How Ambassadors for Christ Also Serve the Cause of Diplomacy
Formerly actively involved with a Michigan-based ministry to international students, George and Shary Frahm (currently serving Christ in Cambodia) recently had a unique opportunity to meet a kindly gentleman from Malaysia. He had clearly experienced the generosity of the American people during his stay while pursuing a PhD at Georgetown University. Through conversation with him, the Frahms learned again that we, as ambassadors for Christ, can dramatically impact those who come to our shores during their university years. What follows is a summary of their conversation with him.
Today we were sitting in a local restaurant sipping on a coffee shake and doing some much needed catch up after a grueling week on the road outside the city. About midday a kindly gentleman approached us and asked where we were from (not an uncommon question when we are out most days). He introduced himself to us, speaking perfect English as if we were neighbors from all the years gone by in the US, but his obvious appearance told us that he was not from Cambodia nor the US. He hailed from Malaysia, just a plane flight of 1 ½ hours away.
His smile was so genuine and his heart clearly showed in conversation. He is currently teaching at the university across the street from where we sat at that point, teaching International Business Relations. He is 77 years young he told us. He looked very healthy and not at all showed the years in numbers listed here. His spirit spoke of a younger self inside, full of enthusiasm and frankness that was refreshing.
Dean received his PhD from Georgetown University in Washington DC. He studied in 1968-70, way back when we were still in college ourselves. We didn't go to Woodstock in 1969, but he did. We didn't walk thru Arlington National Cemetery and see the burial of so many men who died for a cause that the US was engaged in. But He did. So much seemed to impact his time in the US during those years when he was studying for his PhD.
“The real America isn't in Washington DC you know,” he said. “The real heart of America is in its people outside the DC area. I have learned that the American people are the most generous people in the world and the only ones on this earth who will die for others in the world outside their own country. I've experienced the love of people in America, the Thanksgiving of turkey, the love of football, the stamina of golf.” With a beaming smile he engaged us in conversation that so many others need to hear in the global international community who have ministered to international students coming to our shores of the United States to study and experience the American dream. Yes y'all, you and we do make a difference, perhaps many years after we would think it would be possible.
“America has it all,” he said. “You have democracy that is unparalleled in this world. Now you have elections that are a tight neck and neck race to your White House. In Malaysia the same people have been in power for 60 years. It may be called democracy there, but we all know what we see and what we hear about America is the best and it's in the people who live there. They are the kindest people anywhere, and until I die with my boots on, I will always know this in my heart.”
Our hearts were touched deeply by the conversation with this kind man, who took the time and came to us to talk. We could have easily missed his passing as we sipped that cold drink and did some catch-up on our computers. But a mighty God brought another one of His to us to hear some positive note about our important job as Americans. I am sure that Dean knew we were Christians, as do most internationals view Americans these days. That's good.
We are hoping to spend more time with this man, to listen to his life story tucked into chapters as he has gone thru life just like we have. He is associate dean and adjunct professor specializing in technical government and international relations at The University of Cambodia, teaching to PhD students and being not their teacher, but their 'coach' as he calls himself. These students are so blessed to have him in their midst, and I truly hope that they realize that.