Cambodia 2014 Day 2

Day 2 on the ground. I think. We’ve lost track of what day it is here, in the States, or pretty much anywhere. Let’s just say we’re oriented x 1 and certainly not the full three.

It’s hilarious trying to recap a day because when you’re here it just all feels normal. Yet somehow I don’t think it is.

We joined Kevin for an early morning prayer meeting with a group of around 50 local pastors. These pastors come into Banlung twice a year for training and then take the lessons back to their congregations. Disciples making disciples. It was amazing to see faces that I recognized from last year.

We joined Kevin for a ride out to one of the outlying villages. He was taking a family back home after transporting one of the ladies to Phnom Penh so she could attend deaf school. While chatting with one of the missionaries at the prayer meeting, he mentioned an older lady in need so we made a slight detour to try and see her. While trying to find her, a pig ran under the 4Runner.

this little piggy went to market....early

this little piggy went to market….early

The funniest part was that this village wasn’t too far out of the main town and there were some tourists (chubby middle aged pasty white folks with large cameras around each of their necks kinda stand out). They started screaming something in French at Kevin and we didn’t need a translator to get the gist of what a horrible human being they thought he was. They stopped when I stepped out in my scrubs but Kevin was already tracking down the owner to make retribution. He did nothing wrong but wanted to make it right and did by paying for the pig (but not for the one million riel suggested by one of the locals). Crisis averted.

Hours and hours on the road

Hours and hours on the road

Back into town and we went back to take care of the pastors. Of course one fella stood out as a repeat patient:


Fortunately he’s kept the sticks outta the eyes for the past year and is doing quite well. He certainly has a corneal scar from that vicious injury but not nearly as bad as I expected.

Saw a young man with night blindness and confirmed RP with a one second direct ophthalmoscope glance-man those spicules were dense and not far into the periphery. We’re going to work on getting one of the local pastors cataract surgery through a catholic charity in Phnom Penh which is encouraging. Last year I tried to touch base with some Lions in PP about getting surgeries taken care of but that never materialized ($$$) so it’s nice to have an option.

Typical ending to the clinic day. One of the local helpers wanted their daughter looked at so we pulled our equipment back out. She was blind as a bat with a very strong prescription.

Atypical ending to the day: one of Kevin’s kids has the shakes and they’re thinking about the possibility of malaria. Pray for him.


Giving Thanks in all Circumstances

9 hours into our 11 hour trip up to Banlung we added person number 16 to the van….next to me. Stacy looked at me like, “you’re not gonna freak out right?” I smiled and told her I was fine. Because I was. If 9 hours of overly loud Khmer karaoke music couldn’t break me, this wouldn’t.

I’ve learned to not worry about the things I can’t change. Little things, big things, temporary or permanent doesn’t matter. What matters is my reaction and handling of the situation. It not only affects me but it affects everyone around me: my wife, friends, staff and kiddos to name a few. It’s amazing how one person’s reactions can change the culture of a group for better or worse.

We have done remarkably well with jet lag after an early turn in last night. Praise God! Fast forward to about the 9.5 hour mark of our trip today and out of nowhere I got exhausted – almost instantly. I slept fitfully for about an hour and when I woke up I couldn’t move my neck. Ah the joys of 50+ hours to get to our home base. Whatever. I know my body and knew this wasn’t that big a deal. Nothing to get overly excited about or feel like some super martyr because my neck was kinda stiff.

I simply took my time getting my neck to move around and as I turned to the right I noticed the elderly lady sitting on the other side of Mr. 16 had a bag under her mouth. And then I heard the wretching. If you cut your finger off, I’ll come peek and probably take photos. Make even the slightest hint of puking and I’m ready to run out the door. Stacy is just the opposite so that’s helpful with two young children.

Jet lag? I simply smirked 😉


1 Thessalonians 5:18

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

Do you super Christians ever get smug… a good way?

It’s a serious question. I’m talking about those super Christians who walk every day by true faith.

Me? Most of my petitions are asking God to help my tummy feel better, or make my day go smooth, or have my kids quit screaming bloody murder.

However, a few times in my life I have stepped out in faith….and the results were hilariously awesome. Gobs of people praying for me and simply joining alongside the man upstairs are a recipe for wonderfulness.


Screen Shot From My Emailed Itinerary

We’ve spent the last 48 hours trying to fit 750 pairs of eyeglasses, school supplies, medications and snacks for the missionaries into our luggage. For a couple of planners (one with OCD that’s almost not funny anymore), it has been rough. Finally we started praying and asking others to join us.

Long story short….we get to the airport and start shifting around our stuff to maximize the checked bags and reduce the weight in our carry ons and backpacks when the agent says, “you know you get 70 lbs not 50 right?”

Stacy is all excited, “God is so awesome. What an answer to prayer.”

I just smirked and thought: this is only the beginning my love.

Mission….or Pilgrimage?

When I went on my first missions trip to Honduras 10 years ago, I was on a pilgrimage….and I didn’t even know it. I was going to cure all those people of blindness, poverty, and spiritual oppression. Sounds crazy but I hear similar thoughts whenever folks start talking about going on mission trips. Turns out I did none of the above and I got super turned off to overseas missions for over 7 years.

After those years of negativity, I felt called to go to India. This time, I was much less focused on the eye care (more realistic about what we could and could not do with limited resources) and much more focused on evangelism. We made sure every person who came through our clinic heard a clear gospel presentation from a local pastor. I was hooked. Finally there was a balance between humanitarian care and evangelism.

After another trip to India, I realized this is why I was born. When my time on earth is done, I will always look back on these trips and know that for that small part of time I was doing what I was called to do. I always tell people that I get so much more out of these trips than I give. I truly love it. We leave in 3 days and I’ve spent around 100 hours prepping for this trip. It would be really tough to pull that off if I didn’t love it.

But God has really opened up my heart over the past year. Now I’ve never heard God audibly talk to me but if he did it would have sounded something like this, “What’s with all this “I” and “me?” Thanks for the help but I’m pretty sure I’ve got this. Wanna join me?”

And there it is: mission or pilgrimage? I’ve been going on pilgrimages. Spiritual journeys to fulfill my need to act out my faith. Yeah I help people with their eyes and glasses and we tell ’em about Jesus. Great stuff for sure but that’s not why I was born. Joining God in His work? That’s why I was born.

So now the plan going forward? Joining God where He’s at. The new commitment is to make sure every trip is a mission: serve others and glorify God. Whatever form that may take.

Funny enough it will most likely look the same. But I’ll know.