Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Divine Red Lights (and what to do when you're stuck at one)

                                                          © | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Even a small child knows that a red light means to stop. But what does the word stop mean? It seems to be such a simple word, but the word stop actually has two inferences that are  quite different from each other. On one hand, the word stop means to quit. If a father said to his son, "I want you to stop telling lies," we would rightly assume that he means to quit lying...permanently. On the other hand, if a father saw his son about to run into the road, he may yell, "Stop!" That doesn't mean for the rest of his life he is forbidden to leave the yard or cross the street. His dad was not calling for a permanent stop, but a temporary stop. In other words...wait. When a traffic light turns red, it does not mean the drivers are to quit their journey. It doesn't mean they are to give up and turn around and go home. It doesn't mean they are never again to travel this road. It simply means to wait. It is a temporary stop, not a permanent one. Honestly, it would be just as appropriate to call a red light a wait light as a stop light.

There are many examples of divine red lights in the Bible. Take Abraham for instance. After receiving the promise from God that he would be the father of a great nation, he promptly got stuck at a red light. No son. Perhaps for the first few months after God made that promise to him, he kept thinking and expecting that his wife, Sarah, would conceive a child. But of course, she didn't bear Isaac until decades later.  

But if you think Abraham's red light was long, what about Noah's? God set him on a life journey that included a 100-year red light! Of course, if the light had turned green after 10 years or even 50 years, Noah and his family would have drowned.

Have you ever been perfectly situated to go through a green light, only to have someone else make a lane change, or a pedestrian step into the crosswalk, and cause you to miss your green light? That happened to Joshua and Caleb. They were revved up and ready to go. The light was green and they were ready to roll. Then due to someone else's bad decision, they had to sit through 40 more years of a red light.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Brief History Of Turkeys In Cambodia

Image courtesy of papaija2008 at

I don't exactly know when the first turkey arrived in Cambodia, but when my family arrived here 13 years ago, frozen turkeys cost $70 to $80. Missionaries would gather in large groups for Thanksgiving and pool their resources to buy a turkey. The amount each family paid depended on the size of their family. The host had the unenviable task of collecting from his friends and blocking people's cars in so they couldn't leave without paying. Even for those who opted not to eat, there was usually a $5 surcharge just for sniffing. Every bone was licked clean. Leftovers were out of the question. Those were some dark days.

After learning the Khmer language, we came to the realization that a very important word had been overlooked in our lessons. That word was "turkey." I decided to show a picture of a turkey to some people and discover what the Khmer word for turkey was. After polling numerous Cambodians, they all said the same thing..."moen barang." Moen is chicken; barang is foreigner. And as in many languages, the adjective follows the noun. So...a turkey is a foreigner chicken. Foreigner chicken? Oh, brother! Such a miscarriage of literary justice! But old habits die hard, so "foreigner chicken" it remained.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Report On Our Medical Clinic

Amanda Visser treating a patient. This little guy is the son of a
national Baptist pastor.

I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Many hands make light work." Well, it's not always true! Some jobs are so big that even with lots of people helping, it's still heavy. Such was the case two weeks ago when we partnered with Medical Missions Outreach to host a 4-day medical clinic. 

Medical Missions Outreach, led by Bradley Edmondson, is a ministry which recruits medical professionals from the U.S. and takes them on trips to foreign countries to provide medical care for people who need it. They partner with independent Baptist churches like ours, so that when the clinic is over and the doctors and nurses are gone, there is still someone to build upon the relationship that has been established and hopefully win the people to Christ. We thank God for opening this door of opportunity for us to partner with this ministry. God blessed with a great turnout, and we were able to treat and provide free medicine for over 800 patients in the four days of our clinic.

The Participants Of The Clinic

Many hands (and there were many!) definitely didn't make the work light; however, having many hands made the work possible. There were 5 distinct groups of people that were involved in this outreach in some way, shape, or form.

1. The Medical Missions Outreach team

Their team of 10 included an emergency room physician, an EMT, 6 registered nurses, and 2 serving in a support role. All in all, the team was very competent and compassionate, and we appreciate them taking time off work and putting out the necessary expense to come and serve the people of Cambodia. Thank you, Bradley Edmondson, Tom Garra, Steve Henson, Marcos and Carolyn Alvarez, Joanna Barch, Ira Daclan, Amanda Visser, Becky Pope, and Kate Pakenham. You touched many lives with your gracious spirits  and servant's hearts. God bless you!

The Medical Mission Outreach team from the U.S.

2. The team of volunteers from Singapore

Missionaries Chantha and Susan Chhim brought a group of 11 (3 families) and were a huge help for 3 of the clinic days. The Singapore group provided logistical support in areas like the triage area, the lab, the pharmacy, and escorting patients to the proper places around the clinic. Thank you, Chantha, Susan, Caleb, Corbin, and Carter Chhim, Sun Ming Sheat and Sarah Tan, and David, Shannon, Alyssa, and Jacob Panjwani. You folks were awesome!

