Tuesday, June 28, 2016

What a journey!

What a journey! I (Titus) have been working with missionaries since I first became a Christian and went to the Wesleyan Bible Institute in 2000. The missionaries told me their stories of how they travelled hundreds and hundreds of miles away from home to churches to raise their own support. They told stories that many times they had to sleep in a tent in front of peoples’ houses, eating at McDonald’s almost every meal (just to save money), packing a lot of snacks and drinks (just to save money), and even staying in homes with people that they never knew or met before.    

We are on that journey now! The journey of an adventure and trust with the ALMIGHTY GOD.

Oh how I now understand that adventure! For the past couple months since we started raising our own support to go back to Cambodia as missionaries to start a new field for World Gospel Mission, we have been travelling quite a lot; and of course, we experienced some of the things that I mentioned above.  
Honestly, sometimes I wandered if I would wake up STILL ALIVE and BREATHING (don’t let our hosts know this) at a strange place in a stranger’s house. Or what if I have an accident on the road?  What if the car breaks down while I am driving?  What if the food that the hosts serve us has poison in it?  What if I have to go the bathroom (#2) immediately while I am driving, but the next exit is still 11 miles away?  What if Jewel goes into labor?  Those are the feelings and fears that frequently occurred from the moment we left the house to travel.

While driving and looking through the car window and seeing the view of mountains, hills, lakes, rivers, trees, skies, storms, rain, sunshine, stop lights, stop signs, deer….etc. These things have reminded me the beauty of God’s creatures and that He is still around me. He is in the car with me. He is in the storm with me. He is in the strange homes and places with me. He is simply with us everywhere we go.

The Lord has been so gracious to us! He has proven Himself trustworthy and a God who provides. We are a young couple, unexperienced in fund-raising, unprofessional in contacting people, but the God that we believe often chooses these kind of people to shine His Glory and to prove to the world that He could mold the ugly brown clay into the most beautiful vase.

Many of the people and churches that we speak at do not know where Cambodia is but once I mention that it borders with Vietnam, they all open their big eyes and stare at me……
(To be continued)

 For the Spirit of God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
2 Timothy 1:7

To see Christ glorified in Cambodia,
Titus, Jewel, Sophear, & Little Man

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

You work all things together for my good

While some weeks our support-raising seems slow, God continues to encourage and strengthen us.  We have been motivated to seek deeper, look further, and stretch higher.  After hearing its words included in lyrics at church Sunday night, I have been encouraged by Romans 8:28
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Cambodia - Christmas 2010
Things don't always go according to our plans. We had intentions to return to Cambodia as missionaries within two years after getting married (2011), but God quickly showed us that He had other plans.  In the time that has passed since we had already hoped to be in Cambodia, God has led us on some amazing adventures!
  • In July 2015, Titus became a citizen of the United States; this allows him the right to travel freely between Cambodia and the US without a visa.
  • Our daughter was born with a heart defect, but was able to have life-saving surgery.
  • Titus went on missions trips to Puerto Rico and Uganda.
  • Jewel found gainful employment at Indiana Wesleyan University, which provided Titus with the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree with free tuition.
  • We plugged into ministry with the youth group at Brookhaven Wesleyan Church.
  • We have built a strong support among those who have been able to get to know us as a couple and a growing family.
  • We have also had the opportunity to return to Cambodia twice (December 2013 and October 2015).
Titus' citizenship ceremony - July 16, 2015
Our story is long; and our God is good. Our journey to now has not always been an easy one, but it has been one full of blessings, of affirmation, and of the Lord’s leading us. He led me to Cambodia, He led us to each other, and He has led us since then.  He's taken care of us.  His sovereign plan has been greater than ours.

While we continue to make plans, we're trusting that His plans, even when they do not match ours, are great.

We didn't plan for Sophear to have surgery this year and we certainly didn't plan for her to be born with a heart defect, but we're grateful for what God has taught us.  When the anesthesiologist carried Sophear to surgery on March 16, I found myself helpless and fully reliant on God's loving goodness.  When Sophear was 12-days-old, we dedicated her to the Lord and chose 1 Samuel 12:24 as her life verse -
But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.
He has already done great things for Sophear!  Dr. Kumar wants to see Sophear one more time before we move to Cambodia; but at her last appointment, he said she looks GREAT! The extra blood flow through her heart has COMPLETELY STOPPED and there is NO resulting DAMAGE on nearby veins or arteries. Also, he was surprised that the left side of her heart has SHRUNK back to almost its NORMAL size. (He had previously anticipated that the swelling would be long-term damage.)

On May 24, I (Jewel) had a very long and painful gallbladder attack.  While comprehensive bloodwork and an ultrasound (of the gallbladder) had good results, there is concern for another attack.  If I have another attack to the extent of the previous attack, my doctor wants to immediately remove the gallbladder.  Before removing the gallbladder, he will deliver Little Man.  Of course, our plan includes a full-term pregnancy and a complication-free delivery on August 1, but we're trusting that sovereign God has a plan to "work all things together for our good."

Memorial Day Weekend:
The Romdenh and Nov families

We traveled to Churchville, NY to spend the long weekend with our Cambodian-American friends and to speak at Spencerport Wesleyan Church. Phalkun and Janell have been friends of Titus since around 2001. Their story, though written a few years earlier than ours, is about the same – go to Cambodia as missionary from IWU, eventually come home with Cambodian pastor husband. Janell was a missionary at the Wesleyan Bible Institute in Phnom Penh and Titus also translated many courses for her. The drive to the Rochester, NY area was about 9 hours one-way and Sophear did FANTASTIC! We seriously couldn’t have asked for a happier girl!

On Sunday, we shared about our calling and ministry at Spencerport Wesleyan Church.  Because of our friendship with Phalkun and Janell, we had visited their church on previous occasions and we were grateful to see some familiar faces and receive a warm welcome!  SWC was the fourth church that we have visited as a family on this journey of support-raising.  We continue to be grateful for the opportunities that we have had to share, for the people that have encouraged us, and for the experience of worshipping God in a church outside our home church. Traveling and being a guest is not always easy or fun, but we are grateful for the opportunity that we have been given to raise our own support, to build our team, and to connect personally with our supporters!

We covet your prayers!
  • Praise God for His goodness and faithfulness!  Please pray that He will continue to strengthen and encourage us and provide us with more speaking engagements.
  • Please pray for the people at Cambodian American Christian Fellowship, Cambodian United Methodist Mission Fellowship, Coleman Wesleyan Church, and Spencerport Wesleyan Church. (These are the churches that we have visited on our support-raising journey.)
  • Please pray for God's favor upon Jewel's scholarship application for her continuing studies at Moody Theological Seminary.  Scholarship awards will be made in July and early August.
  • July 23-31, we will attend Family Camp in Fairmount, IN.  Please pray that we find comfortable accommodations for our little family.  Please pray that it's a spiritually and emotionally uplifting week!  Praise God for the tradition on camp meeting!  
  • Please continue to pray for Jewel's pregnancy, gallbladder, and Little Man, expected August 1.
  • Praise God for Sophear's healing!

To see Christ glorified in Cambodia,
Titus, Jewel, Sophear, & Little Man