December 3, 2012
Thank you for praying for our family as we have been traveling. It has been wonderful to be able to see many of you over the past four months. We very much look forward to returning to Cambodia and jumping right into the work once again.
It was a blessing to be able to return to Des Moines, Iowa, and be with some folks we helped to reach 28 years ago. Mrs. Horm Chet and her family began riding our Sunday School bus back in 1984 when we first began working with Cambodian refugees. As a new arrival to the United States she did not know how to get around the city and our bus workers invested many hours in her family. It was a blessing to see her, and other Cambodians whom the Lord allowed us to impact years ago, in the congregation still faithfully attending church for the past many years.
Missionary Sara Vong made a survey trip to Cambodia this past year. He brought back just a small handful of Jasmine rice still in the husk. His father, Sareth, planted just three grains of rice and the result was a rice plant that produced nearly 1000 grains of rice. This illustration from nature is a powerful reminder of what we should expect to happen as we plant the seed of the Word of God. (Luke 8:11) There will always be some hearts that are soft and able to receive the seed. It is not our responsibility to determine who has a soft heart and whose heart is hard. Our task as believers is to spread the seed of God’s Word wherever we can with the belief that it will not return void. (Isaiah 55:11) Brother Vong and his wife, Neaty, are Cambodian-Americans who were reached through our home church in California. They have invested many years of faithful service in the States and now God is opening the door for them to win souls and plant churches in Cambodia. They both grew up in Khmer- speaking homes and are versatile in the culture and language. They will be a great asset to the cause of Christ in Southeast Asia. Please help pray that they will complete their deputation in a timely fashion. If you would like to learn more about their ministry you can view their deputation video at this link: http://thevongfamily.com/2012/09/02/video-presentation
One of the ways that we plant the seed of the gospel in Cambodia is through handing out gospel tracts. In the past two years our church in Phnom Penh has handed out nearly 25,000 tracts. This past week I completed writing three new tracts that we will get printed in January. We are grateful for a special gift given to us by Fellowship Baptist Church in Iowa. It will allow us to print 15,000 of these new tracts. Very seldom do we see people come to Christ through just reading a tract in Cambodia. Because of the culture of Buddhism, Islam, and a general confusion in regard to Jesus Christ that is brought about, in part, by the cults and the new evangelicals in Cambodia, it normally requires that the soul-winner invest many hours in each person that will eventually be saved. These three tracts are by no means exhaustive in their explanation of the gospel message but we will use them as a bridge to discuss Jesus with the lost. The first tract, One Minute After You Die, is based upon the Rich Man and Lazarus. The second tract, You Don’t Fear the Thorns but You Fear the Tiger, is loosely based upon a Cambodian folk story from many years ago. This tract challenges the reader to face their fear of death and the afterlife. The third tract, The True Path from Ancient Times, is based upon Scriptures from the Old Testament that were written many hundreds of years prior to the birth of Buddha. Very often we are asked this question, “How can Jesus be God and why should we worship Him since He was born after Buddha was born?” Buddha was born in approximately the year 563 B.C. (although there is some question as to the veracity of that date.)
In addition to writing the tracts, while traveling in the States for the past 4 months I have been able to complete writing some new believer discipleship materials in the Khmer language as well as curriculum for our Bible Institute class on 1 & 2 Peter. When in Cambodia it is often very difficult to find the time (as well as hold still long enough) to write the materials that are so vital to equipping the new believers. Not only will we use these materials in Phnom Penh but they will be used by the nationals as the ministry continues to spread to other villages.
Last year we were contacted by a Creation Science Evangelism ministry and asked to translate one of their video presentations into Khmer for use in the United States as well as around the world. This past week I was able to finally complete that project and get it sent off to the ministry. Evolution has been taught in Cambodia for many years. It is widely accepted that the earth is billions of years old and that life originated with a Big Bang. It is also believed that dinosaurs became extinct millions of years ago and that man did not “evolve” until after they had become extinct. It is interesting to point out that even the Cambodian culture itself shows the fallacy of such a foolish belief. The temples of Angkor were built beginning in the year 1125 A.D. and were erected to celebrate the synchronization of Buddhism and Hinduism. TaProhm, one of the temples near Angkor Wat, very clearly has a carving of a Stegosaurus. This is clear evidence that at the time that the temples were built there were still dinosaurs in Cambodia. In the future we would like to develop more written materials in the Khmer language countering the false religion of Evolution. Please pray that this project will be used to cause Cambodian university students to doubt what they are being taught in regard to the origin of life and that it will ultimately be used by God to draw the lost to Him. If you would like to view the English version of the seminar that we translated you may do so at the following link. The link will take you to our Vimeo site. The seminar is about two hours long and deals with the age of the earth. https://vimeo.com/54781463
Gambling is a common site in Cambodia. Very seldom will young people even play a game of volleyball unless they place a wage. This picture of young children playing cards reminds us of the sad fact that many children in Southeast Asia have their innocence taken from them at a very young age. Yesterday I read a review on various churches in the country of Cambodia and those who performed the survey indicated that 2/3 of all churches in Cambodia do not have any type of outreach to children whatsoever. This is a sad and shocking statistic especially in light of the fact that 33% of the population is under the age of 15 years old. We are told that 54% of the population of Cambodia is under the age of 20 years old. From day one our church in Phnom Penh has had a vision to reach the children of Cambodia with the gospel. It is expensive, labor intensive, and often frustrating but it is something that is close to the heart of God. Matthew 19:14 “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” The goal is not to stop with the children, but to see the whole family come to Christ. We have seen a number of adults saved over the past two years as a direct result of the testimony of the children in the church.
Dary and Darian live across the street from our new church. They have been attending the Phnom Penh church for around six months. They have both been very faithful and their lives have been changed to the extent that their parents took note. In addition to Dary and Darian’s testimony at home, the parents have also been watching all of us as we have come and gone over the past several months. We are happy to report that Dary and Darian’s parents have recently been saved and are faithfully attending the church! Their mother, Rathana, remarked to one of the workers that she was very impressed with how some of our young people went out of their way to help her carry something heavy just weeks after we moved into our new building. She could not believe that someone from a Christian church would help her out even though she was a Buddhist and had shown no interest in even visiting the church. Please pray that this young family would be faithful to the Lord and that as they grow in their new faith they will become bold soul-winners.
As I have had opportunity over the past four months to report on the work among the Khmer and Cham people of Cambodia, I have shared that one of the goals for the ministry in 2013 is to begin a ministry reaching out to the Vietnamese who reside in Cambodia. Several months ago we identified two specific areas not far from Phnom Penh that had a sizeable Vietnamese population and began making some effort to meet people in one of those areas. Brother Bounna Has emailed me recently and told me that the two young Vietnamese ladies at the front of this photo were recently saved and that there are others who seem interested. He said that the teens and children seem very receptive to our workers and to the gospel. Please pray for a middle-aged Vietnamese man named Long who may be close to accepting Christ. The Vietnamese are a hated minority group in Cambodia and it is apparent that many who name the name of Christ in Cambodia have little, if any, interest in seeing them saved. We strongly believe that due to the ethnic make-up of our church (mixture of Khmer as well as many Cham) we are well suited to not only reach the Vietnamese with the gospel but to see them integrated into the Cambodian church as well. Please help us to pray toward that end.
Please continue to pray for the following villages where we presently have, at a minimum, organized weekly/twice-weekly meetings: Phnom Penh – Bung Salang, Stung Mein Jay, Prey Baang, Doonsi T’maw, Ongloung Knout, Prak Pnou, Tha Scoe.
Here is the link to a short video interview that I did with Missionary Chantha Chhim just before we left for furlough when he visited us in Phnom Penh with a group from the States. (I forgot to post it in September.) Chantha got saved and grew up at our home church in California. The Chhim family are now missionaries in Singapore. https://vimeo.com/50903070
We are happy to hear from you via email or via phone.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason