Restore the Years – Record Family December 2023 Update

“So I will restore the years the swarming locusts have eaten.” 

Joel 2:25
I turned 47 on November 25 and Benjamin turned 15 on November 29.

Restoring the Years Part 1

With the passing of mine and Benjamin’s birthdays and the upcoming Christmas and New Year, we realize that God has blessed us a lot during this year. At the beginning of 2023, we went through our worst financial crises ever to the point that it looked like we might have to leave Cambodia permanently. God provided in mysterious and miraculous ways and we were able to have a most blessed visit to the USA for the first time since before Covid.

For me personally, God is restoring the years in relation to my health and weight. Growing up, my relationship with food (overeating/stress-eating) wasn’t good and I had asthma so I couldn’t exercise enough and developed a weight problem. Between 2000-2003 while serving in Cambodia as an English teacher/missionary, God took away my asthma and I was able to exercise and so I lost enough weight during that season to run a half-marathon here in Cambodia. However, in 2003 upon returning to the USA I got sick for the first time with my chronic brain disorder and between the medicine and the ensuing depression, I started to regain the weight that I lost and more, and this continued for 20 years. Finally, God provided all the tools (a smartwatch/calorie counting app from friends and know-how from Benjamin) and I have started an effective but sustainable lifestyle change in regards to, diet and exercise. So far, I have lost 25 pounds since October 21! I still have a long way to go so please pray for stamina in this process to lose the weight and then keep it off over the long-term.

Restoring the Years Part 2

Between 2004 and 2015 my brain-disorder symptoms were healed enough for me to live without medicine, but then since it came back in 2015, I have needed medicine and went through years of being minimally functional yet with severe depression in which I could just do the minimum to survive. As a result of this and other factors, I wasn’t able to actively raise the funds we needed and so we have fallen behind financially. Here are some areas that need to be restored.

  1. Benjamin’s Christian High School Tuition is our largest unavoidable expense by nearly triple. In meeting this expense, we are unable to fund other important needs on this list and we are uncertain if we can meet the projected increases over the next 3.5 years.
  2. Housing Upgrade: Our current two-bedroom apartment is getting too small for us, has maintenance issues, and we are in a losing battle with cockroaches. Also Benjamin’s bedroom doesn’t have a window and he needs more space.
  3. Benjamin’s Launch Fund: Benjamin will have to return to the USA after graduation in 3.5 years and will need housing, transportation, and set-up funds at that time.
  4. Retirement/Savings: Most of our senders are older than us so we are concerned that they will not be able to support us in our senior years. We want to continue to minister as long as we are able and don’t want to be a burden on anyone during our senior years.
  5. Resume Family Vacations: Because of Benjamin’s tuition and our financial crises, we haven’t been able to take any family vacations for around 1.5 years. This is especially important while Benjamin is still with us.
  6. Transportation: Our 1997 Toyota Camry has a slipping transmission and is on secondhand tires. We need to be able to maintain it as needed and potentially replace it in a few years.
  7. Ministry Funds: There are so many needs and exciting ministry opportunities in Cambodia that we would like to pursue when God provides sufficient funds to meet our needs and expand our ministry impact. 1. Resume International Fishers evangelistic/apologetics video production etc. 2. Help launch Light Association’s training/publication/resource ministries including to people with mental illness and their families. 3. Help expand Hope Ministry’s impact in two impoverished Cambodian communities. 4. Continue to volunteer and support Precious Women’s work with at-risk Cambodian women. 5. Expand our support of Bethel Grace Mission’s work with impoverished Cambodians who live in graveyards. 6. Encourage and equip local churches even more.
Kayo teaching a lesson on “Hope in Christ” to at-risk Cambodian young women.

Ministry Update

We have been very busy since our last update in the middle of October. Kayo and I continued our volunteer-work at Precious Women. Kayo did administrative work, led staff devotions, and taught the clients (young at-risk women) life skills lessons including “Hope in Christ.” I helped with video production and led devotions.

Kayo continues to lead the women’s ministry at the international church and led an over night women’s retreat. I preached twice, helped with Chinese Bible Study and led the men’s ministry.

I also continue to serve as the English editor for Light Times Magazine, the only Christian magazine in Cambodia. We have a new issue coming out this month so things will get busier with that.

I also am preparing to start teaching Apologetics/Evangelism at another Cambodian seminary founded by Korean missionaries starting this week.

December is the month in which we must renew our Cambodian visas so please pray for wisdom and favor in this high-stakes process. Gathering all the documents each year feels like taking on another job.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!

In Christ’s Love,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin