Dear Friends and Family,
“What a Wonderful World” If there is one song for which both young and old will remember Louis Armstrong, it is this tune. (watch video) Those old enough will remember the fact he sang it during the Vietnam War. Now, I like the song and no offense to the “Satchmo,” but if the world were that “Wonderful” Jesus went through a lot of trouble for nothing. There is a whole lot of pain and suffering in this world that I cannot begin to explain, and the song sounds a lot more like heaven than earth. But then, maybe God really wants the Church to bring a little bit of Heaven to Earth.
The Earth is far from perfect. Some things just “Should not be,” like rats and mosquitoes! Now, I am sure some of you are sympathetically lamenting my prejudices as endangering cats and bats, but I say let them change their diets! There are plenty of other disgusting critters out there for them to devour. I know God is good, but why did they make it on the ark? Actually, I have a theory on that. The rats stole away by crawling up an anchor rope, and the mosquitoes flew, uninvited, through a porthole. So, one of my missions in life is to eliminate as many of these enemies of mankind as possible. I was on my walk today and saw four “good” rats; they are the ones smooshed flat by passing cars during the night. I know! I have a sick mind. But, trust me, I have a point.
One of our visiting doctors had some fun with the kids at a church home. In this land of tigers, crocodiles and cobras he asked them, “What is the most dangerous animal on earth?” After all the kids came forth with everything from raging elephants, to bull water buffalos during mating season, he announced the answer: “The mosquito.” It’s true by probably 100,000 fold. If we could eliminate the malaria and dengue fever caused by mosquitoes, and the fecal contamination and diseases carried by rats, Cambodia would be a much healthier place.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Lk 4:18-19. Upon observing Jesus’ ministry, I would conclude that the kingdom of God is freedom, provision, health, righteousness, joy, peace and relationship. He gave us, the Church, the keys to His Kingdom. He sent the Holy Spirit to empower the delivery of these goods from Heaven and to bind up what He has already bound in Heaven. Come on! How many impoverished, sick, demonized, depressed, and enslaved people are in Heaven? And yet the most common prayer we pray every day is, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven.”
So? We live on this Earth, and if our job is to be conduits for God’s kingdom, what does good news to poor look like? You can’t get much poorer than a Cambodian orphan, especially, those who are losing their livestock to local thieves because they have no security fence, or no well to drink from. Good news could come as a fence, clean water and reproducible livestock. God had some delivery systems. The Springfield Faith Center brought some very good news to the Do Dan Trey church orphan home. (see photos) The Guam team and Church of the Living Water became the hands and feet of Jesus to The Phum Leav and Steng Somrong church orphan homes. (see photos) This is “Kingdom Come” kind of work!
When you are poor about the last thing you give up is food. How do you feed 3,000 orphans and separated children? One way is to grow some rice, but kids are not slaves and we have no source for the labor to raise 800 tons of rice per year. So, maybe even some machines can help usher in the “Wonderful World.” (see photos) What do you think “Healing the broken hearted” looks like? I think it looks a lot like a medical mission from Guam (primarily US military) and Norway (AsiaLink) along with our Cambodian docs & dentists. They did much to eliminate the scourges of these pests along with rotten teeth and poor health care. They treated nearly 1,100 people and our prayer teams and pastors led hundreds into relationship with Christ. (see photos)
Nothing is more heartbreaking than strife and division in a family, especially a church family that is supposed to be about love, joy and peace. The church in Rattanakiri was trapped in a snare of unforgiveness, gossip and jealousy. It was destroying a family that Christ died for. Mak Sou, Pastor Peter, a team of “Young Lions” and elders went up and ministered a bit of heaven. There were tears, repentance and reconciliation. Broken hearts were healed. (see photos)
You want to talk about “Setting captives free and liberty for the oppressed”? Imagine being in such fear of demonic retribution that you spend most of your disposable income on amulets to protect you and your household only to still get sick? One thing I know about Jesus is that He wants us free! I am amazed at the number of Christians who want to live under a God whom they see as a benevolent dictator. They really need to learn to be “Free indeed!” Our pastors and team members set a couple hundred captives free. That is a little bit of heaven on earth. (see photos)
We’ve literally seen blind eyes opened through prayer, but I don’t know of any this month. We pray, but we’ve also trained an optometrist. Sometimes a little bit of Heaven can be as simple as a pair of glasses. (see photos)
What do you think the “Acceptable year of the Lord” is all about? I think it’s about throwing open the doors of heaven and saying, “Everyone come on in!” That’s what we are training our pastors through the help of BarOne Ministries. (see photos) Hundreds of believers were baptized into the Kingdom this month. Young and old are flocking to the “Good News,” being filled with His Spirit and introducing the Kingdom of God to their countrymen. The doors are wide open in Cambodia. (see photos)
I have a feeling Louis is singing in heaven, and rooting us all on who work to bring a little of his song to this earth. May God bless all of you in your individual efforts. I know He has blessed us!
Have a great March!
Ted & Sou Olbrich (Pa and Mak Thom)
& those doing all the work (Our Staff)