CAMBODIA: A Killing Fields Survivor Who Learned to Forgive

Source: WEA News, June 4, 2013

As a boy of eleven [Reaksa Himm] watched villagers hack to death his father and brothers and later his mother. Eventually crossing the border to Thailand, Reaksa was sent to Canada. Here World Vision cared for him at one of their refugee centers, [and] Reaksa turned in faith to serve Christ. From there [he] studied, preparing himself for ministry.

However, plaguing his young mind was not only the memory of his family now dead, but feelings of revenge for those who had so devastated his family and life.

“I could tell that something was wrong with me, and underneath the facade I suddenly realized that I needed to forgive totally. Forgiveness is not easy, but if I allowed the big ball of fire to keep burning inside my heart, my life would not be worth living … When I could not forgive, I was actually burying myself into the grave of bitterness, anger, and hatred.”

He returned to the village of Kokpreach and there met with [those who had killed his parents], and taking a Cambodian scarf, tied it around their necks as a symbol of forgiveness. Then he gave them a Cambodian Bible and read from Luke 23:34 (“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”), and in so doing, offered his forgiveness.

» Read full story, also told in the book The Tears of My Soul.

JAPAN: Better Than Pickles

Source: Pioneers Media, June 2013

A Pioneers missionary in Japan writes:

There is a saying in Japanese which means, “We are all different, but all good in our own way.” This philosophy reveals a core attitude of religion in Japan.

Recently I was invited to join a local symposium as a representative of Christianity. I was to speak at a religious session along with a Buddhist priest and a Shinto priest. We shared a casual debate for an audience of 100 people.

As I interacted with these two priests, they reflected similar sentiments about the way the Japanese practice religion.

“I think Buddhism is like a recipe book: you play around with a recipe and create something” one said. “You decide what your soul wants to make. It is your own responsibility what you do with the ingredients.”

Part of the way through the discussion the Buddhist priest said, “I am afraid that about 80 percent of you are probably leaning toward Christianity!” The Shinto priest added, “I also thought he was convincing. It could be because I had had a lot to drink last night, but maybe I will become a believer too! I need to learn from him.”

At one point the Shinto priest expressed his view of the importance of religion: “I don’t think it is necessary to think too deeply about religion. For instance when you sit down to eat a meal, the main course is the rice. You have the side dishes. If you have pickles to go with the meal, it makes everything taste even better, doesn’t it? I think you should think of religion like the pickles. It makes life a little better. If you think of religion as more than that, it will become a burden to you.”

In response, I shared the reason why I came to Japan as a missionary – to share the Good News of a message that changed my life.

“He is so convincing in his speech,” the emcee said laughingly. “I thought the Buddhist would become a Christian!”

» Read full story.

» See the June issue of Encounters Mission Journal for an interesting article about Buddhist understandings of conversion (Redcliffe College, PDF).

Missions Catalyst 6.12.13 – Practical Mobilization

In This Issue: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Some Seth Godin

Missions Catalyst is a free, weekly electronic digest of mission news and resources designed to inspire and equip Christians worldwide for global ministry. Use it to fuel your prayers, find tips and opportunities, and stay in touch with how God is building his kingdom all over the world. Please forward it freely!

Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Some Seth Godin

By Shane Bennett

June is high wedding season in the U.S. The title and framework for this month’s Practical Mobilization pay homage to the time-honored tradition of brides wearing something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Since I prefer Seth Godin to the color blue, we’ll settle for three out of four, and I’m warning you now, they won’t be in order.

May the following words encourage you, like a bride stepping down the aisle – or if you are more like me, a father escorting one of his many daughters down that aisle – moving forward to build your tribe and engage your world for the sake of God’s work among the nations.


Something Old

My historical mentor G.K. Chesterton wrote prodigiously and well. Here’s his encouragement to us to get going.

