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Musings from the World of Jewel Scarves for Cambodia Journals for the Journey

Friday, February 10, 2012

An Abandoned Blog, but Not an Abandoned Mission

Friends, Family, and Supporters,
     Much has happened since that last time I officially wrote to you all. Some of you have been a part of our life’s most recent happenings, others of you may be wondering where in the world we are and what we are doing. We have decided to pursue American citizenship. This will allow Titus to freely leave and enter the United States without hassle; it removes the threat of being denied a visa to enter the United States; it waves all further increasing visa/paperwork fees; etc. Obtaining citizenship is a long (~3-5 years!) and expensive process, and the decision has been very difficult to make; however, God has been speaking to our hearts, reminding us (I especially need this reminder!) that "…my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Yes, there are still days when I yearn for 'peace which passeth all understanding (Philippians 4:7,) but I rest in Him and listen to my husband’s confident/encouraging word. I do not know what the next 3-5 years will look like. I just know that right now we are waiting, preparing, training, and seeking.
     Through prayer and fundraising efforts, we continue to be distant partners in the ministry in Cambodia that Titus started before he came to America in October. We wish that we could do more; we wish that we could be there now. Romans 10:14 says, "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" We are happy to announce that the University Students Fellowship has received funding to rent a house and open a girls’ dorm. More than four students have gotten saved and are being discipled, and the leaders are currently preparing for a Valentine’s outreach this Sunday, at which they will talk about God’s love. Our prayer is that God will continue to bless the ministry that our friends are carrying on in Cambodia, and that He will continue to teach and strengthen us to do His work, wherever we are.
     February is ‘Missions Month’ at our church and we have already enjoyed hearing two powerful missionary testimonies. In a January preview to Missions Month, Pastor Bob preached a sermon entitled ‘Missional Living’ - a lifestyle of adopting the posture, thinking, behaviors, and practices of a missionary in order to engage others with the Gospel message. I had been thinking about this very idea for weeks prior to Pastor Bob’s sermon, and I have felt much conviction. I have a heart for the world – for international missions – but I am embarrassed to admit that I’m a little uncomfortable trying to find my place being a missionary at home. I ask you to join us in prayer that God will direct us, opening our eyes to opportunities to share His love and to evangelize, and especially strengthening us to be obedient. We are grateful for His conviction… and His patience. :)
“No one can say: ‘Since I’m not called to be a missionary, I do not have to evangelize my friends and neighbors.’ There is no difference, in spiritual terms, between a missionary witnessing in his home town and a missionary witnessing in Katmandu, Nepal. We are all called to go—even if it is only to the next room, or the next block.”
(On Being a Missionary by Thomas Hale
     Other highlights from life together in America thus far:
On October 29th, Titus and I stood in front of God and almost 300 witnesses to commit our lives to each other and our marriage to Him. We were blessed to have a wonderful wedding party of family and friends who traveled from New York, Maryland, Kentucky, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas to support us. To those of you who were able to come, thank you again so much for celebrating with us. It was a beautiful day – one that I have recollected many, many times – that was enhanced by the presence of friends and family who love us and have invested in our lives. Although no members from Titus’ family were able to attend, we were blessed by the presence of Cambodian friends, ministry partners, former and present missionaries to Cambodia, and others who represent a love for/knowledge of Cambodia.
     Since Titus arrived in America four months ago, he has grown to love my family and my family has grown to love him. It is a blessing to me that – although the adjustment to food, weather, church, language, streets, customs, etc. have been very, very challenging and uncomfortable – He has genuinely found himself “at home” with my family. Many and sincere THANKS are due to our family and friends who have reached out to him and tried to welcome him to America and into their lives. Thank you also to those who have given furniture, kitchenware, and other household items to help make our little block apartment our home.
     After five months of working 50+ hours/week at three jobs (Cracker Barrel, Lakeview Christian Pre-School, and “janitoring” at Brookhaven,) the Lord has blessed me with a full-time position in the School of Business and Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University – a job with health insurance, a more-than-sufficient salary, paid vacation days, free tuition, and more. Titus and I both plan on taking advantage of the blessing of FREE TUITION, and while Titus is still praying about which direction to take, I am already looking forward to starting Biblical Literature classes this summer.

     In conclusion, I want to ask for your prayers for two requests that have been on my heart. First: Last week, our friend Soklai– a faithful member of one of the Wesleyan churches in Cambodia’s capital city – died suddenly and unexpectedly. When he died, Soklai was sitting in a chair, playing with his young daughter. Second: My sister and her Filipino fiancĂ© have begun the process of applying for a fiancĂ© visa to America. Titus and I saw God move big mountains during our application period, and I pray that Jessie and Aldean’s testimony will be the same: that their faith will increase.
     As always, thank you. Thank you for reading, for supporting, for praying, for loving, and for giving. We pray that this message finds you happy, healthy, and strong in the Lord.
Serving Him,
Titus & Jewel