My two weeks of travel in Cambodia came to an end a couple of weeks ago. It was great to be home and reunited with my family. But I do already miss being with the CGI staff & participants in Cambodia. It was a great trip and fruitful in many ways. I really enjoyed spending time with everyone there and deepening our relationships as a team. I thought about what I would consider my top three highlights from the trip and I decided to share them with you. So here goes–
1) The Culinary Training Center graduation ceremony was incredible. If you received my last update you recall I shared how wonderful this ceremony was. The eight girls who completed their training in our 3rd culinary training class graduated on March 12th. Several of their family & friends came to see the girls receive their certificates of completion. Through the smiles and the tears of joy, you could see this great accomplishment meant a lot to not only the girls graduating but also their families. The 70+ people in attendance got to eat lots of food the girls had prepared for everyone to show off their cooking skills. Best of all, prayers and the Good News of Jesus was a central part of the ceremony.
2) A big focus of this trip was to figure out what to do with the Culinary Training Center & Green Mango location. We learned a few months ago that our lease on the current property could not be renewed long-term. Thus we were looking at a new property to move to. The new property was a former school and is twice as big as our current property for less monthly rent. This new location has great potential and we believe it is also in a better location for restaurant customers. There are obvious build-out costs and operational issues for which to consider and plan. We are trusting that God will provide the needed financial resources and leadership staff to make the move a reality. Please pray that we would have wisdom & clear discernment in this decision.
3) Before I left for this trip I had the idea of sharing about how Jesus is the light of the world with the CGI staff & participants in Cambodia. And so I purchased several small LED flashlights and I prepared a ‘light of the world’ devotion and took them with me. I had several opportunities to share them with everyone there. I explained how Scripture tells us that Jesus is the light of the world. And how light always overcomes darkness. We looked at the invitation from Jesus to follow Him, and if we do we can walk in the light instead of the darkness. And the coolest part – like Jesus – we become the light of the world too! I explained how we let our light shine by doing good works that point people to Jesus, the one true God. I gave everyone a flashlight and explained how it is powered by the battery which gives it the ability to shine. And as followers of Jesus we are powered by the Holy Spirit which enables us to shine. And I told them to think of Jesus every time they used that flashlight, how He is the light of the world and how they too can be a light in this dark world if they choose to follow Him. I also told them that is why CGI exists – to share the light of Jesus!
Every time I have been to Cambodia I have a moment (usually many moments) where I stop and ask myself – “How did I end up here?” This trip the answer was crystal clear. I ended up in Cambodia because that is where Jesus led me. CGI is there to do good works in the name of Jesus. We shine the light of Christ in Cambodia through the programs we operate and relationships we build. To God be the glory!
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:14-16]