Tuesday, May 30, 2006

One of the greatest things in life is having children. Gail and I are blessed with two wonderful ones and we thank God each day for them and asked Him to keep them in His care. Gail is home visiting them now and loving every minute of it!
Our one and only sons’s name is Greg. He has turned into quite a young man recently and we are proud of him for many reasons. He is intelligent, witty, charming, handsome, and just an all around good guy. His 21st birthday is today and I called him this morning to wish him a happy one. It was so refreshing to hear him talk about the future and his plans for it. All of us who have sons can understand just a little bit about how God felt about His Son.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Bible on Trial

Living out of the country, we have missed worship service with our church family. The singing and fellowship is quite different. The Lord is still present, love is shared, but there is a blessing in hearing great singing and an uplifting sermon. I experienced that on Sunday at Prestoncrest in Dallas. Of course it didn't hurt to have my children on both sides of me. Rick later told me he was the only man again at English service in Phnom Penh, so he had a full morning. The ministers of Prestoncrest were presenting a series that refuted the movie "The DaVinci Code". They had titled it "The Bible on Trial: Can We Trust the Four Gospels?" It was a great lesson. The book is clearly fiction to those who know the bible and have strong faith. But to those who don't have a conviction or study for themselves, here is yet another false teaching that can confuse their mind. Teaching these young Khmer students who know nothing about the Bible is humbling and made me realize how much I took for granted. We read verses and I ask myself why I believe this and how can I simply state that to people with no biblical background. It has caused me to study deeper and read in a different light. Gail

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Blind Man

There are several stories of blind men being healed by Jesus in the Bible. They are all thrilling to read and imagine what it must have been like for those radically coming into the light from total darkness!
This week I had an experience with a blind man in Cambodia. I drove some men from the villages where they preach to buy some seed to plant in their drip irrigation gardens. Upon returning them home, we came upon a blind man. He was walking down the middle of the dirt path we were on with a piece of cane tapping the sides as he walked. One of the preachers told me he had been blind for 20 years but I was amazed with what came next. He works independent of anyone’s help to support himself and his family. He has several children and he supports them all!
How does he do that? He climbs sugar palm trees and takes the sweet liquid gathered in collection buckets to the market to sell! The trees are very tall and dangerous to climb even with sight but he walks several miles, 7 days a week, to accomplish his job. I was amazed!
When we drove back to the place, I could not find him. I wanted to talk to him, with a translator, and have him tell me his story. I will try to do this in the future. So many people beg here with what seems to be no physical ailments. I can’t wait to talk with him someday soon and find out, “The rest of the story”. I cannot heal him but maybe I can share with him about Jesus and His life giving power.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Something Missing

I will be missing my sweet wife for the next few weeks. She has flown home to be with our children for a few days while we wait patiently for the boat to be finished. She has landed in Los Angeles and will fly to Dallas on the dreaded “Red Eye”! I know she will be really tired when she arrives but she will be happy-tired as she will soon be hugging our two sweet “angelic” children!
Gail and I were originally scheduled to come home for a visit in July but it appears that won’t be possible. All work has been finished on the boat and it awaits only a final inspection. We all wait with great anticipation for the day the “Ship of Life” will sail for Cambodia. Pray for me as I wait for the boat and Gail to sail my way.


My first born child went to see the Texas Rangers play baseball Thursday night. That is not unusual but she sat with my best baseball friend in the whole universe, Jim Gardner and his daughter Trae. Jim invited Britt and her friend Tiffany to join them to watch the Rangers play the Athletics from Oakland. I knew when I turned on the computer and read the recap of the game it was a real “hum-dinger”. (no offense Kirk)
The Rangers fell hopelessly behind, 7-0, and seemed to have no chance for a come back. But, as we all know, there is always a chance, and come back they did. After a grand-slam home run to start the come back, the climax came in the bottom of the ninth, of course, with Ranger Phil Nevin hitting a walk off homer to end the game.
I immediately e-mailed Britt and she wrote back late a night to confirm the games outcome. I then ran to the internet café and called my friend Jim and chatted about 10 minutes just like old times. I am so thankful for modern technology that lets me communicate half way around the world so easily! Go Rangers!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Substitute Teachers

Gail has been teaching university age students English with the Bible for several months. We have both had lots of time for exploring and writing and such up until now. The last week we have both been teaching pretty much full time. We will be very busy doing that for the next few weeks.
Several teachers have left to go home and several regulars are visiting home so we are substituting for them. It is a real thrill to teach people about the Bible who have no previous knowledge of God or His Son Jesus Christ. One thing that you learn quickly is that there is a vast difference between Christianity and Folk Buddhism. I say Folk Buddhism because none are pure Buddhist. They have mixed in all kinds of superstitions and Animism. Almost everyone fears ancestral spirits continually seeking to do harm to those who do not show them respect with incense burning and offerings of various kinds.
Many of the young minds show interest but the difference between believing in endless reincarnation and the Christian concept of instant regeneration is great. It is hard to tell what kind of soil the seed is falling on but one thing is for sure, seed is falling!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

These Eyes Are Watching You!

Most of the seafood we order is delicious. It often comes with the “head” included. You get used to it after a while and just go right on. On our trip to Thailand last weekend, we ordered fried shrimp while we were waiting for a ferry. Unlike at home, it was fried with the shell on it and each one was looking at us! Tasted great though.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Mail Call

In the hot summer days of my teen years, I regularly attended bible camp. A highlight of camp was to receive mail. Your name would be called out and you would have to sing a song, tell a joke, or run around the mess hall tables before getting your letter. It was very embarrassing but everyone wanted to receive mail! Well, we were very excited last week when we received several birthday cards in the mail. We didn’t have to sing or run around, but we did laugh a lot. Our kids enjoy sending us cards that make fun of our age! Paula, yours was pretty good, too! As usual, Gary and June Thorson added a few little comic clippings with their card. We laughed until we cried. Thanks for the smiles! Gail PS I just recieve a Mother's Day card from Brit! It only took two weeks. The cards above were sent as early as March!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Koh Chang

Since last Friday and Monday were national holidays, Gail and I decided to engage in a little R&R. We decided to visit a little island off of the coast of Thailand named Koh Chang. It is a beautiful island with many colorful choral reefs and tropical fish both of which we enjoy very much. Getting there was another thing.
We knew starting out that the 200 mile trip would take some time due to the lack of adequate roads. We traveled by moto taxi, tuk-tuk, truck taxi, mini van, bus, boat, and ferry. The boat pictured above was probably the most comfortable and the ferry the least. Let me explain. On the way over we traveled primarily by bus and boat. On the way back we decided to try a mini van which could have been faster. It wasn’t! We knew that we would have to cross 4 different rivers by ferry. What we didn’t know was how long the lines would be. They were long! We waited at one crossing for 2 hours. We did get to watch the local people interact and react while we waited. You can never stop learning in a new culture.
All in all we had an enjoyable trip but were happy to arrive back home. When we arrived we found out that a boat captain had been hired for the Mekong medical boat. We had met him earlier and felt he would be a good choice. He has 26 years of experience on the rivers of Cambodia.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Certificate of Participation

Chry Meng Huy has been studying with the WEI program since June 2005. He passed all of his tests and was faithful in attending class. He received his certificate and it was a happy moment. The disappointment is that he really had no interest in continuing to study the bible. I was with him only a few weeks and tried to engage him in what he believed about Jesus and his Word. He was very uncomfortable when I asked him direct questions and referred back to his country’s belief in Buddhism. Many seeds have been sown in this program to teach English and we may not see the harvest. I don’t know what Meng Huy will do in the future, but I do know that God has the power to change any heart. Quoting the prayer from the May 16, 2006 Power for Today encourages us to continue to plant seeds… Father, help us to be active participants in the expansion of Your kingdom. Remind us today that many people we meet will never meet You unless we introduce them to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen – “Bill” McDonough, Phnom Penh

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

May 14th

Last Sunday was a special day to me for many reasons. First of all it was Mothers Day. I know that many of you will disagree with me, but my Mother is the greatest in the whole world. I have never known any other lady as loving, gentle, kind, patient, caring, and just big-hearted as my Mom. I must emphasize the patient and long suffering part. Many of you will guess why!
Last Sunday was also our 28th wedding anniversary. Gail is also a lady sent from heaven with many of the same qualities as my Mother. Mom only had to put up with me for 18 years though! Gail is not only the perfect woman for me, she is a wonderful Mother herself whose kids love dearly. What great women I have been blessed with!
Two special men in my life had birthdays on May the 14th. My Father-in-law, Jim Mabery, would have been 77 years old this past Sunday. He taught me much about the mercy of God and how to love your brother in so many ways. I will always miss his spiritual guidance and fatherly advice. The second one is the King of Cambodia! I don’t know him very well but he celebrated his 54th on this past Sunday as well. He is special because we were all thankful for the national holiday.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


We all need it. Inspiration. When life seems too difficult to go on what we often need is a good dose of inspiration. We can get it from many sources but none better than God’s own Word. Christians are inspired by hope. (ITh 1:3 )
Another source is the lives of others who have gone before us. I have been reading the life stories of some of the great medical evangelist form the past. David Livingston and Florence Nightingale are names known to almost everyone in the world based on their achievements over 150 years ago! David Livingston was Scottish and Florence Nightingale was English. He was from an extremely poor family and she from the opposite. They both gave of themselves in extraordinary ways. She championed the training of nurses and he, a physician, dedicated his life to Africa.
Livingston, in particular, lived a fascinating life. He went to Africa to teach and physically help the natives. He soon found that his greater calling was to find a navigable water way to central Africa. He wanted more than anything else to stop the slave trade by opening up commerce. He knew that on the coast people could sell and bye freely and support themselves but not so in the interior. So he lived and ultimately died for this cause. He achieved this lofty goal and spread the Good News at the same time. Shortly before his death, a young correspondent from the New York Herald, approached him in an obscure village in the middle of nowhere. His first words were, “Doctor Livingston, I presume?”

We will be out of pocket for a few days treking to Thailand. Will write when we return.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Prayer Request

The Lord’s church that meets in HochiMinh City, Vietnam, had a wonderful meeting last Sunday. The held a “Friends Day”of sorts and had a record attendance of 118. This represented more than twice their previous high! Everyone involved was excited.
Their excitement was short lived. On Monday, one of the American missionaries was visited by a lady who only spoke Vietnamese and seemed to want information. She soon left and visited other adults who were present at the large gathering Sunday morning. Several were told that she was from the Secret Police and everyone is quite nervous about the present situation.
We need to pray for our brethren in Vietnam. They have started a good work there and it seems to be in danger for the present time. Religious freedom is a precious thing for us all.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Teachers Needed!

This past Saturday was the first one of the month, and that is when new students are tested for acceptance into the WEI program. As you can see from the pictures, a large group came to test. Twenty-three to be exact. Sixteen of these were accepted to study because they have basic English proficiency. Presently, these students will be put on a waiting list because the current teacher schedules are full.
. How would you like to make a real difference! Come to Cambodia for one to three months and teach these young students five days a week the word of God. Most of these students have never heard of Jesus and their background in Buddhism involves reincarnation and spiritual beings roaming the earth. The house is comfortable and the experience is matchless. Come here and teach and you will feel refreshed and strengthened like never before. I remember my dad saying something about how nobody learns more than the teacher as he/she prepares a lesson. Not only will you be fulfilling the Great Commission, but you can experience an amazing culture. Gail

Saturday, May 06, 2006

One More Blessing

Many of you have heard me on occasion rant about the evils of television. I have often gone through periods of my life when I have felt TV to be the chief tool of Satan to deceive us and take us away from the “better things” of life. I am happy that we have little in the way of compelling TV to interest us while here in Cambodia.
For me this is just fine. It gives me more time to do my favorite thing, read. I have found great joy in the last few years reading good books about good people. I have recently finished reading the story of Martin Luther’s life. I do not agree with much of his theology but I cannot help but admire the man for confronting the corrupt church environment of his day. I found him almost comical when he decided to be married at the age of forty two. As a monk, he had taken the vows of celibacy early in life only to completely disavow the stance later in life. He said that he decided to marry to “please his father, tease the pope, and spite the devil!” Martin Luther did more than anyone in history to advance the biblical concept of “the priesthood of all believers”.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dental Meeting

I was invited to a dental meeting today at a local hotel. As in the US, the hotel was real nice and very comfortable. The topics of discussion were cosmetic dentistry and root canal therapy. They were informative lectures, but something just didn't feel right. Maybe it was because 99% of Cambodians lack the basic needs of life!
Last week while in the rural area I met a little boy with some sort of mandibular tumor. I asked his mom if she could bring him to Phnom Penh for treatment. She looked like I had asked her to take him to the moon! She had never been so far from home (25 miles) and couldn't fathom doing so. In Cambodia children who get sick either get better on their own, or they die. What a hard life it must be for mothers here. I can't imagine.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

MRBP Update

As we see the day approaching for the launch of the boat project, several things are taking place. We have started to interview potential boat captains and other personnel. There seems to be several qualified people to fill the positions we will have.
We were asked last week if we would want the Prime Minister to be at the ceremony or not. We were told that we would have to supply the cost for security if we decided to involve him. He seems to always be surrounded by dozens of security personnel. This week we were informed that due to the size of the project the Prime Minister would definitely be in attendance. I think that means we have no choice! I’m not sure what the tab will be but there is no turning back now.
There is an American filming crew who apparently want to film a documentary of the project. While Gail is not quiet sure she wants any part of this film, I suggested we might want to have a good make-up man! As always, she just rolls her eyes.

New Converts Class

If you have a new Christians class here almost everyone is a new Christian! We have recently seen the need for new converts to not only mature further in God’s word but also to be together for fellowship.
Dale and Evelyn Lundy, from St Louis, have come to work in the WEI program recently. Dale has started to teach a great group of new converts the finer points of the apostles’ doctrine. I can’t help but think what a great group this is and how they would make a nucleus for a new church.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

In His Steps

I am reading a book entitled “In His Steps” by a Charles Sheldon. The characters in the book have resolved to conduct their life according to the precepts of Christ by asking the question, ‘What would Jesus do?”. They commit to applying Christ’s behavior to their own lives for one year regardless of the consequences. The characters include the minister who presents the challenge, a newspaper editor, heiress, and executive and several others. Of course the story is fiction, but the message is challenging. Even as Christians why do we let society, friends, the status quo dictate the majority of our decisions? It is a scary thought to think if I really let that question be asked in every aspect of my life, would I be able to accept what Jesus would do. Many have expressed encouraging words about Rick and me leaving home to work in Cambodia. But I have to say it is far more difficult to really contemplate that question in my life living in the states with wealth and little personal sacrifice. I was humbled this week to be able to hand out bread and milk to some village children. It wasn’t much but they seemed to enjoy it. I wanted to grab a couple of the little ones to hug, but this culture does not touch much even between family. I bent down close to one little cutie and he started crying! So as much as you can, hug your children, wife, husband or friend. That is one thing I think Jesus would do. Gail

Monday, May 01, 2006

Prey Ta Chey

I recently visited a small village to encourage the members of the local church and check on some projects to help them with food. A drip irrigation project had been started and was doing quite well. They had also been supplied with a diesel water pump to move water from nearby holding tanks into their fields for the upcoming rice season. All seemed to be going as planned.
When I got ready to leave, I noticed a small shed that brought back memories from the past. This livestock shed pictured above was where Gail and I treated patients two years ago when we first visited Cambodia. I guess the cows just let us use it for the day!