A couple of years ago, when we used to work with TLR, we met a Norwegian family at the Jesus Center base in Denmark. He was a doctor, and had some deeper questions about the new birth that I honestly don’t remember well anymore. Later that year, amidst many missions and adventures, we visited his village in the Norwegian mountains together with Peter van der Burg and our families, driving two campers. We stayed there for two weeks, and that was a very interesting mission as well. You can read about it here.
After our visit, Øystein (that’s his name) did a DTS (Discipleship Training School, training program of YWAM) with his family on Hawaii, and was sent on mission to Cambodia. There he met some amazing people, and they were looking for a teacher to come along one week and train their own DTS students there. So, that is how I came in contact with YWAM Cambodia and Stuart, an Australian young man who lives and leads the school there together with his wife and kids. They were very kind to invite us, and on Øystein’s word, fully trust that I was going to teach something biblical and upbuilding.
After some planning, video calls, miscommunications and arrangements, we decided to go for it. Øystein was able to arrange a week off his job, and for the first time in my life, I dared to ask if anyone on my Facebook was willing to step in and donate for the traveling costs to get there. One Canadian brother stepped into the need and covered all my costs to get there!
So off we went. After almost 40hrs between airports, trains, busses, and a Cambodian version of taxi, we were there! Warmly welcomed and attended very well. The young girl in charge of the hospitality did a great job! Thanks!
The teachings through that week had an attendance of about 70 students. DTS, SBS students, staff members and leaders from Battambang and Pailin Province were there, mostly locals but also from other countries. I did nothing spectacular, just taught the basics I always share with any pre-existing Christian group: re-affirming the basics. I taught on what the Kingdom of God is, how to be born in His Kingdom, and what the mission of the Kingdom is.
We went every day through the Bible, but we were also practical. I taught about the new birth of course, and trained the participants on how to baptize. I also spoke about the baptism in the Holy Spirit and how it is different from being filled with the Spirit, walk by the Spirit, and being led by the Spirit. They were so eager to pray for one another that that afternoon many received the Spirit and many spoke in tongues.
We also spoke about healing, words of knowledge, street evangelism, network evangelism, discipleship of babies in the faith, discussed how to approach buddhists (totally new field for me!) and many went on the streets and saw God moving powerfully.
It is so easy to plant new churches in houses here (not house churches). It amazes me the openness of this culture, amidst the poverty, chaos and pollution. There is a great need, and the workers are few. I hope to be able to come back in the future and give a longer, more structured training, being able to experiment myself on the streets and local slums.
Something that stood out, after all, is the story of the finances at the end of our work. I thought sharing it with you might be interesting and productive.
Normally when I get invited to serve or teach in any community, the host pays for the transportation costs. I never ask for any offering or gift, since the gospel is free of charge. Most of the times though, at least in the developed countries, they thank our hard work with a financial gift. Stuart, nonetheless, was not in the possibility to do that, since he and his family are settled there for many years (I don’t remember exactly how long, but it was something like 12 or more years). In spite of that, he managed to put something together to help pay the tickets.
Just after a couple of days in Battambang, I realized that accepting any financial gift from them was a sin, having seen the need of the local brothers and sisters there, and having received more money than necessary for the journey from our Canadian brother. So I decided I would refuse the gift, specially since my work in construction provides now for my personal needs and I don’t need to use gifts for myself anymore.
To my surprise, before we left, when I tried to give the gift back to Stuart, he told me that if I wanted to give it back, I should give it back to the Kingdom by traveling to any other community in the Kingdom of God that can’t afford inviting me. What a heart! So now I have decided to open a savings account to store funds to travel to the empoverished communities I visited before, when TLR funded me. There are unfinished missions there, starting communities of struggling brothers and sisters.
I am also training future apostolic workers in this field of planting new communities with a pure New Testament style, and they need practice and experience. In every apostolic journey I always take a disciple with me, it’s biblical.
So guys, if any of you ever feels like donating something to this cause, contact me. Every penny will be saved exclusively for tickects to those nations: Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Brasil, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Togo, Slovenia, among other places (sometimes in developed countries as well) that can’t afford paying a plain ticket for me and an apostolic learner.
If any of you is interested in getting training about this kind of work, let’s brainstorm. The more local workers, the cheaper it all gets and the more fruitful it becomes. We can reach the world with fully equipped local disciples!
Having an almost full time job, physically demanding, two local communities, training local leaders, coaching some other couples, keeping my family loved and functional, among journeys and local people we want to help, has kept me very busy the last months. That’s why I am not as active as I used to be online.
But believe me, I am more joyful than ever, and seeing the fruit of our battles is giving my soul and mind an injection of energy! So please don’t feel at all sorry for us, nor praise us. Rather, join us!
There is a lot to do, and the world is getting crazier by the minute. Let us train you, help you. Pray for us, share our posts, and be obedient to the Lord just where you are! The small next step is just as important as any spectacular testimony.
May the Lord keep using you!