June at – Voice of Love Cambodia

I had a very satisfying and encouraging visit with the leadership staff of Voice of Love (FEBC) Cambodia in mid- June.  There were a number of action items as part of the visit.  My main goal was to continue in person a review of their progress against strategic plan goals that I had been working on via email with Field Director Makara.  The strategic plan is aggressive and calls for reaching each locality of Cambodia with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  They have made significant progress over the last 18 months.

To reach all of Cambodia a combination of media channels including radio, player boxes, streaming audio, audio on demand, social media and staff visits will be needed.  In the coming months pray as the team seeks to expand their listener base through upgrade of a translator station in Kampong Thom, expanded player box distribution and an experimental effort to recruit new listeners to our on line platforms in several provincial cities.

VOL_Counselling
A Listener Event Takes Place in the Province

In addition to the strategic plan review, I took the opportunity to train and work hand in hand with the management team on some basic project management skills in order to encourage deeper planning discipline and a more organized approach.  This kind of short teaching combined with side by side work/coaching provides groundwork and practice in skills along with making progress in planning out areas of strategy that have not yet received a deep review.

Most organizations are able to execute project work and day to day operations but are challenged to do a good job of project definition.  I encourage the question “what will this look like/include when it is done?”  Training in the discipline of creating a work breakdown structure puts a tool for good definition in the hands of the staff.  Teaching, coaching, encouraging and reinforcing all lead to slow steady uptake of business skills. This is one of the ways that I can add value to our project and strategic planning processes and the ability of our field staff to use them.

WBS_Training
Coaching/Practicing Work Breakdown Structure Development Methods

In addition to the work with strategic planning and coaching in planning methods I was able to work on the details of the Kampong Thom project and also did my part to hold another Amateur Radio Exam Session at National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia.  We had an NPIC teach pass the test as a new technician class ham.

 

Exciting Times at FEBC Thailand

With the retirement of the former director of FEBC Thailand your prayer support becomes critical. Transitions in leadership are always a challenge and give our enemy a chance to oppose the ministry. Please pray for new FEBC Thailand field director Noppakhun as he works to encourage the staff, stabilize funding and keep the many Transnational Ethnic Tribal Language broadcasts that he supervises going strong.

With your prayers and financial support behind me we are able to make a consistent effort to provide business advice, consulting, organizational help and especially friendship and encouragement to Noppakhun Prasobkiatkit the new Field Director of FEBC Thailand. It is an understatement to call this a bumpy transition and continued support including my presence physically and via today’s modern communication channels is making a difference. Nopp has a spectrum of problems to deal with urgently including encouraging the staff, growing the field’s financial support base, maintaining tribal language production in 16 different languages and meeting all the many partners of FEBC Thailand who he is expected to work with.

L-R Nopp, Josh, Guy and the computers

Nopp, a tribal ethnic language producer within FEBC Thailand for a number of years, is the best choice to ensure the ministry moves forward, but he faces a steep learning curve. FEBC International with your help has committed my help in providing business coaching, financial review and support, assistance with funding proposals and liaison with other funding partners that support the ministry.

In conjunction with Ed Cannon, FEBC USA President and FEBC International Chairman and Kevin Keegan, President of FEBC Australia and FEBC International Executive Committee point of contact for this work, I am spending a lot of time and travel making sure that this ministry continues strong. It is going to be a regular travel destination for me over the next few months.

Funny Stories about Toilets

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I had just started to walk into the men’s room (hopefully) near my departure gate at the airport in Yangon, Myanmar. After checking the signage and seeing fairly identifiable male/female outlines I turn to the men’s side and freeze in my tracks. There is a young woman coming out of what I thought was the men’s room! I back up, take a look towards the signage and realize that I am seeing her reflection in the newly cleaned mirror of my bathroom while she is walking out behind me from hers. Probably she is wondering why I am backing up and looking panicked.

Mirrors in Myanmar

As I head on in to what actually is my side it occurred to me that I have had or heard of a lot of funny things that have happened around the issue of bathrooms in other cultures and places over the last 20 years of international ministry. I won’t be delving into the ones involving TMI – too much information, and will keep in mind that there are things you cannot simply Un-see even in imagination.

My first though was of an evening outing about 8-10 years ago to see Carmen performed in Ulaanbator, Mongolia. I went with the able coaching and assistance of David and Jan Bayliss who were residing in the city while working with Field Director Batjargal and the staff of FEBC, Mongolia. I headed for the bathroom while David and Jan held onto our seats. I kept wondering if I was going the right way as I went down a hall and then down a couple of ramps, not unlike trying to get out of a major football stadium. I was the only one going down and one after another small groups of ladies kept streaming up the ramp towards me.

Carmen in Ulaanbator

As I approached the sinks, I am still the only guy, till one finally walks out from the left row of “cubicles” and I realize its only those that are separated between the two half’s of the bathroom area and the sinks are shared. The opera was excellent, but it was my first time and I was confused. “It’s never over till the fat lady sings” is the old adage in the USA, but there weren’t any thin ladies singing at all. I had to depend on Jan to let me know when it was over.

Like every other aspect of life, those who don’t travel to foreign places think there is only one right way to build a bathroom, a toilet, to “clean up”, and then when you travel you find out that there are several broadly followed plans: the outhouse, the toilet, and the squatty potty. “Cleaning up” is TMI. Even the toilet itself, the ones embodying the phrase “porcelain throne” have different idiosyncrasies in different places. In Japan, they want everyone to be happy with the facilities and are sticklers for getting every detail right. That’s why we all love the cars they design. In Tokyo airport, you can pick between the squatty, the regular toilet and the one with all the bells and whistles.

Yup, all the bells and whistles

The fancy electronic toilets have heated seats built in water sprays that are adjustable for pattern, angle and temperature to aid the cleanup process and come with somewhat elaborate buttons and controls on an arm to the side. One thing they almost never include, however, is english subtitles for the oriental language deemed proper at any particular location the toilet is installed. Chris saved me from failing with these new gadgets by having a troubling experience in the electronic toilet in the airport at Narita, Japan. She couldn’t figure out how to make it flush. She tried the controls, could spray water around and even get it to make incredibly loud, realistic flushing noises, but no flush.

When I had the same problem at FEBC Korea, I immediately assumed she had tried all the controls and after some thought took a look at the bigger picture. There, just as you might expect on a regular toilet was a flush lever, manual style, above all the fancy controls on the control arm on the toilet tank. So after messing with all the controls in your jet-lag induced state of mind, remember my blog post and look for the flush lever as usual. Or read the instructions.

Ignore distractions

In closing, and avoiding TMI, I can say that I have been forced by circumstances and travel destinations to try all of the approved methods of clean up and all of the different types of facilities. My advice is to pack toilet paper with you just like your water bottle when you travel. Yes, you can use the squatty potty, but I recommend you practice in the hotel room first, before you have to do it out in the public bathroom. Hint – with the squatty you want to get your pants in just the right spot……

Practice in private first!