Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cruz Journal - Spring 2012 Missionary Newsetter from Ken Cruz

Reflections on Missions as Transformation
“In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree,” declares the Lord Almighty. Zechariah 3:10

I always thank God for putting me in the field of church-based community transformation. Many times I have witnessed how relationships transform people in the church and their neighbors into a community of shalom. One lesson I have learned about building transformational relationship is that we have to be receptive to the positive influence of those who do not share the same faith as us.

I believe that God called us—His church, to establish transforming relationships with our community with intentionality and humility. However, it is often the people in the church that form the greatest stumbling blocks for their neighbors. I often see churches exert a form of spiritual “superiority complex” that alienates them from their neighbors whom they consider “untrustworthy” due to perceived lack of spirituality or weak personal character. These attitudes only create more barriers between the church members and community.

Breaking this negative mindset is the key to church transformational mandate. Only when church members make themselves vulnerable to the influence of their neighbors can we build the foundation for developing mutually beneficial relationships. Recently, I noticed that this negative attitude of our churches towards the participation of their neighbors in church-sponsored community development projects has changed.

I have seen churches like Changha Methodist Church in Banteay Meanchey province and Peak Kdei Methodist Church in Battambang province that now openly and sincerely seek the participation of their neighbors. These neighbors are now the ones who are promoting unity and cooperation in their communities. Sadly, some churches who still avoid working with their neighbors tend to heighten the animosity and distrust between the church and their community. But churches that share responsibility and leadership with their neighbors are the ones who truly influence and attract the non-church people to join ranks with them in their community transformation work.

Ken with Chan Tin, village chief of Changha, one of the growing number of non-church people elected as leaders of church-initiated project groups
In my experience, it is when we—followers of Christ, allow ourselves to be led by our neighbors that our relationships become transformative!

Celebrations and Prayer Requests
  • Praise the God for completing another year of service as GBGM missionary!
  • Praise the Lord for another year of fruitful covenant relationships with individuals and churches.
  • Praise the Lord for the increasing involvement of the local Methodist churches in relief and disaster work in Cambodia.
  • Pray that God will lead my son Kim to the job where he will grow and glorify the Lord.
  • Pray for wisdom and guidance for all the churches that work with CHAD as they expand the scope of their community development program implementation.
  • Pray for my wife Jomil’s complete healing from her traumatic experience with bag snatchers while riding a bicycle on streets of Phnom Penh.
  • Finally, I want to thank God for all your prayers for my family and our ministry with the poor in Cambodia.
Personal Note From the Field

Completing another year of service gives me reason to celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness. None of the things I have accomplished would have been possible if not for God’s sustaining power and your faithful partnership.

Once again I am privileged to have witnessed so many transformations in the lives of the people we serve. They are the living testimony of how our partnership is impacting our world.

My family and I are extremely humbled by the trust you have given us. As we start another year of partnership I am excited to see how God will transform each one of us so that His name will be glorified in our midst. It is a privilege and honour for us to be your ambassadors to the Khmer people.

May God’s abiding presence go before us!
Your grateful partners in Christ,

Ken, Jomil, Kim and Kyle Cruz

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