August 18, 2013
We wanted to give you an update on the family for whom we asked you to pray a couple of weeks ago. You may remember that Som was admitted to a hospital here in Phnom Penh to be treated for an illness. However, they administered the wrong medicine and she had a serious allergic reaction. Her family took her to a neighboring country in order to seek more competent medical help. The doctors there gave her a 30% chance of survival. The reaction to the medication caused her to prematurely give birth to her baby. The baby was not given much chance to survive either. We want to report to you that God has chosen to heal them both. The family returned to Cambodia on Friday and were in church this morning. Thank you for praying! Yim and Som chose to name their baby boy Vary. This is short for Calvary. This morning after the morning service Yim told me that they named him Vary for two reasons: 1) So that when he gets older he will remember that He belongs to God, 2) So that his life will be a reminder of what Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary. Please continue to pray for this family.
Srey accepted Christ as her personal Saviour this past year after one of the soul-winners from our church persisted in following up on her and her 12 year-old daughter, Borey. According to her own testimony she cursed the soul-winner and told him that she wanted nothing to do with the church or Christianity. She recently told me that she cursed him in order to see if he truly cared about her soul or if he was all talk. Thank the Lord that Vannak was more than just talk. He was not just out handing out tracts because it was one of the “programs” of the church. Srey and Borey have been very faithful to church and we have really grown to love this family. Though they are perhaps the poorest family in our Phnom Penh church, Srey would bring our family and others fresh vegetables nearly every week.
Two weeks ago Srey became very ill due to problems with her liver. Much effort and expense was taken to try and get her the best possible medical attention. Many of us were involved in helping to meet with doctors as well as finance her medical treatment. After being in the hospital for a few days it became evident that she would likely not be making a recovery. I asked her if there was anything that she wanted me to know in case the Lord took her home. She said there were two things: 1) She wanted a Christian funeral, 2) She wanted to make sure that we would all take care of her daughter. This past Friday we brought her home from the hospital and prepared to have a minimum of two church members with her and her daughter 24 hours a day. Saturday morning she passed away and by Saturday afternoon she was already buried in her home village in Kompong Cham Province, three hours from Phnom Penh.
Srey and Borey are the only Christians in their family. The rest of the family is Buddhist and did not help with planning the funeral whatsoever. In fact, her own family charged us for digging her grave. Through her sickness over the past two weeks there was a very sharp contrast between the love and compassion shown by her church family and the selfishness and coldness of her lost family and extended family. We are thankful, however, that the family consented to having her buried on the family property even though we did not allow any monks or Buddhist ceremonies to be performed. (Before Srey passed away she put in writing that she did not want any monks or priests to be involved at all.)
Some of the men from the church carried the casket about 200 yards through the forest to the spot designated as the burial site by the family. This proved to be very difficult due to the fact that it had rained the night before and the ground was very muddy. By the time it was all over we all had nearly two inches of mud stuck to the bottom of our shoes.
The entire time that we were doing the graveside service we were also fighting huge ants while at the same time trying not to sink too far into the mud. I still have bites on my feet from ants. We are so blessed to see how so many of the church members jumped right in to do all that they could to help. Please pray for Borey. She is presently staying with Miss Samantha Thaing, a single missionary lady from our home church who is serving with the team here in Cambodia. However, Samantha will be getting married, Lord willing, in the next month or so and some decisions will need to be made regarding Borey’s future. Please pray that we will all have wisdom to know how best to be a blessing to Borey. Also, remember Borey’s father in prayer. His name is Rom. He has not played a very active role in her life due to his problem with alcohol. Before Srey passed away she specifically told me to make sure we take Borey and raise her and not to allow her to go with her father. Srey’s desires are supported by Borey’s grandmother as well. We are not certain what should or will happen in regard to her future living arrangements. For her own safety we are not inclined to send her back home to live alone. We also have to keep in mind that we have three teen boys in our own family and it is not likely that we are in a position to take Borey into our home. So please help pray that we will all have the mind of Christ to discern what is best for all involved.
We began going door to door in a small village about 5 miles from our church on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Here you see the entrance to a neighborhood full of townhouse mansions. Last year I actually toured one of the mansions. I am including this picture to show you the wide disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots” here in Cambodia.
This is a picture of Law Gomebou village. It is located on the same street as the mansions. Each of the homes in the village look just like these small shacks. There is no such thing as government subsidized housing here in Cambodia. In fact, most believe that they are poor because of the karma from their “past life.” The rich here often boast that they are wealthy because of all the good things they did in their “former life.” In actuality many wealthy people here in this part of the world are wealthy because of corruption and illegal land-grabbing from the poor and powerless. Please pray for Mr. Peseth and his family of 5 who live in this village. We are presently building a relationship with them and looking to present the Gospel to them as the opportunity arises. We believe they are opening up.
Cambodia has many factories that produce textiles that are exported to the United States and Europe. Many times these items are also sold in the stores here in Phnom Penh. A shirt that would sell in the mall in America for $60 can be purchased any day of the week here for $5. Counterfeit items are readily available on the street as well and it is often difficult to know what is real and what is fake. This past week my sons each purchased an Adidas Dri Fit shirt for $5 each. We are told that the same shirts normally sell for $30 in the States. They assumed the shirts were the real thing because of the quality of the material and the packaging. It was not until they got the shirts home and actually read the tag that we all began to have our doubts that these shirts were made to be exported. What was the thing that tipped us off? Take a moment and read the tag. It has got to be the worst English I have ever read! Just goes to remind us all that not everything that looks real – is actually real!
Thank you for your prayers and support for the work here in Southeast Asia.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
P.S. Yes, I’m aware I spelled “forest” wrong on the pictures…