Appreciating missionary work and thankful for missionaries

The Kwoks (two on left) minister with Bethel Bible Institute, and Operation Dawn (Drug rehab centres), N. Thailand

Do you remember when you spent blood, sweat, and tears into doing something for someone and never had the pleasure of being recognized or appreciated for your efforts?  And perhaps not even a “Thank you”? You might have had the thought: “I really don’t want to do this for them again!” This is likely how missionaries feel when they return for home assignment.

We’ve just spent about two weeks in Cambodia and Thailand and witnessed the pastoral care in missionary work of our friends. We came with the intention of spending time with our friends.

Mrs Kwok (left), Bethel Bible Institute, Thailand

In week 1: In Chiang Rai, Thailand, we were with friends Rev. Conrad and Fiona Kwok (and a former co-worker in pastoral ministry) who are Global Field Staff missionaries with Canadian Baptist Ministries (CBM) who teaches at Bethel Bible Institute and preaches at Operation Dawn.
In week 2: In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, we were with our friends Pastor Taka & Christina Miyano who are missionaries to Gateway Home for Children (i.e., orphanage).

We were with both missionary families as they ministered and they showed us first hand what they do. Having been present with them, I appreciate the heart they put into their work for the Lord.  They serve the local indigenous peoples in (Thailand and Cambodia) respectively, also known as “mountain tribes people” or “ethnic minorities”), and ethnic Chinese for the Kwoks.

With the Miyano family, Cambodia

What I say about missionaries in general might also be representative of others around the world. Missionary work can be a thankless work.  In general, most of us probably do not show them enough appreciation for their work.  Their efforts and fruits are not directly visible to members of their supporting churches back home. Missionary work is not like running a church organization, a business, or a personal venture, where results might be visibly seen quickly. It is a hidden ministry that happens out of sight. When it’s out-of-sight, then also easily out-of-mind. They get very little attention when they return from abroad to their supporting congregations. However, that’s probably expected when it comes to the work of missionaries.

However, the work does have an impact upon the local churches where it

At the Gateway Home, Cambodia

can take years, or even a whole generation, until one sees fruit. When one’s work does come to fruition, it might never result in any recognition back home. There are no rewards of victory or glory; and at worst, perhaps some criticisms or even demands for results. The latter can be very hurtful.

Then why would anyone want to become a missionary? They do it because they genuinely want to serve the Lord and further the kingdom of God, even if it’s hidden from sight. Churches and congregations back home usually have no idea about what is happening here–unless they come and see it for themselves.

Rev & Mrs Kwok (far left), ourselves, and Op Dawn co-workers (right & rear). N. Thailand

As a family, we have been very blessed by the ministry and presence of Rev. Conrad and Fiona, and Pastor Taka and Christina. God is present in their lives and their ministry. We felt their love and their care for the local people. “Thank you for your service to the Lord and the people you lovingly serve.”  I have learned so much from you. (Note: I might post a few more times on my experiences from this trip).

May God bless them and pour out His blessings upon their lives and family. May they be rewarded through the riches in God’s kingdom.

First Experience in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Me at one of the king’s palace buildings in Phnom Penh.

I’m in the city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia.  My family came to visit friends (of my wife) who are former classmates who now live here for ministry reasons.

It’s a more rustic but beautiful country where the people are “nice” (Note: I’m actually looking for words to more accurately describe the heart of Cambodian & S.E. Asian people). Perhaps another post will touch upon this).  The weather here is warm, high 20s C. or 80s F.  As soon as we stepped off the plane into the airport, we could feel the humid air. This is normal so air conditioning A/C is a must here. As westerners, we cannot

Jars of Clay, scooter parking at front (typical transport in Asia).

survive or sleep without A/C. It’s early mid- to late-March now and it’s definitely hot already but I hear it gets hotter and more humid in July. As September rolls around, it becomes super humid with monsoon season in South East and East Asia. My wife is from Taiwan and she recommends coming around December or Christmastime when the temperature is around high teens or 20 C or 70 F.

Our awesome & friendly server at Jars of Clay.

Ex-pats living here seem to be a common sight in this area where we are living. Our friends recommended us to stay in this area near the Russian market called the Tuol Tom Poung area near 163 Street.

A hard to spot signage.

The first place we were brought to eat at after arriving in Phnom Penh is the local eatery Jars of Clay. I highly recommend it for good local food (and some western stuff too) but with western style service. Yes, the lovely server speaks English and there are most of their customers seem are westerners (98%). There are some western style coffee shops like a Starbucks close by but it’s very pricey even by western standards.  And of course, there are many other places that you can explore all over the city.

There are many places we’ve yet to see so there are more posts to come.