Sunday, December 10, 2006

We have been busy!

We apologize again for the length of time since our last update of the blog, but as the title says, we have been busy! That is not an excuse, but it s a great lead in to tell you about some of the opportunities that we have been involved in the past month. We were blessed to be visited by several teams from the United States. We have been blessed by our students at the WBI, and their sheer joy of preparing to serve the Lord as pastors. And of course, we, like all of you at home, are getting ready for the holidays. So sit back in your chair, or wherever you are, and read about the goodness of God and how He is providing such a full life here in Cambodia.

Many of you know through the requests on our monthly prayer cards that we hosted a team from Kentwood Community Church in Michigan at the beginning of November. The team came representing their church, one of the leading financial backers behind the Wesleyan Bible School Relocation Project, and we were blessed at their desire to see the ministry in Cambodia furthered toward the goals of the future. The picture that you are seeing now was taken at the property where the Bible Institute will be constructed. In the picture, you may see a bare lot, but we see the future of the ministry in Cambodia, with all the glory given to the Lord.

Throughout their four-day stay in Cambodia, we held many meetings where we debated such interminable questions as internal vs. external hallways, design, and placement. We talked about building supplies, contractors, materials dealers, and so many of the other aspects of such a large project. Here in this picture, you are seeing one of those meetings. Standing between Tim and Greg F. is the architect. Seated to Greg’s left are the contractors who will be handling the construction of the new Bible School. After all of the meetings were completed and after much prayer, we felt blessed to hold in our hands the new design drawings for the Bible School and a budget for the completion of the project. Praise the Lord for His provision and for the wisdom that was given to us to make these decisions

We were also blessed to host the director of Global Partners Dr. Don Bray and his wife Joy. It was also a blessing to have Pastor Keith Nash from Mitchell Wesleyan Church with us, the man who was directly responsible for our great times of travel and sharing in the Dakota district. They came to share during our pastor’s conference, but we also took time to visit the site of the tragic burning that claimed one of our newest Wesleyan Churches in the spring of 2006, the story can be found in Wesleyan World Magazine. Here you are seeing Pastor Nash, Arun (the pastor of the church), Dr. Bray, and Joy standing amidst the ruins of the burned church.

Standing amongst the rubble, it was not hard to imagine the angry shouts of the crowd who burned the church, but there was also a definite sense of God’s presence. You see, the church was burnt and destroyed, but the work of the Lord is something that cannot be supplanted so easily. God is still moving in Boeng Krum, and His work is evidenced by the growing church, the way the language classes taught by Pastor Arun are touching so many people, and through the lives of those who are trusting in the Lord and walking with Him.

In Boeng Krum, we were able to do one of my (Tim’s) favorite things; eat with the people and try new foods. Here in a picture taken by Dr. Bray, Greg and I are feasting on snakes that were part of the dinner that mostly was made up of fish and other goods found in the river. The snakes were quite good, though I was disappointed to find that our scaly friends did not have more meat on them. Bummer!

The blessings of the Lord were upon the Pastor’s conference that was held at the beginning of December. Dr. Bray, Joy and Pastor Nash talked about leadership, joy, unity, and stepping out into God’s realm in our ministries. It was a blessing to be spiritually fed by these great leaders of the church, and everyone, the pastors and the missionaries, grew deeper in our knowledge of what it is to serve the Lord. Here, in a picture taken by Greg Fernandez, you are seeing two of the pastors who were asked to demonstrate unity. With the cords tied securely around their wrists symbolizing the power of the Holy Spirit and the love we share, they were unable to break apart. Praise the Lord.

The “Joy of the Lord” was a central messages of the conference. After the message brought by, who else, Joy Bray, the pastors came forward to be anointed that they too might regain the joy of the Lord in their ministries. Here you are seeing Resie Fernandez anointing and praying for one of the intern pastors who are currently serving around Cambodia.

We have been so blessed by the lives of our students at the Wesleyan Bible Institute. We have been dreaming about teaching at the WBI for many years, but now that it is a reality, God blessings have surpassed all of our dreams. These students are a continual blessing to our hearts and our lives. This is a picture of two of the students, Channa and Tewe (both on the left) and Channey, the Dean of Women, when they came to our house for a fellowship.

For our next fellowship, we played games. The games involved a great amount of close interaction, and the finale was a “three-legged” race. However, to all of those who know us well, we are never satisfied with the norm. When the “three-legged” race had been mastered, we continued to add people to the line until we created this “ten-legged” creature. The students had a great time, and they really learned a great deal about the importance of working closely with others.

At our most recent fellowship, we invited all of the students over for a night of praise and worship and crafts. To give a little background, all of the internal doors in our house are engraved with a dragon, which is the image of Satan in the eyes of the Cambodian church. We decided to solve this problem by putting scripture on our doors, covering the engravings, so that instead of seeing the dragon, we would be reading the Word of God. We asked the students to do an illustration of the various verses that we hung on our walls. Here Vicheak, one of the senior students, paints diligently on our roof which not only afforded great views of the city but also a pleasurable place to have fellowship with the students.

Here you are seeing Vicheak’s vision of John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son; that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” The image of God physically giving our Savior from heaven speaks a great deal of His love for us and the sacrifice that Jesus made to come live among us. It also shows Vicheak’s understanding of the love of God and the meaning of this very important scripture verse.

This was our first major holiday away from our families in the United States and the first holiday without Tiffany’s father; it was hard for us to be so far away from home. However, God, as He always does, gave us exactly what we needed, a family for the holidays. We had a Thanksgiving feast at our house that included our friends and fellow laborers here in Cambodia. Pictured here from left to right are Lindy Morgan and Amber Hirschy (friends of ours who work with World Hope), us, Dr. Robert and Kay Bickert (guest teachers at the WBI), and Greg, Resie and Aleeyah Fernandez (who are our mission directors and leaders here in Cambodia). Praise the Lord for His providence, for He certainly is a great God who knows the desires of our hearts.

With Christmas so near, we opened the Christmas decorations that we brought with us to Cambodia. We also were able to buy a Christmas tree at a local book store, so we have our own little corner of Christmas in our house. It is a blessing to sit on our couch together, look at our lights, and listen to Christmas music. It not only gives us a time of rest, but it also allows us to settle comfortably into our new home and the new life that God has given to us here in Cambodia.

Praise His Name and Worship Him with us the Christmas season. We miss all of you there in the United States, but know that we still pray for you and think of you often. God bless you all, and never stop looking up to Him for everything that you may need.

Celebrating the “Word made flesh”
Tim and Tiffany Gallant


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