Dear Friends and Family,
“Monkeys with matches”, they may not mean any harm, but man, can they mess things up! Back in the days of “Farmer matches and thatch roofed houses”, they were a feared combination. Now, it’s a different mix, but still dangerous. Once more, we have earthquakes, wars, etc. in the news, and our “Monkeys” are playing with “Spiritual matches”. They site current events and leave many wondering, “Could this be it?” The truth is (Matthew 24:36), only God the Father knows! Yet, in Cambodia, the “Monkeys” are buying up a lot of radio time, broadcasting a “Doomsday message”, and renting space on billboards in Phnom Penh stating, “THE END OF THE WORLD IS ALMOST HERE! HOLY GOD WILL BRING JUDGMENT DAY ON MAY 21, 2011”. http://www.missionreports.com/judgment_day A great stir has arisen. These billboards are in several locations, and come complete with “Countdown calendars”. The problem is that the non-Christian world associates all Christians with the “Monkeys”, and on May 22nd, to those subjected to these preposterous claims, the inevitable truth of Christ’s return will be discredited. It has not always been so.
In a world with one-fourth the population of today, 16 million people died in a series of wars that, for the first time, engulfed the entire world. Between 50 and 500 million people died of a flu epidemic. The Balfour Declaration had been signed, declaring the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. Jerusalem was occupied by a foreign army. There was a major series of earthquakes and volcanic activity from 1912 to 1918 filling the atmosphere with ash clouds that circled the world. My grandfather told me about the sky appearing red, and in 1917 having frost every month of the year, in Illinois , USA . There were crop failures and famines in many parts of the world. When you see this picture today http://www.missionreports.com/amiee_semple_mcpherson , it might make you laugh. But, at least in the Western hemisphere, in a much more Biblically literate world, in light of Matthew 24:7, no one was laughing in 1918.
This woman, Amiee Semple McPherson, went on to found the Foursquare Church , one of the four tenets being, Jesus Christ, “The Soon-Coming King”. Jesus said, in the next to the last verse of the Bible, “Surely I am coming quickly”. Unless you’re in the group that believes that this was fulfilled in 70 AD, He’s still not here. So? Sister McPherson was not a, “Nut case”, she never set dates, but was an anointed follower of Jesus Christ, expounding on the events as she saw them in light of the Gospel.
Our new Missions Director, Jim Scott, paid us a quick visit, and in our whirlwind trip around the “ Great Lake ” the conversation turned to eschatology (theology concerning the final events in world history). He quizzed me, “What’s your position?” I replied, “We don’t have much other than that Jesus is coming back.” He asked, “What about the fourth tenet?” I said, “If it was quickly 2000 years ago it’s got to be sooner now!” He nodded at our Vice President, Som Adt, “What do they think?” I shrugged, “Ask him.” So, I interpreted the question, “When is Jesus coming back?”, and without hesitation, Som Adt stated, “When we’ve reached all the people with the Gospel!” Jim thought for a second and then affirmed, “I guess that is what the Bible says!”
Personally, about the only thing I will guarantee, is that Jesus is not coming back on May 21, 2011. He may show up before that, after that, or in a few thousand years, but this “Monkey” does not know the day! And I’m pretty certain that God is not going to honor him with the lucky guess! Our pastors are being flooded with questions, and it does give them opportunity to share Christ, but the surprising reaction of many non-believers is that they acknowledge the broadcasts, and, since they believe their karma is set, conclude that it’s too late for them, so; “Let’s eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow we die!” We’d rather stick around and see the world come to Christ.
Easter Sunday is about hope for the future http://www.missionreports.com/easter_april_2011/index.html . It was celebrated in a huge way this year. The services were so large that they were moved outside, with about 5000 people in attendance at the two services at Cham Chao. The entire parking lot was filled in the evening. The highlight of the service was a dramatic presentation of the “Passion” and more than 2000 people responded to Christ. Most of them were teenagers. Cambodia is coming to Christ!
It doesn’t seem to make the world news, but Cambodia has its own ongoing war with Thailand , over a 12th century temple, near the border. Why? The only thing we can figure out is that it is politically expedient for the Thai. They have two political factions fighting for control of Thailand and this border war seems to unite them. Even though the border has been established for 130 years, been before the World Court twice, and been declared an “International Heritage Site” in Cambodia by the UN, the Thai insist that it is theirs. We’ve had to evacuate three Church/Homes along the border, and 30,000 Cambodians have become refugees. http://www.missionreports.com/cambodia_thai_crash_in_april_2011
We certainly are not planning on leaving this earth anytime soon, if so, then, we are really stupid! We’ve invested multiplied thousands of dollars in a new rice crop. We finished planting on April 25th, have had some good rains, and the crop is off to a great start! With the rise in commodity prices we could not make it without our production. Please pray for a good crop! http://www.missionreports.com/rice_planting_apr
Keeping our kids fed is our greatest financial burden, and doing this in a nutritionally balanced manner is a struggle. For kids to develop mentally and physically, they need both protein and vitamin supplements. One really helpful food item is the, “Manna Packs”. These are rice based, and are provided by “Feed My Starving Children”, through Bill Meyer. Though our kids eat “three squares”, one meal per day of the “Manna Pack” will provide all the essential nutrition the average person needs to sustain life. http://www.missionreports.com/rice_meal_apr_2011/index.html We go through at least 60 tons per year!
Singapore was huge for us this month. George Butron, the S.E. Asian Missions Director, pastors a large Baptist Church in Singapore . One of his members is in the import/export business and found himself with a 40’ shipping container full of bunk beds on his hands. http://www.missionreports.com/beds_singapore We were blessed with them. This should finally give us enough beds for all our kids and the Garment Factory Workers Dorm. Then a team of 24 students and staff members showed up from the “ International Community School ” in Singapore http://www.missionreports.com/ics_school_singapore . They built a fence around our Church/home at Toule Dam Na. As they were digging post holes, two pieces of unexploded ordinance (UXO) were found. Fortunately they were duds! After the discoveries our pastors decided to do the digging; it’s not nice to blow up guests. Thanks guys! Thank God! And, thank you Singapore ICS!
The world came to Cambodia in April! A team from Hong Kong traveled to the remote village of Oral and left it well repaired, and with a promise of sponsorship. This is a huge blessing as we still have more than 20 unsponsored Church/homes. http://www.missionreports.com/hong_kong_team_apr11.
Then the new directors of Swiss Warm Blankets paid a visit. They did a familiarization tour leaving us with a commitment to raise funds for the Tum Nup Church/home. We need more teams like this! It’s really great to see groups from around the world getting involved in helping the separated kids in Cambodia ! http://www.missionreports.com/swiss_team_apr11
I’m done! Have a great spring!
Ted and Sou Olbrich (Pa and Mak Thom),
and those doing all the work,