Well after 78 days of travel and outreach in Southeast Asia I’ve finally arrived back in the United States! It is so wonderful to be reunited with my family after being apart for 17 days. It was the best sight to pull up to the YWAM base here in Kona with and see my three beautiful children jumping up and down and screaming because “daddy’s home!” Ahh…to be loved! It’s amazing what kind of impact that has on you. When you are loved it brings so much significance to your life.
Our outreach team has spent the last 78 days pouring out love onto as many people as possible in Thailand and Cambodia. Our hope has been as we would demonstrate love and share love the people we meet would realize how much their Heavenly Father truly loves them. We met with young people everyday and shared with them everyday how much they are loved by Jesus. And as we left Cambodia last week we realized we were really getting through. How did we know? Well, all of the young people we were loving on everyday…they loved on us in return.
Our last week in Battambang, Cambodia was filled with goodbye celebrations and exchanging emails and facebook addresses. There were lots of tears, laughter, and requests for us to return to Cambodia soon. It was so easy to respond to the requests with a hearty, “Yes, we would all love to come back!” We had students praying for us, giving us gifts, writing letters, giving pictures, and more. Our whole team felt so loved. The morning we left from Battambang to Bangkok we had many young people from Cambodia and YWAM staff members come to wish us farewell. It was so special to have so many come to see us off. It was such a clear picture of the love that each one of those people had for our team. We also knew it was a testimony to the effectiveness of our time with each of them.
The receiving of love from these new friends gave our team such a since of significance. We talked often over the next few days how blessed we were to have shared the last few months together in Cambodia. Everyone felt a great since of accomplishment as we endured through the challenges and gave our lives away in this beautiful nation. That since of accomplishment was sealed in our hearts by the love we received back from everyone we met over the course of our outreach together. It would have been much more difficult to believe we had an impact on the people’s lives we touched if they didn’t express any gratitude or love in return. I’m so thankful that our new friends were vulnerable and open enough to give love back to us and express it openly!
The giving and receiving of love is so crucial in our lives and the scriptures make it clear that both of those are a necessary part of our relationship with the Lord. There is never a lack of scriptures communicating the need for us to love the Lord completely.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30
But the other side of the coin is often overlooked by us and it is the many times the scriptures speak to God’s incredible love that he pours out on us. Again, there is no lack of verses speaking to this. I love this following verse. It is one of the most colorful and expressive verses about God’s amazing love for us.
“The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
My prayer is that you will walk in the deep significance that you are loved by your Heavenly Father. As an overflow of this love you receive from the Father, you will be able to turn around and love Him back and also share that love with as many people around you as possible! And just as I’ve returned home this past week, your heart will find it’s home in the place of receiving the Father’s love for you.