Living The Life That God Has For Us....

God's Plumbline Ministries is called to repair devastation in the lives of God's people allowing restoration both physically and spiritually. Providing creative solutions for employment, education and life skills allowing God to repair and restore hope.  Empowering each community to establish a secure foundation both inside and out, while keeping in tact God given talents and uniqueness, not focusing on man's ways but God's ways.  Developing working relationships within social and economic circles, working hand in hand with community leaders to bring the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. 

Friday, March 23, 2012


Here is a little history and information about Cambodia.  
Our trip is planned for May 6 - 20, 2012.
We will be working in PoiPet.

Cambodia is officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia, is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With a total landmass of 181,035 square kilometres (69,898 sq mi), it is bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.
With a population of over 14.8 million, Cambodia is the 69th most populous country in the world. The official religion is Buddhism which is practiced by around 95% of the Cambodian population. The country minority groups include Vietnamese,ChineseChams and 30 various hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh; the political, economic, and cultural center of Cambodia.
The Vietnam War extended into Cambodia, giving rise to the Khmer Rouge, which took Phnom Penh in 1975. Cambodia reemerged several years later within a socialistic sphere of influence as the People's Republic of Kampuchea until 1993. After years of isolation, the war-ravaged nation was reunited under the monarchy in 1993.
Rebuilding from decades of civil war, Cambodia has seen rapid progress in the economic and human resource areas. The country has had one of the best economic records in Asia, with economic growth growing an average 6.0% for the last 10 years. Strong textiles, agriculture, construction, garments, and tourism sectors led to foreign investments and international trade. In 2005, oil and natural gas deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, and once commercial extraction begins in 2013, the oil revenues could profoundly affect Cambodia's economy. However the majority of Cambodians are not beneficiaries of economic growth because wealth is spread very unevenly, as a result of the prevalence of massive government corruption. According to Transparency International Cambodia is the third most corrupt nation in Asia, ahead of only North Korea and Myanmar, and ranked 164 out of 182 in the world.

Poipet  is a Cambodian town on the Cambodia/Thailand border.  It is a key crossing point between the two countries, and also extremely popular as a gambling destination as gambling is popular, but illegal in Thailand. There is a strip of casinos and hotels between the Cambodian and Thai passport control counters, enabling Thais to gamble in Cambodia without needing to go through Cambodian immigration. This casino strip area is a 'special zone' that prevents Cambodians from gambling. There is another border on the Cambodian side of this strip area that one needs to pass before being free to travel within the rest of the country.

To Stumble Is Not To Fall

Jason Russell, Invisible Children, "Kony 2012" and Joseph Kony.

These names have been flying around the Internet for the past week.
My thoughts are not about Jason personally or the Kony campaign.
They are to remind us that just as quickly as fame came so did what looks like "the fall". 
The "idea" of his message seemed powerful enough, wanting justice for children.
But was he naive to think it was just that easy?
You make a video, it goes viral and the darkness goes away?
Did he ever question his ability to cope with what would have come his way or the price you pay for such a campaign?

I believe there are some important lessons to be learned here:

1. There is always a price to pay - always. 
The truth is most people's pain isn't seen publicly.
I don't mean movie stars and famous athletes who are stalked 24/7.  
I am talking about the folks who have laid down their lives, sold their houses, moved away from comforts and family because they want to help be apart of the change they want to see in the world today. We live in a day and time when we edit out everything that isn't working for us.
We text, tweet, Facebook and e-mail knowing details without building relationships leaving the door locked for people speak truth into our lives, accountable to no one. Yet for the people who live where the rubber meets the road there are no edit buttons.  None.  At times you need more grace than you think exists.  You place a guard on your heart, your mind and your mouth daily wondering just how it is the Lord allows us to have a free will and how these kinds of things can happen.

2. We shouldn't practice with other peoples lives.
My last trip to Haiti stirred something with in me about the weight and responsibility we have to our fellow human kind. We use "in-style" buzz words like, empowering, moving out of survival and justice.  This is real life, this isn't practice stuff so we can feel better about ourselves.  We have the ability to create a nightmare out of what we do if we are not careful.  These people don't get on a plane after two weeks and go home to a better life.  For better or for worse this is their reality.

3. Character, Integrity and Support.
So often we are in such a hurry for the Lord to use us and to send us out to save the whole world because we know our passion will change everything. I think it is in times like this that the Lord put the story of Jacob in the bible. He endured years of refining and working on his character, years! 

Maybe Jason Russell has never read about Jacob?  I don't know what he believes about God or if he is a man of faith. I just can stop thinking about the fact that when we wrestle with something bigger than our self there is a pretty good chance you will walk with a limp.  Hopefully, you will have had an encounter with the Lord as well and he  changed your name to reflect this life changing encounter.  

We are not islands unto ourselves, doing this thing lone ranger style.   The goals we set as our passion need to be God things if we are going to bring change.  He is all for helping the widow and the orphan and he says it over and over again.  As a matter a fact he says they will always be with us. You are not going to miss your chance for him to use you in a powerful way - trust him.  Let him develop character to sustain what he has called you to do.

Yes, set a goal!  Don't do nothing. 
Have a support system in place, do it in God's time and not yours.
Let God bring people to justice.  He is good at it. 
Be responsible for your actions, they may do more damage than good if you are not careful.
Learn from the people you are working with.  
Make sure your family life and personal life are in order before you save the world.
Have a covering of folks who have processed your vision with you and are behind you supporting you in every way known to man.

Last but not least, remember the wisdom of this Haitian Proverb.
"To stumble is not to fall."
There is a really good chance you are going to stumble along the way.
It is part of our nature as humans.  
Do your part to avoid hurting yourself and others along the way.
Give yourself grace, he does.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


With much of what happens, or is said to happen in Haiti, there seem to be extremes on both sides.
Depending on your belief system you will most likely be pulled to one extreme ready to argue why you are right and why the other side is so very wrong.  Take the example of voodoo or Carnival, both provoke very strong emotion no matter what side you stand on.

I have added two photographs I took while living and working in Haiti. One is a typical "Rara band" playing music on the streets during Carnival.  The other is of two young men just after the earth quake praying and repenting for the nation of Haiti. As a sign of repentance for participation in voodoo they set a voodoo bag on fire.  Both situations left me feeling a bit on edge for a time.  Being caught in the middle of any demonstration is not generally a good idea in my thinking, extremes can turn emotional very quickly good or bad.

I recently had a conversation with one of the volunteers at a ministry I visited.
He was commissioned by his church to go and cast out "many demons" on his short three month stay.
The only problem was once he got to Haiti he was a bit puzzled.
He didn't see any crazy looking demonized type looking people walking the streets.
He found his heart deeply moved and a love for the people he met and worked with each day.
Where are all these people he wondered? 
He said he was dreading the idea of going back home and having to give a report about his time in Haiti because he knew what he experienced wasn't going to line up with what this church wanted to hear.

Now don't get me wrong, you just might see some crazy stuff but I am guessing you will be taken back by many other things before you will ever notice one person practicing something your belief system doesn't agree with.  I am guessing you will question things on a more human level.  Like jobs, food or the lack of, housing conditions and government.  Wondering what role the government plays, the role of the UN or about the role of the church and other NGO's.  I would also dare to suggest that before you leave you will have a few questions for the good Lord.  Even greater will be the questions you must ask yourself about your role in all of this.

In twelve years of living and working in different cultures I have to admit  I wish I could take back many of the things I have thought and said. I think, maybe, I am finally learning what questions to ask and finding that I have so few answers inside of myself and my thinking.  

The people who used to be so "deceived"(in my thinking) are now people just like me in need of the love and grace of a Savior. He is working in me to show me loving people is more important than being right.  Everyone will stumble, yet we must look deeply with in before we speak and keep looking for the grace needed each and every day.

I pray for the ability to have only one extreme, that I respond out of love and grace for those who are on this journey with me.  Remembering it is the goodness of God that brings us to repentance.

Friday, March 16, 2012

International Women's Day

This year on March 8th stand up, speak out, reach out and tell the women in your life why you admire them.