We were asking God to show us the best place for Kristin and me to live, to base out of as we engage families in discipleship. I was pretty sure I knew where it was going to be, I fully expected God to confirm our plans.
We stopped in two border towns on our way to our final destination, Pailin. We have been praying for over two years for this place, the area we planned to make our new home. We wouldn’t just focus on the town itself but reach out to surrounding villages, working our way north toward our partners in Sompovloun. We got to meet a lot of people in the two little towns but I really didn’t think about them too much more than as a dusty “pass-through” to our final destination.
I fell in love with Pailin right away. What’s not to love about views of mountains and valleys right out your window? I felt comfortable walking the streets, I got excited seeing a place for rent. But, as we started exploring we came across several already-thriving churches, started to meet a few believers. It seemed a good work was already going there.
My group climbed a hill behind the temple, and I felt a peace I normally don’t feel when praying around Buddhist statues and temples. It was evident that God was showing His power. As we looked out over the valley in all directions, I was tempted to claim that land, to say boldly, “This is the land you are giving us, Lord, where there will soon be many worshipers of You”. But, something held me back. Even then God was starting to release the strings holding tightly to my own plan. Instead, my young Khmer friend and I proclaimed praises to The Lord, asking for His blessing over the area.
Others were starting to feel like perhaps God had a different plan for us. God is at work in Pailin, that is for sure. But were we were to be a part of it?
I fought it, trying to hold on to my own desires. But, as we made our way back to Sompovloun after our two days of praying, I was asking for God’s peace. He reminded me of something I used to hear the president of our organization say when I worked in the home office: “Don’t ask ‘What can I do?’ but ask ‘What needs to be done?'” The truth is that there are thriving believers in Pailin who desire to make disciples and are doing so. As we stopped for breakfast in one of the “pass-through” towns I had earlier dismissed, the weight of the darkness reminded me of the urgency of going to the places where others are not going. Instead of thinking about my own plan and comforts, I asked myself, “What needs to be done?” God changed my heart, opening my eyes to new possibilities. We are continuing to seek Him and I am giving Him my own plans and desires so that He can fill me with the joy of His will.