But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. Matthew 20: 25-27 NLT
Meaningful Leadership Moment: “You are my cow manure!”
Darryl has been meeting with Phany for several weeks now to coach him on Christian leadership. A few weeks ago, Darryl illustrated the Biblical model for servant-leadership as a tree in which the leaders become the roots of the tree and other followers take various roles as the trunk, branches, leaves, or fruit. The taller a tree grows it must deepen its roots to match its height or it risks being blown over by the winds. In this model the leaders serve the followers instead of use the followers to serve themselves. This is completely opposite from the world’s view of leadership in which the leader rides on the top of the pyramid (corporate organizational chart) and the followers exist to serve the leader.
Biblical servant leaders like Phany, as the co-founder and director of Kone Kmeng children’s ministry must (as the roots) draw their spiritual and emotional nourishment from the soil (God) and then pass that nourishment on to their followers. The followers as leaves and branches of the tree also collect the energy from the sun and combine it with the nutrients from soil to make the tree grow. Darryl emphasized that unless leaders are diligent in drawing the nutrients from the soil that they will burn-out and become dry if they give more of their spiritual and emotional strength than they are taking in from God. Without thinking it through, Darryl told Phany that when trees are young they often need some fertilizer in order to give them a boost and to help them grow deeper into the soil where they can draw nutrients directly. At that moment, Phany’s eyes lit up, “You are my cow manure (fertilizer).” Despite the comedy of this statement, it is so accurate that it stuck. Darryl was part of the team of English teachers who evangelized and discipled Phany beginning in 2000. Since then, Darryl has been an informal mentor/ coach/ spiritual older brother to Phany so he has been serving as Phany’s “cow manure”. Leaders who mentor other leaders must often take the role of fertilizer for them so that they in turn serve as fertilizer for others. Darryl is also thankful for those who have served as fertilizer (coaches and mentors etc.) for him.
Kone Kmeng Organization’s Annual Pastor’s Conference: “Should we call you teacher or cow manure?”
A few days later Kone Kmeng hosted their yearly conference for around 125 pastors and church leaders who partner with the organization to develop ministries to children who are at risk of child labor or being sold as child prostitutes and their families. Many of these children’s parents leave the children with relatives or friends while one or both parents go to work in Thailand or Vietnam for months or even years at a time, leaving the children alone and vulnerable. Phany shared Darryl’s servant-leadership tree/cow manure illustration and told all of the pastors that Darryl was his mentor (cow manure).
When Darryl came to the conference to lead a devotions, the pastors and Kone Kmeng staff members, thought it was great that Darryl referred to himself as cow manure. Normally in those situations, the staff would refer to Darryl as “lok kru” (teacher) and they would also give the same title to Phany, (the organizational director). This time, in a humorous attempt to give Darryl additional respect as Phany’s mentor, one of the Kone Kmeng staff members asked Darryl, “should we call you teacher or cow manure?” This comical story is a precious milestone for Darryl because in Cambodian culture the leaders tend to “lord it over” the followers, sadly this is true in many churches as well. Darryl has been working with these young Cambodian leaders to really become servant-leaders despite their cultural background. Having all of these leaders to begin to aspire to be “cow manure” (mentors) for others instead of being the top of the pyramid really is a breakthrough.
International Fishers Update: Equipping Hundreds of People to Share the Gospel with Thousands
IF made some progress in January. First, it was great to be able to share around 158 CDs full of videos and MP3 apologetics recordings from www.internationalfishers.com/khmer with the pastors, staff, and other leaders at the conference. Please pray that each one who received the CD will us the materials to share the Gospel with their family and friends and that they will also share the resources with others in their churches to so that they in turn can share the Gospel with their co-workers, classmates, friends, and family members who don’t yet know Jesus Christ as theri personal savior.
In addition God brought unexpected offers for help and partnership in order to encourage and help move International Fishers toward the long-term vision of becoming a viable multi-language Christian apologetics media ministry that can equip many Christians in Cambodia and in other nations to share the Gospel in their own languages, families, and communities.
Japanese Ministry Update:
The weekly Japanese service completed two full months before needing to be re-organized. During those two months they group attempted to have a typical church service with worship and preaching. There were some blessings but there was also heavy spiritual opposition, sicknesses, fatigue, and other stresses (Japanese tend to very perfectionistic and sometimes work too hard). The Japanese missionary who was preaching weekly felt burned out so he needed to step back out of that role so that he could concentrate on his regular ministries at his children’s
home. He may try to start a Japanese church service at that location in the future. Meanwhile, Kayo and Darryl will continue the weekly meetings which are co-sponsored by the international church and hosted at they Korean church down the street from our house. In this new chapter the group will function more like a cell group than a church service. This format will help to foster relationships in the group and will also reduce the stress and expectations of calling it a “church service.”
Kayo’s parents visited us from Japan and they attended the first meeting in the Life Group format. It was very good for them and they could have some meaningful conversations with Korean Christians who speak Japanese and other Japanese as well.
Family Pray Request:
Please pray for our health. Since December at least one (sometimes two
or all three) member of our family has been sick with some minor illness (viruses, bronchitis, food poisoning etc. etc.). This has been exhausting and discouraging. Also, please pray for us to be able to make meaningful connections in the USA so that we can have a good schedule for our home assignment to the USA in June and July.
In Christ’s Hands,
Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin