Thank you guys so much. Seriously. Thank you. For sharing in my joy and for rejoicing with Panha (PAWN-yuh) and Veasna (VEESE-nuh) and for praying for their dad.
I don’t know why God lets me get all wrapped up in the middle of his blessing stories, but I’m so grateful. And they’re everywhere. We’ve just got to take those steps to see where he’s at work and join him there.
And no, following Jesus won’t ever be some great big never-ending Happy Fest. But the blessings that come from serving him go way deeper and last way longer and mean way more than any other experience on this earth.
As I’m typing this, Panha’s family should be finishing up their service at church. I don’t know if Panha’s dad decided that yes, I’m ready to follow Jesus and give my life to him or no, I’m just not sure what I think about all this yet. Regardless of that, seeds have been planted, and love has been shown, and God has been acknowledged as a Giver of good gifts, and prayers have been offered, and we can trust God that his plan and timing are perfect.
And I keep meaning to show you a picture of Veasna (Yvonne let me steal it off her Facebook page–thank you, friend!) since we didn’t get to meet him while we were in Cambodia. I’ve gotten to talk to him briefly over Skype–love him!–and hope and pray we get to meet him in person before too long. (Oh, and that’s beautiful Yvonne in the tuk-tuk with him.)
I’m pretty sure the Tale of the Tuk-Tuk isn’t over yet, but I’ll wrap up today with a couple funnies and a couple things that are just really, really cool.
For one, Nina wanted me to tell you that when we Skype with Panha, he always greets her with, “Hi, Princess.” And she grins and blushes and lowers her head all embarrassed and tickled.
And Gabe told me something from his chat with Panha that made me smile. A little background. The shirts you can buy at the Cambodian markets are a hoot. Either they’re English sayings with a twist or something foreigners say and the Cambodians put them on a shirt or whatever. But when we saw Panha wearing this one, we laughed. And it became a favorite saying of ours on our trip.
Gabe tried to tell him that it’s not really true. That he had no money and he got a honey just fine. I don’t know that Panha was convinced. When they chatted the other day, Gabe suggested another t-shirt we could design. God’s Money, God’s Tuk-Tuk. No, it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but it’s got the ring of truth, eh?
Batman doesn’t really have anything to do with this post, but Panha gave me the idea for the title when he told me, “I’m going to anoint my dad’s tuk-tuk and moto with oil.” He said that he and Veasna did that with their motos. “When the Lord gives something to you, it’s good to anoint it and thank him for his blessing and ask him to protect it.” He and Veasna are going to have some people at their church put their hands on it and thank God for his gift and ask for protection on their father’s behalf. He seemed to think his dad would be fine with this idea, and I so hope he’s right.
(And no, this isn’t their tuk-tuk–which, by the way, is pronounced TOOK-TOOK. I just really like this picture, and for some reason, it makes me miss Cambodia very much.)
“I am just so happy I have nothing to say with God,” Panha told me. In other words, he’s just speechless. “This season, I want to know him more. I want my roots to go down more deeply with him.”
Me too, brother. Me too.
At the end of our chat, Panha asked if I had a word to take back to his family. Did I ever. Now, see, Panha is bright and young and a gifted translator, so I’m sure he listened to my 30-second blessing and translated it to his family in Khmer word-for-word sometime the next day. I already forget what I said. But it was something like,
We are so thankful we got to meet Panha. And now Veasna. We love them very much, and so we love their whole family. We are so thankful that we were given the opportunity to help you. But we want you to know it wasn’t us that did it; it was God. He loves us so much, and that’s how we can love other people–with his love. God loves your family so much. We know that it will never be easy to follow Jesus and to walk with him in a country like Cambodia where most people do not know him, but he will give you strength. And it will be so worth it. He will keep you safe and never let you go. And even when bad things happen, God can work them out according to his perfect plan. We love you, and we’re so thankful for you. You have blessed us so much. Thank you.
Hey, I did remember.
“Thank you so much, Ma-la,” he said, with the most beautiful smile on his face. “I will sit down with them and share your words.”
Then he put the palms of his hands together in front of his face and said, “I put my hands together like Cambodia and thank you.”
I put my hands together like Cambodia and thanked him back.
“God doesn’t love my family more than yours, Ma-la,” he told me. “He loves your family so much too, and he will provide for your family. I am praying that God will bless you and Gabe and your family.”
And again, I almost lost it right then and there, because what Panha didn’t know, doesn’t know, is that just that very morning we had to get our mini-van fixed and were forced to use every last penny in our Save to Go to Cambodia Fund. I was crushed and a little bit angry, and then the whole thing happened with the tuk-tuk, and it kind of put everything in perspective.
Did I want to use that money to fix our van? No. Did God provide the money we needed to fix our van? Yes. If he wants us to go to Cambodia, are some stupid van repairs going to stand in his way? No.
Can I trust him like Panha trusts him? Yes. I desperately want to. God, help my unbelief.
BIG OL’ HAPPY EDIT (9:07am): From Veasna on my Facebook wall: Thank you so much guys we all here so glad that you all praying for my family. The good news this morning my dad was praying to Jesus and give his heart to Him. Praise God…
No words. Tears in my eyes. Late for church… Love you guys!