January 27, 2013
We don’t normally send updates three weeks in a row. I will likely go back to sending them out bi-weekly beginning next week. However, there are so many encouraging things going on here that we just had to share them with you once again this week!
We had great services this weekend here at Pacific Baptist Church of Phnom Penh. We are thankful for the 5 first time adult visitors who came to the morning service. Lord willing we will be able to follow-up on them and see them reached with the gospel. It is sometimes quite a challenge to actually find people’s homes as many of the addresses in Phnom Penh don’t seem to follow any rhyme or reason.
We enjoyed several specials in the morning and evening services. Our English singing group sang the song “Will They Ever Know.” It is a song that reminds us each of our responsibility to get the message of the gospel to everyone with whom we come into contact. The young girls sang the song “Humble Yourself in the Sight of the Lord.” Four of the young ladies in this group have only known the Lord for a few months. We are thrilled that they are already getting involved in serving through music.
This past week a group from the Phnom Penh church traveled about an hour and a half to be an encouragement to a new believer who is a part of the village church. While we were there some of the ladies prepared food for the group. Nearly everyone of these ladies has had serious tragedy in their lives before they knew the Lord. One of them was abandoned by her husband and left to be a single mother. One has endured very hurtful circumstances in her marriage that would have caused most wives to divorce their husband. One of these ladies was abandoned on the door step of a relative by her mother and father as a new-born baby and told that she was not wanted. One of the ladies, since coming to Christ, has had her father abandon the family because of his hatred for Christianity and his loyalty to Islam. As I look at this picture I see one thing that they all have in common – They are all filled with JOY! Their joy has definitely not been found through having an easy life. They have not found joy in possessions. None of these ladies have any possessions of which to speak. They have all found joy through having their sins forgiven and becoming reconciled to God. On this particular day they found joy through serving God by serving others. By the way, that is the only true source of lasting joy for any of us no matter where we live. If you and I are looking for fulfillment in the possessions that we accumulate we will become very unhappy people. It has been said that contentment will make a poor man rich and discontentment will make a rich man poor! I believe these ladies can teach many of us some important life lessons. James 2:5 Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
The lady that we went to encourage is pictured here in this group. We traveled to meet her in a secret location, prepared to pray, read Scripture, and listen to God’s Word be taught. Though we did all of those things, perhaps the most important thing that was accomplished at the meeting was all of us being challenged by her testimony of faith in Christ. She shared with the group how she has been praying to the “true God” for the past ten years. Though she is Cham and lives in a Cham village, she has known for years that her religion was false. She shared that she had no idea where to find the true God but she was convinced that He was out there somewhere and she desired to know Him. When she accepted Christ this past month her husband was not happy and he has made her life very difficult. With great resolve she shared with us how that she is willing and happy to go through the persecution because she desires to see her husband and adult children come to know the Lord. She told us that if she backs off now she knows that they will never be saved. Nearly every one of the folks in the picture above can relate with this dear sisters testimony as they have been saved out of Islam as well. Several of the folks have been “disinherited” by their parents. (This means they have lost every bit of land and every possession that they were to inherit as adult children.) One of the ladies in the group has had her husband divorce her in a very public and humiliating manner because of her refusal to renounce her faith in Jesus Christ. One of the men, before salvation, was a leader at the Mosque. He is now perhaps one of the most hated men in the entire village because of his bold stand for Christ. Please continue to pray for the believers here in Cambodia. Pray especially for sister Saum.
Last year we began seeking to share the gospel in Prak Pnou, a city about 7-8 miles from our church. As folks have responded to the salvation message we have begun holding regular Bible studies in the home of one of the new believers. Mr. Somvouth and his wife, Nyoum, have expressed interest. Nyoum has been to two of our meetings. Additionally we have had the opportunity to witness to them at their home on two occasions. Both of them are in their mid-60’s and have been practicing Buddhists for their entire lives. They own a tailor shop and have occultic items hanging on their walls which they believe will bring them more clientele as well as provide them protection from the evil spirits. Unlike most Buddhists, they don’t seem to believe in reincarnation. When I asked Somvouth what he thought happens after death he answered that he believes we all cease to exist at death. They both sobered up quite a bit as Brother Sinath and I shared with them from God’s Word that what they have believed their entire lives is a lie from the devil. Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment. After quite a long meeting with them this past Saturday I apologized to him if what we were saying was making him upset. (I did not apologize for telling him the truth. I apologized for the fact that he may not be happy to hear it.) He responded by saying, “We are not mad at all. We want to know what is true and what is false.” Pray that Somvouth and Nyoum will be saved very soon !
A section of Prak Pnou is almost exclusively made up of Vietnamese immigrants. Many of them have been here in Cambodia for 20 years or more. Some are new arrivals. While many of them speak basic Khmer, it is very difficult to communicate with them regarding anything other than basic conversational Khmer. I have met some children who apparently only speak the Vietnamese language. Our church has a burden to reach the Vietnamese here in Cambodia and that is why we have begun targeting this particular village. Each week we have a group of workers who hold a Bible study with the Vietnamese children. We normally have between 30-40 children attend that Bible study. We currently have a few adult prospects that Bro. Has and some of us are working on. One of the prospects is Heap Kai. Mrs. Kai is 82 years old and has lived here in Cambodia for about 30 years. She is just one example of someone with whom we are having a difficult time communicating the gospel. Her understanding of the Khmer language is shallow at best. She is very friendly and always invites us into her home to sit and talk. She even lets our workers drop-in and use her restroom whenever we are there in the village for several hours. This past week one of our workers gave her the plan of salvation in a Vietnamese tract. The problem is – she can no longer see well enough to read. She has placed the tract and materials that we have given her in a place in her living room that she considers to be very sacred – right on the Cao Dai (the name of her religion) shrine along side of her idols, incense, and candles. She very clearly does not understand that she can not merely add Jesus to her gods. Please pray that we will somehow be able to communicate to her and that God will supernaturally open her heart of understanding. Pray that once her heart is opened she will not reject the truth. Acts 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. It would be a wonderful thing if someone in America would heed God’s call upon their lives and come to Cambodia to serve along side us and target the Vietnamese population.
Today we had some children attend our Children’s Ministry whom I had never met. They all live in our neighborhood and were very excited to be here today. The little girl on the far right as well as the girl in the middle speak decent English. I was surprised to learn that five of these children in this picture are students at the local school that is sponsored by a very large cult here in Cambodia. What interested me most was the questions that the children asked me – “Do you love Jesus?” “Do you like to study about Jesus?” This cult is doing a decent job of teaching these children English. They are also introducing the children to very basic concepts from the Bible. Sad to say that the Jesus this group believes in is the brother of Lucifer, used to commit sin just like every human being, and originally taught that polygamy is a good thing. Their doctrine is very clearly not Biblical truth. We hope to be able to reach these children with the gospel. Please pray for their salvation. FYI – This particular cult, head-quartered in Utah, as of the year 2009 had 40 national missionaries, 60 single men from the States, 28 single ladies from the States, and 19 retired married couples from the States who are serving as “missionaries” here in Cambodia. That totals 147 full-time workers who are all working together as a team with one goal and one vision. I’m always a bit bewildered when the occasional person will remark that there are already enough Baptist missionaries in Cambodia! We don’t even come close to 147 in the entire country!
Srey Neang is one of our faithful young ladies. She is at church nearly every time that the doors are open. Today I snapped a picture of her as she was preparing the snacks for the Children’s Ministry. Pray for her mother, Srey Mohm, to be saved.
Srey Pou was led to the Lord in recent months by one of the ladies in our church. As a single mother her life is not easy. It has been a real blessing to see her faithfully attending the services. This morning I had the opportunity to talk with her for an extended period of time just after the service. She shared with me the changes that God is making in her life now that she is saved. She also shared of her burden for her lost family members. I know that Debbie would like to get closer to her in the near future. Pray that Srey Pou will continue to grow in the Lord and will get planted in the church.
This past week Brother Adrian and myself had the opportunity to visit his family in a village that is about 5 miles from our church. The entire village is Muslim and has no gospel witness whatsoever. We have been told that there are 1,000 families in this particular village. This plaque is hung just above the bedroom door of the home we visited, “There is no god but Allah. Mohammad is messenger of Allah.” Brother Adrian’s uncle, who happens to be the police man in charge of security for the entire village, attended our church service this morning. I was watching his face as I preached. He did not look mad – he simply look bewildered as to why the auditorium was full of people who seemed to be agreeing with everything I was saying. It was sort of amusing to watch him looking around at the people saying amen. I can only imagine what his lunch conversation was once he arrived back home. Pray that God will open the door for Adrian to win some of his family to the Lord in this village. It could be that there will one day be a church planted in this village!
Here is the link to a 5 minute video update that we shot just after the morning service today. https://vimeo.com/58299622
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Deb, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason