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!
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.
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.
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?
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)
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
July 23, 2019
Please watch the video below for a great aerial view of our new property. The video was shot from a drone by a friend of ours who was visiting us from Iowa. Thanks Jonathan for the footage!
This past Sunday many of our folks traveled to a park located very close to our new land where we enjoyed having our morning service as well as lunch afterwards. It was such a blessing to hear the singing, testimonies, and the Word of God preached!
During the service we had the opportunity to hear Ly share a testimony of how he came to know Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. Many of us have shared the gospel with Ly over the past two years but he has always been afraid to get saved. We praise the Lord that he accepted the Lord about two weeks ago! Ly’s adult children and his wife have all been saved and faithfully attending church for some time now and it was through the testimony of his son’s changed life that Ly finally came to see his need to be saved. Ly has already been shunned by those in his village and has been told that he is no longer welcome to participate in any social events due to his decision to become a Christian. Please pray for Ly and his family to be be a bright and shining light for the Lord in their very dark and hopeless village. I have been told that several villagers are watching the example of the believers and are beginning to ask serious questions about why those who follow Christ tend to live in peace and experience great joy. Pray that the believer’s daily example will result in a great harvest of souls.
SreyGe was saved through our Phnom Penh Children’s ministry when she was just a young teenager. For a couple of years she was faithful and involved in the outreach ministries of the church. Sadly, at the insistence of her parents, she made the decision to marry a nonbeliever and her life over the past four years or so has not been an easy one. For some time she moved to a village quite far from Phnom Penh but this past month she returned to live in Ondong Village located about 40 minutes from our church. Brother Vannak and some others have been working with her and encouraging her to return to a life of fellowship with the Lord. We were so happy to see SreyGe and her husband, Nat, in the service this past Sunday morning. Please pray that SreyGe will be faithful to the Lord and that her husband will see his need of salvation and be saved.
When our morning service was over many of us met over at the new property for a time of prayer and rejoicing at the progress that has been made on the new property. It was such a blessing to join hand-in-hand and ask God’s blessing upon the new building. Please join us in praying that we will be able to complete the building with no further hindrances. We are still in need of the funds to complete the auditorium. If you would like to have a part in helping to see this project completed, please contact me for further information. We are so thankful for those of you who have already helped!
This past week our friends from Iowa helped us to move 10,000 bricks by hand! It was a great blessing to see their zeal for the Lord. They were a great example to the unsaved contractors who were standing around watching them work so hard!
The Lord has already provided the funds for the foundation, the ground level slab, the pillars, and the second level slab to be poured. Lord willing, we will be taking up a special offering to purchase bricks in about three weeks. We estimate that we will need about 100,000 bricks in order to complete the current phase of our building project. It is our hope and prayer that the national believers will be able to give the entire amount needed to purchase the bricks. So many of our people live from day-to-day and literally have no disposable income, but we believe that they are planning to give sacrificially to the Lord in order to see their church building completed. Please help us pray that God will supernaturally provide money to our people so that they might be able to joyfully give in the offering.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
May 27, 2019
It was a blessing to be able to participate in the outreach in Preah Vithear Province this past week. We are so thankful for our friend (pictured in the top left) who purchased this piece of property as well as built this building in order to provide a permanent location where we can meet in this village. Watch the video located below to see a brief tour of the building and property as well as see the faces of some of the folks who have been saved through this outreach.
The commute to this particular village takes five hours one way. Thankfully the roads are pretty good, at least for the time being. Each week five of our folks travel there to go soul-winning, disciple new believers, hold a church service, and share a meal with the new believers. I’m so thankful to see the commitment of our national believers from Boeung Salang, StungMeanChey, and PsaTricht who joyfully share in the responsibility of reaching this part of Cambodia with the gospel.
In this particular outreach we have seen Khmer, Vietnamese, and Kouy folks saved and baptized. Please pray that God will raise up a younger couple who is called and qualified to be trained to become the key leaders in this village.
We had a wonderful time together as between sixty and seventy of our folks joined together this past Saturday for a time of soul-winning that we call “Highways and Hedges.” Highways and Hedges soul-winning is when we go to a village where we have no existing contacts and simply go door-to-door, seeking to share the gospel with all who are willing to listen. Of course many folks are not willing to listen to a presentation of the gospel but they are willing to at least take a gospel tract. It was a blessing to later hear reports from our folks of contacts they had made and to see their burden for the lost in the four villages that we attempted to cover. Debbie and I have a prospect we met and whom we are hoping will be open to meeting with us again in the near future. Please pray that we will have the opportunity to meet Savorn once again and that her heart will be open to the gospel. She is a single mother and has an eight year old son.
This past week the steel security gates were installed on the new property. We had hoped to have them up about a month ago. However, the contractor seemed to operate on a little different time frame than we did! 🙂 Please continue to pray for this project to move ahead as we hope to break ground very soon. Please contact me if you would like to have a part in helping this building get completed.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
May 19, 2019
There has been so much going on here in Cambodia over the past month or so. We are so thankful for the grace of God and the direction of the Holy Spirit as we, as a ministry, have faced new trials. So many of our folks have been tested by serious sickness complete with fevers peaking over 105 degrees. While our family was not hit with the fevers, we did experience an unrelated medical issue this past week that was quite frightening and resulted in about 7 hours of medical tests at our local hospital.
