Merry Christmas From Cambodia!

Merry Christmast to All of You!
This last week we celebrated Christmas at our center will all our students from Crossing Cambodia and their families.  We sang, we played games, and we ate food!  It turns out that Rice Krispy Treats are something that children of all cultures can agree upon!

A Christmas Message from Greg

Dear Friends and Family,

Again we are coming to Christmas and the end of 2017.  Not only do we wish to extend a holiday greeting but I want to say thank you to all of you for your support, prayers, and patience with me.

As this year draws to a close I can look back and say that 2017 has been a year of ups and downs and say that I am very happy that we can end each year on a joyous note with the celebration of Christmas.  As you read this message, please go all the way to the end, I have a serious point in sharing, but a good one I hope. 

When I started Crossing Cambodia I said that I intended to be honest about our ministry with you, our supporters, and part of that means not only telling you about when we succeed, but also leaning on you for prayers and encouragement when things are difficult.  As you might be able to tell by now, I'm not great at communicating via email.  In fact, I've been wracking my brain for months trying to figure out how I'm supposed to talk about ministry and share my struggles with life as a missionary with you and it was only last night that it finally came to me.  If I'm being honest with you, my writer's block is because I've had a rough few months lately.

Working with street kids is hard, one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in fact.  We celebrate successes with kids, but every time a kid drops out it can feel like a punch in the gut.  Not only do I feel like I've failed that kid, but I feel like I've failed myself and you, our supporters.  I frequently try to remind myself that these children are coming from transient and often unstable families and that having children drop out is to be expected and we're actually very blessed to have retained so many as we have.  But our ministry is about looking for the kids that slip through the cracks elsewhere so every time you invest yourself into a child but it doesn't work out and they slip through your own cracks, it hurts an awful lot.  Over time those hurts add up and you actually become afraid to invest yourself into the kids.

This year we've had 3 children drop out of our program, one of whom I was especially close to, and one other who I saw start down a bad path from which few young boys ever escape.  Sometime in early October I hit my limit and had an emotional breakdown and getting back into ministry takes time, effort, and a lot time spent with God in the Word and prayer.  I've taken some time off, changed my schedule to spend more time doing Bible study, spoken with a pastor and a counselor, and we have been readjusting how our ministry will function and what our focus will be going into 2018.  Things aren't perfect, but they are looking up.

It's a little hard to share this with you because I am always fearful of admitting my weaknesses as if I'm letting our donors down, but according to scripture I really should be celebrating in my weakness.  For we know that it is in Christ that our weaknesses are turned to strength.  And in celebrating Christmas right now I've finally figured out how to write this message to you. 

This last week we celebrated Christmas with all the kids and their families at our center.  The staff and kids sang songs, we gave out presents, and had a big meal of Khmer curry with baguettes and rice krispy squares for dessert, and I was given the opportunity to share what Christmas is with everyone.  As I planned out what I was going to say I kept thinking about needing to keep it simple as most of the families attending know very little of the Bible.  And it was actually in that moment that I remembered that one of the most beautiful things about Christmas is the simplicity of it all.

Every year, we get overwhelmed with Christmas; gifts, trees, carols, decorations, Santa Claus, Advent calendars, Christmas movies, the angelic chorus, and declarations of "The King has Come!"  But put simply, Christmas is a day when we celebrate how much God desires for us to be with Him.  So much so, that He doesn't expect us to come to Him, but He became humble in every way and came to us.  We often romanticize the stable and the manger, Jesus was not born in a palace or a clean house, but He was born in the lowliest and possibly the dirtiest, most unsanitary place possible.  His mother was not a queen or beautiful and wealthy woman, she was an average girl probably in her late teens from a family with no real money or influence.  Her husband was a man who had no fortune but had to labor with his hands to get by. Jesus shed every semblance of His divinity and humbled Himself in the extreme so that He could come be with us.  So that He can walk alongside even the poorest of the poor and with us in our lowest places.

Often in our low points in life we feel furthest from God.  There are certainly times in the past few months I've felt like that.  We wrestle with everything that happens and wonder how we will keep on going. And that is when we need to celebrate Christmas, because what sets our God apart from all others is how much He longs for us to be with Him and that He is willing to humble Himself in an extreme way to come down and be with us, even in our lowest places.  He didn't come part way down or to the level of a king and expect us to come at least part of the way to Him.  Nor did He reach His hand out to help us the rest of the way up.  He came all the way down to the very bottom level in order be with us and walk alongside us as He leads us on a path to be redeemed and to be with God.

Christmas is a time to remember how far down God came because of His love for us.  When we feel far from God Christmas reminds us that Jesus is down here with us, ready to walk alongside us as we go forward in our lives.

It feels good that I can share stories with you, like how one grandmother tearfully thanked me for sending her grandchildren to school or how our 2 oldest girls told us the other day that they want to be teachers and work with us as they get older.  But more importantly, it is a relief to know that everything we are doing for these children and their families is because Christ came down to us first and continues to push us onward.  On Christmas some 2,000 years ago Jesus came down to be like us and no matter how much we feel like we might fail, He is walking alongside us in all our highs and lows, taking our burdens, and pushing us forward to tell the world of His wonderful love!

So thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and support.  Thank you for joining our ministry, my family, and myself as we seek to walk with Christ and share the simple message that He is with us this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas to all of you!  The savior is born!  This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Sincerely in Christ,

Gregory Holz
Crossing Cambodia - Mission Director
& Holiday Soup Enthusiast

End of Year Donations

We know you're probably inundated at this time with reminders and requests for money so we won't take long.  As you pray about our ministry, please pray that God will provide what we need financially to continue serving the people of Cambodia. 

We are a small organization with not a lot of money so every little bit helps.  And our mission is to take whatever we have and make the biggest possible impact on each person we work with.  So please prayerfully join us in reaching out at the end of this year.

IN 2017

In spite of me having some rough patches, Crossing Cambodia continues to move forward!  In 2017...

  • We finished our 4th full year of school.
  • Hosted multiple World Race Teams as well as a dental team and volunteers.
  • Brought in a team to assess the impact of our program on the kids.
  • Bought a new Ministry Truck!
  • We had a baby!  Elena Chankhieu Holz!

Moving Forward

Just a teaser, but in 2018 we've got some cool plans and changes coming.

In January we'll officially be 5 years old!  So we've rewritten out mission statement, made a new 5 year plan, and will release our 2017 financial reports.  Please keep an eye out for next year's official announcements!


We Hope to Get Better

We know that communication with you, our donors, is one of our weaknesses.  We are continuing to try and find ways to better improve this process.  We ask your prayers as Paulina and I have decided to seek out an assistant who can help us to create the reports on children and projects we need to send back to you so that you know where your dollars are going, what our ministry is doing, and what needs to be prayed for.  Please pray that God will guide this process and that  we'll get all this figured out in such a way that we'll be able to send you more frequent and informative updates on how kids, projects, and missionaries are doing.

Prayer Requests

Join us in praying at Christmastime!

  • Thanks be to God that He longs to be with us and sent us His son so that we can be redeemed and join Him!
  • For the students who we watched go this year, may our brief time have had an impact on their lives.
  • For all of Crossing Cambodia's missionaries and their families.
    • Greg, Sinuon, Richard, Julianne, & Elena
    • Bronson, Paulina, & Roxanne
    • Chris, Rachna, & Levi
  • God's blessings to our local staff who share the gospel daily with those around them.
  • That everything we do going into a new year will be for the glory of God!
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