January 27, 2019
We have had an awesome weekend and want to share a short update with you so that you might continue to pray intelligently regarding the work here in this part of the world.
There has been substantial progress made on the new property over the past week! These pictures were taken yesterday morning. As you can see from the picture, the wall is nearly completed. Very soon we hope to begin bringing in truckloads of dirt in order to raise the elevation of the property so as to prevent flooding during rainy season. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR PROGRESS TO MOVE AHEAD IN GOD’S TIMING. Likewise, if you discern that the Lord would have you to be a part in helping the building to go up, please contact me.
You can see the progress on the property by viewing this video.
You learned of Sinath’s situation from the video above…PLEASE PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO BEGIN HAVING A TIME OF REGULAR DISCIPLESHIP WITH HER VERY SOON!
This morning we were privileged to have Brother San and his family with us. San preached for our morning service and his message was timely and right on point. San and Yom oversee the work in PsaTricht village and the surrounding villages. They are a godly couple and valuable partners in the work of the Lord here in Cambodia. They are expecting another child in about three months. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAN AND YOM AS WELL AS FOR THE PORTION OF THE MINISTRY THAT THEY DIRECTLY OVERSEE.
It was a blessing to have Saam and Si in the service this morning. You may recall that they recently accepted Christ. It seems that the enemy is doing all that he can to try and discourage them from moving forward in their walk with the Lord. Last Tuesday they were unable to meet for discipleship because their grandson was hit by a moped as he was crossing the street in front of their house. They had to take him to the emergency room to have scans done on his head. Thankfully there did not appear to be a concussion or any serious damage to his head. He was released from the hospital a couple of days later and sent back home. Then as they were preparing to leave the house for our service this evening he somehow stumbled and fell, thereby hitting his head once again. Apparently the fall was substantial enough that they had to take him back to the emergency room. I am certain that these two events were not random – I believe that the devil is attempting to get them discouraged. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAAM AND SI TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD. LIKEWISE, PLEASE PRAY FOR THEIR ADULT DAUGHTER, SREY MAO, AND THEIR ADULT NIECE, SREY KOEUTH, TO BE SAVED. We are meeting with them as well and explaining the gospel to them. They are very confused due to the false doctrine that they have been taught by a popular Korean cult here in Cambodia.
It was a great blessing to be able to meet Ohm Thach this evening. She was saved just a month ago through the efforts of the folks in the StungMeanChey outreach and has been faithfully attending the services there. This evening she shared with me of the joy of her salvation and her gratitude to those who spent the time and took the effort to explain the gospel to her. Dany is a student in the Bible college and had a part in helping her to be saved. PLEASE PRAY FOR OHM THACH TO GROW IN THE LORD AND BEGIN TO HAVE GODLY INFLUENCE IN THE LIVES OF HER FAMILY MEMBERS THAT WILL RESULT IN THEM BEING SAVED AS WELL.
We were happy to have SeiYak in our married couples class this evening. She is Sopheap’s mother. I remember when Sopheap accepted Christ a little over seven years ago and how SeiYak’s anger caused her to curse Sopheap and her husband, Sinath. Over the past year or so her heart has softened as she sees their godly example in their marriage and family life. She is still not willing to turn from idols and ancestral worship. I believe she realizes that the rest of her children would turn on her if she were to be saved and she is not willing to face that rejection. PLEASE PRAY THAT SEIYAK WILL COME UNDER THE CONVICTION THAT SHE IS LOST AND UNABLE TO SOLVE HER SIN PROBLEM ON HER OWN, AND THAT SHE WILL TURN TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST FOR FORGIVENESS. Isaiah 45:21-22 …there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
We were happy to have Johnny and Reeda in the married couples class this evening. Johnny was saved last year as Bro. Vong and others spent time with him and helped him to see his need to be saved. His wife, Reeda, told me this evening that she had never stepped foot into a church before tonight. We are hoping to arrange a time very soon to go to dinner with them with the goal of helping to lead her to Christ. PLEASE PRAY THAT JOHNNY WILL BE A CONSISTENT AND GODLY TESTIMONY IN HIS HOME WHICH WILL RESULT IN REEDA’S HEART BEING SOFTENED TO THE GOSPEL.
This past week Bro. Vannak and those who have been going soul winning in CheoungEk village had the opportunity to meet grandpa Ny. He is one hundred years old this year! The amazing thing is that his eyesight is still great, as is his ability to reason and remember. He told our folks that he had never heard of Jesus Christ. He knew that he was a sinner but he had no idea that his sin was a serious problem that would result in him falling under the wrath of God for eternity in Hell. He listened intently to the gospel for quite awhile as Vannak and others opened the Word of God and taught him about how the world was created by God as a place that was without sin, but that one day man chose, by his own free will, to rebel against God. This rebellion brought about death. During our testimony time this evening in our married couples class, Vannak shared that Ny’s heart is very tender to the gospel and that he seems to be understanding and accepting what he is being taught. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SOUL WINNERS TO HAVE WISDOM TO ANSWER HIS QUESTIONS AND THAT AS THE HOLY SPIRIT ILLUMINATES HIS HEART HE WILL RESPOND TO THE LIGHT HE IS BEING SHOWN AND BE SAVED.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
January 15, 2019
It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to provide you with a brief update on just a few of the things that the Lord is allowing us to see accomplished here in Cambodia. Thank you for your faithful partnership in the gospel. We could not be here doing what God has called us to do without you being there and playing the role that God has called you to play in order to see the gospel come to places like Cambodia.
As you can see from these pictures, there is progress being made on the new property. Over the past two weeks the sewer lines have been installed, the electric has been brought into the property, a water well has been drilled, the foundation of the wall has been dug, and the wall has begun to be built. We are so grateful for the way that God has used His people to supply the needs up to this point. Not only has the land been paid for, in full, but there has been enough money to accomplish all the other things that have been done as well. Over the next couple of weeks we anticipate the wall being done. At that point we will be bringing in somewhere around 450-480 truckloads of dirt in order to raise the elevation of the land. If we don’t, we could easily be flooded out during the rainy season. Each truckload of dirt will be between $15-16.
You can see the progress on the property by viewing this video.
This past week we had a soul-winning conference at the church in Phnom Penh. It was a great blessing to have a few of our folks travel down from Romdeng village in northern Cambodia in order to participate in the conference. In addition to the folks in these pictures, there were three other young adult men who came as well. Please help us to pray that God will raise up a young married couple that will not just get saved, but who are qualified to be trained to eventually lead the outreach in Romdeng. Ideally it would be a couple who is from that part of the country and who are accustomed to living in that environment.
It was a blessing this past week to have the opportunity to lead Si and Saam to the Lord. For the past couple of years Saam has ridden her bike past our church in Phnom Penh as she sells potatoes up and down the streets of our neighborhood. Normally her face is covered by a mask to help keep out the dirt and so I had never actually seen her face. While Sinath and I met with her in her home and presented the gospel to her, she told us that she has been watching the people at the church and sees that they are all filled with joy. She has always desired to visit the church but she has been afraid that she would not be welcomed. Please pray that Si and Saam will grow in the Lord as we begin new believer discipleship with them every Tuesday afternoon. They live in a very crowded and noisy location that is not ideal for teaching, but it is important that we are willing to go to their home, sit on the floor with them, and patiently teach them the things that they need to know and do in order to live a Christian life that honors the Lord. Likewise, please pray for their 28 year old adult daughter who lives with them. I had the opportunity to meet her yesterday and hope to begin to reach out to her with the gospel.
Many of you might recall hearing of the young Muslim girl who got saved about 7 years ago as a result of the Children’s ministry in her village. When we were back stateside and visiting churches, I would often tell the story of how her strong testimony and unwillingness to compromise, even as a 9 year old girl, helped lead to her parents both being saved. She is now 16 years old and still faithful to the Lord! Tina is standing next to Debbie in the picture. Tina has been praying for many of her fellow classmates in her public school to be saved. She realizes that prayer alone is not enough – She needs to live the Christian life in front of them, and as they see the love of Christ and her consistent example, their hearts will be softened to the gospel. Because of the grace of God (the desire and the ability to joyfully obey Christ) Tina has a very good name in her school. That is why when the door was opened for her to clearly speak with her friends about their need for a personal Saviour, they were willing to listen to her. It has been a great blessing to see Theary and SreySrahs accept Jesus as their personal Saviour because of Tina’s example and boldness to live for the Lord at school! Please help pray for Theary and SreySrahs to grow in the Lord and for their parents to be saved. I am hoping to have the opportunity to meet Theary’s mother soon.
A couple of weeks ago I met Tina at the hardware store where he works. Since then we have been texting back and forth and have begun to build a relationship. Joshua and I had the opportunity to eat lunch with him in his home this past week. During the meal he told me that he is open to learning what it means to be a Christian. He was born into a belief system that offers him no hope of salvation, no forgiveness for sin, no relationship with a personal God, and no freedom from the power of darkness, and that teaches him to depend upon his own “good works” in hope that he will be reincarnated and have a more prosperous “next” life. We were stuck in traffic and arrived at his home 45 minutes late. His wife had to return back to the factory where she works just before we arrived as she only had an hour break. Please pray that Tina will seriously think about the things we taught him regarding his need for a personal Saviour. Also pray for the opportunity to meet his wife, Pe, and daughters Phoas and Peng.
Hout (on the right) and his entire family were saved a little over 3 years ago. His father, Tara, is a professor and has a great testimony where he teaches. One of his students, Tearak, recently accepted Christ and will be baptized soon. Tara teaches around 900 students and has opportunities on a daily basis to share the gospel as well as try and answer questions about the Bible and what it means to be a Christian. Tara’s burden for the lost has influenced Hout to have a burden for his own people as well. Hout is a first year student in our Bible college and is also involved in the outreach to Ondong village. Several months ago Hout began learning how to play several traditional Khmer instruments with the singular goal of using music as a way to spread the gospel among older folks who are normally not willing to listen to your typical soul-winner. A ministry like this has the potential to help open doors for the gospel to spread to places that are currently without any gospel witness whatsoever. I am sure that the enemy will work overtime to get him to follow after useless pursuits that will not result in the gospel going where it needs to go. Please pray that Hout will continue to be teachable and faithful to the vision that he believes God has given him.
We began a new term in the Bible college this past week. This term we are offering the following classes to our students: Child Development, 1 & 2 Peter, Acts, Cults 2, Discipling new believers, English, and Khmer grammar and writing. In the picture above, Brother Kosal is administering a diagnostic test to the students to try and assess their ability to effectively read and comprehend literature in their own language as well as write cohesive sentences and paragraphs regarding various topics that were discussed in class. I didn’t sit in on the class but from what I heard it was fairly difficult for most of them. Kosal recently resigned from teaching at one of the top English schools here in Phnom Penh in order to serve alongside of us full-time in the ministry. Thank God for Kosal and his wife, Phalley, and for their willingness to unreservedly surrender their lives to the cause of Christ among their own people. Please help pray for God to supply Kosal’s needs as he enters this new stage of his life in ministry.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
December 24, 2018
Greetings from hot Phnom Penh, Cambodia!
Below is a video that we shot this week at the land site we are developing. It will help you see the progress that has been made so far. As we move into January we hope to see a lot more progress made as we take care of all the things that have to be completed prior to pouring the foundation for the new church building.
Please continue to pray for wisdom and God’s provision for this project!
If you have not yet had the opportunity to help give to our church building project, and you would like to, please contact me for information. We are moving into the largest portion of the project and definitely need the help of friends and partners of the ministry here in Cambodia in order to see it come to fruition.
It was a great blessing to participate in Adrian and Bounmee’s wedding recently. Adrian has been faithfully serving here in Cambodia for the past several years and works very closely with the youth and TukTuk ministry. Bounmee was a part of our team in a “creative access” country and faithfully served there in several capacities. We are so thankful for this young couple and their godly example during their courtship. It’s a blessing to know that the young people who live in her country, and the young people here in Cambodia are being led by a couple who is not just talented, but who also has integrity. Please pray for Adrian and Bounmee as they adjust to married life.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
December 10, 2018
We had a wonderful service yesterday as we cast vision to the congregation regarding the purpose of the church. The spirit was great and the fellowship refreshing.
Here is a short video recap of the service.
The sewer lines are being put in this next week just ahead of when we plan to bring in several hundred truckloads of dirt in order to raise the elevation of the land. It is important to raise the elevation a couple of feet in order to prevent our land from flooding as the property around us is developed. We also anticipate building a cement wall all the way around the lot in order to prevent our land from being stolen little by little.
We have been encouraged by those who have already contacted us and indicated that they want to have a part in giving to this project. Our people here will be sacrificially giving but this project is well beyond their capacity to complete. Please prayerfully consider what part you can have in helping to see the new church building completed.
Please contact me for details regarding how you can send funds. Of course, if you are a member of one of our supporting churches, we encourage you to give through your local church. In the event that you are not a part of a church that partners with our ministry, we will let you know how you are able to give a tax-deductible gift. It may be that you are a business owner and you are looking for a worthy project to contribute to before the end of the year in order to reap tax benefits. We look forward to hearing from you soon. (email@example.com)
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
November 29, 2018
It has been a very busy week here in Phnom Penh but I wanted to send you a very short update regarding one of the new village outreaches that was started approximately two months ago in a village called ChoeungEk. It is located about 30 minutes from our Phnom Penh church. I shot the short video below while in ChoeungEk this past Sunday afternoon with some of the workers who are serving in this new ministry.
Eight years ago when the Lord led us to start the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry we cast a very specific vision for that ministry from the very beginning. The purpose of every one of our children’s ministries that are held every week in several different locations is threefold:
It was a great joy to be able to see SreyNak (on the left with the blue sweater) and Tina (on the right in the black sweater) serving the Lord by loving the children who are a part of the outreach in ChoeungEk! They were both reached through the children’s ministry as young children. SreyNak was reached through the outreach here in Phnom Penh and Tina was reached through the outreach in her Muslim village located about an hour and a half from Phnom Penh. As we see the young people in our church willing to invest their Sunday afternoons taking the gospel to those who are most in need, we are reminded that the future is bright and our capacity to continue reaching people and planting new churches is great! PLEASE PRAY FOR SREYNAK AND TINA, AS WELL AS THE REST OF OUR TEEN BELIEVERS, TO CONTINUE TO WALK WITH THE LORD.
SreyNeang is 14 years old and was reached with the gospel through the outreach in ChoeungEk. Her love for the Lord and the joy that is reflected on her countenance is infectious. She does not live an easy life. Sadly, her mother spends the majority of her time gambling. I have no idea what role, if any, her father plays in her life. Though she is only 14 years old, this past week her family forced her to get a job working at a factory 6 days a week in order to support the family – she will be the sole provider for her family. Unfortunately this is a scenario that is repeated over and over in the lives of many young people here in this part of the world even though it is not in compliance with the existing child labor laws that are meant to protect the young people. Despite the circumstances in which she lives, SreyNeang continues to have a desire to be a light for the Lord in her very dark neighborhood. PLEASE PRAY FOR SREYNEANG AND OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE IN OUR MINISTRY WHO ARE LIVING IN VERY DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES.
Brother Man and others have reached out to Chhay and his wife, SreyGe, with the gospel over the past several weeks. I had the opportunity to spend some time with him on Sunday afternoon and answer some of his questions as I shared the plan of salvation with him. It seems that his heart is very tender to the gospel right now. Man has done a great job in winning their hearts and showing them the love of Christ. Very soon Man is planning to take his wife, Kahna, to go and meet SreyGe and spend some time with her. PLEASE PRAY THAT CHHAY AND SREYGE WILL BE SAVED SOON. They live in ChoeungEk village and are surrounded by many people who would strongly object to them becoming a Christian.
These two teen young men and their sister seem to be very open to the gospel. They live in ChoeungEk and have had the opportunity to hear the gospel through Brother Man and those who are serving in that village. I had the privilege to meet them Sunday afternoon and it was very evident to me that Man had won their hearts! Because the cults and false religion is so very prevalent here, it often takes a lot of time and patience for the lost to see the difference between the gospel that we are striving to preach from the Word of God and the “social gospel” that is being peddled here by NGO groups and hirelings under the guise of Christianity. PLEASE PRAY THAT THE DOOR WILL REMAIN OPEN TO REACH OUT TO CHAN, CHEUN, AND HOEUN AND THAT THEY WILL BE SAVED.
We have written about the outreach in Romdeng Village on several occasions. It is a blessing to see what God is doing in the lives of those who have been saved. Each week a team of workers from Phnom Penh, StungMeanChey, or PsaTricht travel nearly 6 hours one way to reach Romdeng. Once they arrive there they disciple the new believers as well as seek to share the gospel with the lost. There is a good solid core of adults who have come to Christ and who are taking a strong stand for the Lord and we are blessed to see their burden for their lost family members and friends.
Recently a religious group of some kind has begun “courting” these folks and has offered to build them a church building if they will leave the Baptist church and become a part of their denomination. As ridiculous as this sounds – it is not at all uncommon for groups to try and pull this type of stunt here. In some cases they are simply unscrupulous opportunists who see groups of people such as our new believers in Romdeng as an opportunity for them to raise money from abroad while claiming that they are planting churches here in this part of the world. Sadly, many well-meaning people in the west naively fall prey to this type of scheme while believing they are somehow helping to support national pastors. In other cases I have known of this type of offer to be made by “missionaries” or denominational workers who don’t know the language, culture, or how to effectively present the gospel in a Theravada Buddhist or Islamic setting, and who are likely not qualified to serve in this part of the world, but who feel the pressure, for whatever reason, to appear as though they are planting churches.
I believe that the new believers in Romdeng are becoming well-grounded in the Word of God and are able to see through the deceit of this type of offer. They have witnessed first-hand the love and sacrifice of those who travel to their village week in and week out for many months at great financial cost in order to bring them the gospel. They have experienced the joy of their salvation and the spiritual freedom from the demonic power that previously controlled every aspect of their lives. I don’t believe that they will follow the voice of a stranger but I also believe that the devil would like to frustrate the work there and he is the instigator of this scheme. No doubt the Lord will use this circumstance as an opportunity to test the validity of their faith. PLEASE PRAY THAT THE BELIEVERS IN ROMDENG WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE TRUTH AND IN A VERY DEFINITE WAY REJECT THE GROUP THAT IS SEEKING TO DRAW THEM AWAY FROM THE TRUTH.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
November 19, 2018
We are thrilled to report to you that our bid for this land was approved and this property will become ours on November 26th. Our church here in Cambodia gave toward this significant purchase but the land could not have been secured without the generous gifts of God’s people abroad. We are so thankful for those who helped give so that we would have the ability to buy this land. By God’s grace, we have completed phase one [the purchase of the lot of land], and within the next few weeks hope to begin phase two [the elevation of our land to prevent flooding, and the building of a cement wall around the circumference of the property which will provide some security]. Please watch the short video below in order to see the land as well as get an update on our progress.
We are so blessed to have the privilege to serve alongside so many nationals who have been saved here at Pacific Baptist Church and discipled in the Word of God. Many of the folks in this picture have paid a high price, not for being a Christian, but for being a Christian who is faithful to the Word of God.
This past week we had our second planning meeting with those who are serving in ministry full-time. I am so thankful for their spirit and the unity that we enjoy. Please help us pray that there will be a hedge of protection placed around these folks and their families as we enter into our building program. I know that the enemy will look for opportunities to cause strife and division.
So many of our national men faithfully serve the Lord. These three men and their wives have given their entire life to help reach their own people here in Cambodia. Man, (blue shirt on the left), oversees the outreach in Stung MeanChey and is doing a wonderful job training the new believers there. This term he taught The Major Prophets class in the Bible College. Vannak, (in the middle), oversees the outreach in Ondong village and also helps preach at all of our various village outreaches. This term he taught Romans as well as 1 & 2 Peter in the Bible College. Kosal, (on the right), recently began going to Udong village and is going soul-winning with some of our folks from Stung MeanChey as well as some of the folks who are a part of the outreach in PsaTricht village. It is our goal to see a village church planted in Udong in 2020. Lord willing, Kosal will be teaching Khmer grammar and composition in the Bible College beginning in January 2019. Humanly speaking, these men as well as others are the key to helping us train the next generation of young believers here in Cambodia. With more than 8,000 villages that are without any real gospel witness the need is great and the laborers are few. If over the next five years we could double the number of villages where we have preaching points or where we have villages churches planted, we would still be way behind! One of the primary reasons for us relocating to our own property is so that we will be able to more effectively train national men from our outlying village ministries without the concern that we won’t be able to any longer afford the rising rental prices or even face eviction from unbelieving landlords. Please help us pray that our new location will become a mighty tool that will help us effectively win men to Christ and see them trained for the ministry.
One effective way that we disciple the new believers here is through our Bible College and Bible Institute. It is always a blessing to see the young people (and a couple who aren’t so young) growing in their knowledge of the Word of God. Each of these folks are involved in our village outreaches and are blessed to gain a lot of practical ministry experience. Please help us pray that the college will continue to be used to help ground national believers and that because of the things they are learning as well as the experience they are gaining many new villages will be reached with the gospel.
We are so blessed to have a number of married couples in Phnom Penh who desire to learn more about how to have a Christian family. Each Sunday after a time of testimonies and singing I teach principles relating to the home. This past Sunday evening we dealt with the importance of having the father and mother unified in the disciplining of the children – a concept that is virtually unheard of in today’s culture here in our part of the world.
Miss Grace devotes many hours each week to trying to reach the deaf with the gospel as well as disciple those who have been saved. Due to some of their work hours I think it is difficult for some of the deaf to make it to our regular church services and their lack of involvement in the “mainstream” of the church life has stunted their spiritual growth. God has given Grace the patience and wisdom to help them but I know that it is a real challenge. Please continue to pray for the deaf ministry here at Pacific Baptist.
We are presently going through the process of renewing our church permit. We hit a few bumps in the road but I believe they have been ironed out. The paperwork has passed through each level of government starting with our local village chief and going all the way up to the national level. The paperwork is now on the desk of the folks who will issue the final documents in order to renew our permit for two more years. Please pray that everything will run smoothly and we can get this process behind us within the next couple of weeks.
Please pray for the following three adults in Phnom Penh with whom we are presently working to be saved: Meng Ny, Srey Leak, and MaYou.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
September 20, 2018
Things have been very busy here in Cambodia for the past several weeks and we have not taken the time to post any updates here on this blog. Of course, those of you who follow us on social media receive updates several times a week.
We started a new term in the Bible College this past week. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to invest in the lives of these young people. We believe that many of them will be used mightily here in this part of the world to see folks saved and new churches planted. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT THE STUDENTS WHO ARE PART OF PACIFIC BAPTIST BIBLE COLLEGE WILL BE FAITHFUL.
It was a great opportunity this past week for us to meet together with several of the couples who are serving together with us in the ministry. We were missing two of our key couples who were not able to make it for this meeting. We thank God for each one of these folks and the valuable contribution that they make to the work of the Lord here in Cambodia! PLEASE PRAY THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE UNITY THAT HAS ENABLED US TO MOVE FORWARD OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS.
This past week we had the opportunity to shoot videos with three of our national leaders. We believe as this ministry is fine-tuned and developed it will be an effective tool to take the gospel to places where we may not be able to go. It will also be an effective way to disciple new believers in villages that are well beyond our capacity to plant churches in within the foreseeable future. Bro. Vong is greatly gifted in dealing with the technical aspects of this ministry and we thank God for the gifts that have been given. If it were all up to me we would be in trouble! PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO DEVELOP THE MEDIA MINISTRY TO BECOME AN EFFECTIVE SOUL-WINNING AND DISCIPLESHIP TOOL.
As we stopped and posed with these children this past Sunday evening we were reminded that their time at church each week is likely the happiest time of the week for each of them. All of these children come from very challenging backgrounds. Thank you for helping them to have the opportunity to hear the gospel! PLEASE PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN OF BOEUNG SALANG TO BE SAVED. There are so many useless and destructive voices calling out for their attention and it is getting increasingly more difficult to reach them.
PLEASE PRAY FOR SEIYAK TO BE SAVED. Her daughter, Sopheap (on the left), and family were saved here at Pacific Baptist Church about 8 years ago and are faithful members. SeiYak lives in a village a couple of hours from the church but visited our midweek service. Many of us have spent hours with her in the past trying to help her see her need to be saved. As of right now she understands the gospel and her need for a personal Saviour. However, she is not yet willing to trust Jesus Christ as her Saviour because she knows that it will ostracize her from the rest of her children.
As we wrote about in our last update (https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2018/08/26/august-26-2018/) we are in the middle of a building program for the church in PsaTricht village. The national believers have sacrificially given in order to have a church building. Brother San, the national man who is leading that outreach, has done an amazing job in teaching and leading the folks to give of their Time, Talents, and Treasures in order to see this project go forward. So far there has not been any money from overseas raised for this building and we thank God for that! Our folks in Phnom Penh have also contributed through giving offerings as well as manual labor. I wanted to share one short testimony of one of the widow ladies in our church who sacrificially gave last week to help build the church building in PsaTricht.
We needed to raise the money for 24 pillars. The folks in PsaTricht were to give money to purchase 12 and we committed to purchase 12 here in Phnom Penh as well. Two weeks ago during the morning service in Phnom Penh I asked folks to raise their hand if they were willing to purchase one of the pillars. Each pillar is approximately $30. Debbie and I raised our hands first in order to set an example and committed to purchase two pillars. After that we had enough folks raise their hands that we had raised the amount we needed to raise in order to reach the commitment we had made to Brother San and our church family in PsaTricht. I gave the folks two weeks in order to place their commitments in the offering.
This past week one of the widow ladies came to our house four times in one day in order to get a chance to talk to me. On the fourth time she finally caught me. As we were exchanging small talk she handed me the $20 bill that you see in the picture. I asked her what it was for and she told me, “I want to have a part in helping build the building in PsaTricht.” She told me, “I didn’t have $30 to purchase a whole pillar and I didn’t dare raise my hand in front of everyone.” You should have seen the huge smile and look of joy on her countenance as she handed me the money! Here’s the amazing thing – She is without a doubt one of the poorest members of our church. I literally have no idea where she would have obtained $20 in order to give. For the past week my heart has been heavy every time I think about her love for the Lord and her desire to honor Him by giving what she can. I suspect that the blessing she received by giving from her poverty was much greater than the joy most of us receive when we give from our abundance.
We are presently (even as I write this update) in negotiations with a land owner to purchase this plot of land. A lot of time and effort by several of our men has gone into trying to locate a piece of land that will facilitate our current ministries as well as allow us to be able to grow. The rental prices here in the city are getting way out of control especially since the national elections. As we try and look toward the future, it is very evident that we are being squeezed out of the rental market and will likely face a significant problem when our current lease expires. Additionally, once our lease expires it will be very difficult to find a new landlord who is willing to allow a ministry of our size and scope to operate out of his property. We thank God for our current landlord who is a high ranking government official and who is a decent man. He has on several occasions helped to shelter us from certain situations that have taken place.
We think, by God’s grace, and with the help of some of our friends we will be able to afford to purchase this plot of land (.39 acres). It is located about 50 minutes from our current location which poses some significant challenges but also would strategically place us closer to many, many villages that are without even one gospel preaching church. I won’t go into detail here in this post but I anticipate updating many of you through our written prayer letter within in the next couple of months or so – after we have successfully obtained this land (or not)… Either way, relocation is something that we have all determined must take place. Our team and national folks will be sacrificially giving in order to see this land become our own. Once we own the land it will take a small miracle for us to be able to afford to build, as most of our resources and the resources of our national folks will be exhausted by the purchase of the land. PLEASE BEGIN PRAYING THAT GOD’S PERFECT WILL MAY BE EVIDENT AND THAT THE MONEY NECESSARY TO BUILD MIGHT BE PROVIDED THROUGH WHATEVER CHANNELS HE CHOOSES.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
August 26, 2018
We had a wonderful weekend of ministry here in Cambodia. Very early Saturday morning Debbie and I traveled to one of the village ministries to serve for the weekend. We normally go to this particular village one weekend a month.
This past December we lost the property that we were renting for the church because the owner wanted to sell it. Since then we have been meeting in a chicken coop. It is not ideal but it helps keep most of the rain and blazing sun off of the folks while they are at church.
We are always encouraged when we have the opportunity to be with the believers who are a part of this village outreach. Many of them have been saved out of Islam and have paid, and are paying, a high price because of their faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our hearts were touched Sunday morning as we saw this little girl work her way through the congregation from where her parents were sitting in order to get a hug from her grandmother! I clearly remember the time when her parents were scared to tell Grandma that they had become Christians because they knew that she would be very angry. Now she is a joyful Christian who is living for the Lord and praying for her husband to be saved! Thank God for the power of the gospel.
Several weeks ago we began building a church building on some property just outside of the Muslim village. Most of the project thus far has been funded by the national believers. We are taking it step by step. It is an amazing thing to see the men, women, and even young children each doing their part and laboring in the hot sun in order to have a building where the church can meet. Please help pray for this building project as it is very labor intensive. Everything is being done by hand without the benefit of many of the modern means we might use in the first world.
Here is a short video update I shot in the village this morning. In the video you can see the folks working on the foundation of the building – bucket by bucket. You will notice Binya, who photo-bombed our video 🙂 He is a joyful young man, and who knows, maybe he will become the pastor of this village church one day…
This evening we had a wonderful service in Phnom Penh. It was our last summer Family Night for the year. We were all encouraged through the fellowship, testimonies, singing, and the preaching of the Word of God by one of our national men. This was Jason’s first time to lead the singing for our Sunday night service. He did a great job!
We are blessed by these four young adults who will begin studying in the Bible college in September. Each of them were saved through the soul-winning efforts of our church folks. All four of them are faithfully serving in our various village outreaches, soul-winning, and children’s ministries. I recently met with one of them as they sought counsel regarding their future. My heart was broken as I heard of the stand they are taking for the Lord and the ridicule and pressure they are facing from their unsaved family. I don’t know very many young people (from saved or unsaved families) in America who would joyfully sit in front of their pastor and with tears streaming down their face say that they don’t believe God desires for them to accept the full scholarship they have been offered to study in secular university because they believe He is calling them to attend Bible college so that they can more effectively reach their own people with the gospel. Indeed, our responsibility before God to young people like her is great. We believe that it is the responsibility of the local church to disciple new believers and so it is a responsibility that we gladly bear. We ask you to continue to pray for our team as well as for the students who are being discipled through Pacific Baptist Bible College.
In closing, we are drawing closer to the time when we need to make some decisions regarding whether the Lord would have us to begin a Christian school in order to assist the parents in our ministries in the training of their children. This is a heavy burden on the hearts of many of the young couples who have been saved here at Pacific Baptist Church of Cambodia. There are so many factors involved in making this decision. Please help us pray for the following specific requests that pertain to starting a school:
1) For a qualified national from our church to be called by God to help lead the school
2) Continued desire on the part of the parents to see their young children protected from the evil influences that permeate many of the schools
3) Proper facilities for our Phnom Penh church that will not only accommodate the congregation for public services but will also allow us to start a Christian school that will be licensed and legal to operate in this country
We are presently in the process of looking for land and praying for God’s direction. Whether or not we start a school, we are going to need to make a move in just over a year or so that is well beyond our own capacity to make. Rental prices are going through the roof and we are going to be in trouble when our lease is up this next year. Likewise, land prices are ridiculously high and not within our reach in the city. We are currently looking at some locations on the outskirts of Phnom Penh that would perhaps be a bit more affordable but will still require God’s provision.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
August 12, 2018
We had an awesome Celebration Service this morning with around 350 of our folks in attendance. I’m always amazed to see how many people willingly devote so much time into making the service run smoothly. We thank God for the host of national folks who love the Lord and joyfully do their part to make it happen for God’s glory!
Please click on the video below to watch an interview I did with a pastor from the States as well as to hear a sample of some of the singing from this morning’s service!
It was a joy for us to see more than 20 folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism this morning. For some of these new believers it will be the beginning of persecution by family members and others who hate them for their decision to become a Christian. Please pray for the new believers to remain strong in the Lord.
It’s a great blessing to report to you that Narun trusted Christ this past week! He is a product of the outreach in Ondong village. His wife, Sokum, was saved a couple of months ago and was baptized this morning. Lord willing, Narun will follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism next month. Pray for Narun and Sokhom to grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ly is the husband and father of several of our members. He attended the service this morning but is not yet saved. Several of us have dealt with him for extended periods of time to answer his questions and I believe that he is clear on his need for a personal Saviour and is counting the cost of becoming a Christian. Please pray that Ly will be saved soon.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
July 23, 2018
Here is a video interview we did this morning with Brother Mike West. In this video he is sharing some insight on what he has witnessed while visiting us here on the mission field.
We had great services at each of the locations this weekend but we especially enjoyed our Family Night last night here at church. It was wonderful to see everyone enjoying the events that were planned as well as listening intently as the Word of God was preached.
Lakhena recently accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour. Yesterday morning we presented her with a new Bible during the morning service because she completed the 100 question booklet from the Gospel of Mark. Pray that Lakhena will get grounded in the Word of God and get planted in the life of the church.
Srey Nith also received a new Bible after completing the questions on the Book of Mark. She is friends with a couple of the girls in the picture and they were instrumental in helping to bring her to the Lord. Sadly, this week her family is moving her to a village that is far from here and she will no longer have the opportunity to be a part of our church. She has such a sweet spirit as a new Christian and we hope and pray that she will continue to walk with the Lord. It’s a story that’s repeated too often here in Cambodia: young people get saved and then a short time later their parents force them to move away. Most of the time we never see them again. We can only hope that there will one day be a solid church planted in their village.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
July 15, 2018
Here is a video we shot yesterday morning while out making some visits on some of our members. Please help pray regarding the things I discuss in the video.
We had wonderful services this morning here in Phnom Penh. It was a blessing to have two unsaved visitors in our midst. One of them, a teen young lady, accepted Christ as her Saviour this afternoon while at one of the church member’s homes. The other visitor is a young man who has been affiliated with Catholicism for several years and is a little confused about the authority of the Bible and the necessity to trust Jesus alone for salvation. Today was his second week in a row to visit. He is the student of a university professor, Tara, who is a part of our church. The young man respects the testimony that Tara has at the university and is therefore wanting to know more about what has changed Tara from a superstitious, materialistic, and conceited man to a humble, patient, and loving Christian man. Pray for Tara and his family as they continue to witness to the young man and to many others within their sphere of influence.
It was a blessing for us to present Nita with a new Bible this morning. Nita studies English at the local high school with NeyNey. In fact, they have been friends for awhile. NeyNey has been witnessing to her and a couple of weeks ago she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. She immediately desired to have a Bible and so she began diligently working to complete a Bible study booklet based upon the Book of Mark. She answered approximately 100 questions and earned her new Bible! From the time that she got saved until the time she completed answering the questions was about two weeks! Pray for NeyNey and Nita as they both strive to be a shining light for the Lord at their high school.
It was a great blessing to walk around and observe the young people running our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry today. Each of these young people were saved here at the church and are devoting their lives to help make a difference in the lives of others. Pov, the young man in the purple shirt, is helping to prepare some snacks for the children to take home after their class is over. Jason is preaching for the teen service.
Setian has been diligently learning how to play the guitar and plays for the teen service nearly every week. NeyNey, in the middle, is teaching the children ages 4-7. SreyNak is writing out the Scripture verse for the children ages 8-11 to memorize.
It is our privilege this week to host Bro. LeLeaux and Bro. West as they are here visiting us from the States. These two men have been a great blessing and encouragement to our home church over the past several years and we are thrilled that they have come to see firsthand some of the things that God is doing here in Cambodia.
Grandma Thul was saved several years ago but is housebound due to poor health. If I remember correctly she has only had the opportunity to be at church perhaps once over the past three years. She lives in a second floor apartment and is unable to safely navigate the stairs anymore. Debbie and I had the chance to visit with her yesterday and encourage her in the Lord. She loves to listen to preaching on the mp3 player that she is borrowing from the church.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit and fellowship with Grandma Pana for about an hour or so. She was saved out of Islam and the occult. Since she has been saved it is a very rare thing to see her without a huge smile on her face. She showed me her Bible and spoke of her love for the Word of God. Though she has only been saved a few short years, her Bible is well worn. It is evident that she uses it quite often. She told me, “If I go for one day without reading my Bible, I don’t feel right in my heart. I must read it everyday or I feel like there is something missing in my day.” No wonder she has such a great smile on her face and joy in her heart!
These three older men were all saved through the ministry here. Before salvation, Ta Ai was drunk 24 hours a day and had lived as a drunkard for decades. Now he is sober and in his right mind. He’s in church nearly every time the doors are open. SeangHi heard the gospel from missionaries before the fall of Cambodia back in 1975 but was never truly saved until recently. It has been a blessing to see that he began tithing several months ago.
Ta Sokrut taught Khmer Literature for 40 years at the university level. He is a highly educated and cultured man. For years he sought to know who God was, but he would be continually disappointed as he only found man-made religions that promoted idol worship and a structure of hierarchy that promoted man. Two years ago he was saved as the workers who are a part of the outreach in StungMeanChey met him and patiently explained the gospel to him. For the past two years he has faithfully attended church, participated in door-to-door soul-winning, and become a real student of the Word of God.
Several days ago he became ill and is now bedridden and drifting in and out of consciousness. It is very likely that he will be going to Heaven soon. We had the opportunity to be with him for awhile yesterday morning, as well as speak with his adult children. His children are not saved and, in fact, have persecuted him because of his faith in Jesus Christ. However, yesterday they were forced to admit that their father truly believes in Jesus Christ and has a solid testimony that the Lord has changed his life. We don’t know what the future holds but we know that Sokrut loves the Lord and is burdened for his children to be saved. Please pray that Sokrut will be healed if it is God’s will and that his children will come to know the Lord through this situation.
So much of the ministry here in Cambodia would come to an abrupt halt tomorrow if there were not single young ladies who loved the Lord and were willing to invest in His work! SreyNich and Nisa (left hand side) spent several hours making a fried dessert for the entire church on Saturday evening. They are both involved in numerous ministries here at the church that touch the lives of others and it’s a blessing to see them investing their single years in things that will reap eternal rewards.
Miss Grace, Michelle, and Susanna are a huge blessing. As single-lady missionaries they do on a regular basis some things that many men I know might not be willing to do. They are all three great examples to the national young people of purity and godliness and we thank God for them! If you’re looking for someone to bless this Christmas they would be a great choice!
The outreach to Ondong Village, located about 40 minutes from our Phnom Penh location, continues to go forward. Twice each week a team of workers travels there to disciple the new believers, go soul-winning, hold children’s services, and hold services for the adults.
This past Tuesday evening we had a fellowship with several of the adults who have been saved and who desire to grow in the Lord. We met in the food court of a shopping mall. After having dinner together I challenged them from the Word of God with some daily habits that they need to firmly establish in their lives if they are going to grow to be the Christian that God has called them to be. Bro. Vannak heads up the Ondong outreach and he is doing a wonderful job. It is a blessing to serve alongside a national man who is burdened to see the gospel reach his people. Please help pray for Vannak and his wife, Samantha, to continue to have wisdom, strength, God-given vision, and a happy marriage as they serve the Lord.
Leak and Pisey were both reached with the gospel through the outreach in Ondong. We have all grown to love them and desire to see them make it for the Lord. They are going through a huge trial right now as Leak has a type of blood cancer. They are in and out of the hospital on a regular basis and each time it totally drains them of all their finances. Several of us have helped and continue to help with their medical bills in order to try and get him the help that he needs. This picture was taken Tuesday evening at the fellowship – Wednesday morning he was admitted into the emergency room and, even as I write this update, is near the point of death. Yesterday Vannak and I went to the hospital to encourage Pisey. Our hearts truly go out to her and all of the other families who have loved ones in the emergency room. Pisey has literally slept on the sidewalk every night outside of the room where her husband is laying. She told us that the mosquitoes are so bad at night that none of them can sleep. Of course we told her that she is very welcome to come stay at the church or in our apartment with our family but she let us know that if she leaves for even a short time there is no one to take care of her husband as he requires several things to be done for him constantly. (In this part of the world there are not enough medical personnel in most hospitals to take care of non- medically related tasks such as feeding and things related to caring for regular bodily functions.) Words definitely can’t describe the spirit that we felt as we stood in the emergency room next to Leak’s bed. He is in a room with approximately 20 other patients and their families. There is such a look of hopelessness on the faces of patients and family alike. Privacy is non-existent. We fully expect that Leak will pass away any moment now. Please pray for Pisey to remain strong in the Lord as she will likely soon become a single mother to three children.
We wanted to at least show you Sokhom’s picture. I will not take time in this update to share her testimony. Lord willing, we can do that at a later time. Sokhom was saved through the outreach in Ondong. Prior to her salvation she was drunk most of the time and not a real nice person to be around. She now has the joy of the Lord in her heart and has not touched alcohol since being saved! No doubt the change that has taken place in her life is seen by everyone in the village. Please pray for her husband, Naruth, to be saved.
SreyGe accepted Christ when she was a young teenager attending our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. However, due to pressure from her unsaved family members, she began working on Sunday and got out of church and away from regular fellowship with God’s people. As we would all be prone to do, she began living a life that was not honoring to the Lord and she married a non-believer. Ever since that time her life has been very difficult. Last year she moved to Ondong Village. Once Bro. Vannak and the workers began going to her village a few months ago, she began responding to the Holy Spirit’s working in her life and has returned to once again seek to live a life that is honoring to the Lord. Pray for SreyGe as she submits to the Lord and allows her light to shine in her very dark village. Nat is her husband and ChanNy is her mother. Neither one of them are saved but they both joined in the meeting on Tuesday evening. Pray for Nat and ChanNy to be saved. Nat clearly understands the gospel but he is allowing his love for sin and his desire for popularity with his “friends” to keep him from coming to God.
Ya is a lady who, humanly speaking, might have cause to frown. However, she is filled with the joy of the Lord! She was saved out of Islam and has undergone a lot of persecution but she continues to allow the joy of the Lord to be her strength. After the preaching a couple of weeks ago she came up to me laughing and said, “Pastor, you preached for an hour and fifteen minutes but it seemed like only a few minutes!” She has the same hunger and love for the Word of God that so many of our people have. They don’t come to church hoping that the preaching will be “short and sweet” so that they can get to the restaurant and eat lunch or get home to watch the ball game… Their example is a rebuke to much of the lukewarm “Christianity” that sadly seems to be prevalent in so many churches in the west. What a pleasure it is for our family and our team to serve alongside folks such as Ya!
Samnang came to know Christ through the outreach in StungMeanChey. He is a young man who has a pretty difficult life but who, since getting saved, almost always has a huge smile on his face. Last night he texted me at 9:30 p.m. to ask for the link to a video our church made several years ago entitled “A Letter from Hell.” It is a tool that we often use when seeking to share the gospel with someone who has a hard heart. It is also a great wake-up call to Christians who are ashamed of the gospel. I asked him what he was doing at 9:30 p.m. and he told me that he was at his friends house witnessing to them! He then asked me to pray that his friends, Dara and Vutha, would be saved. Samnang is a faithful young man and we expect God to use him greatly to reach his own people as he grows in the Lord. Pray for Samnang to remain faithful.
It has been a great pleasure for us to have Sareth and Vorn visiting here from Long Beach for the past 4 months. They are in the process of making arrangements to return here permanently after the first of the year. We had them over to our home for dinner this past week and while they were here I pulled out old prayer letters that we had written back in 1992 when we first met them in Long Beach. You remember 1992 — back when all we had was a dot matrix printer… They were both happy to see several letters that we wrote back in the 90’s asking for folks to pray that they would be saved. Then once the Lord allowed us to lead them to Christ we continued to write of them on a regular basis as we introduced their family members who needed to be saved or who had just accepted Christ. Sareth and Vorn both love the Lord and expressed to me very clearly their intent to return here and work alongside of our team and the nationals as we win folks to the Lord, make disciples, and plant churches here in this needy part of the world. It will be a great joy to once again serve alongside of this great couple! Pray for Sareth and Vorn to be able to tie up all their loose ends in Long Beach and make a smooth transition back here to Cambodia.
It was a great joy for our family to spend a day together with some of the team at a hotel outside of town. We have been blessed with some awesome co-laborers whom we consider to be family. Pray for us to have wisdom as we lead the team and continue to forge into new territory for the glory of God and His fame among the people of this land.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
June 25, 2018
We had a packed house this past Sunday morning here in Phnom Penh! The spirit was great and the congregation paid great attention as the Word of God was preached. I preached on the topic of our victory in Christ over the devil. Thank God for the power of the gospel that not only softens hard hearts and saves souls but also protects from the evil one who has reigned as the god of this part of the world for thousands of years.
This summer we have decided to have “family nights” one Sunday evening a month. In addition to having a normal time of testimonies, singing, and the preaching of the Word of God, we also have a time of fellowship through competition. Afterwards we all enjoy snacks together. It was a wonderful blessing to hear various testimonies from the folks of how God is working in their lives.
This past week we took 13 of our Bible College students on a week long missions trip to the Thai border. You can get a glimpse of what the trip was like by watching the three videos below as well as reading the short summaries. We are so thankful for the students’ burden to see their country reached with the gospel. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT THE BIBLE COLLEGE STUDENTS WILL REMAIN OPEN AND TENDER TO THE CALL OF GOD IN REGARD TO THEIR FUTURE SERVICE FOR HIM.
The purpose of this trip was to expose our Bible college students to many villages that are without any gospel witness. They were able to see many villages with hundreds of families, but that have no gospel preaching church. In this picture the students are praying on top of a famous shrine that the gospel will go forth throughout their country with great power.
It was our privilege to be able to spend some time with these three men who are serving in Cambodia not far from the Thai border. Brother Michi, on the left, is the fruit of Baptist missionaries who went to Japan 50 years ago and reached his father and father-in-law with the gospel. After our students interviewed him, we challenged them to realize that their faithfulness to the Lord and to the gospel will result in others serving the Lord many years from now.
The two gentlemen on the right are both national pastors who were reached with the gospel by missionaries here in Cambodia several years ago. Our students were greatly challenged by their testimonies and their example. We look forward to perhaps doing some future ministry with these men.
Our students were also challenged by the example of Jennifer, a single lady missionary serving here in Cambodia all alone. She does her best to reach ladies and children but I know that it is very difficult for her at times. After arriving on the field several years ago, she met another single Filipina who now works alongside of her. Jennifer’s family was reached a number of years ago by a Baptist missionary family who brought the gospel to their small island in the Philippines. Again, our students were challenged to have a long-term vision of how God wants to use them to win souls and make disciples, realizing that their faithfulness now will result in many being saved in years to come.
For two days of the trip our college students were privileged to help run the Children’s ministry outreaches alongside of Jennifer. It was great to see our young people showing love and compassion to some of the poorest children in this country.
The young ladies led in singing and games then the young men preached to the children. I know that it was a blessing for the children in these remote villages to have the opportunity to meet Christian Cambodian young adults. I’m confident that the vast majority of them had never met a Cambodian adult who was a Christian. We are thankful for Jennifer’s willingness to allow our students the opportunity to serve.
One of the highlights for our students was the opportunity to cross over into Thailand and meet Cambodian nationals who live and work on the Thai side of the border. One afternoon Debbie and I crossed the border along with Michelle, one of the single lady missionaries from our home church who is serving on the team. We had the opportunity to hand out many gospel tracts to the Cambodians living in the shacks pictured above. I believe that we only met perhaps one or two folks who had ever even heard the name of Jesus Christ. We were quickly spotted by these young Cambodian boys. From the point they met us until we crossed back over into Cambodia they followed us around wherever we went. It was evident that they were starved for attention. Their families make barely enough money to survive. A couple of the boys were fairly transparent with us about their living conditions and some of the fears they face on a daily basis as non-documented aliens residing in Thailand. I believe that our college students were greatly impacted by seeing their own people living in a foreign land and especially by the fact that they have no access to the gospel.
I had the opportunity to meet these two men while we were visiting an ancient Buddhist temple and shrine. The man on the left had evidently heard the gospel 40 years ago through French speaking missionaries here in Cambodia. However, he is very confused about the Bible and his need for a personal Saviour. The monk on the right patiently listened as I shared the gospel with him. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was really thinking about the things I was telling him. Sadly we were only in that area for a brief time and were unable to do more than give a cursory explanation of the gospel and of our inability to merit eternal life. As I departed from him I placed my hand on his shoulder and he immediately reached out to hold my arm as we took a picture together.
This morning in our Christian Family class in the Bible college I taught about the importance of physical touch within the family. We discussed how that many times when we are presenting the gospel here we will place our hand on the lost person’s shoulder or arm as a gesture of affection. I then showed the students this picture – when they saw this monk actually responding to my touch, it moved some of them to tears. I suppose that they had not imagined that a monk has real emotions just like everyone else, and though he is steeped in religious ritual, at the end of the day he is without Christ and without hope.
While on the trip we were able to teach the students about many things. One of the things they learned was how that the national religion of Buddhism in this country is actually a fusion of Buddhism, Hinduism, as well as animism (spiritism) and the occult. These two pictures represent some of the superstitious beliefs that are not actually part of the Buddhist religion, but that are widely accepted here. The picture on the left depicts their belief that all those who commit serious sins will one day go to hell where they will have to give answer to the “King of Hell.” After that, they will be tortured for the sins they have committed. Of course, this belief is a perversion of the truth – the Bible clearly teaches us that those who die and go to hell will face the eternal wrath of God and not the anger of the devil. The picture on the right is of a shrine that is greatly revered. It is believed by many who live in that area that the spirit of a woman who died many years ago indwells this shrine and provides protection for those who are willing to sacrifice to her. I spoke with a man at the shrine who is firmly convinced that this shrine has supernatural powers and that, in fact, those powers healed his sick child after he made the required sacrifices.
While visiting the border and speaking with many folks who live in remote villages, we were reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 which says, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ Who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
Thank you for praying for the walls of darkness to be torn down and for the power of the gospel to go forth as we strive to make the gospel known in some of the darkest places on this planet.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie