Each year for about a decade now we have received a team from Freedom Church in Owasso, Oklahoma (near Tulsa). This year we had typically amazing results. We had more than 800 kids in Vacation Bible School. That is more than 800 kids who learn about Jesus, hear the gospel and have great fun. We also repainted an entire school building which was damaged in last year’s flooding. The team is always different and always composed of interesting people. In the team they always have plenty of the OCD types, some HCAD and plenty of ADD too, but what I love about this team is that they communicate with us extensively, plan well, organize, and get the job done.
Few teams can pull off what they do in a week because, honestly, few are willing to commit the way they do. Pastor Andrew is a good friend (even though he has several initials behind his name too. . . his official one is Ph.D.) To me, they do short-term missions right. They realize they are not going to change the world in one week, but they do their absolute best in planning and work on the ground so that they maximize their effort on those days. They coordinate everything with us (the local missionary) on every aspect and follow our instructions for optimum impact. Every missionary hates “know-it-all” visitors. I cannot tell you how it annoys me to be lectured by a person on Cambodian history or culture just because they read a website about Cambodia or visited one weekend in 2003. Nothing is worse than an “unteachable” short term visitor. Pastor Andrew weeds most of those out before they ever get into Cambodia! (Thanks Andrew!)
Freedom Church is an ordinary American church. Their sanctuary is a basketball court; they live in a town stacked with churches of every brand; and they just love Jesus and love others in simple ways. They are not a huge church, just a few hundred, unless it is free BBQ Sunday! (I just made that up. . .though it is probably a great idea! Yummy!) They do have a claim to fame of being the closest church to Garth Brooks home! 🙂
Freedom takes the Great Commission seriously. They are actively at work year by year in multiple countries of the world spreading freedom wherever they go! Acts 1:8 gives Jesus’ instruction of “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). They are active discipling their own people, working in their own community and state, as well as reaching into remote areas of the world. They have embraced God’s command with obedience to his call. And they do it with excellence.
Thank you Pastor Andrew and thank you Freedom Church for such a great week of ministry in Cambodia!