Answered prayer, a wedding invitation and a funeral

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice;
    in the morning I lay my requests before you
    and wait expectantly. “

Psalm 5:3 (NKJV)
Morning sunrise, a view of the city from our apartment condo.

A week after we arrived in Phnom Penh, we sent our application for visa extensions to the government immigration officials (through an agency). We were told the process might take up to 14 days. After more than 20 days, we still had not received the important documents. David and I prayed earnestly, and one morning last week, during my morning time with the Lord, I felt He encouraged me from His words in Psalm 5:3. The same day, late in the afternoon just before we left the office, I was surprised when a staff member called and handed us our passports with new visas. We praise and thank the Lord for answering our prayers!

We also thank our Lord for the little ways He encourages us through His creation. In a bustling city of people, cars, tall buildings, construction, etc., sometimes it is a challenge to see the beauty of His creation. However, every now and then we get to see glimpses of the blue sky on a clear day, and some fluffy white clouds. Sometimes at night, on the roof of our apartment building, we get to see a little bit of twinkling stars and moonlight even amid the city lights.

Early one morning last week, it was a blessing to see the colorful sunrise over the horizon of the city landscape, shown in the photo above.

A Wedding Invitation and a Funeral

One day last week, our tuk-tuk driver gave us an invitation for the upcoming wedding of his daughter at the end of the month. Though we have not yet met his daughter, we are looking forward to going to this special event as this will be our first wedding to experience in the local culture. We also want to express appreciation to our faithful driver.

The same day, we found out the father of one of our staff members recently passed away. From the director, we received a note that all staff members were going to the funeral visitation. We all traveled together, about 20 people in 3 vehicles with a big funeral flower wreath arrangement in the back of the truck. David and I had no clue where we would be going. They said, it would be in a province outside the city. It took about two hours to travel 40 miles through the city traffic and on country dirt roads. On the road, we saw some local houses and huts made of wood. There were a lot of mango trees loaded with a lot of fruit, since this is the best season for mangos. We saw palm trees loaded with coconuts and other tropical trees. We also saw some cows freely walking on the road. It was nice to see some small ponds, little hills, and farming fields. We also noticed several Buddhist temples and pagodas. It was nice to be outside the city and catch some fresh air in the country.

Cambodia has two seasons, dry and wet. It is towards the end of the dry season. In a month or so, the rainy season will arrive. Some of the land looked parched and brown. Surely, most of the creatures of the land are waiting for the much-needed rain.

After having experienced cold winter weather just a couple of months ago, David and I have been trying to adjust to the hot weather. Most days, it’s been around 99 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We were told rainy season comes in May or June. It’s been dry and hot, so we have been praying for some rain. Last Saturday night, the Lord answered our prayer. We were surprised to see a good bit of rain, coupled with thunder and lightning. Thank you, Lord, for answered prayer!

When we arrived in the small village where the funeral was to take place, we saw many people already waiting in an old church building. After greeting the family, we were seated, and the funeral service began. Some local church leaders spoke giving their last tributes and paying respect to the man of God who passed away. The father of our staff was a well-known church leader and evangelist. Through translation from one of our staff, we understood a little bit of the message from the main preacher. He spoke and encouraged the family, friends, and relatives by sharing from the Word of God. Here is an excerpt from the Bible verses he quoted:

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

I Thessalonians 4:13-18

After the long ceremony, we were invited to a community meal. We enjoyed the visit even though it was a sad occasion. We were grateful to be there to comfort the family of this man of God who is now in heaven enjoying his great reward as a servant of the Lord.

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