March 3, 2021
Unfortunately there has been another significant surge in confirmed cases of the virus here in our country. This has led to a third wave of restrictions on public meetings. While some ministry is able to go forward, we are prohibited from holding public or even private meetings. In the past we have been able to organize small groups of members who could meet together in various locations on Sundays and throughout the week for teaching and fellowship. However, this time the situation appears to be more serious. Thus we are seeking to comply with all the regulations passed down from those in authority. For the time being we have begun to livestream our services for members who have registered ahead of time. The livestream is not available to the general public. We want to be very cautious to not lead the church into the trap of becoming complacent with simply watching a church service take place online. We firmly believe that livestream is not a substitute for the regular meeting together of God’s people for singing, teaching, preaching, fellowship, and giving offerings to the Lord’s work. Please help pray that we will have wisdom and prudence to effectively shepherd the flock during this time of restriction.
Please continue to pray for the Bible College students to maintain their walk with God during this time of uncertainty. This has been a challenging year for nearly all of them. Some have been compelled to take on jobs that rob them of any extra time that would normally be devoted to ministry. God does not desire that these young people lose the vision God has given them to do their part to help reach their own people with the gospel. I believe it has been difficult for some of the young men, in particular, to keep focus of God’s long-term will for their lives. Pray that they will simply be faithful to follow His revealed will for today! If they do that, tomorrow will take care of itself.
Kolab and her family live just behind our new church building. Many of us have made it a point to get to know her and her daughters over the past several months. Some of the national ladies, in particular, have reached out to her and helped her to understand her need of a personal Saviour. We are so pleased that this past month she placed her faith in Jesus Christ. It was a blessing to see her follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism two weeks ago. Since being saved she has made it a point to witness to her siblings. On two separate occasions since her salvation her sister, Kim Houng, has come to visit from Siem Reap. The first time some of our ladies met with her and helped Kolab share the gospel. She took some literature back with her and read it over the past couple of weeks. This past week she made another trip to meet with Kolab and this time her heart was ready – she had counted the cost of what it would mean to become a Christian. Kolab and the national ladies are still rejoicing in the opportunity to lead another soul to Christ! Kolab left yesterday to travel to Siem Reap and visit some of her relatives. It is her desire to be a bold witness for the Lord and to see more of her family saved. Please pray for adult siblings as well as her husband, Ta, to be saved.
Sumva had been listening to “Christian” radio here in this country for several months with the desire to know God. While perhaps some of the broadcasting that he heard has some value, in all the hours he spent listening to the programming they never explained how someone can have their sins forgiven and come into a right relationship with God through trusting in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross. Frankly he because frustrated. He had heard a lot of good advice given and even a few sermons that addressed Biblical topics, howbeit on a very surface level only. But he never one time heard a clear presentation of the gospel.
One day, two months ago, he was walking to work and along the side of the busy road he noticed two pieces of paper. The papers were surrounded by lots of trash, yet they stood out and caught his attention. He later gave testimony that for some reason he felt compelled to pick up the papers and put them in his backpack to read later when he had time. After arriving to work he took the papers out and began to look them over. It was then that he discovered they were gospel tracts from our church. One was entitled “True Hope” and the other “Man’s Greatest Problem.” As he read them he came to realize that they were addressing the very thing he had been seeking! He called the numbers on the tracts and two of our national men met with him, clearly presented the gospel to him from the Word of God, answered his questions, and led him to trust Christ as his personal Saviour!
It has been a blessing to be able to meet with him and begin discipling him in the Word of God. His work schedule is very hectic and he literally has not even one free hour the entire week. He sleeps approximately 3 hours a night at his job. Other than that he is on duty as a security guard for 21 hours a day. Poverty is real and it is often a significant barrier to spiritual growth in this part of the world. Help us to pray that Sumva will be able to get a different job that will allow him time to be discipled as well as participate in church services once we are allowed to reopen.
Several of the new believers are facing increased persecution at this time. But one lady in particular, though she has only been saved for a very short time, has chosen to take a stand for the Lord that has led to great opposition by her family and fellow villagers. I am not mentioning this lady by name. She is part of an ethnic minority here in this country that holds very strictly to a particular religion. After refusing to participate in an occultic ceremony that involves animal sacrifice and demon worship she became the target of not only hate-filled and angry words, but she was also physically assaulted. Her family forced her to sleep outside a few days ago and during the middle of the night her fellow villagers began violently stoning her. They promised that they would return next time and take things to a “different level” unless she renounced her faith in Jesus Christ. I can not write more details regarding this situation in this forum. Some of our members from another village brought her to safety for a couple of nights. While in a safe place they prayed, sang, and studied the Bible. These all brought her much encouragement in the Lord. Last night she made the decision that no matter what the cost she must return to her village and seek to be salt and light. Her greatest desire is that her husband and adult children will be saved. She knows that if she is not living her faith in front of them – they will likely never come to know God.
In the picture on the left this dear lady is sharing a very joyful testimony at church just prior to following the Lord in Believer’s Baptism two weeks ago. Her courage driven by her love for the Lord and godly compassion is motivating as well as convicting to any who will take the time to think… Please pray that God’s grace will be real in her life as she returns to her village to face whatever comes next. It is virtually certain that she will face violence unless God works to prevent it. Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake. Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for their’s is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
It has been a great blessing to see so many of the national believers becoming more burdened for their own people. In recent days these folks, and others, have organized themselves into groups and gone out on their own to hand out tracts and share the gospel with the lost. What a blessing it is to see that, though we face certain challenges that have forced us to become more creative in our soul-winning and discipleship, the gospel is still going forth into places that have been under the control of the wicked one for generations. Please pray that the gospel will continue to go forth with clarity and power that will result in genuine conversions. We are certainly surrounded in this part of the world, just like in other places, by the cults, the false prosperity gospel, and well meaning but unbiblical methods of evangelism that leave people with a shallow understanding of the gospel. It seems that “easy-prayerism” has also become more prevalent here in Southeast Asia. Please pray that our ministry will continue to practice Biblical soul-winning and discipleship that results in fruit that remains.
