Update: November 2010

Dear Friends and Family

It’s shocking but true! Between the months of April and November you are about 150 times more likely to die of a lightning strike in Cambodia than you are in the US . But when you stop to think about it, it’s not that surprising. Eighty percent of the people in Cambodia are farmers. They work in the water raising paddy rice, often with steel implements and there are multiple thunder storms every week. It’s a miracle any of us are alive! We’ve had a wet summer. Two weeks ago 17 of our 23 provinces were flooded. http://www.missionreports.com/flood_cover_cambodia   The good news is that if you do get hit it’s a quick trip to heaven, for those who know the Lord, and it definitely improves your prayer life! Even better news is that our early crop on just 35 hectares (80 acres) was bigger than our entire output from 110 hectares (280 acres) last year, and we still have about 90 hectares to harvest that did not get wiped out by the floods. It looks good, but boy, is it going to be a bear to harvest with six foot straw! The lesson of the lightning strike is that things can change quickly!

I’m not saying that our early harvest was easy. We had to float nearly 100 tons of our harvested rice up to 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) in homemade, plastic boats. We got it just in time. We were out of rice, and “Zap!” we were milling the new harvest. http://www.missionreports.com/flood_ricefield

Two days ago the weather shifted. I think the “Rainy season” is over. We went from the 95 degree (35 C) steam bath, to about 77 degree (25 C) with a steady, northerly breeze. It seems as though the same thing happened with the attack against our church homes. A guy named Hlavaty said, ” Paranoia is the delusion that your enemies are organized.” He must be a prophet. I got “Zapped!” We had Beth Barone (Bethy) here for a teaching on, “Pure Love”http://www.missionreports.com/beth_teaching_nov10.  The part that struck me like a lightning bolt was her teaching on loving your enemies. She managed to extract a promise from me that I would stop maligning this particular group that has been trying to put us out of business for years. The next day the sky fell on their heads. When God moves like lightning, it gets your attention! On the front page of the “Cambodian Daily”, I quote, “(Name withheld to protect the guilty) funding is being used to run a brutal internment camp for the destitute in Cambodia, where detainees are held for months without trial, raped, beaten, sometimes to death, former inmates have said. ………” God bless Prime Minister, Hun Sen, He’s even threatening to kick them out of the country. But me? Hey, I’ll continue to pray for them. It seems to work better! 

We received a jolt of blessing from Warm Blankets Switzerland. 500 bunk beds! http://www.missionreports.com/swiss_beds This should give just about every child a bed – not that they want them, like them, or even always use them. In the provinces you’ll often see the kids pull out their straw mats and sleep on the floor like 90% of the rest of rural Cambodians. But, the above prayed for agency has decreed that every child must have a bed, and since the governmental ministry we serve under receives a great portion of their budget from them, we must comply. Thank you Switzerland WB for saving us! God does provide. Hey guys! We could actually use some more for our women’s dorm.

What most people don’t realize is that we are constantly under tremendous scrutiny. FCOP is the largest provider of orphan care in the country, and we are followers of Jesus Christ. We keep detailed records on every child, submit continuous reports, and are justifiably subject to routine, unannounced inspections. http://www.missionreports.com/cdc_inspection  And, as a result, the Cambodian government has backed us up. According to Bethy the one thing we are guilty of is, “Restoring the dignity of the Cambodian people”. We are intentional about that. FCOP is a Cambodian organization, run by Cambodians, for Cambodians. They work hard to keep the 109 church homes safe, healthy, nurturing and loving. http://www.missionreports.com/oral_homefixed/index.htm  When we run into a problem, be it physical or human, we deal with it. We work constantly, with the help of our donors, to make the place “Home”http://www.missionreports.com/install_playground. The kids are educated and given the opportunity to become all that God has designed them to be. Thanks for the uniforms, bicycles and especially Don Bosco Technical School in Khampong Som for taking 19 of our older kids for advanced training! http://www.missionreports.com/bicycles_books_school_uniforms

It’s a lightning bolt idea! “Incubator Churches” – that may sound like a theological concept; but I’m talking about quail, chickens, ducks and turkeys. Pastor Peter has been tinkering with incubators since I purchased the first group fromThailand 6 years ago. We lost 53,000 quail to the “Bird Flu” in 2004, waited a couple of years and started again. That time we lost another 28,000. We quit for three years. Peter kept tinkering. Early this year he located a resistant variety of quail out of Japan . He paid some big money to buy a few eggs, but has multiplied them into thousands of quail. They are healthy, but the big news is the incubator he developed. He can run it on electricity or kerosene, and it gets a 90% hatch rate. The best he got from imported units was in the 70 % range. http://www.missionreports.com/incubator  His secret?  Egg hydration, egg movement, fresh air ventilation, and a top generated, bottom delivery, heating system. It works so well that churches are installing them as fast as we can get them built. He’s got 20 under construction on a continual basis.

