We just returned a few weeks ago from our medical mission to Cambodia, this was Glory Reborn's second time to go to Cambodia, on what is now our annual mission trip. As Hilary and I truly desire that our team would understand the fundamental heart of missions, God opened the doors and opportunity for us to lead them outside of the Philippines, outside of their comfort zones and into a place where they can see the heart of missions. We were also joined by some good friends this year and wanted to share a truly heart warming story from JoRae Bishop and Curtis Dabbs, who joined us this year. JoRae has visited Cebu many times since we began Glory Reborn in 2003. This story will hopefully give you a glimpse into what our everyday life looks like, both in Cebu and in Cambodia:
Dear Friends and Family,
Weâ€™ve been back in the States for a little over a week now, and weâ€™re still struggling to process all we experienced and all the Lord taught us on our mission trip to the Philippines and Cambodia. It was an incredible experience, and weâ€™re so blessed to share these memories with each other and with you.
In thinking back over the trip, there are four words that seem to pop out as the best adjectives to sum up our experiences:Â CHALLENGING, HOPEFUL, HUMBLING and INSPIRATIONAL.
CHALLENGING We did A LOT! We traveled to three countries, visited two orphanages, did one feeding program for street kids, had a birthday party for 33 newborns, took two seven-hour bus rides across Vietnam and Cambodia, went to one primitive island, endured temperatures of 110 F degrees plus (while playing outside with kiddos!), crossed the Mekong River on a sketchy barge four times, worked in three city dumpsites, attended a funeral, met with three NGOâ€™s working in Cambodia (International Justice Mission, Hagar International and Daughters of Cambodia), lost 16 pounds between the two of us (I think we sweat it off!), went to one clinic Family Fun Day complete with a clown and karaoke, visited one public hospital, attended one trafficking rehab graduation ceremony, met with five pastors and their families, were interrogated by U.S. Customs agents, and ate countless numbers of the worldâ€™s BEST mangoes! And thatâ€™s not everything!
In some ways, as you can see, the trip was a whirlwind. But at the same time, it was an opportunity to be plugged in again and again to what the Lord is doing in Southeast Asia. We were challenged to do things outside our comfort zones and challenged to think about the world and our purpose in it in a new way. Even now that weâ€™re back, the questions that challenge us are, â€œWhat now? How do we respond to what we saw, what we learned? What are WE called to do for the Kingdom?â€
HOPEFUL While we were in Cambodia, we did a little skit for the kids in the various villages and dumpsites we traveled to teaching them about Godâ€™s love. The name of the skit: A Story of Hopeful Hearts. Coming back, our hearts are overflowing with hope. We know that hope is eternal, found only in Christ and as followers of Christ, we are called to be bearers of hope to the world. So, friends and family, we share with you this good news: there IS hope for Cambodia! We were so touched and moved to see a country struggling to rebuild after a genocide that occurred within our lifetime. One-quarter of Cambodiaâ€™s population was killed! But the hope in that atrocity is this: He makes all things new! Our God is a God of justice and redemption, and we were blessed to see some of the redeeming work going on in Cambodia right now. The country is so fertile for the Gospel and desperate for hope and truth. We believe God is redeeming Cambodia and claiming it for Himself. We believe one day, instead of missionaries going to Cambodia, missionaries will be sent out from a Spirit-filled Cambodia!
HUMBLING In no other place have either of us seen the poverty we saw on this trip. Between the Philippines and Cambodia, we went to three dumpsites, places where people literally make their home and livelihood among garbage. Words on a page canâ€™t capture the sights and sounds from the dumpsites and definitely canâ€™t capture the smells! It was heartbreaking and devastating to see kids living in such squalor. But seeing it was also eye-opening for us. It was a reminder to keep things in perspective as we prioritize whatâ€™s important to us. It reminded us to be grateful for our reality. Most of all, it challenged us to think of ways we can sacrifice more in order to serve more. After all, we live like kings and queens by comparison. The average Cambodian lives on $1 a day. For all Christ has done for us and given to us, how can we not give to others in return?
INSPIRATIONAL The last time I was in the Philippines was summer 2008. I knew the clinic had expanded and grown since that time, but I was completely blown away by all the changes. It doesnâ€™t feel like a clinic anymoreâ€”it feels like a hospital. The improvements and advances are astounding. But what hasnâ€™t changed is the mission and the vision and the heart of the clinic: healthy moms, healthy babies, hopeful hearts. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing how far the clinic has come (from a bedroom in Hilary and Davidâ€™s apartment to an entire building with different sections!) and also hearing Hilary and Davidâ€™s vision for the future. Next year will be Glory Rebornâ€™s 10-year anniversary. Ten years of serving the pregnant moms of Cebu City and 3,500 babies later, Glory Reborn is ready for the next chapterâ€”building a maternity hospital from the ground up. I look at my best friend who I grew up with, and Iâ€™m amazed by how God is using her, at how she and her husband are being used by God to bring health, healing and hope to others. Working with Glory Reborn is an honor for they are sowing Kingdom seeds into the next generation of an entire nation. Could there be a worthier cause for our time, energy and resources?
Jesusâ€™s mission on earth was simple. He came to redeem: â€œThe Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lordâ€™s favor.â€ Jesus came to the earth and died for us so that we may have life and have it abundantly. So we ask you, just as we ask ourselves, is there anything more abundant, more hopeful, or more fulfilling in this life than continuing the work Jesus started? The easy answer, as followers of Christ, is no. The harder reality is this: so what are we doing?
Thank you for reading our story. Weâ€™d love to take each of you with us the next time we go to the Philippines and Cambodia (next year, God-willing!). The door is always open. Youâ€™re part of our journey. Thank you for the support, the encouragement and prayers.
Love and hugs to all,
JoRae and Curtis
Hilary and I are so thankful for the support: prayer support that kept us safe and protected throughout our Cambodia trip, support from friends who, like JoRae and Curtis, served alongside us on our trip, and financial support from individuals just like you that continue to make this possible. We have many long-term dreams for Cambodia – to begin with we want to establish a training center in Cebu that can equip and empower others to Go! You are a vital part of this work, and as JoRae challenged us all, weâ€™d like to share something amazing with you. Did you know that 74% of our donations come from individuals who simply believe in supporting what God is doing in Southeast Asia, no matter the amount, big or small, it makes a difference! The math is simple: it only takesÂ 1 personÂ to decide to save lives here, as we can saveÂ 2 LivesÂ ifÂ 1 personÂ will donateÂ $1 a day.
You can make a difference today: