Messages From Asia

April 25, 2015
Dear friends,
Things can change quickly. Wednesday I wrote to you disappointed because it looked as if it would be impossible for me to get into Vietnam. Twenty-four hours later I was on an airplane landing here! Thursday was one fast-paced, crazy day. For those who are interested in the details, I’ll be glad to share them after I leave Vietnam. For now I’ll just say that the encouragement and upward petitions of Max Shearer and the Phillips moved me to have Max and Mike investigate a Vietnamese facility that, for a host of reasons, I had been quite sure would not give me a visa. What they discovered was far different from what the facility’s web-site advertised and a host of internet travel-forums indicated had been the experience of other travelers. At the last possible hour a visa was issued, allowing me to return to the Phillips, quickly pack, and then rush to the airport to catch my flight. A series of obstacles confronted me once in the airport, but I reached the gate just in time to board. The whole experience was one in which trust was affirmed and strengthened as it was acted upon. ‘I believe. Please help my unbelief!’

Max and I decided on the way to Asia last week that, father willing, he would spend the bulk of his time with the Phillips in Cambodia, and I would spend the bulk of my time with loved ones in Vietnam. Accordingly, I’m now getting things set up for our time here together while he continues to serve in Cambodia. He has reservations to join me here early next week. We will be here together for two weeks’ joint effort, and then he will return to work with the Phillips. The plan is for me to spend three weeks here and then return for several days work in Cambodia before returning to the US. In addition to contacts the Phillips had already made, Max and I met a young Cambodian woman named Channa Song who had never heard of the good one and his good book. We will have deeper discussions with her when we return to Phnom Penh. Since arriving here Thursday afternoon, I have confirmed appointments with loved ones in various parts of the country and with uninitiated relatives of friends here and in the US.
I am so thrilled and thankful to be here. Please remember my Cindi who seems to be busier in my absence than she’s ever been. I am grateful to all who have been helping and encouraging her. Like your dear father, we will not forget your work and labor of love which you have shown through your service.
In his care,
May 8, 2015

Dear friends,

Max Shearer, our colleague Doug and his family, and I are safely back in Ho Chi Minh City. We are tired from long days of study (typically 3 hrs each morning, 3 hours each afternoon, and 1.5 hrs in the evening) and an 8 hour train ride which arrived at the train station here at 3:30 this morning.  All of us had an enjoyable, eye-opening, few days of study and fellowship.

Brothers Duoc and Phung met us in Nha Trang, where Max led us in studies of the book of Jeremiah Tuesday throughThursday, and I led in a study of the Beatitudes, showing how the OT helps us understand the NT, and how fundamental, kingdom principles taught in the Gspls relate to OT books like Deut and Jeremiah and the NT epistles. We spent Friday in Cam Ranh where we got a close-up look at what our relatives there have gone through since I was there last fall, and investigated with relatives there the letter to the Eph’s.

We had a wonderful week of labor. Max really got a taste of both the joy and struggles of life and work here. Seeing firsthand some of the subtle differences between American and Vietnamese cultures and issues, he witnessed the challenge of loving wisely in a culture other than one’s own. He also finally met a Vietnamese food that he had trouble enjoying – Pigeon Soup made with meatballs containing ground pigeon both meat and bones. As you might guess, there was a texture issue! Our only real snag was returning here to find that the hotel had rented out my room which we had kept so that we could leave clothes, supplies, etc. here that we would not need in Nha Trang. I really thought we might have lost our things as well as a good place for visits with friends, but somehow Doug worked it all out.  (More stories to tell.)

What memories we are making together!

Good night,