Friday, September 30, 2011

Going Native and 7 New Baptisms

Today Pastor Chantha chose a different location for the baptisms than last year. It was a place recommended by the hotel because it offered more seclusion from the crowded beach that we had gone to yesterday. But getting to this new beach was quite a journey as the bus took the entire group there with the exception of Bunthan, Siny (one of the older disciples) and myself. We were given the task of organizing the lunch. Two hours later we found ourselves in a tuk tuk on a red clay road that created a workout for our internal organs because of all the potholes and the bumps.

 It seem to be an endless road but as we approach the new beach location we passed by a few shacks which I thought was a slum area but actually these were the homes of  fishermen. I am always struck at the conditions that people live in here although one of Pastor Chantha's students noted that despite the dilapidated conditions, that one of them had a high end motorcycle. So, I guess one cannot be fooled by the external appearances.
Homes of the fishermen

Lunch time

Day 2 of our time here and we were eating more seafood similar to yesterday---boiled shrimp, crab and squid. Today I decided to try my hand and go native by not using utensils. Its a fun way to eat actually---its like being a kid again, using your fingers to scoop up the rice and your hands to break the crab and peel the shell off the shrimp. The best part is just putting all these pieces on the table. This is how the Khmer eat which actually is very similar to many Asian countries where the bones and shells or garbage is put on the table. This is not something my proper 'British' upbringing is used to but alas, over here, it makes more sense to eat in such a way. After all, its kinda hard to eat crab in a gracious manner under normal circumstances. All this to say, this is all part of the cultural experience learning to adapt to new ways of eating and even being taught how to break the crab so as to eat all its pieces more efficiently.

Pastor Chantha's students praying before the baptisms

After lunch we began the baptisms and it so happened that my colleague Brian Harper who is heading up Ratanak Australia was here in Sihnoukville teaching at a local bible school. Pastor Chanta invited him to participate as well and so it was a great to have him be apart of such a special occasion. It was once again an amazing experience of seeing 7 young people taking a step of faith, acknowledging that Jesus is their Lord and Savior. Each of their journeys is as unique as their personalities yet some of them have experienced persecution by their parents as they have take a stand to follow Christ.

One young man has been disowned by his parents and they are no longer funding his education. Yet, he is determined to live for Jesus. I am once again humbled by such faith that the Lord produces in people that they forsake all, willing to count the cost and take up their cross to follow the One that promises them eternal life. For me, it was incredibly special  to both pray over and baptize 'Theary'---she may not fully understand the depth of the gospel but she has seen, discovered and encountered enough of it through God's people in just one week to realize that it is indeed good news for her. For God who created her is the God who has chosen her to be a part of His family for such a time as this. She indeed has experience glimpses of the depth, breath and height of God's love in this short space of time, and as she has tasted the 'Lord' through the body of Christ, she wants more of this heavenly bread that has been nourishing her broken soul this past week. During this time, it is apparent that her countenance has changed. She is no longer shy and is becoming more confident in her interactions, finally learning what life with hope looks like. Do continue to pray for her health as Bunthan hopes to take her for some medical tests next week.

Indeed as I think of each of these young people, I think of the Cambodian proverb that I learned from Pastor Chantha. It says the 'second wave will push the first wave out of the way.' What it means is that the next generation (the second wave) will have greater opportunities and resources available to them to make a greater difference than the current generation. For this young generation of Cambodian believers, we pray that they will not be measured, marked shaped and defined by the worst of humanity that can easily engulf them in this environment and which has been so much a part of the history of this nation, rather, we pray that they will live a life worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him in every way, bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might so that they may have great endurance and patience as they seek to build His kingdom in Cambodia. (Colossians 1:10-12)

No comments:

Post a Comment