photos)
How’d you like to have 75 kids in one month? That’s how many we’ve received from government referral since June 1st. Plus, they decided to re-certify the six homes in Ratanakirri Province, that were on suspension because the Home Parents couldn’t read Cambodian. These are tribal homes! Anyway, we never stopped servicing them, but it’s nice to get the recognition back. We’re supposed to be shrinking. Orphan numbers in Cambodia are declining. But, because of the strict oversight, the closing of many questionable homes, and the cost driving many providers out of business, we are growing. The first month for a new orphan is the most expensive. They need clothes, a bed, medical and dental care, and I could go on, but we really need some help here. The government, which was trying to close us two years ago, has now become our champion, but they don’t give us any money. Our homes rated a grade of 89 out of a possible 100 points on their recent examinations, and we actually had to ask that they give us a lower rating than they wanted. Part of the reason we rate so high, is in what we do with the kids when they get older. We don’t just expel them when they are 18. We help them become productive citizens of Cambodia. We didn’t ask for this, but our kids in the graduating class of Don Bosco Technical School (Our most appreciated Catholic brothers in Christ) put this together just this week. It really explains how they feel, and why we are appreciated. Remember, you make it possible! ( see video)
We all agree that God cares about the orphan and the widow. Here is how Crossroads Community Church from Vallejo, California, showed this in a very practical way. They worked hard to refurbish one of our original church homes built in 1999. The donor organization that helped us build these churches asked recently how many of these church homes are still in operation? I answered, “All of them!” In fact most are much better now than when first built. Quite a few could use some tender loving care, so? Put together a team and come over! The best thing is what you do for the kids! You bring them a gift worth more than money: “Someone half-way around the world cares about me. I am significant!” Bless all of you who drop a sheaf to keep us going! (Deut: 24:19) God says you’re already blessed! ( see photos)
But, God is also specifically concerned for the sick. Medical teams are probably one of the most selfless and pure expressions of the love of God. And, as is usually the case, when that occasional person walks into the clinic, that the doctors cannot help, the prayer team takes over. And, we do see miracles. Not always, but frequently enough to convince thousands that, “This God has big power!”. Dr. Mike Callan, on the faculty of the University of Iowa School of Dentistry, has brought around ten teams to Cambodia, through Medical Teams International. This month they provided care for our kids from ten church/homes, and a lot of local people who could never afford a dentist. It may be that Dr Mike is our best missionary? ( see photos)
God often mentions the “Stranger” as someone who needs special attention. Strangers are people from outside our community that we may not understand nor know little about. The Union Church, Hong Kong decided to do something about that. Their children’s ministry collected hundreds of books, and hand carried them to our church/home in Tek Hoat, Cambodia, where they set up a library. Not only that, they left extra books behind for other church/homes. No longer strangers, they left as friends. ( see photos)
God cares deeply about prisoners. Do you want to find a sinner? Just look in the mirror. If you’re looking for a heathen? Don’t bother looking in the Preah Vihear Provincial Prison. Mak Sou just paid a visit, and found many of the discharged prisoners are starting new churches. They are virtually 100% Christian, thanks to the faithful ministry of Some Adt, our District Supervisor, and the “Proclaimer” a dramatized version of an audible Bible. The units are about as big as standard sized Bible, but play like a radio. They are solar powered, battery powered, plug-in cord powered, or if all else fails, crank powered with its own generator. Since most of the prisoners cannot read or write, they are oral learners. ( see photos)
Morgan Jackson, the Director of “Faith Comes by Hearing”, taught me something which I’m sure most of you don’t realize. If you asked me, “What is the most boring part of the Bible?” I would instantly respond, “The genealogies”. If you ask an oral learner, “What is the most important part of the Bible?” they would respond,”The genealogies”. Why? Because the genealogies give credibility to the source of information for an oral learner. Anyone who can trace His genealogy back 14 generations has credibility. His name? Jesus.
Hey! We have what appears to be one of the best rice crops in Cambodia. We are working feverishly to try and construct a concrete drying platform, which looks like a runway for an airplane, before the rains make it impossible to build, or the rice crop matures. Bob Richards, literally an old (sorry Bob) set manager, for John Wayne, (No wonder I like the guy!) sent us about 1/2 what we need for this project. I thought I had it all, and then these 75 new kids showed up. Help! I wish I had more recent pictures of it, but some “Dirty rat” stole our camera right out from under Paul Mok’s pillow (our farm manager) while he was sleeping. It ate a hole in the leather case, and dragged it off the porch where he sleeps, into a mud puddle. These photos are about one week old, but that dark green stuff? It is going to produce about six tons of paddy rice per hectare, if we can harvest, dry, and store it. ( see photos)
Speaking of help, if it weren’t for “Reach Now International”, “Gleanings for the Hungry”, and all the donors of food stuffs they put together and send through Lou Binninger, we’d be starving to death, literally! These guys are life savers! We may be broke, but we’re fed healthy meals! ( see photos)
Be Blessed Forever! We really can’t do this without your help!
Ted & Sou Olbrich (Pa Thom and Mak Sou)
And those doing all the work,