“I do not believe in a fate that falls on men however they act; but I do believe in a fate that falls on them unless they act.” Illustrated London News, April 29, 1922

“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.” London Daily News, October 18, 1901

“His head was always most valuable when he had lost it. In such moments he put two and two together and made four million.” The Innocence of Father Brown, 1911

There you have it: Escape fate by action. Don’t worry that you might not be a master at your chosen action. The key thing is to begin. And finally, sometimes magic happens and your ideas go crazy!

And that brings to mind…

Something Seth

On the occasion of his 5000th blog post, Seth Godin reflects on the privilege and joy he has in daily sharing his thoughts with his tribe:

“My biggest surprise? That more people aren’t doing this [blogging daily]. Not just every college professor, particularly those in the humanities and business, but everyone hoping to shape opinions or spread ideas. Entrepreneurs. Senior VP’s. People who work in non-profits. Frustrated poets and unknown musicians… Don’t do it because it’s your job, do it because you can.”

I was encouraged by Seth’s words to redouble my efforts to reach out, connect, and equip the people over whom God has given me influence.

I am excited about how these three new things below have the potential to do just that…

Something New #1: Short Term Mission Toolbox

I love it when mobilizer types launch out in new media. Like the guys at Short Term Mission Toolbox who’ve just released an app. An app!

The STM Toolbox App provides fingertip access to their mission-trip resources (which might be just the ticket to get your grounded short-term idea off the runway) and also access to free stuff, training materials, and periodicals like Brigada, Mission Network News, and Missions Catalyst!

Three questions for you:

1. How can this app be better?

2. What other mobilization apps have you seen?

3. What cool mobilization apps should someone write?

» Share your thoughts about apps.

Something New #2: Frontiers Connect

Frontiers, the crazy great organization where I hang my staff hat, is launching a new way to build relationship with potential members. We want this event to “to bother people with the problem of the unengaged and invite them to be part of the solution.”

But here’s my concern. While I don’t know who all makes up the planning team, I’m concerned it could be a bunch of old white guys sitting around a table, asking, “So what are the youth really into these days? Hmmmm?”

Can you help me? If you’re under 35 and reading Missions Catalyst, well, first off, thanks. But also, could you weigh in on this question: How would you use 24 hours and a few hundred bucks to gather, challenge, and enlist people your age in the cause of the unengaged?

» Share your ideas for Frontiers.

Something New #3: DELVE

A couple of times this summer I’ll have a chance to help some sharp people explore the immigrant populations in a few cool cities. The training times will be brief and intense and the output used in the real world, so the key concepts need to stick in the minds of the explorers. To describe what we’re doing, I’m kicking around the acronym, DELVE: Discover, Explore, Learn, Verify, and Express.

The “Express” part happens after the study, as the explorers find ways to get what they’ve learned into the hands of people who will act on it. “Explore, Learn, and Verify” take place on site, with explorers walking the streets and talking with immigrants about their lives.

The part that’s got me stressed is the “Discover” component. I know that tons must already be known of the peoples our explorers will learn about, but how do we find that out ahead of time?

This is where I’d like to borrow your brain again. If you wanted to know what was already known about a specific immigrant group, for instance the Afghans in an American city like Baltimore, or all the immigrants in a European city like Berlin, how would you go about finding out? Who would you ask? What websites or other resources would you consult?

» Share your tips for info gathering.

… And if some training like that would help you, let’s chat.

Something Borrowed

If you haven’t figured it out, the “something borrowed” in this edition is your brain. Thanks for thinking about these things with me. With GK, Seth, and Jesus encouraging us, let’s write, talk, explore, and connect, sharing the ideas and dreams God has given us to the end that his kingdom and glory fill up the planet.

Thanks for reading.

Shane Bennett writes and speaks for a great organization called Frontiers. Lately he’s wondering about how Muslim immigrants in Europe might fully experience God’s blessing.

He’s also working with some buds to leverage a $49 a month smart phone plan to raise a ton of money for cross-cultural workers. Email him for info on the plan or the vision.