Our national men and women are working diligently to see this church building completed. Brother San is doing a good job of organizing work days and doing everything possible to build as economically as possible. So many of the folks have sacrificially given of their time, talent, and treasures to see this building go up on some donated land out at one of the village ministries. We are thankful for some wonderful friends who recently provided a gift that has allowed construction to continue. We anticipate seeing this building completed very soon barring any more unforeseen obstacles. Please help us pray that the building will be a tool that can be effectively used to encourage, equip, empower, and send forth laborers into the surrounding villages that are without any gospel light.
Please continue to pray for the work located in the northern part of this country. Brother Zen, a senior in the Bible college, is doing a wonderful job leading and overseeing this village ministry. Recently several new believers followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism. Sovanna, pictured above, accepted Christ a couple of years ago but until recently has been away from the Lord. A few weeks ago he returned to church and brought his wife, Sokhom, with him. She is not yet a believer but seems to have a tender heart and is willing to listen to the gospel. Please pray for Sovanna to walk with the Lord in the way that he should, and that his testimony will result in his wife trusting Christ as well. Rithy and Lawn have not yet been to church but Brother Zen says that they are presently being witnessed to. It is likely that they understand the gospel (the gospel is not hard to understand) but are counting the cost of what it will mean if they turn to God from idols. Pray that Rithy and Lawn will come to the conviction that no matter what the temporary cost may be they need to be saved.
In closing we would like to ask you to pray for the individuals pictured above to be saved. There are many other folks who are being dealt with regarding salvation at this time. But these are the names of just a few that we feel are seriously considering their need to repent of depending upon their own good works and call upon the name of the the Lord to be saved.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
November 16, 2020
Though we continue to send out regular hard-copy prayer letters to friends of the ministry, we have decided that it may be prudent, at this time, to curtail some of our online updates. We are looking at a couple of different options for next year that will allow us to continue to provide detailed ministry updates but in a more secure setting. For the time being, please remember that our paper prayer letters will speak in more specificity while this public forum will be more general.
TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY
This past Sunday marked ten years for Pacific Baptist Church! Due to the current restrictions that our church is under, we did not do anything out of the ordinary as we are attempting to simply lay low for the time being here in our new village.
Since moving into our new property we have not been at liberty to show photos from inside the building. As we look back on God’s goodness in saving many souls over the past ten years, we are amazed and humbled to see how many continue to walk with the Lord. While we have lost a few casual attenders due to our relocation as well as the restrictions we are under related to the current pandemic, we continue to rejoice that the vast majority of our members continue to faithfully attend church at one of our four locations. We wish we could show you some of the awesome photos that we have taken over the past couple of months. Lord willing, we shall be able to do that in the future.
God has been so good to assemble a wonderful team of men and women who love the Lord and who joyfully serve alongside us here in the ministry. It is such a great blessing to labor together with friends whom we have known, in some cases, for 25 years or more. Please continue to pray that we will have wisdom as we look toward expanding the ministry in 2021. These are interesting times in which we live and while it is likely that there will be increased opposition going forward, we do believe that the greatest ministry opportunities here in this part of the world lie ahead of us.
NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN 2021
Lord willing, we plan to expand our Bible College and Institute classes beginning in January as we commute each week to one of our satellite locations located about an hour from our new location. We have a number of young adults as well as older folks in that village who have expressed a desire to be able to attend College and Institute classes. Rather than having them commute to us we have decided to commute to them. We have no interest in simply drawing crowds – the command and our desire is to train those who have been saved to know and obey the Word of God. We believe that the College and Institute ministry provides a wonderful avenue to disciple the national believers. It is our goal to replicate this new ministry in more than one location as we are able to do so. That will enable us to efficiently equip more believers as well as afford an opportunity for more of our national men to help disciple their own people. For the time being one of our national men and myself will teach the classes beginning in January. Lord willing, in the second quarter of 2021 we will expand into another village which will require that we have 2-3 more men ready and able to teach the classes. Please help us to pray as we look to expand the College ministry.
For several weeks we have been meeting and discussing the start of a new Social Media outreach that will be a ministry of the church. It is our goal to start in January 2021. This new ministry will be headed up by one of our national men and we are in the process of recruiting perhaps 20 or so church members to serve alongside of him through helping to 1) research relevant topics, 2) prepare scripts, 3) create quality graphics, 4) do community relations to expand the scope of outreach, 5) actively communicate with the public as they respond to the videos, 6) upload and maintain the videos, 7) coordinate local “seminars” at neutral locations where specific teaching can be provided geared toward building relationships with the lost through teaching on the topics of family and parenting, and 8) travel to remote Provinces for the purpose of meeting with new contacts who have shown interest in the gospel because of the media we have posted .
The name of the ministry will be “Solutions for Life.” (ដំណោះស្រាយនៃជីវិត) The primary purpose of this ministry will be to take the gospel to places near and far through answering common questions and confronting objections to the gospel through the means of quality videos. The videos will also include testimonies of changed lives by the men, women, and young people who have come to know the Lord through our ministry. We believe that this new ministry will serve as an effective bridge to reach many folks with the gospel. Please pray that we will have wisdom and creativity as we look to kick-start this new facet of outreach.
As we move into 2021 we are trusting that restrictions will be lifted that have prevented us from reaching as many children as we have in the past. Without a doubt the Children’s Ministry has taken the hardest “hit”due to the mandates regulating public ministry. We hope and pray that sometime early in 2021 we will have the liberty to once again take the love of Christ to the scores of children around us who have very little hope of ever hearing the gospel unless our church takes it to them. So many of the young adults in our church today were reached 7-8 years ago through the Children’s Ministry when they were just in Jr. High school. It is vital that we are able to once again begin reaching the children around us – before their lives are irreparably destroyed by sin! Help us to pray that doors will once again be open to freely and publicly reach the young people around us.
It is our plan to start a small Christian academy for the purpose of helping to educate the children of our core members. For the time being we plan to operate as a supplement to the “education” the young people receive in the public school and focus on Khmer, English, and Bible four days a week. The classes will be limited to the children who are able to pass an entrance exam and whose parents are faithfully involved in the life of the church. It is our goal to use the academy to discern if or when we should look towards starting a traditional Christian school. Please help us pray that all the details will come together as we look to launch the academy in January.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
August 10, 2020
So much has happened with the building over the past several weeks. In the short video below you can see how the auditorium looks at this time. Lord willing, we will be done with all the inside construction by the end of this month. Thank you for standing with us in prayer to see this project through. We are so grateful for those of you who have helped the church here make up the shortfall due to the storm that destroyed our roof, drop ceiling, lighting, and some tiles in our church auditorium. God’s people have been such an encouragement to our church during this time.
MINISTRY IS PEOPLE
We are presently still under restrictions by the officials due to the Covid-19 outbreak here in Cambodia. At the present time it seems as though those in authority are doing their best to protect the people from this virus. Recently a mosquito-borne virus known as Chikungunya is spreading throughout the country. Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes. It causes fever and severe joint pain. It is my understanding that this disease has been dormant here for 40 years and is just now resurfacing. At the present time there are 2,047 individuals who are infected. Several of our church members just recovered from this disease.
It’s a blessing to see so many of our folks faithfully attend their weekly small group for a time of Bible study, singing, and fellowship. However, we truly desire to be back at church. There is a significant difference between small group “Bible study” and the preaching of the Word of God that takes place when the whole church family is gathered together. Please help us to pray that we will soon be able to begin having a more normal church schedule.
Over the past several weeks there have been several folks who have been saved despite being prohibited from ministering as we have in the past.
Srey Koeuch is the niece of one of our newly saved couples. Several of us have shared the gospel with her over the past year and encouraged her to trust Christ. Finally, this past week one of our members was privileged to lead her to Christ.
Malis lives behind our new church building with her parents and two siblings. She has become quite close to some of the young people from the church and will very often join with them in playing volleyball or riding bicycles. Several of her peers as well as those older than her have shared the gospel with her over the past several months. She recently approached one of the young ladies in our Bible college and told her that she wanted to know more about God. That young lady was privileged to see Malis trust Christ as her personal Saviour right there in the college dorm!
Hong lives with her family in a village located about 25 minutes from our new property. Every week two of our national men go to that village to share the gospel as well as disciple new believers. Hong is friends with two of the ladies who have been saved and has had the opportunity to hear the gospel from them on several occasions. Just about three weeks ago Hong turned to God from idols and was saved!
Sina is the mother of one of our Bible college students. She made a profession of faith about two years ago but never seemed to bear any fruit that would evidence salvation. That, of course, was a great concern to all of us. No Fruit = No Root. Through some circumstances that she is presently facing with her health, she admitted to one of the men in our church that she was not saved but that she desired to be saved. Several days ago one of our men had the opportunity to explain the plan of salvation to her and she was saved!
Please join us in praying that these new believers, as well as some others who have trusted Christ over the past month or so, will be plugged into regular discipleship times and will grow in their understanding of and obedience to God’s Word. Pray we can start having church services soon!
Thank you for helping to pray for our various outreaches to different villages as well as for these four individuals to be saved.
SeiYak is the mother of one of our faithful ladies. I remember how angry she was several years ago when her son-in-law accepted Christ and five months later her daughter was saved as well. Over the past couple of years she has really been watching their example and has seen the changes that have taken place in their lives because of their walk with the Lord. It seems like her heart is softening to the gospel and we hope she will be saved while there is still time.
Vanna is the mother of two young ladies who are a part of our church. In fact, she is Srey Koeuch’s mom (the young lady who was saved this past week). Vanna lives a very difficult life and has virtually no free time. In order to support herself she pushes a big cart around the city and collects items that she can recycle. Recently her adult son was murdered by a group of men who were strung out on drugs. During that time I had the opportunity to sit with her and talk about her need to be saved. She told me that she was not yet ready but that after she was done grieving she would be willing to hear more. It is difficult to catch her at home due to her schedule, but we hope that circumstances will be such that she will be available during the time that some of our workers are at her home each week. Over the past year four adults in her family have been saved.
Goeun is the father of one of our faithful ladies. He is actually a part of an ethnic minority group here in Cambodia known as Kuy. Goeun has a real sorted past and can be a bit unpredictable in his response to those who have tried to witness to him. However, we believe that the changes that have taken place in his daughter and her family, as well as many others in his village because of the gospel, have to be speaking to his heart. We believe that he is being faced with a decision to respond to the spiritual light he has been given or else reject the gospel and perhaps never be given another opportunity to be saved.
Morn lives in a village located about 25 minutes from our new property. He is totally deaf but has the ability to read lips. While two of our men were sharing the gospel recently in his village he expressed interest in knowing more about Jesus. In the picture above, Brother Vannak is showing him a video in sign language that was produced by Silent Word Ministries. The video presents the gospel in a type of “universal” sign that he seemed to understand.
During this time of Covid restrictions it has been a blessing to be able to focus more on helping our key national leaders to grow in the Lord and in their effectiveness in serving Him. Several weeks ago I began meeting with these men each Thursday morning for several hours for a time of accountability and spiritual growth. We are currently considering the topic of time management and a work ethic that is biblical and honoring to Christ. Please help pray for these men (plus one more not pictured) who are a part of this special group.
One of my top priorities in ministry is that of reproducing leaders who are competent and qualified to not simply preach during a church service, but in particular lead a lost person to Christ and then disciple them to spiritual maturity (2 Timothy 2:2). We are striving to place great emphasis on the personal responsibility of every believer in our church to be involved in helping others to grow in their knowledge of and obedience to the Lord. It is our goal that personal discipleship become deeply embedded into the DNA of our ministry here in Cambodia. It brings us great joy to see those whom we are discipling actively involved in the lives of others.
Please continue to pray for our Bible college students as their schedule is still not back to normal due to the restrictions we are under. It seems that all but perhaps one of them is doing well spiritually during this time in their lives that can tend to be a bit “slippery” even under ideal circumstances. It appears that we will have several new students enrolling in the Bible college when we are able to commence with classes once again. Pray that the world, the flesh, and the devil will not gain victory over these young people but that they will continue to grow in their faithfulness to the Lord and their compassion for their own people.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
May 28, 2020
Life has been moving very rapidly since our last update. We completed moving out of our old location and onto the new land. Moving is a verrrrry long process when you do it one pickup truck load at a time! We are thankful to be relocated to our new land although we are still dealing with issues such as having reliable electric and adequate water. The electricity here on the outskirts of town literally fluctuates, depending upon the time of the day, from 70 volts to 260 volts. As you can imagine, that can wreak havoc on appliances and electronic components.
MAJOR STORM DAMAGE
This past Friday evening at around 6:30 p.m. our part of town was hit by a major wind and rain storm that was unlike any that our fellow villagers had ever experienced. Below are two videos that pertain to the damage we sustained.
During the storm our new church building, that was scheduled to be completed on May 31st, lost its roof, nearly all of the steel that supported the roof, the drop ceiling, as well as the auditorium lights that had just been installed a few days prior. Most of the roof literally flew several hundred yards into the air and dropped down in a rice field. The loss sustained to our church is between $15,000-$18,000.
Our home, situated directly across the street from the church, was also in the narrow path of the storm which resulted in us losing the entire steel structure and awning that covered our roof top. Thankfully we have a concrete slab on the second level that provides protection from the elements until such a time as the aluminum roof can be reconstructed.
This past Sunday a few of our people gathered briefly for prayer as we thanked God that no one was physically hurt due to the debris that flew all different directions during the storm. I reminded those present that God desires to show Himself strong through this trial and that He desires to remind us to live for that which is eternal. On a side note, it is interesting that during my quiet time on Saturday morning, just hours after the storm, I read the following verse from Psalm 147:18, “He sendeth out His Word, and melteth them: He caused His wind to blow, and the waters flow.“ Well…that pretty much sums it up! Please remember our church in prayer as we begin the process of rebuilding that which was lost during this storm.
As with much of the rest of the world, because of Covid-19 we are forbidden by the authorities from meeting together publicly as a church. Each Sunday morning our church meets in individual small groups. We have been doing this for about eight weeks now and it has worked okay. However, we are hoping to be able to do some creative things over the next few weeks that we believe will help our people to grow spiritually and have more accountability. Please pray that we will have wisdom and exercise creativity that stays within the spirit of the law as we meet with the leaders this next week to formulate our game plan.
PRAY FOR NEW PROSPECTS
Life feels very strange right now with all of us wearing face masks, keeping our distance from each other, and constantly having our temperature taken just before having our hands doused with alcohol nearly everywhere we go. Local laws as well as the uncertainty that most feel here in this part of the world has made it a bit of a challenge to meet new people. Please pray that unique doors will open that will allow us, and our church family, to once again have the liberty to go into new villages and take the gospel to those who are living in spiritual darkness.
There are several folks that we would like to see saved and we ask you to please pray for an open door to clearly present the gospel to them. Phal and his two sons live right next door to our new church property. He recently lost his wife as she died of liver failure from alcoholism. Pray that the barrier that Phal has built around him will melt away and that we and others will have the opportunity to win him to Christ.
Vanna lives near our old church property. Several weeks ago her 39 year old son was murdered in cold blood. I spoke with her just a day after the funeral and she told me that she would like to hear how she can be brought into a right relationship with God, but that she needs a bit of time before she is willing to listen. Pray that we will have an open door to sit down with her and present the gospel to her this coming week.
Saem and Si are growing and joyful new believers. They are lacking in this world’s goods but they are wealthy in faith. I am often convicted when I am around them and see the contentment that they have though they live in abject poverty. I am always touched by their spirit of generosity as well as their desire to see their adult children saved. SreyMao is their eldest daughter. She is married and has two young children. Several of us have invested time and effort in presenting the gospel to her on many occasions. It seems that her heart is softening to her need for a personal Saviour, though she is still counting the cost of what it will mean for her to become a Christian. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will work in SreyMao’s heart and conscience in such a way that she will be drawn to the gospel and be saved. We hope to be able to meet with her this next week.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
April 1, 2020
There has been so much going on here in Cambodia since the last time we were able to update the blog site. Thank you for your prayers and support for the work here in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
The Coronavirus has caused the authorities to prohibit public meetings including all schools and religious groups here in this country. At the present time, we are meeting as families and very small groups until such a time as it is presumed safe to do otherwise. Thankfully, from the time we started the church, we have emphasized the importance of fathers fulfilling their role as the spiritual leader of their home. Please continue to pray for our family, our team, and our members scattered throughout several Provinces to be light and salt during the uncertain times we are all facing. Even as I write this update, the government here is debating in the National Assembly regarding the next step that will be taken to hopefully curtail the spread of the virus here in this country.
Please click on the video below to see a quick tour of the progress that has been made on our new building.
So many of our members have willingly jumped in to help with the building project however they are able. Lord willing, this building will be used to reach many families with the gospel in the years to come. We look forward to having the building completed in a month or so and having our opening service as soon as we are allowed to do so by the powers that be. If you would like to give toward seeing this project completed, please contact me directly and I will let you know some of the items that are still needing to be purchased.
PACIFIC BAPTIST BIBLE COLLEGE
We have the Biblical conviction that it is the responsibility of the local church to disciple those who have been saved in order that they might know and obey the commands of Christ. Our Bible college is an effective way for us to disciple some of our own young people. This past month we experienced great joy as well as sorrow because of the events that took place in the lives of three of our students.
Sane and SreyLeak were both reached as young people here at Pacific Baptist Church. They were both faithful to the Lord as well as serving in various ministries here at the church before they began studying in the Bible college. It was a great joy to see them joined together in marriage this past week. They had planned to have a typical church wedding and reception. However, because of the current prohibitions on public meetings due to the spread of the virus, they were married in a classroom with a very small group of witnesses. We are so blessed and encouraged by their joy and example of gratitude and I know that they are going to continue to be used by the Lord to win their own people. Please pray for Sane and SreyLeak as they grow together as husband and wife.
Hout was led to Christ by Brother Has about three years ago. Having already graduated from a local university with a Bachelors degree, he enrolled in our Bible college in order to gain a better foundation in his life as he pursued his life’s purpose. Hout was involved in a couple of our village ministries and had a true burden to see older folks be reached with the gospel. He had a vision to use traditional musical instruments as a tool for soul-winning. For the past couple of years he had been taking private lessons from a prominent music teacher at the school of fine arts here in Phnom Penh and learning how to play several traditional instruments. We had many conversations of how he planned to train the next generation of young people to play the instruments and then create a music group that could go from village to village singing and preaching the gospel.
Sadly, several days ago while on lunch break at his job, at around 3:00 a.m. he was brutally murdered by approximately nine individuals. This obviously came as a huge blow to all of us. Hout’s family was all saved here at the church just prior to him coming to know the Lord and their example during this trial has been a true testimony of the grace of God. Please pray for this dear family during their time of grief.
We covet your prayers as we need wisdom during this time of transition to the new property. Many things will change about how we structure our public service times but we believe that, over time, new doors will be opened to evangelize new villages and see scores of folks saved, baptized, and discipled. Thank you for “holding the ropes” there at home.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
December 31, 2019
We wanted to send you a quick update here at the close of the year to thank you, once again, for your faithful partnership in the gospel. We praise the Lord for the things He has done, and will do, as we enter 2020.
Click on the short video below to see the progress on our new building.
This past Sunday evening we had a wonderful time of fellowship and Bible study with our Phnom Penh married couples. In this picture we are playing the “gossip” game. The results were hilarious. Those of you who speak Khmer might want to watch the short video below! Year 2020 is sure to hold many changes and challenges for the families who are a part of our ministry. Please help uphold these young believers in prayer, that they might remain faithful in their marriages and as godly parents in the home.
The college ladies who completed the Teaching Methods class in the Bible college this past term had an opportunity to put their knowledge to the test during a recent mid-week service. It was a true blessing to see how these eight young adult ladies have grown in their ability to enthusiastically and effectively teach the Bible to young children! Many of our leaders have invested so much into their lives over the past several years but I’m especially thankful for Debbie and Thy’s influence as they taught the Teaching Methods class. I received great feedback from the students. Please pray that our college students will remain focused on walking with the Lord, understanding His specific will for their lives, and faithfully obeying the Light they have been given.
As we enter the new year we are burdened for so many different folks to come to know the Lord. I can not list all of them here in this update but I do want to provide you with several names so that you can stand with us in prayer for these folks to be saved. Each of these individuals, as well as many others, are being actively pursued by us as well as others with whom we serve. No doubt the enemy will do all that he can to prevent them from understanding and positively responding to the gospel. It is the prayer of God’s people that will prove effective in the tearing down of spiritual forces whose aim it is to see these folks continue to live and one day die without Christ.
PROGRESS AT THE NEW LAND
The work continues to move ahead at the new property! A couple of weeks ago we had a special work day for our Bible college students. It is always a blessing to see their joy and enthusiasm as they labored to help clean up the property.
We are so amazed to see the progress that has taken place on the property over the past 12 months! It has not happened without a lot of effort and sacrifice by our people on this end. But it has also been through your prayers and support that we have been able to get to this point. Lord willing, the project will be completed in early April. Please continue to pray that the work will progress safely and that the Lord will supply for the remaining portion of this building project, as He has so faithfully done over the past year.
It is important for us to remember that the sacrifice that is being made to see the new property developed for God’s glory is going to ultimately benefit the next generation of Christians in our church. Would you help us to pray that the young parents who are being reached through the ministry here will continue to see their calling to faithfully live-out God’s Word before their children in the home? It is only as the young people see truth modeled before them that they will truly desire to know the Lord as well.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
November 12, 2019
There has been a lot happening here in Cambodia over the past month. Thank you for taking the time to read this update as we report on a few of the highlights.
Click on this video to see the progress on the new building as well as a short update from our special Missions Sunday.
We had a wonderful time as we came together as a church and were reminded of our responsibility to help the gospel reach those who have never heard. Mrs. Has and several of the single ladies did a fantastic job decorating the auditorium with flags and maps from various parts of the world. Many of the ladies woke up very early Sunday morning in order to cook special food and ensure that the meal was properly prepared for the church family. Teamwork makes the Dream work!
Many of the folks dressed in their traditional clothing in order to represent their own people group. It was such a blessing to see most everyone participate. We were reminded that, in Christ, there is neither “Jew nor Greek” but we are all one in Christ.
I asked one of our national men, Brother Man, to preach a special message related to the Great Commission and our responsibility before the Lord to help spread the message of the gospel and persuade the lost to come to Christ. Man reminded us that it is not enough to simply hand out a tract or casually speak of Heaven and Hell. If we truly believe that those who leave this world without Jesus Christ will spend eternity in Hell, then we need to be passionate about persuading them to look to the Saviour and be saved. It is such a blessing to me to listen to our national men preach. By God’s grace we have been blessed to see so many men saved and discipled to the point where they can effectively teach and preach no matter what the setting.
It was a wonderful blessing for us to see folks dress up in their traditional cultural clothing and to realize that it was more than simply a “fashion show.” As we looked out over the congregation and saw the various styles of clothing we were reminded that the love and unity that we enjoy here in our church is only possible because of the power of the gospel and the instruction of the Holy Spirit as the Word of God is taught and obeyed. Please help us pray that our unity will remain as we go forward into new territory this next year.
I’m so thankful for so many folks who took the effort to translate songs from Khmer into their own ethnic language and then practice those songs for our special service. It was beautiful to hear them praising the Lord in their mother tongue! My heart was touched as I saw grown men weeping as they sang praises to God in the Cham language for the very first time in their life.
We thank the Lord for the 18 folks who followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism. Each one of them has counted the cost of following Christ and are unashamed of the gospel. Please pray for these new believers to continue to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
During our service we dedicated five babies and their parents to the Lord. During the time of dedication we reminded these five couples that they are committing to the Lord and to the church family that they will bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. We thank God for their sincere desire to lead their families in the way of the Lord. Please help us to pray that these young babies will all come to know the Lord at a very young age.
These folks are all part of an ethnic minority group here in Cambodia known as Kuy. God is doing some amazing things in the outreach to their village and surrounding villages. Their hunger to be taught and desire to grow in the Lord is convicting. I had a great time fellowshipping with the three older ladies Saturday evening. Believe it or not, all of these folks piled into one small pickup truck in order to come to church!
MISSIONS TRIP TO NORTHEAST CAMBODIA
After our missions service was over, we traveled with our Bible College students to northeast Cambodia in order to learn more about how to reach some various ethnic groups who reside in that part of the country. Our students had the opportunity to sing, share testimonies, preach and conduct a couple of children’s services while we were there. Each student will be preparing a twenty page written report on their trip, as well as a video presentation that they will present to the entire church during our mid-week services in January. It was evident that the Holy Spirit was doing a work in many of the students hearts while we were on the trip. Please join us in praying that these students will remain faithful to the Lord and surrendered to His perfect will for their lives.
FAITH PUT INTO PRACTICE
These seven folks represent so many others who are committed to sharing their faith with their lost friends and those around them. Hem, Ra, and Ly have joined together to form a team that takes the gospel to Muslim villages. Sunday morning Ra shared a testimony of the joy that they experience when they share the gospel, even though many times they are rejected. Recently a man threatened violence against them and Ra told the church that he is thankful that there are three men on their soul-winning team. He said, “That way if they kill one of us, there are still two left.” We all laughed as he said those words, yet we were reminded that there are thousands of villages here in Cambodia without any gospel witness whatsoever. Furthermore, the people who live in those villages are more than content with their lives. Most of them do not desire to hear about their need for a personal Saviour and we should not expect them to welcome us with open arms. Please pray for Hem, Ra, and Ly as several times a week they are on the front lines sharing the gospel with the lost in some of the most difficult places in this country.
Saem was saved several months ago and is growing in the Lord. She supports her family by selling potatoes and peanuts from the back of her bicycle. In recent days she has begun handing tracts to those who purchase her goods. When they are willing to stop and listen, she does her best to share with them how they can be saved. She shared with me this past weekend of an older lady who cursed her and accused her of betraying the religion of her ancestors because she is a Christian. She was so shocked by the grandmother’s response that she came to meet with me and asked if perhaps she had said something wrong. I was able to encourage her to continue to be a bold witness and, just like the Apostle Paul, she should expect to encounter three types of lost people: those who are willing to believe and be saved, those who need a little time to count the cost, and those who will immediately reject the gospel and will be vocal in their opposition. Please pray for Saem to continue to have boldness as she does her best to tell others what Christ has done for her.
Tara is a professor and is very bold in his witness for the Lord. His wife recently told me that very often he will share the gospel in front of the entire class. During his break times, he eats lunch with other professors and seeks to steer the conversation toward the gospel as well. There is one professor in particular who seems to be opening up and who has recently asked him some very good questions. Maldy and his wife both teach in an elementary school. In fact, this past month they transferred from a school in their village to the local elementary school that is in the village where our new church building is located. They requested the transfer in order to be close to the church. Lord willing, they plan to build a house near the church this next year. They both have a desire to use their jobs as an opportunity to win the lost to Christ. Ney and his wife were both saved several months ago and are growing in the Lord. Their family presently lives at our new property and Ney is a part of the construction team. His work ethic and dependability is a great testimony to the unsaved construction workers. We are praying that some of the workers will be saved in the future as a result of his testimony and the testimony of others who are on the work site. Please help us pray for Tara, Maldy, and Ney to all be a bold witness while at work.
BUILDING PROGRESS UPDATE
Yesterday we had a workday out at the new property. It was a blessing to have about 30 folks show up and joyfully serve the Lord by cleaning up the site and preparing it for work that will be done later this week. We are so blessed to have national believers who love to be involved and who are happy to do their part to help see the new building completed!
Lord willing, construction on the roof will begin at the end of this month. We are thankful for two men from the States who will be arriving to help oversee this portion of the project. They are both great friends who love the Lord and who love the ministry here in Cambodia. Please continue to pray that we will be able to complete the church building on schedule.
If you have not had the opportunity to give toward this project, and you believe that the Lord would have you to do so, please contact me. We have a number of items that still need to be purchased. Those of you who receive our written prayer letter will be able to read about those this next week as the letter goes out. We are so very grateful for those who have already had a part.
In closing, I want to thank the Lord for these men and the privilege I have been given to work alongside them here in Southeast Asia. We have been blessed to know each other for decades and are not just co-laborers who tolerate each other for the sake of the ministry – We are friends! The example of unity set forth by the married couples on our team is powerful. This past week one of our national families was meeting with me and remarked of how thankful they are to see our team members loving each other and serving together with smiles. Please help pray that as we go into new territory in 2020 we will continue to have a walk with the Lord that will result in us having a flexible spirit and a servants heart!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
September 15, 2019
Recently our English choir sang the song “I Believe God” during our Sunday morning service. Here is a video of them practicing. We are thankful for all the hard work these young people invest into preparing their specials. They always strive to do their best for God’s glory even though English is not their first language.
Here is a short video update where we discuss four of our new Bible college students as well as give a brief update on the new building.
Thank you for praying for these recent high school graduates. They will begin Bible college this coming Tuesday. As you saw in the video, several of their parents do not yet know the Lord. Please pray that through their example we might see Srey Nak and BouKong’s parents saved.
We believe that it is the responsibility of the local church to help disciple believers to spiritual maturity. It is for that purpose that we started the Bible college. This term we anticipate offering the following classes: Principles of Biblical Counseling, Principles of Biblical Leadership, Homiletics, How to teach children the Bible, Minor Prophets, Survey of World History, Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and Angels – Satan – and Demons.
A lot of progress was made on the new property this past week despite having torrential downpours several days. It’s amazing how quickly things dry up under the blazing sun after the rain. Please continue to pray that this project will move forward in God’s timing and that He will continue to supply the needs that we have through His people.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
August 20, 2019
It was a great blessing for us to be with the folks in one of the village ministries this past weekend. About every five weeks Debbie and I leave very early Saturday morning and commute to one of our extension ministries, then return back to the city on Sunday afternoon. We were encouraged to have the opportunity to visit folks in their homes and spend time with them. Times like that are mutually beneficial and we are challenged as we see the grace of God at work in their lives.
It is always an encouragement to preach at this location. The majority of the members in this extension church have been saved out of Islam and have paid a price to be a real Christian. Brother San and his wife, Yom, are being used of God greatly to see folks saved and discipled in this village and surrounding villages. I preached on the blessings of contentment and the curse of covetousness. This country is quickly changing as it is more and more becoming modernized, and the allure of things temporal cry out for affection. It seems that materialism is becoming more of a stronghold here than in the past as opportunities are slowly opening up for the next generation to make money and obtain what they think will bring them happiness. Please pray that the believers will continue to place their affection on things above and not on things on the earth. (Colossians 3:1-2)
We were so happy to see Ly receive a new Bible on Sunday morning! He earned a free Bible through reading a study booklet on the Book of Mark and answering about 100 questions. As we reported in our last update, Ly accepted Christ this past month and his life has totally changed. His demeanor and spirit now is as different as night and day. This change can only be attributed to the power of the gospel! Please pray for Ly and his family to remain a faithful witness and bright light as they live in their Muslim village.
Please pray for these three young adult ladies. I am not at liberty to write much about their situation but will only tell you that they love the Lord and desire to serve Him faithfully. Despite living in very difficult circumstances, they continue to have soft hearts and are hopeful that their circumstances will one day change. Two of them greatly desire to study in the Bible college in order to prepare themselves to more effectively serve the Lord however He chooses to use them.
Sadly, for the time being, they are forced to be the primary breadwinners in their family. From their perspective it seems that they will be trapped in this scenario for years to come. As I sat in their front yard talking with their grandfather, I watched about two dozen of these trucks drive past me. Each truck, depending upon its size, was transporting between 25-40 young ladies back home after work. It was not a pleasant feeling to see SreyNite, Tina, and SreyMohm descending from the truck after working long hours in the factory. I tried to envision how I would feel if it were my own daughter or granddaughter jam-packed into a truck and transported in this manner 6 days a week over dusty and bumpy roads. Serving in this part of the world should definitely cause one to have a different perspective the next time they go into a shopping mall in the States or place an order online for clothing or some other goods that they want to purchase at the cheapest price possible. These godly young ladies work 6 days a week, a minimum of 10 hours per day, and bring home about the same amount of money that many in the West would spend on one meal with their family at a nice restaurant. It might be good to take some time and reflect on that uncomfortable reality… Imagine standing before them on Sunday and preaching on the subject of contentment vs. covetousness – and watching them thoughtfully nod their heads in agreement as they once again resolve, by God’s grace, to set their affection on things above and not on things on the earth. James 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He hath promised to them that love Him?
THE NEXT GENERATION
This past Sunday evening in Phnom Penh it was a great blessing for us to have our entire service run by the young people! Of course, the majority of the teens and young adults in our church come from unsaved families. Many of them are the only believers in their entire extended family. As they sang, shared testimonies, and preached, we remembered those who have have faithfully served here in the church and who have invested countless hours into these young lives over the past several years. A good percentage of the young people were reached with the gospel through our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. Such is the case with the three Bible college students pictured below.
Veasna, Noi, and Seyha were all reached through the love and tireless investment of some of our national leaders as they served in the Children’s Ministry 8 years ago.
Veasna led some of the congregational singing for us on Sunday evening. A couple of years ago his parents both came to Christ, in part, because of the change they saw take place in his life as he grew in his walk with the Lord. Veasna now oversees part of our Children’s Ministry in Phnom Penh as well as part of the outreach to Ondong village (about 40 minutes from our church in Phnom Penh) as he continues to plod his way through Bible college. Pray for Veasna to remain faithful!
Noi and his sister, SreyNak, were both saved as young children back in 2011-2012 as well. Noi shared a very powerful testimony of his vision to see many more children reached as we relocate to the new church property in a few months. I will never forget what he told the entire church as he stood before us, “I was so happy when I heard that we were purchasing land to build a new church. I didn’t even think about what it would be like to have our very own building. All I could think about was all of the children who are living in the villages surrounding our new land and of their need to know Jesus. I have a vision to see hundreds of children saved and discipled to follow Jesus because of our new building.” Wow! I look forward to seeing how God will use his life to see this vision come to fruition. Pray for Noi to remain faithful!
Seyha is a great blessing to so many of us. He was also reached as a young boy several years ago. As the only Christian in his family, I believe that he is doing his best to let his light shine. During the service he preached some great truths from Jeremiah 18 and challenged each of us to remain as flexible clay as the Potter continues to fashion us as He desires. Pray for Seyha to remain faithful!
I love Dany’s enthusiastic spirit and joyful countenance! During the service she shared how she had been exposed to Christianity, albeit a watered-down version, from a young age by some Korean missionaries who had started a children’s outreach in her village. She was taught Bible stories and morality and the more she learned, the more she desired to learn. However, she shared that though she lived with the missionary pastor’s family and served in their church for about 5 years, no one had ever told her of her need to be saved. It was not until she moved to Phnom Penh a couple of years ago that she came to understand that sitting inside of a church several times a week, and even living with a missionary family, does not make anyone a child of God. God used Bro. Man and the workers in the StungMeanChey outreach to help her see her need of a personal Saviour. Today Dany is a student in the Bible college and along with her younger sister, Theara, faithfully serves in the church in StungMeanChey / ChoeungEk. Pray for Dany to remain faithful!