Missionary Chantha Chhim and family and the 2 other families they brought
with them from Singapore. (not pictured: Mrs. Shannon Panjwani)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

10 Prayer Requests For Our Medical Clinic Outreach

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at

This coming week (May 27th - 30th) we will be hosting a free medical clinic at our church as an evangelistic outreach. Healthcare in Cambodia is generally not too good, and many of Cambodia's poorest people do not have the money to obtain even substandard healthcare. God has laid it upon the heart of Bro. Bradley Edmondson, director of Medical Missions Outreach, to bring his team of volunteer medical professionals from the U.S. to conduct this clinic. His team will be providing the medical expertise and the needed medicines, and my team (our church and some other area missionaries) will be providing the translators and logistical support as well as sharing the Gospel. Also, a missionary friend from Singapore, Bro. Chantha Chhim, will be coming with his wife and children and a few of his converts from their new church plant in Singapore. We are excited about this wonderful opportunity to share God's love by meeting some of the physical needs of the people and pray God will open doors to meet the greatest need of all, salvation through faith in Christ. 

Here are 10 specific prayer requests for this outreach.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Benefield's 2011 Furlough Video

This is the video that we showed on our furlough (fall of '11 through summer of '12). If you are a pastor or church member of one of our supporting churches and we did NOT visit your church on this past furlough, I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to see a report on your investment in Cambodia. 

A number of people who saw this video last year requested a copy or a link where it could be viewed again or shared. it is! We originally intended to post this video immediately upon the completion of our furlough, but technical difficulties prevented that from happening. Special thanks to my good friend, Adam Wood, for taking some time to help me figure out and resolve the problem.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Lessons From A Sheepdog, by Phillip Keller (Book Review)

© Melinda Nagy | Dreamstime Stock Photos
Lessons From A Sheepdog was written in 1982 by Phillip Keller. I picked up a copy about 10 or 12 years ago at a garage sale and it has sat on a shelf ever since. A couple of months ago while perusing the books in my library and working on a list of books I intended to read in 2013, Lessons From A Sheepdog caught my eye. Now that I've read it, I am convinced that it was God who directed my attention to that book on the shelf.

At first glance, it may seem odd to try to draw lessons about the Christian life from a sheepdog. After all, Christians are called sheep, not sheepdogs. But you can rest assured that Mr. Keller is not trying to change the biblical designation of Christians as sheep. Indeed he makes reference all through the book to this very distinction. However, just as a shepherd often uses a sheepdog to help care for the flock, we who are servants of Christ have the privilege of co-laboring with God to help lead and guide His flock. But this doesn't mean the book is only for pastors or those who are church leaders in some official capacity. Since every believer who is biblically living out their faith will have some measure of influence on others, this book can encourage and strengthen Christians of all ages and situations.

In the first chapter, Mr. Keller tells the story of how in his younger years he was starting a new sheep ranch and was in need of a good sheepdog. He answered a classified ad from an individual who sounded desperate to get rid of a very bad and surly dog. Mr. Keller loved dogs and couldn't stand to see this one destroyed by its incompetent owner, so he agreed to take the dog. Eventually the dog became a loyal and faithful servant to Mr. Keller and was a huge asset to his work as a shepherd. The story presented in that first chapter is well-told and heart-warming in and of itself, but it gets infinitely better in the ensuing chapters as Mr. Keller uses his relationship with his dog to illustrate our relationship with God.

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Longest Ladder

Image courtesy of Nattavut /

Harry, Gary, and Larry were walking through the woods one night on the way to their favorite fishing spot.  Suddenly they stumbled upon an old, abandoned mine shaft, and all three of the friends fell through the rotten wood and crashed to the bottom.  Having managed to survive the fall with just some bumps and bruises, they were soon peering up at the small window of light above them.  It was a 50-foot shaft, but it might as well have been 1,000 feet. 

“Oh, great!” groaned Gary.  “How are we going to get out of this mess?”

“I don’t know” replied Harry.  “I’m just glad our gear fell down here with us.” And with that, he grabbed a slightly dented can of beer from their now-broken ice chest.  “No reason to let a little thing like this keep us from having a good time.”

“C’mon, Harry!  Are you nuts?”  This time it was Larry speaking.  “We’ve fallen into an abandoned mine shaft, and all you can think about is your beer?” 

Harry sneered, “Well, what are you suggesting, Mr. Know-It-All?”

“I’ll tell you what I’m suggesting” said Larry, “I’m suggesting that we’ve got a big problem, and we better get busy if we want to save ourselves.”

“What do you have in mind?” asked Gary.