Visit to Cambodia – January 2015

I thought it might be helpful to write a blog post about my recent time in Cambodia. I am well aware that my last post was over a year ago, so I make no promises about the regularity of such posts!

I am writing this on the plane back from Cambodia. This has been my second visit, and once again, it has been a great trip.

The main reason for going was to be part of a team teaching at the Pastors & Wives leadership conference for Transform Asia in Cambodia. Transform Asia (TA) have somewhere around 35-40 churches working together alongside a variety of social action projects right across the county. This is all led by Setan and Randa Lee, together with a small team of staff and other leaders. Both ChristCentral Churches and Jubilee Church Derby are partnering with TA and seeking to serve them and be a blessing where we can.

On the way out there, I met up with Mike and Kay Sprenger in Amsterdam, and we travelled the rest of the way together .

Landing in Phnom Penh on Saturday 17th January, we were met by Setan and some of his staff, and then we headed to the South West of the county where we stayed overnight. Mike preached on Sunday morning in Chhouk Kampot and I preached in the afternoon in Phnom Vor, both TA churches.

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Phnom Vor is right in the centre of a jungle area, in the middle of nowhere. There was, however, great 3G mobile phone reception! We saw 4 first-time decisions to follow Christ alongside 4+ healings. It was wonderful to see God on the move, but intensely frustrating not being able to speak the language and converse easily.  IMG_0053

After another overnight stay, we arrived in Kep on the Monday morning. This was the location of the conference and would be home for the next few days. It was great to have hot water once again, but not so great to have a mixture of geckos, large spiders and cockroaches! However, the view from the guest house more than made up for this!

Mike, Kay and I, together with Scott Price who works with Setan in Cambodia, all spoke on the theme of, “Don’t lose your way.” We were encouraging the 80+ delegates to hold fast in their commitment to Christ, and not to fall at the many obstacles that life throws at us. We looked at the particular hurdles that leaders often face, namely money, sex and power.

The teaching was well received, as were we. On the Wednesday evening we had an evening meeting where I taught about the Holy Spirit and then we prayed for one another. God moved powerfully and it10904011_10152594364755796_7242436137108835516_o was evident that the Holy Spirit was at work refreshing, encouraging and empowering people.

Serving this group of leaders was great fun. They have much to teach us about serving the poor, counting the cost and prayer. I trust we can serve them by teaching from the Bible and sharing from our experience in building the church.

On the Friday, we travelled back to Phnom Penh where Mike & Kay and I checked into a now familiar hotel and enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing together. I was delighted to visit the Blue Pumpkin coffee shop once again!

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The second weekend saw me meet up with Simon & Becci Brown They are leading the Newfrontiers Church Plant, Liberty Family Church in Phnom Penh and it was a great joy to see them once again, and this time to meet with their church on the Sunday morning. I preached on God’s heart for the nations as they had a special Sunday celebrating this theme.

They and their team of young leaders are doing a great job, building a church that is true to the model of church we see in the New Testament, and reflects the values we hold dear.

It was an unexpected bonus to also meet up with another Newfrontiers leader from the UK who had been travelling to another nation in the Far East.

It has been a real privilege to see what God is doing right across the other side of the word. It has been a joy and an honour to meet with leaders, encourage some churches and to preach and teach in a variety of settings.

At a prayer meeting on the Sunday evening as my trip drew to a close, God broke in and the Holy Spirit moved powerfully. We are praying and asking God for such a breakout here. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. And He’s the same in Derby and the UK & Europe as well as in Cambodia and South East Asia.

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Heading out to Cambodia

So, here I am sitting in a lounge at Birmingham airport, enjoying some lunch before heading off into the unknown (for me!) of Cambodia, via Amsterdam and Bangkok. I’m heading out there with good friends, Mike and Kay Sprenger from Darlington, to teach at the Transform Asia pastors conference, to meet up with our friend Setan Lee and to see some of the churches and projects he leads. 

It’s a curious mix of feelings – excitement, nervousness and apprehension all mixed in with the firm knowledge that this trip is beginning to fulfill a number of prophetic words that I have received over recent years. 

God has spoken very clearly about Jubilee having a reach and impact far wider than Derby, and about me travelling to different places. Many of those prophetic words, whilst encouraging, at the time seemed crazy! Could God really do that with me, with us? Well, here’s proof that He can! 

So, what has God spoken to you about? What might He be calling you to do? Meanwhile, watch this space for some updates!

A weekend with Dr. Setan Lee from Cambodia

photo 2Last week, Sarah and I were honoured to meet Dr. Setan Lee, who, together with his wife, Randa, started and now lead, Transform Asia, a ministry serving the nation of Cambodia. Transform Asia have around 45 churches, an orphanage, a feeding centre, a trade school, a day care centre, rice distribution and other programmes!

I met him at our ChristCentral Churches team meeting, which he was a guest at, and then we had the privilege of hosting him in Derby for a few days. He spoke to our leaders, at a men’s breakfast and during our Sunday meeting. (The audio from the Sunday morning will go up on the Jubilee website next week).

Hearing his story was quite incredible and very moving. He was saved during the horror of the Killing Fields in the mid 1970’s whilst escaping from the Khmer Rouge through the jungle into Thailand after 4 years in a youth concentration camp, where he saw hundreds of his friends and family killed. His life is now devoted to serving God, preaching a message of forgiveness and looking for ways to serve the people of Cambodia.

Setan and Randa’s life story is summarised here in this short video. I would encourage you to watch it. (WARNING – the video contains graphic images).

I will have the privilege of travelling to Cambodia next year with my good friends Mike & Kay Sprenger from Kings Church Darlington. Together, we will be teaching at a pastor’s conference for the churches Setan oversees and then get to visit a number of churches and projects that Transform Asia run.

According to The Joshua Project, over 98% of the Cambodian population is classified as “unreached”, that is less than 2% are evangelical Christians. The need for both proclamation and demonstration of the Gospel is clear, and a real challenge.

One of our core values as a church is to be involved in reaching nations. We are praying to see what doors God might be opening up here, both for ChristCentral Churches and for Jubilee. Watch this space for more!