Some of the young people in our Phnom Penh church are working through the painful emotions and the spiritual hurt that has come to them as this past month one of our former leaders made the decision to leave God’s will, as revealed in His Word, and pursue their own plans for their life. It is always sad to see people allow their heart to lead them rather than the Word of God. But it is particularly troubling when it brings confusion to the lives of young believers. I’m thankful for the grace of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit that has sustained those who have been hurt. The situation that we have experienced is a great reminder that God desires that we have a genuine walk with Him and not merely serve in ministry.
Our building plans at the new property are moving ahead, albeit not as rapidly as we had anticipated. Things in this part of the world tend to move a bit slower than in the west – at least when you attempt to do things legally. The issue that we are currently facing is finding a contractor that we can afford who is competent to build the type of building we need as well as allow us to do as much of the manual labor as we are capable of doing in order to save as much money as possible. Lord willing we will have this nailed down very soon. Please pray for Brother Vong as he diligently strives to make this happen. We are so thankful for those who have felt led to help us with our building! We have raised approximately 70% of the funds needed to build two stories. If you would like to have a part in helping to provide for the amount that we still need please contact me.
This past Sunday morning and evening we honored our mothers. It was such a blessing to hear several of the young people publicly read the poems that they wrote to honor their mothers. One of the young ladies, Srey Nak, presented the plan of salvation in one of the stanzas of her poem. We were all touched to hear her tearfully and unashamedly plead with her mother to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour. Please pray for Srey Nak’s mother to be saved.
It was a particular blessing to hear Borey read the poem that she wrote to honor her mother. Her mother, Channy, came to know the Lord several years ago through the consistent love and appeal of one of the soul winners here at the church. After she was saved I remember Channy sharing a testimony of how she used to curse and yell at the soul winners when they attempted to share the gospel with her. One day she actually asked them why they continue to go to her house even though she treats them so badly. They told her that they keep sharing the gospel with her because God loves her and desires for her to be saved. It was their love for her that the Holy Spirit used to help soften her heart to receive the gospel. Over five years ago Channy died from liver failure and today is with the Lord. It was touching for me to sit on the platform behind Borey as she read her poem, and look past her to the picture of her mother on the wall. The picture includes the faces of six of our former members who today are in Heaven. The picture is a great reminder to our church that we are to remain “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” because we know that our “labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Here is a video of the English choir practicing the song “Nail it to the Cross.” I love the truth of this song.
Sunday evening in our Married Couples small group it was a blessing to hear Ming Thach share some of her salvation testimony. She shared how that forty years ago, with her hands bound behind her back, while standing in the execution line of the Khmer Rouge, she pleaded with God to save her from impending death. She admitted that she had no idea Who the true God was. She knew in her heart that the things she had been worshiping were not truly God. They were gods that had eyes but could not see. They had ears but were incapable of hearing her cry out for help in her time of need. God did save her from the executioner’s axe that day, and for the next forty years she desired to know the God Who had created her – but she had no idea where to find Him. What a blessing it is to remember that it is God Who seeks out the lost and places within them the desire to know Him. He is faithful to create circumstances that lead the unsaved to a place where they are willing and ready to accept the gospel as is it brought to them by Christians who are obedient to Christ’s command to take the gospel to the lost. One day several months ago she sat in her home all alone. In despair she held a handful of pills and contemplated how she could get up the courage to take her own life. She was tired of the day-in day-out struggle just to survive. Her religion had provided her with no real answers and she wanted to end it all with the hope that she could maybe be reincarnated and start all over again – perhaps her next life would be better than her present life. As she sat all alone several of our folks from the outreach in StungMeanChey knocked on her door as they were going door-to-door with the gospel. After meeting with her on several occasions she came to understand that Jesus Christ was not only her Creator but He also had sustained her throughout her life making it possible for her to live long enough to hear the gospel. She came to believe that His death, burial, and resurrection had provided the only way to pay for her sin debt and place her in right standing with God. With great joy she shared how that she no longer desires to end her life but now desires to live for the Lord Jesus Christ! Thank the Lord for the power of the gospel to save anyone who is willing to “turn to God from idols” and “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We love seeing the young adults and teens in our church serve the Lord by reaching out to the children in our neighborhood with love and with the gospel. Seyha, the young man pictured above, was reached as a young person through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and today leads the teen class of our children’s ministry here in Phnom Penh. Please continue to pray for our young leaders to remain faithful to love their own people and to patiently work with the children in our neighborhood as they strive to help them understand and accept the gospel.
This past week we enjoyed a special time of fellowship with some of the married couples who are part of the church. Their joy and love for the Lord was evident as we spent the evening together.
One special aspect of our time together was when each couple stood up front and expressed their gratitude to each other and to the Lord for the marriage that they are enjoying. What a joy it was to remember that though most of our folks have very few material possessions, yet they possess the joy of the Lord and constantly look to Him as their Sustainer and the Source of their joy.
This past Tuesday evening we enjoyed a time fellowship with some of the singles in our church. Debbie and I rarely have the opportunity to be with them outside of our regular church services and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing them have a great time together. The majority of these young adults come from families that do not know the Lord. They are often pressured by family members to abandon their faith in Jesus Christ or at least live a life that is less committed to a walk of obedience. Please continue to pray for these young adults and others to continue to have a close walk with the Lord and to shine as lights in the darkness.
This past week Michelle marked her three-year anniversary of serving the Lord here in Cambodia. We have had the privilege to be a part of her life for many years and it’s been a great joy to see how she has joyfully yielded to God’s call upon her life. The impact of her investment into the lives of the young girls in our church will only be revealed in eternity. Recently these four young ladies began attending church, in part, due to the love and acceptance that they have felt as they have come to know Michelle. Please continue to pray that Michelle will remain faithful to the Lord and find her satisfaction in Christ alone.
We are trying, on purpose, to meet the families who live in and near the village where we plan to relocate this next year. It was great to get to spend some time with Sinath recently and to hear her once again express her joy that there will soon be a church near her house. She came to know the Lord a few years ago while being incarcerated for a crime that she committed. However, when she returned home a few months ago there was no one to help disciple her. She told us that she has been praying that there would be a church in her village. We are looking forward to getting to know her better as Debbie and I plan to soon begin discipling her in the Word of God. Please pray for Sinath’s spiritual growth. Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to meet several other folks who live not too far from our new land. Please pray for us to have wisdom as we seek to forge relationships with these folks that will result in them being saved: Sophal, Narun, Rithy, Chamran, Sothea, and SreySrahs.
We are so thankful for the generosity of a godly older Cambodian lady from Long Beach, California who purchased land in Preah Vithear Province and then built a simple building that provides an adequate place for our folks who are a part of that village outreach to meet for church services. For the past many months we have been meeting in the home of one of the believers, and the people are so grateful now for the Lord’s provision of a proper building that is more centrally located to their homes. Most of the new believers who are a part of this outreach are under heavy financial debt due to unwise decisions they made prior to being saved. Sadly, most of the families who live in this particular village, whether saved or unsaved, are facing eventual eviction and loss of their personal land and possessions as their debt has risen to a place that they can no longer manage to even pay the interest on the loans they took out several years ago in order to try and simply survive. It’s troubling to learn how many of them have been deceived by loan sharks who demand exorbitant interest rates. Imagine spending nearly your entire income just to pay interest payments month after month and at the end of two years owing the exact same amount that you borrowed. Humanly speaking there is no hope in sight for most of them. Pray for our leaders as we try and do what we can to help one particular family find a solution to some of the financial bondage they are facing. Poverty in this part of the world is a definite reality and we need wisdom in order to discern how we can be a blessing without becoming a spiritual stumbling block.
This past week I met with some of the men to discuss the timing for the start of our Christian School. It would seem that many of them are burdened in regard to their responsibility to train their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” They have come to the conviction, on their own, that they can not continue to allow their young children to be exposed to the many influences that are found in the public school system. In several of the villages where our folks live, drug abuse and immorality is rampant even among junior high young people. In their mind, it is no longer simply a matter of combating the lies of evolution and idol worship that is blatantly forced upon the young people. In fact, the young people have been sustained by the grace of God and most of them are standing for the Lord, and just like the three Hebrew children have refused to bow to idols. They believe it is now a matter of physical safety as many of the youth, even in the most remote parts of this country, are falling to drug addiction and other related vices. We are not in a position to begin an actual school but we are taking steps to begin a “learning center” that will serve, Lord willing, as a precursor to a future school. Please pray for our leadership team and the men of our church as we seek to know the Lord’s will and timing regarding our future school.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
April 26, 2019
We wanted to give you a quick update to let you know that permission has been granted by government officials in order to begin building our new church building. Things move a little slower here in this part of the world but we know that everything is moving forward in God’s perfect timing.
Please continue to uphold the ministry in prayer. Over the years we have experienced different times when it seems that resistance from the enemy is especially strong. There are other times when ministry seems to fall into a bit of a rut. During those times there are no significant difficulties whatsoever. It’s fairly evident that the enemy is not happy with the direction of our church and the new open doors that it seems like God is opening to our ministry. I believe that he realizes that his kingdom of darkness is being invaded from different directions by the glorious light of the gospel and he does not intend to sit idly by while it takes place.
Pray for all of us who are serving here in Southeast Asia to have a genuine walk with the Lord. In order to frustrate the work of God the enemy will often attack those who are on the front lines but who are spiritually unstable. When God’s people try to do God’s work without a true walk with Him, and with an independent spirit in the power of the flesh, it is just a matter of time before problems surface. Sadly, the consequences are often widespread and affect the lives of many. Every single one of us are in danger of drifting from God’s perfect will. It is so easy to erect idols within our own hearts and minds that can remain hidden but that will eventually be seen by all unless we, on purpose, repent and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our life. Please pray a special hedge of protection about the workers and leaders who are actively and joyfully serving the Lord alongside us.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason