"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God."

– Romans 8:14

Day Fourteen: For My Brothers and Sisters

As I type out this post, we just passed the halfway mark for our flight: hour six of twelve...but everyone is getting by just fine. Many of the group are sleeping as it is fairly early in Cambodian time and we had a late evening last night. But a few of the team, like myself, are finding it very difficult to sleep as we get closer to the States. There is definitely excitement about coming back home but many of us are reminiscent of the friends and memories we made in Battambang, Cambodia. We think back to working alongside Anna at Café Eden, helping Laura at Jeevit's House, planting moringa trees with Holly, and hanging outside the base with the YWAM staff as if it were ages ago when in reality it was only a couple days ago. I don't know if I can speak for the whole team but there is definitely a distanced feeling when I think back over the past two weeks. But enough with the nostalgia, it's time to keep my word.

Although Halferty might have stolen a little of my thunder, I decided during the trip that I was going to use my last post to share some encouragement with each of my teammates. I say Bryan kind of stole my thunder because we all ended up writing encouragement cards for each other during the plane ride from Phnom Penh. But because I'm a man of my word, I'm still going to put up a little paragraph for everybody. Well here goes...and just an FYI, order is not important.

Caleb Kim: My brother in Christ, you are truly an inspiration to me to read the Word with excitement and fervor. Reading through Romans, hanging out at the base, and joking around with you and the team are easily my best memories of this trip. Getting to know you over the past month has been really encouraging to me and I pray that you earnestly seek God with all your being. Preach the word and speak truth to all you meet. PS maybe someday China will be redeemed to us (but probably not).

Hannah Webb: Hannah it was so nice getting to meet and know you over the past month and I know that God is going to continue to work and move in your life. Seeing your heart at Jeevit's house and always having an encouraging word for me and blessed me so much when I was feeling down. You have a true desire to serve and I'm sure everyone that meets you can see that. Good luck with all that God leads you to do over the course of your life and live in the Spirit.

Emily Shuttleworth: Oh barrung. I think that nickname is going to stick for quite a while. But seriously it has been awesome getting to know you and going to church with you both Sundays while we were in Cambodia. When you prayed for the women there I could see the passion you had for helping them and I knew that God heard your prayers. In hearing about all that God is showing you I am really excited to have been a part of it. Always listen to His call no matter how intimidating it may be.

Krista LaComb: You have really been an amazing blessing and encouragement to me and the rest of the team. Having the ability to hear your testimony was a real honor for me and it took a lot of courage to share your story. I pray that you continue to focus on God above all else and know that His plan for your life is always the correct one. Life may get hard at times but we can rest in the promise that He will lighten our burdens and make our yokes easy.

Luda Udodik: God put you on this team to lighten the mood with your smile and just shine brightly even when things got tough. Thank you once again for talking me through my sermon at the slum church and giving me a little peace. You could see that I was a little anxious and you used your gifts to help me. I pray that God continues to bless you in all walks of life and know that He is always with you.

Kelsey Bankston: You were one of the reasons this warrior's spirit was so high those first few nights. Being vulnerable enough to ask for prayer gave me the courage to pray with all that I had and speak truth to our group. It's been so nice getting to hangout with you and talk with you during this trip. You have such a caring heart and it was clearly seen when I had that rough time at the moringa orchard. Those peanut butter Ritz were easily one of the most satisfying meals I had all trip. I pray that God continues to be top priority in your life and that you never lose that caring and gentle heart. You are a blessing.

Bryce Toney: Pastor Bryce, even though I absolutely hated your monkey bites and kidney pinches, I love you bro. Hearing you preach at the church in the slums was really such a blessing to me and it was exactly what I needed. Thank you for reminding me that the living water is all I need and all that I should need. It was a blessing to hear your very first sermon and I pray that God continues to use your gift in the future. PS you're also my favorite ka-tuei barrung.

Gretchen Morgan: Like I said before, you definitely saw the worst of me on this trip when we got lost on the outskirts of Battambang. But we pressed on and made it back by the grace of God. Getting to know you and talk with you has been really awesome and I especially liked our airplane conversations, no matter how shallow they may have been. I pray that God continues to show you what He has planned for your life and always remember that He is with you.

Missy Newman: Well Missy, I said it before and I will say it again, I didn't ever expect to really connect with you that much and once again God completely broke my expectations. We had some great conversations and I really do love listening to you pray. I really enjoyed our final airplane conversation as it did kill about an hour of that horrid flight. There's great power in your words and I know that God will use you how He wants. Love God and love people.

Rachel Stephenson: The more that I think about how we have become friends on this trip the more I'm disappointed in the fact that I won't be coming back to Central next year. Getting to know and hangout with you during the past two weeks has been really special to me. Sharing your testimony at the slum church took so much courage and bravery and I really respect you for it. I pray that you always remember that God loves you no matter what has happened in your past. We are all new creations and God sees us through the lens of Christ's sacrifice for us. I'm happy to call you a sister in the faith.

Katrina Fultz: You are the embodiment of Christ's love and light for His people. Seeing you shine throughout the course of this trip has encouraged me so much to remember to always be a light, even when things go bad. You were also one of the only people to truly give the music I love a chance and that is so cool! I pray that you will always listen to God for wisdom, strength, and direction in your life.

Kaung Ko: Man I cannot believe that we met only a month ago. Hanging with you before and during the mission was really good for me. I was able to meet a man that has had his struggles and difficulties in the past but still presses on because he knows that God has called him to a higher calling. I was able to hear your story and it was so encouraging to me. I know that it may not always seem clear at times, but God has immense plans for your life and He is going to use you to greatly attract people to the Kingdom. You have a way with people and I've seen it personally. I pray that we are able to stay connected as I move off to the East coast and in thinking about it, skyping is totally not ka-tuei. I'll text you my contact info soon. Stay strong brother.

Kjersti Hanson: The afternoon of not painting and just chilling for a couple hours. That is what I remember most about you on this trip. It was really cool getting to connect with you and have a pretty long conversation about tattoos (something we both like) while we were "waiting to be asked" to go paint. But yeah it was really good getting to hear all that you have planned for your life and I pray that God continues to work in you and through you. Also, always remember according to Cambodians, Canada is definitely in South Africa.

Kandice Halferty: I finally got to meet the woman that said no to Bryan Halferty! But seriously it was awesome meeting you and having you on the trip to establish some order amongst the chaos. It always seemed like when Bryan didn't know what was going on or didn't have all the answers you were right there with all the correct information. Your smile was always encouraging when I may have needed a little encouragement (especially on the Sunday that I preached). You are an awesome woman of God and I hope to see you and Bryan this summer!

Megan Linder: The toughest one on the trip for sure. We may have both put moringa trees as our first choice, but I only made it one day. You were so excited to go back and just work as hard as you could, even going so far as to get hurt. I thank God for your spirit of service and all that you offered to the team. Your magic fingers soothed many a hurting back or neck on our team. Hope to see you this summer at Summer Salt!

Carrie Arnold: I most certainly do not hate you. In fact I came to develop quite an appreciation for the woman with RATS behind her haha. But seriously your sense of humor and desire to serve God was really cool to see. Also you looking out for who you called the "baby" of the mission team was nice of you (no matter how much I disliked it). I pray that God lets you continue to be a light around Ellensburg and that you seek Him earnestly. Also, let me know when you decide to get that tattoo, I wanna be there!

Bryan Halferty: Best for last...just kidding...or am I...do you see all these ellipses...? Just for you bro. But real talk, you have been there for me even before you knew my name. I mean that in a strictly "God used you to speak the words I need to hear through your sermons/blog" way and not a "Jeremiah 1:5 before I was born" way. Was that a stretch of an analogy? Oh well. I thought it was a good choice of words..tough choice, but a good choice. But yeah man hearing you preach the Word and the truth was one of the highlights of my college week. I looked forward to Tuesday evenings every week so that I could go praise my King and hear more about Him. God is using you more than you will ever know to influence that community and everyone that walks through those doors. Especially the kid that didn't know anyone, sat by himself because his friends didn't want to go with him, and whipped out his iPhone every thirty seconds in awkwardness. You helped that kid out a lot and that kid is bummed he won't be there next year but know that he will continue to pursue God with all his heart, soul, and mind. Preach on brother. Continue to be His warrior and lead people to the One true King. Averagé on a HNL.

I love you all and I thank God that I was able to be a part of this amazing team. I will forever hold dear the memories and laughs we shared. I am honored to call you brothers and sisters in the faith. I pray that you are always reminded that we are warriors for the King, never fearing anything because we stand united. Never let your passion be extinguished. Never let circumstances bring you down. He is with you always, and He is always faithful.

On His Shoulders

Day Thirteen: If Not Someday, Then In His Kingdom