Please pray for these young people to remain faithful to the Lord. Five of them are graduating from the 12th grade this month. (Srey Roth, in the pink skirt, took the national test last week and graduated from 9th grade.) Jason, Borey, BouKong, SreyLeak, and SreyNak are now entering into a new phase of their lives that can often be confusing. They have all been faithful as high school students and we anticipate them continuing to do so. Some of these young people come from unsaved families and will no doubt be pressured to go a direction in life that is not within God’s perfect will.
SreyTate has been attending the church for several weeks and her heart seems to be opening to the gospel. I remember meeting her in her home just about a week after we led her aunt to the Lord. At that time, while she was very polite to us, she was very confused about Jesus Christ. For several years she had been attending a cult here in Cambodia that taught her that Jesus Christ had been reincarnated and was living in Korea prior to his death. She was taught that while “Christ” died, his wife continued to lead the true “church” and she had to remain faithful to that “church” if she hoped to get to Heaven. Because she desired to know God, she got baptized and fully bought into the heresy they taught her. I’m so thankful for young adult ladies in our church like Makara, SreyNech, and Sokhey who have, on purpose, reached out to her and sought to make her feel welcome at the church while she is counting the cost of what it might mean if she were to become a Christian. It is so easy to be in the flesh and try and rush someone into being saved without them truly feeling the conviction that they need a Saviour. I believe that SreyTate will be saved soon. Please pray for the workers to have wisdom as they patiently and lovingly deal with her and while the Holy Spirit continues to convict her of her need to be saved. (John 16:8, 1 Corinthians 2:14)
NEW PROPERTY UPDATE
We are so encouraged to see the progress that is taking place at the new property. Lord willing, the concrete slab for our new auditorium will be poured within the next few days. It will be poured on top of the black material in the picture above. Once it is poured it will need to cure for almost a month before the support beams can be removed. During that time we will be able to begin erecting the auditorium walls. As a church, we will be taking up a special offering this coming Sunday in order to purchase the 100,000 bricks that will be required to complete the auditorium. I have no doubt that many of the folks will be giving sacrificially to do their part to see the church completed. We have encouraged each member to do whatever God is calling them to do and we have encouraged them to do it anonymously. However, for various reasons, some folks have chosen to give their offering a bit early. I wish I was at liberty to share specific stories about those who have already given as I know your heart would be blessed and challenged. Perhaps I will have the opportunity to do so one day in person. Without giving names or too many details, let me briefly share three examples of folks who have already given their offering.
A widow lady who has no income whatsoever and who lives on handouts from her adult children (who are also very poor) handed me a twenty dollar bill and told me that it was to help purchase bricks for the new building. She said that she wants other people to be able to know how to be saved and have a home in Heaven.
A single father, who barely makes enough money each day to purchase food for himself and his children, handed me the equivalent of about two weeks worth of his salary and with a huge smile on his face told me that it was his offering to help purchase bricks.
This past Sunday evening a relatively new believer came to seek some advice regarding her participation in an upcoming family event and how she can avoid doing anything that would harm her testimony for the Lord while at the same time showing kindness and attention to her Buddhist family members. After we spoke for awhile she opened her purse and pulled out her building offering envelope and handed it to me. She is a lady who sells peanuts and sweet potatoes from a basket mounted on the back of her bicycle and makes barely enough profit each day to purchase food for her family. I am confident that the amount of money in the envelope exceeded the amount of profit that she made this entire month.
What a blessing it is to see new believers joyfully and sacrificially giving what they have been given! As we have taught on the topic of Biblical stewardship, I have reminded our church that we need to give what we can give – God will be faithful to touch the hearts of other people to help make up the amount that is beyond our capacity. By God’s grace we will reach our financial goal this coming weekend. Whether we reach it or not, one thing is certain: many of our people will be storing up treasures in Heaven through their sacrificial offering to the Lord. (Matthew 6:19-21) Please pray for our people as we take up the offering this coming Sunday morning.
As you may know, our new land is located about 50 minutes from our present location. Of course much thought and prayer was put into our decision to purchase the land as we took into account the impact that it would have on those who live in our present neighborhood. It is at times like this in the life of a church family that faith is tested and priorities are sometimes revealed. While moving to the new location will open so many new doors for ministry, it will also present certain challenges and will necessitate some changes be made to the weekly church and ministry schedule in order to benefit those who will need to commute to the new location. It has been a great blessing to see how our church families have responded to the vision of moving to the new location. At the present time we have 14 families who are purchasing land in our new neighborhood.
Most of them are making plans to build a home directly across the street from our new building. Some of them do not yet have the capacity to build but are planning to do so as soon as they can. I am humbled to remember the response by one of our families who currently owns a home just about 5 minutes from our current location. The husband works from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, six days a week, and currently has a commute to work of about 7 minutes. When he expressed interest in selling his home, relocating to the edge of town and building a home directly in front of our new church, we reminded him that he should really think about his decision because his new commute to work would be just about 60 minutes one way. Without missing a beat he responded by saying, “God has changed our lives. I don’t know about any other members, but if I’m not willing to have a long commute so that my family can be close to the church, then I need to check my heart. I want my children to know that our church has top priority in our family.” What a great privilege and responsibility it is to serve alongside of families like this.
Please pray for the three families in the picture above as well as other families who will be relocating to our new location and building homes.
We look forward to showing you updated pictures and video of the property as soon as the slab is poured. Many of you received our prayer letter this past week either through email or a hard-copy via mail giving you an update on the outstanding financial needs for the building. We are grateful for those who have responded. As always, if there is any further clarification I can provide you, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason