November 27, 2010
We wanted to give you a quick update in regard to the starting of the new church in Phnom Penh. Tomorrow will be our third Sunday. We feel like things have been progressing at a good pace. We are beginning with Sunday morning and Sunday evening services as well as a Wednesday evening service. We have also begun a Saturday morning soul-winning/ visitation program. Additionally, we teach a new believers class every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evening at 6:00 and again at 7:00. Normally we are done by 9:30. We will continue these classes as long as it is necessary.
Many of you have likely heard about the tragedy that happened here in Phnom Penh this past week where several hundred young Cambodians were killed in a stampede. This has shaken the whole country and driven many of them to offer regular sacrifices in order to “scare off the ghosts” that they believe are haunting the city. None of our people were hurt although one of our young men was near the bridge when the stampede happened and he saw many people being pushed into the river and drowned. Today while out visiting met a man whose responsibility it was to transport 80 of the corpses back to their village for the funerals. He is so traumatized that he has not eaten food for several days. This tragedy has made it even more difficult for our new believers to stand for Christ as there is a lot of pressure put on them to participate in offering sacrifices to the spirits to avoid bringing another catastrophe. Please pray for the new believers as they try to live lives that are honoring to Christ. Here is a picture of 300 monks that gathered at the scene to perform various rituals that are believed to ward off the spirits.
We are excited to tell you that Sinath accepted Christ two weeks ago. He immediately went home and began to destroy his Buddhist altars and other icons that he used to protect his home from demons. Pray that he will continue to be sensitive to the Lord. He is one of the men I am teaching every evening. Pray for his wife, Sophiep, who is still not saved. Included in this photo is Oudom (14 years old) who accepted Christ this past week. Please pray that his family will not prevent him from participating in the various events of the church.
During the Wednesday evening service this week Vandy shared with the congregation that she had just destroyed her Buddhist altars because she wants to be faithful to God. Her unsaved family members are not happy with her and likely think she is being brain-washed at the church. Please pray that she will have courage to continue to take a stand for the Lord in her own family. Navy is not yet saved but is attending services seeking to learn more about what Christians believe. Pray that she will be saved soon.
Please pray for our next door neighbor, Sokha. She is not saved yet but has expressed interest in knowing more about salvation. Please pray that Sokha will be saved very soon. Her daughter, SokLynn, claims to be saved and has attended some other type of church in the past. Please pray that she will continue to come and that she will come to understand why we don’t do some of the things that other “churches” do such as speak in tongues, roll around the aisles, dance with rock music during the services, etc… She is pretty confused right now to say the least.
We were amazed this past Sunday to have 12 Muslims show up to the church. (There are approximately 600,000 Muslims in Cambodia and we are told that there are less than 50 who have converted to Christianity.) They traveled two hours from their village just to find out what we are teaching here. LyJah’s 21 year old son lives here in Phnom Penh and has been studying with us. Recently he began witnessing to her and the family. LyJah’s husband just passed away a month ago. He was supposedly a very powerful Muslim witchdoctor and has followers all over Cambodia who would travel for hours to have him perform various rituals on them or to cast spells. The whole family is scared because he is supposedly coming back and haunting them and threatening them not to follow the “foreign” religion of Christianity. The son realizes that the spirit is not his father but rather a demon. After the morning service was over we held a special two hour meeting just for them where I taught from Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazarus. I stressed the fact their deceased loved one is definitely interested in seeing his family come to know God. In fact, that is the thing he wants most. We will need wisdom to know how to best deal with this group. They appear to be open to listening to the Gospel. It is obviously not practical for them to continue to travel two hours to Phnom Penh to come to church so we will plan to go to them. For security reasons we can not hold Bible studies in their village as it is controlled by Islam. Therefore we have secured a meeting place about 10 minutes outside of their village where we will be able to hold services. Please pray that they will remain open to the Gospel and that we will have clear direction from the Lord in regard to this outreach.
Today I met Mat Meas (53 years old) while we were out soul-winning. He is from Vietnam originally but he speaks Khmer as well. He has agreed to allow me to go to his home beginning this Monday to begin an evangelistic Bible study. Please pray that he will open his heart to receive the teaching and that he will soon accept Christ.
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason