The Radcliff’s Prayer Letter 2-11-15
Sarah and I have a dining room table in our apartment that we got second hand from our pastor of Long Beach Friends church. It can seat up to nine people, and has two folding leafs. So as it sits normally, it looks like an ‘n’ though when we put the leafs up it looks like a pi symbol ‘π.’ We had the opportunity to host our friends Joe and Cara at our home for an evening of ‘Settlers of Catan,’ good pizza, and better fellowship. It was a good time at our old table. As the night went on and we got into our game, the leaf started to droop little farther and a little farther. Then all of a sudden, you can guess what happened, our friend broke our table. Our lamp started to fall, some of the game pieces hit the floor, and I was left trying to hold the leaf up with my foot, the lamp with my hand. After a few minutes of laughing at ourselves we got the game and the lamp reset on the other leaf of the table and thankfully that one held.
The next day I got the table flipped over, to try and diagnose the problem and see if it was salvageable. I got to looking and the table is held together by four bolts, with the leaf support secured only by the weight of the table being held together. All four bolts had come loose. It took me all of five minutes and I had the table righted and both leafs now sit far better than when we got the table.
Our devotional life is like our table. Our devotional time can look strong on the outside but when it is exposed to the company of friends and other believers, it may not stand for long. Recently, Sarah and I have felt this burden to deepen our devotions and exposure to others in the body of Christ. Most significantly we have felt burdened to share more with you. Just as our table fell apart because of neglect, so we can see our support from you fall apart if we do not keep in contact with you. We have felt that this month. For that I want to apologize.
Without your continue support in prayer, Sarah and I cannot carry on the mission for God’s kingdom. We wish for everything we do to bring the Father glory. I want to thank the Iowa Yearly Meeting Missions Board, and our prayer team, for supporting us diligently with their prayers, even without updates from us. I also want to thank the Missions Board for a generous gift of supporting my internship for the next three months as I work with the Yearly Meeting Office in short term missions. I’m not sure what that entails yet but as I find out more I will let you know..
Sarah and I have continued to meet with Ming Kim (Aunt Kim), at least once a week. As we were meeting with her we learned the word for people, Ma-nuh, this sounded familiar to Sarah as the word for Pineapple is, Ma-nah. So I’ll let you guess which one of us made jokes about having sliced Ma-nuh in the fridge.
I have been going to different Khmer shops within walking distance of our apartment and one convenience store owner, Boo Tom (Uncle Tom), has agreed to help me learn Khmer if I come see him in his shop. He is not a believer but is willing to talk with me. This last Wednesday Sarah and I ate at a restaurant next door to his shop that he recommended. We loved the food and afterwards we stopped by to tell him. I introduced Sarah as my wife (Pro-pOn Kyom) and within a few minutes he asked us if we had any children and Sarah replied we will when we grow up. This little joke broke the dam and we laughed for a solid ten minutes at each other’s jokes. I tell you these stories about ‘Ma-nah, Ma-nuh’ and having kids to say, there is something incredible about the toothy smile and heartfelt laugh of the Khmer people with which we have fallen in love.
I have had the opportunity to lead the Khmer Sunday school every other week, with about 15 first generation Khmer believers. I thought something we could do to help me learn Khmer, at the same time be a good bible lesson, is an inductive bible study through the miracles in the gospel of John.
I ask my translator, Boo Vantha (Uncle Vantha) to pray to open us and then somebody reads the scripture aloud. We follow that by taking 10 minutes to read the scripture silently and then we ask questions that we had about the scripture. This all takes place in Khmer so I get exposed not to just the language but to how Khmer believers interact with the Bible (Breah-Com-Bee) and each other. Following the question time we try to go back into the word and see how the story answers these questions. Following that I try to tie in all of the thought that arise from this time, in one summary. Every time I show up to teach, I am blown away by the questions and the answers that come from this class. To borrow from George Fox, this is a group that fully expects Jesus to show up and teach them himself and He does. I get to see it every other week.
Recently in the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on how God relates to us, specifically through the incarnation and the atonement. I’ve been trying to understand these in the Khmer context. That’s not to say how we achieve these in syncretism with the Khmer paradigm, but how do Khmer believers come into an understanding that God took on flesh and died for our sins? That question I’m using to lead into our prayer requests:
How Can You Be Praying For Us?
Pray: that as I continue to meet with the community their hearts would be open to the gospel.
for our language and our time with Ming Kim.
that we could come into a deeper understanding of Khmer culture.
-Robert and Sarah, The Radcliff’s
I have been listening to a lot of hymns, especially as I do dishes, and this particular one has struck my heart, if you want to take some time to pray through it, know that I am praying through it with you:
More Love to Thee
(Words: Elizabeth Payson Prentiss)
More love to thee, O Christ, More love to thee!
Hear thou the prayer I make
On bended knee.
This is my earnest plea:
More love, O Christ, to thee; More love to thee,
More love to thee!
Once earthly joy I craved,
Sought peace and rest;
Now thee alone I seek,
Give what is best.
This all my prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to thee;
More love to thee,
More love to thee!
Then shall my latest breath Whisper thy praise;
This be the parting cry
My heart shall raise;
This still its prayer shall be:
More love, O Christ, to thee;
More love to thee,
More love to thee!
The Radcliff’s Prayer Letter December 2nd, 2014
Sarah and I had the opportunity to help a family of 7 in October to get rid of the bed bug infestation in their tiny two bedroom apartment. Over the course of four days we sifted through piles of clothes, trash, and bedding. On the final day, I had the privilege of taking a steam iron to all of the furniture in the home. I covered every inch of every piece of soft furniture, methodically with steam. From Friday to Monday we spent a total of 40 hours doing work in this apartment. Sarah and I did nearly 30 loads of laundry at the laundry mat, and we were able to get rid of the bed bug problem for one family.
I think it is easy to see that sin is the same way. It takes a committed team, the church, working diligently to see somebody released from their sins.
I am thankful that we have a committed team, supporting us. Without your continued prayers and support, we could not do this. It was wonderful to reconnect with some of you when we were back last month to celebrate the life of my Grandpa who passed in late October. I appreciate all of your concerns during that time.
Thank you for your prayers for our employment. As I write, Sarah is meeting with HR at a local hospital and she starts Monday. She will be working the day shift, caring for Post-Op patients. The door that opened this opportunity was only worked by God’s connections and faithfulness. All the jobs Sarah applied on her own never responded. As for me, I am in the process of talking with the Yearly Meeting here to nail down an internship for me. There will be more details on that to come later.
Thank you for your prayers for our language. Every Tuesday we meet with Kim, she is a first generation Khmer lady. Sarah and I love her. She has been in the United States for some time and speaks great English and serves on Ministry and Counsel for our church. Being able to meet with her has been the bedrock for our language.
On a regular basis we have also been meeting with Vantha, a first generation Khmer man, he is teaching us about culture. We call him, Bong Praha or older brother. Even knowing these things, like how to address the older Khmer people respectfully in their culture has impressed some of the Khmer folks and they are interested in helping us to learn all that we can, so we can go to Cambodia.
The hearts of the Khmer people here are incredible. They long to see Cambodia changed by God. They are more than willing to help us in learning all that we can of their culture.
One of the biggest resources we have is, Gary. Gary spent 15 years in Cambodia as a missionary. He has expert knowledge of the inner workings of Cambodian culture and can express them to us in a western way. Meeting with Gary has been wonderful for both Sarah and I.
With that, we have been sitting in on a Thursday evening bible study with Kim, Vantha, Gary and a few other Khmer adults. They speak in Khmer and we listen and try to learn what we can. The first time that we went, I made an agreement with myself that I would count all of the words I know. That first night, I got one word, God.
We last met before Thanksgiving, and on that night I lost count of the words that I knew. Praise God.
How Can You Pray With Us?
· We are still looking for a place to live. Sarah is eager to live in downtown Long Beach but parking is near impossible and the apartments we have been interested in have been taken. There is a community house set up and ran by a few young Quakers inside the yearly meeting who are looking for new people to live with them. The downside is they live, in Santa Ana 30 minutes away on a good day with no traffic.
· Our language is coming though we have been told that we sound like toddlers. I think that’s okay but we need your continued prayers of support.
· We want to begin helping to lead the Sunday school for Khmer every other week. One problem with this is that they are older and we are younger. Inside of the Khmer culture, our age could cut us off from a teaching position. Pray that God would open their hearts that we can learn how to minister to those outside of our age group, in the Khmer culture.
· Thank you for holding us in your hearts and we wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS.
Beautiful Feet – A Prayer Letter
To the prayer warriors, disciple makers, pastors, saints, and Friends, Thank You. Your shining example is lighting the path for Sarah and I to follow. Though we know that it is not your light that shines but that of Christ in you. You have been an example to us of how to be in the light. Your watchful eye, guiding hand, and fervent prayers have led us to the trail head on which we hear Jesus say, “Come.” As many of you already know we are embarking on a new venture that will lead us through Southern California for a time and then hopefully on to Cambodia. We ask of you now; to do what you have always done, remember us in your prayers. It has been wonderful serving the Lord, Jesus Christ with you over the last few years. We want this to be our first installment of what we hope is many prayer/informative letters to follow.
Sarah has felt the call to be a missionary since she was a little girl. I, Robert, on the other hand have only known Jesus for six years. In that time I have felt the call and a heavy burden to, “Go ye,” as from Matthew 28, when our Lord issued the great commission.
It has been a breathtaking experience to fall in love with one as humble and pure as the lovely Sarah Martin. Greater than I could ever imagine is the depth of the relationship with which God has blessed us. To find someone who has such a similar passion for missions as myself and then for God to allow us to come alongside each other and follow him, as one, is a fantastic burden that we get to gladly bear. Now we feel as though God is opening the door for us to go to Cambodia via Southwest Yearly Meeting and a part of Evangelical Friends. This is an opportunity for the Gospel to be shared amongst the nations. We feel that we cannot do this on our own. Sarah and I both individually and collectively as a married unit do not have the strength, knowledge, or know-how to be missionaries. Instead we need the collective body of Christ to lift us up daily. For without the prayers of the saints, this mission will fail.
The church is God’s first plan in taking the gospel to the nations. We as the bride of Christ are Plan A. There is no Plan B. So we need your support. The result of not supporting the taking of the gospel to all nations is no less than death for the unreached people.Sarah and I see ourselves as takers of the gospel. We are those who are entrusted to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20. We do not take this lightly. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’” Romans 10: 14-15. We are just trying to have beautiful feet. Just as you have taught us to do.So on September 1st, we will say farewell to Iowa and head to Long Beach, California. Where we are hoping to live with a first generation Cambodian family for a time, where we can hopefully learn a bit of the language and culture. We see ourselves paying off our student loans becoming debt free and then leaving California for Cambodia by July of 2017. This is contingent upon your prayers. We cannot do this alone or without you. A missionary is not a lone standing unit, in a foreign land, far away, but is instead a culmination of hard work, dedication, and support that has been cultivated in our young lives by saints like you.
We learned scripture from when you were our camp counselor, from when you were our Sunday school teacher, and from when you read to us. We learned to live out our faith by watching you be faithful. We learned to be real when you were real with us. We learned the gospel by seeing the change in your lives. We learned to have our own faith through your challenging questioning of our faith and priorities. Without you we could not even begin to start on the journey, though it is apparent to me that we do not take this journey alone, for you will be with us, in spirit and in prayer, as we go first to California and then to Cambodia. We trust that Jesus is with us always, to the very end of age.
-Robert and Sarah, The Radcliff’s