Step out in Faith: Azmera CAMBODIA Haven Retreat (Feb 18 and 19)
Isaiah 41:10 (BBE) - Have no fear, for I am with you; do not be looking about in trouble, for I am your God; I will give you strength, yes, I will be your helper; yes, my true right hand will be your support.
Our God is a God of detail and it's clear He has been involved in every step to launch this retreat. Through long layovers, cancelled flights, and shifting shuttle schedules, he safely brought three waves of volunteers to Sihanoukville on Tuesday to begin the preparations for the Cambodia Haven Retreat. The travel began the process of bonding and connection that will empower all of the women in attendance to continue working in their various fields. Those that arrived earlier were able to enjoy some of the delicious local cuisine and see how God is already working in this country. Praise Him for equipping workers to reach all of His children.
Beth, our motivational speaker, kicked off the training by reminding us of the story of Jericho and how God empowered the people to go in and conquer the land. She spoke of the people preparing themselves by following God's recommendations and through completely trusting in their identity as His people. She challenged each of us to put aside our own identity to find true identity in Christ. We then got to know each other better and were amazed at the many connections evident in the group. Relationships were strengthened through prayer and fellowship throughout the afternoon. Pray that these relationships deepen and we are able to pour our His love and adoration for each woman who attends.
The coronavirus has cast its shadow over this trip. There have been serious concerns about the safety of those who will attend this retreat. While there are those that have expressed a healthy fear, there are also those that feel God wants us to take courage, remember that this outbreak is not a surprise to Him, that we can rest in His hands and His care, and that He can work all things to His glory. We are still slated to have a full complement of attendees, but please continue to pray for discernment and peace as each woman finalizes her decision to attend and travels to the retreat on Friday.
For dinner, the volunteers discovered a fabulous training restaurant called Sandar. This restaurant accepts students from impoverished families and trains them in culinary and service skills. The parents create handmade items that are sold in the restaurant to help fund the program. Our resort and other local businesses prefer to hire from within this restaurant because the students are trained so well. We were delighted to be able to support them in their endeavors. So many of the businesses are suffering due to a lack of funds, a lack of Chinese workers, and fewer tourists. Please pray that this business will continue to have such a positive impact on this community.
Inspiration and Challenges:
The Corona virus is creating a worldwide impact. People are modifying their lives, wardrobe, and plans to protect themselves from this outbreak. Everyone is searching for ways to minimize their exposure and to help contain the disease. It is affecting families, schools, companies, economies, governments, and public relations, among other areas. It is a clear and present danger and we are actively engaged in battle against it. Some people are living in fear and unable to move forward. Some are unconcerned and continuing the status quo. Some are researching how the virus is spread and passing along their knowledge to others. Some are battling the contagion and finding small victories where they are to be had. Some are quarantining themselves and some are reaching out in compassion.
This virus is a physical plague, but how much more devastating is the impact of sin in our world? Sin is also a virus that spreads like wildfire and has taken a firm hold worldwide. It causes many of the same responses - fear, complacency, compassion, etc. With the physical virus, we are taking precautions - limiting our exposure, wearing masks, washing our hands. Are we just as vigilant with sin? Are you limiting your exposure? Are you putting on the protective armor of God's word? Are you regularly seeking purification? Are you taking as much care with your spiritual health as with your physical health? Thanks, Jane, for sharing the following verses that are so applicable as we deal with the threat and impact of the Corona Virus.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.
Capital: Phnom Penh
Official language: Khmer (pronounced khmay or khmai by the locals we've met)
Recognized languages: English, French
Primary Religion: Buddhism
Government: Constitutional Monarchy
Currency: Riel and US Dollars
Khmer Language Intro:
*These pronunciations are my best approximation of what I'm hearing using recognizable English spelling patterns, not official linguistic pronunciations.
Hello = seuss-die (used as a standard greeting without any respect to age, gender, social class, etc.)
Goodbye = lee-hi (used as a standard closing without any respect to age, gender, social class, etc.)