January 29, 2012
One of these days I am sure that things will slow down a bit but right now it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done that needs to be done. I am certain that life is busy where you are as well.
This past Monday we began holding official Bible Institute classes here at the church. Classes run for 4-5 hours on Monday. This past Monday we had 18 students. Today I had three more folks tell me that they intend to begin classes tomorrow. The three new students are all in their 40’s or early 50’s. Most of those studying in the Bible Institute are in their 20’s. At the present time half of the students are Khmer and half are Cham. Some of these folks are from our village ministry and travel a great distance to be able to study the Word of God. We are presently studying the books of Romans and Philippians. Please continue to pray that this new ministry will be used of God to produce more faithful believers who can help lead their own people.
Two weeks ago we made some major changes in the various ministries in Phnom Penh as well as the village ministries. These changes were necessary for the long-term benefit of the overall ministry. Our greatest need right now is to have more trained national leaders who can lead their own people. The ministries that God allows our church to start must not be led entirely by missionaries. It is our responsibility to train the nationals to lead their own people. Overall the changes have been fairly smooth but our attendance has taken a bit of a hit, especially our afternoon Children’s Ministry. We decided to move the Children’s Ministry from Sunday to Saturday. This has made it so that some of the children can no longer attend because they go to school on Saturday. So our children’s attendance has dropped from around 200 each weekend in Phnom Penh to around 130 on Saturday. We do feel confident that, in the long run, this change will enable us to be able to minister to even more people as we are able to broaden our base some.
Please pray for the believers who live in the Cham village. God has been blessing in supernatural ways and it is very evident that the enemy is not happy. Many have professed faith in Christ over the past month or so. Lord willing, we will be having a baptismal service in this Muslim village in the very near future. The adult, teen, and children believers are growing but with the spiritual and numerical growth comes more serious persecution. Just before our first week of Bible Institute classes, of which nine Cham believers are a part, the Devil began working overtime in an attempt to frustrate God’s work. Time does not permit me to give you all of the specifics but we ask that you would pray for our leaders in the village as well as for all of the believers there. The attendance for the mid-week service this past week in the village was around 120 or so. There were 95 folks who gathered together this afternoon in the village for Sunday services. There have been several adults accept Christ in recent days. As previously mentioned, we have 9 Cham believers who are studying in the Bible Institute. We know that God is greater than the principalities and powers who seek to bring confusion and cause fear. Please help pray a hedge of protection around the work among the Cham people.
Please pray for the salvation of Dara. Brother Keo is working with him and it seems like he is very close to accepting Christ as his personal Saviour. He has a very soft heart and appears very attentive during the preaching. He became interested in the Gospel due to the good testimony of his friend Tiwan, who was saved several months ago.
We are very encouraged in the spiritual growth of Brother Sinath and his wife, Sopheap. Sinath as been saved for just over a year now. This past Saturday evening several of our members gathered together to celebrate his daughter’s 16th birthday. SreyNik is a growing Christian and we are very pleased to see the stand that she is taking for the Lord. I had the opportunity to witness to Sopheap’s mother for awhile this past Saturday. I believe that God has softened her heart to the Gospel. I remember just a year ago when Sinath and Sopheap destroyed all of their idols and the occultic items that had been in their family for generations – Grandma went ballistic! She now admits that she has seen amazing changes in this family and it has caused her to want the same peace and contentment that they enjoy. Pray that Grandma will continue to be open to the Gospel and that she will be saved very soon.
As you know, life is a bit different here than it is in the States. However human nature tends to be the same no matter where you are. Every week I drive past this area on my way to and from Prak Pnouv village. The sign very clearly states that there is no dumping of trash allowed at this location. So what do people do? They dump trash! It seems that we all are in some strange way drawn to do that which we are not supposed to do. Each time I drive past this illegal “dump” I am reminded of the words penned in 1757 by Robert Robinson when he wrote the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing : O to grace how great a debtor, Daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love; Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.
I took these photos last week as we returned from Sinath’s village in Kandal province. We thought you might be interested in seeing what a small pick-up truck looks like loaded down with 35 people as well as bikes, rice, vegetables, Buddhist altars, and who knows what else… It is actually illegal to load this vehicle like this but they don’t pay much attention to the law since they know there will be a policeman at the edge of the city who will collect money in exchange for turning a blind eye.
Here is the link to a video we made this weekend. It includes a short interview with Sara Vong who recently visited us. It also includes Vong Socheat, 70 years old, quoting the entire first chapter of the book of James. http://vimeo.com/35832031
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason