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What follows is an email from a missionary who works within the organization of which I’m a part.  This man is a radical, lovely Jesus freak.  I’ve changed or eliminated the names of people and places.

“Dear friends and family,

Forrest Gump was fond of quoting his mother, ‘Mama always says that, “Stupid is as stupid does.”’ Now, I’m a lot like Forrest, but even I am bright enough to realize that when your family refuses to attend your funeral, and chooses to hire pallbearers to carry your carcass, you know you’ve had problems with relationships. Right? Granted, your funeral is a little late to discover said reality. Poor ‘Knot head!’ (One of the American idioms that directly translates into Cambodian) That is a less than affectionate name assigned to him, a certain military ‘Hit man’ that resided near our church/home, by our kids.  He ‘bought the farm’ about two weeks ago, which is about six months after the orphans began lifting him up in prayer.  A strange turn of events!

Here’s the deal. We try to maintain our church/orphan homes:  We’d put in a city sewer line to accommodate the orphan home, and let anyone who wanted to hook into it, do it for free. The late ‘hit man’ refused, insisting that it was his right to dump his sewage on the road, thus the name ‘Knot Head.’ How stupid do you have to be to want to live in your own sewage? We sent everyone from our pastor, to the mayor, to the county supervisor, to a police colonel to appeal to him to plumb in his sewage line. He rudely told them to ‘Get lost!’  You see, he was ‘valuable’ to a number of high political figures. He ‘eliminated’ problems, and although he only carried the rank of captain, he was feared by general officers because, he was ‘protected’, and if offended enough, he just might, well, ‘eliminate’ you. But he messed with the wrong people! He shouldn’t have dumped his sewage on the orphan’s road, forcing them to walk through it to and from school each day. The kids started lifting up his name in prayer. Dangerous! Don’t mess with God’s kids! (Ex 22:22-24). The paid contingency toasted what was left of him the day after his demise. He died of ‘lead poisoning’, the type measured by the caliber of hole in your head, rather than the milligrams in your blood. What goes around comes around. Obviously, there was a dissatisfied client, or a reactive, non-compliant target. ‘Stupid is as stupid does’!

Stupid? That’s one thing I love about the Christian faith. You can be brilliant, smart, slightly intelligent, dull, or just plain dumb and still be used mightily by God’s Spirit. In fact He seems to favor amazing us ‘self-impressed’ humans by His ability to use weak and foolish things. It makes you really wonder about the value of all those advanced degrees we so esteem. Not that we don’t appreciate, and benefit from knowledge, it’s just that God is not limited by our lack of it or over impressed with our possession of it. In fact, sometimes our ‘self enlightened’ intellect (pride) can get in the way. You see, I am convinced that the highest level of communication is Spirit (God’s) to spirit (ours). Unfortunately, often, the smarter and more educated we are, the more we question, and resist, the unction of the Spirit. Right now, in Cambodia, we see a great outpouring of God’s power among the women, most of whom lack a formal education, and our youth, most of whom have not finished high school. This past month alone, these two groups have evangelized nearly 30,000 people. And our ‘Young Tigers’? They are former orphans raised in our system who have gone into ministry. They got filled with Holy Spirit power at our annual meeting this year and have been on a continuous tear ever since. Healings, deliverances, salvations, infillings of the Spirit are daily events for them. Not bad for a group the world calls, ‘Stray Dogs.’  They’re not stupid! So, allow me be even more controversial. This may definitely challenge your theology!

I had all they key leaders, elders, district supervisors, divisional superintendents and board members, 134 people, come to Phnom Penh for meetings. I asked them, ‘If I got very sick, who do you think I’d really want to pray for me?’ They looked at each other and finally one ventured, ‘M. S?’  I said she’d be on the top of the list, but not the one I would choose for maximum power. They looked a little shocked and someone guessed, ‘Pastor P?’ ‘Umm, again, near the top but not my ‘powerhouse.’ They were dumbfounded. Finally, after looking around the room, in virtual unison they blurted out, ‘Who then?’ I said, ‘M!’ Their mouths dropped open and they gave me this, ‘You’ve got to be kidding!’ look. I explained, ‘No, I’m serious!’ I couldn’t blame them for their shock, but most of them not seen M. in action. I had. M. is a Down’s syndrome boy of about 16.

I doubt if you could measure his I.Q. The ‘locals’ call him ‘Stupid,’ because he doesn’t speak much and is commonly known as ‘Monkey Boy.’ He does kind of act like a monkey, because as an infant he was raised in the jungle by monkeys for from two to six months, depending upon whose story you believe. You see, his parents were fishermen along the Great Lake, and the village people would dry fish in the sun for future sale. Large monkeys would like to sneak in and steal the fish. One day, in 1994, the village was overrun by Khmer Rouge. M. was just a month or two old when his parents were killed. The surviving villagers ran into the jungle for safety. They did not return until the next day. They could not find M. so assumed he’d been taken and killed. Months later, poachers where hunting in the forest and they shot a large female monkey. When they went to pick her up they found this human baby. Not knowing what to do, they took the infant to the local Buddhist temple. The monks tried to raise him for several years, but determined that since he couldn’t speak, that he’d been ‘Monkeyized’ (Lived with the monkeys so long he’d become one). So, they just let M. run free. They’d put food out for him, he’d disappear for days into the jungle and eventually come back. This went on until 1999 when one of our pastors heard about M.; went and brought him into our Orphan Home where he has been ever since. In the early days, he’d scamper up trees and sleep in the branches. Gradually, as he grew, he became too big for such gymnastics, but he does love to dance and play like a monkey.

Ever since the Holy Spirit fell on the entire group of orphans at the church/home on a Friday evening, in March of 2000, they have gathered for prayer at 7:00pm each Friday night. M. was in that group. Most Fridays M. will be running around like a monkey, poking his neighbor, acting mischievous, until some deep spiritual need arises. How he picks this up can only be explained by God. He will chasten anyone who does not go into earnest prayer, and he falls to his hands and knees and weeps before the Lord until the Spirit lifts the burden. I have never seen such intense prayer from any person anywhere in the world! When the burden lifts, he’s back to ‘Monkey boy’. You can’t ask him to pray, it has to be spiritually discerned, but when he picks up the burden? No one can stop him! And, he gets results! Stupid? Stupid is as stupid does.

Now this is kind of stupid, but I’m just cheap! Did any of you ever pay demurrage on a shipping container when you don’t get it unloaded on time? Exorbitant is too polite a term, and not being stupid, the drivers like to show up with the containers at about 9:00pm on a Sunday night, expecting at least 10 hours of demurrage pay. We out-foxed them! About 80 kids went to work for an hour, and unloaded both 40 foot loads! Now, the motive for such exemplary behavior? Hey, Ma’s not stupid! A night out at a popular Cambodian restaurant, it was a whole lot cheaper for us. And the kids? Well, they are begging, ‘When can we do that again?’

We had some visitors from Bangladesh. They are definitely not stupid because they came to see our church/home model at work.  No sooner did they return than disaster hit their nation! My brother, Pastor B., in Bangladesh, reports that his nation has been devastated by a cyclone, hundreds of people were killed and dozens of churches were damaged. I’m proud of our Cambodians! They are not stupid because in the midst of their need they pulled together $500 last week to send to him, and more offerings will be received this week. That always brings a blessing! A member of our staff, with our encouragement and blessing, is leaving tonight to assist B. at his own expense. It is never stupid to assist a brother in need. Sometimes, ‘Smart is as smart does!’

And the smartest of all, my wife (Hey! She chose me!), is pleased to report that her pet amoebas are all dead, she’s off the medication, and regaining her strength. PTL! And, thanks for the prayer!

Have a great month! We will!

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