The churches install them and the larger units can handle up to 7,000 eggs. Chicken eggs are a problem because the hens need to forage for food, dogs chase them off the nest, and rain and weather are a problem in the wet season thus, the eggs don’t hatch. So, the church lets farmers bring their eggs to the church for hatching. They go from a 30% to 90% hatch rate and, guess what? They meet Christ in the process. It’s not high pressure evangelism, but the Church showing the love of Christ in practical service. That’s where the 18 new church groups came from in Kong Pixay last month.

Here is the shocking part. These incubators have turned out to be a powerful “Anti-human Trafficking” tool. The hottest NGO concept is to wage war against human trafficking. Millions of dollars are being spent to “Raid, arrest, prosecute, reform, and bring justice!” That’s all fine, but the poor guys are losing the battle. The fact is they are chasing the wrong devils. Their enemy is not the “Evil Pimp” that keeps young girls chained in drug induced stupors. Why? Because that’s more myth than reality. I’m not saying that this has never happened in Cambodia , but frankly, in 12 years, I’ve never seen it. They’ve watched “Taken” so much they’ve been taken. Their enemy is poverty! As the garment factories have closed down, we’ve seen the number of “brothels” on one street we frequently travel, near the garment district in Phnom Penh, go from 3 last year, to 36 (all in the space of less than 6 blocks). I know, all you cynics are thinking, “How does he(me) know that?” Well, here is the ‘dirty little secret’, we were going to church, Sou drove, and I counted.

Lightning bolts have points, so here it is: These girls are mostly uneducated with no formal skills. If they lose their jobs in the factories they have one salable asset, and that always seems to be in demand. The pimps don’t even have to buy the girls into “slavery” as they did before the economic collapse, because their families need to eat. Most of these women do not like their profession. They need three things to break out. 1) A value system that restores their dignity. 2) Income replacement while they learn a new profession. 3) A job that gives them as much money as they made before. ZAP!

I had to laugh at an NGO website that talked of bringing in “trained prosecutors and detectives” from a Western Country to deliver justice by tracking down and raiding illegal brothels in Battambang. 1) There are no “legal brothels” anywhere inCambodia . 2) A blind pig could find a hundred brothels in Battambang. 3) These guys have no legal authority to do this inCambodia . This is a function of government, not the church! Once more, please answer this question: “How many brothels did Jesus raid?” There were thousands of Roman soldiers in Palestine at the time of Jesus, and don’t tell me they didn’t patronize the brothels. Somebody wrote and asked me, “How many orphan homes did Jesus start?” Well, my friend, James, Jesus’ half brother, did tell us that: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to care for the orphan and widow in their distress and keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

Do you really want to eradicate this problem? Send $700, buy the girl an incubator, 300 fertile quail eggs, 100 adult quail, at 3:1 female to male ratio, teach her how to feed and raise them, give her a new life in Christ, and she’ll be free. We’ll send her home, get the whole family involved in an honest enterprise and see an entire community come to follow Christ. That’s an electrifying concept! 

Our “Young Lions, Tigers, Fisherman, and Debora’s Warriors” are all groups of like minded people in the Cambodian Church dedicated to seeing Cambodia come to Christ. They flash with the glory and power of God, traveling across the nation setting people free from fear, guilt and shame. http://www.missionreports.com/kratie_women_ministry. I’m having trouble even keeping track of the baptisms this month.  There is some real voltage behind this move of God.http://www.missionreports.com/baptism_threeprovinces

One last jolt. Did you realize that 2/3 of the people on earth live in Asia? That fact has got to jar your teeth! Anyway, we sent seven of our leaders to Cebu , Philippines for the Eastern Council of Foursquare Churches Bi-annual meeting. We came back charged up! We hope you are! http://www.missionreports.com/ecfc_cebu_phi

Have a great month!

Blessings! 

Ted Olbrich (Pa Thom)
Sou Olbrich (Mak Sou)
And all the rest who do all the work

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