April 17, 2011

April 17, 2011

Dear friends,

Thirty-six years ago today the Khmer Rouge troops marched into Phnom Penh and began their 4 year reign of terror. Nearly 2,000,000 people were murdered during the time that they ruled Cambodia. In many ways this country is still reaping the consequences of the war and devastation that took place during that time. It seems that there has been no genuine effort in this country to bring many of the Khmer Rouge leaders to justice. Much of the younger generation knows nearly nothing about the events that transpired during that time. Truly the only hope for this country, indeed for any country, is the Truth of the Gospel. Thank you for doing your part in praying for and supporting the cause of Christ in this part of the world.

This past week the Lord proved Himself faithful once again to protect our family. For no apparent reason the main electrical panel in our house failed. Rather than tripping the breaker, it melted into a heap of plastic. It was only by God’s grace that our son, Jeremy, happened to go downstairs just as it was starting on fire. Smoke was pouring out the windows to the extent that the neighbors came to immediately see what was going on. I was not home at the time but Joshua and Jeremy were able to get the fire out before it was able to spread farther. I am sure that your prayers are protecting us in ways that you may not even know.

This past week has been very difficult for most of our people. The country celebrated the Buddhist New Year this past week. It is a huge celebration that officially lasts for three days but in practical terms it lasted the entire week. Three of the days, in particular, are filled with evil ceremonies and all types of vice. For most of our people this past week was the first time that they had to openly stand against their culture. It was such a blessing to hear the testimony of how our people refused to compromise even though they endured much persecution and ridicule from their family. One of our young adult ladies, Kyna, shared how that her family openly mocked her because she dressed modestly when she returned to her village. (Before she was saved she used to have her hair dyed bright red and dressed quite provocatively) Her family told her that the “Christians” in the village all drink, gamble, and the women dress like loose women (their words not mine) and why does her church force her to be such a weirdo. It is true that the vast majority of those who claim to be believers in this country have no concept of separation from the world and it causes a lot of confusion. No doubt many of them have no concept of salvation. It gives opportunity for the world to mock Christianity. Though they mocked her she remained resolute in her decision to stand strong for the Lord. She told them that her church does not force her to act the way she is acting. She shared with them that God has changed her heart and given her a desire to honor Him with her life. When Kyna returned to Phnom Penh Saturday evening Debbie found her in the church auditorium weeping uncontrollably at the alter. She wept because of her strong burden to see her family saved. Please help pray that Kyna and other new believers will have the courage and strength to maintain a strong testimony for the Lord. They face things that most of us know nothing about.

This past week we gathered together with our church people and enjoyed a time of fellowship and games. It also provided an opportunity for us to reach out to several newer people who are not yet saved. Koon has been attending our services for the past two weeks. She is not yet saved but she appears to have interest in the things of the Lord. Her husband came to the fellowship with her this past week and seemed to enjoy himself. This week Brother Keo is planning to meet with him to begin to present the Gospel to him. Pray that Koon and her husband will come to know the Lord very soon. One of our faithful ladies, Teven, brought Koon to church. Teven was reached through door-to-door soul-winning by the people in our church.

I met Tola two weeks ago while I was going door-to-door. He is 16 years old and speaks very good English. I have visited him several times and he seems to be responding well to my advances. Last week I gave him some evangelistic materials and asked him to read them when he as the time. Within a couple of days he told me that he read all of the material twice. Tola and his friend, Phena, both attended our fellowship this past week and had a great time. The young men in our church have reached out to him and made him feel comfortable as well. I have an appointment to meet with him Monday afternoon to begin doing an evangelistic Bible study with him. One of our young men, Vannak, has asked if he can be a part of that meeting as well. Please pray that God will work in Tola’s heart as Vannak and I deal with him and that he will soon be saved. He has several siblings whom we intend to reach out to as well in the very near future. I have included Reasey’s picture as well. Reasey was saved several weeks ago. This morning he told me that he believes God wants him to cut his hair. It seems like this is a very important decision for him and might be a bit of a stronghold. Though it seems like something small compared to most of the decisions that our people have to make, for him it is a big one because it is something that he feels like God is leading him to do. Pray that he will have the courage to follow through.

Chantea visited our morning and evening service today. We did not lead her to the Lord but she professes to be saved. Teven brought her to church. We do not know much about her history but it appears as though she has been through a lot of persecution in the past by her family because of her faith. Last week I had occasion to visit her in her home briefly. We hope to see her continue to come to church and grow in the Lord. Today she wept as she told about how her family literally kicks her because she is a Christian. They call her crazy and useless. She said that sometimes she feels she can not endure standing for her faith any longer. We have encouraged her to come and get plugged into the ministries of the church. Pray that Chantea will stand strong for the Lord.

This week we are solidifying plans to start a children’s ministry. At this point we do not have any outreach to the neighborhood children. I announced two weeks ago that it was time for us to begin reaching the children in our area but that in order to do that we would need workers. I believe that my primary responsibility here is not just to lead nationals to Christ but to train them to be able to reach others as well. (Matthew 28:19-20, 2 Timothy 2:2) I told the church that God wanted some of them to be the ones to help head this new ministry. Today I had 4 of our young adults approach me and tell me that they want to be involved. I think there will be 2-3 others who will volunteer as well. Lord willing, this will give us 7-8 nationals whom we can train to start this ministry. Miss Eng, Miss Sok, the Keo family, and our family will also be involved. However, I am hoping that the majority of the “upfront” ministry such as song-leading, Sunday school teaching, and preaching will all be done by the nationals. I believe it will help our new Christians to grow spiritually as well. We are planning to begin this new ministry towards the end of May on Sundays after the morning service. Pray that we will have wisdom and protection in this endeavor. It is technically against the law to “proselytize” a minor in this country.

Because of God’s grace,

Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason

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