July 7, 2013
July 7, 2013
We had great services today here in Cambodia. Five of the teen girls sang “Blessed Assurance” during the morning service. Please continue to pray for the young people in our ministries. It is always frustrating to have a teen young person who is a growing believer all of a sudden be forced to stop coming to church by their parents. Today we had one of our very faithful teen boys come and tell us that he has to miss church for the next two months as his parents are forcing him to work in their store. Another teen young man told me today that he is actually attending church without his parents knowledge because if they knew he was a Christian and attending church they would force him to stop coming. He met with me this morning to seek counsel about what to do when his mother tries to force him, as she did this morning, to offer incense to the deceased relatives. This month the workers will be starting two special clubs for teen young people to help them in their walk with the Lord. Please pray that these clubs will help to ground the young people in their new faith and that their parents will not prevent them from being involved.
Last Sunday I completed our 14 week sermon series dealing with the transformed life. This morning we began a new 8 week sermon series preaching through the book of 2 Peter. I believe that this series will be very helpful to the people as we deal with the important issues addressed in this epistle. The church family in Phnom Penh, as well as the village churches, continues to memorize the entire book of 2 Peter. It is encouraging to see so many getting involved. We are, on purpose, trying to create a culture in the church that values the Word of God.
Some people in America may be under the misconception that the poor are automatically open to the message of the gospel. Very often the opposite is true. They are often ready to receive a “social” gospel that will hand out money, food and medicine. But the true message of the gospel that shows mankind his sinful and helpless condition without Christ has never been popular with the masses. In recent days we have seen the poor outright reject the message of salvation. This past Saturday some of our soul-winners went to follow-up on prospects living along the open sewers just a few blocks from our Phnom Penh church. It was very sad to have some refuse to accept a gospel tract. One man, who we have been witnessing to for several months, actually laughed at one of our men who was trying to encourage him to accept Christ. Another poor man, who is dying of cancer, mocked Brother Sinath for walking around with the foreigners and witnessing about the “foreigner” religion. He said that if Sinath was going to do that he should at least be getting a salary for wasting his time. It was encouraging to see Sinath and others keep a good attitude and a soft heart toward those who mocked them.
It has also been encouraging to see the spiritual growth of so many of the adults. Some of them are having their faith tested as never before. In recent days several of the folks have come face-to-face with circumstances that have been somewhat troubling to them such as being openly mocked for being a true Christian. One young couple is being accused by their family of “killing their grandmother” because they refuse to offer sacrifices in order to appease the evil spirits who their lost loved ones believe are causing grandma to be gravely ill. Some of our other believers who have undergone major persecution for their faith were deeply troubled in recent days to witness other Christians who, knowingly or ignorantly, compromised their testimony under the guise of trying to be culturally appropriate. One circumstance in particular has, according to the nationals, caused them to value even more a church where they are taught to follow the Word of God even when it is not culturally accepted by the Buddhists living all around them.
The work in Prey Bang village continues to go forward. The roof was finally installed a couple of weeks ago. Lord willing, we will being holding services the first Sunday in August. For the time being we will do so without any walls. In time, we intend to build walls as the work grows and the nationals are able to raise the money. There are around 20 adults in this village who have now professed faith in Christ. Additionally, we have around 20 children who are attending a weekly Children’s outreach. We are happy to report that this past week another lady, Soun (over 70 years old), accepted Christ as her personal Saviour. Please pray that we will continue to see more families reached through this new work. It will require a lot of time and effort by many to see this new work get off the ground and we certainly covet your prayers.
Many of the hundreds of children who are part of our Children’s Ministries each week come from very difficult living circumstances. Some of the children are told on a regular basis that they are unwanted, not loved, and a burden on their parents. Even children who come from “decent” homes very often lack any public display of affection by the adults in their lives. Telling your family that you love them is a very rare thing in this culture. It was sad – last Sunday morning I asked for a show of hands of all those who had hugged their parents and told them that they loved them at least once over the past week. Three hands went up – they were the hands of my own children. Not a one of the national children raised their hands ! I snapped a picture of the back of this young girl’s shirt. It says, “Love Me.” I believe that this shirt pretty much summarizes the reason why so many of the children love to attend the church and the Children’s Ministry. They know that they are loved here at the church. Debbie told me that one young girl came and just stood by her… It finally dawned upon her what they girl was doing. She was waiting to get a hug. Apparently she gives this 4 year old girl a hug every Sunday. I wonder if that is the only hug that she receives the entire week…
This week we are printing 5,000 copies of our new tract entitled “One Minute After You Die.” This tract is based on the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Pray with us that God will use it to bring about conviction to many. Thank you for giving so that we can continue to print quality materials such as this and see people saved.
The election campaigning is in full swing this month as the country will hold national elections on Sunday, July 28th. Sights like this are a daily occurrence throughout the entire country. They begin early in the morning and continue until the evening. Last week we had campaign trucks and bull-horns campaigning down our street at around 9:30 p.m.
Civil unrest is always a concern during elections whenever you are in a country such as Cambodia. One local newspaper reported that the government has dispatched an additional 20,000 security forces to ensure that there are no uprisings. There is so much that could be said about the whole election situation but I shall leave my opinions to myself. Please pray that the elections will come and go without any difficulties.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason