October 27, 2013
We had wonderful services here in Cambodia today. It was a blessing to have Srey Pou join one of our ladies singing groups for the first time this morning. In recent months she has really tried to get more involved in the work of the ministry. As a single mother her life is a difficult one but it is wonderful to see the ladies of the church forge a close relationship with her.
Since our youth conference last month it seems that God has been doing a wonderful work in the lives of some of our teens in some of the villages. Perhaps the most exciting work has been in the lives of some of the young people in Ta Skouv village. For the past three Sundays two of the workers from Phnom Penh have left the church at 5:00 a.m. to go pick up 10-12 of the teens from this village so that they can attend the Sunday morning service here in Phnom Penh. (Believe it or not, all these young people in this picture are actually teens!) Our Phnom Penh church has the goal to plant two more daughter churches in the year 2014. One of the churches will, Lord willing, be in Ta Skouv village. Thank the Lord for the faithful workers who travel over the Mekong River and the treacherous roads nearly two hours one way every Wednesday and Sunday so that these folks can hear the Word of God. Each Wednesday we have the opportunity to teach anywhere between 100-300 children in this particular village depending upon the month. (Each month the public school system changes the hours of school which affects the number of children available to meet with us.) Join us in praying that we might be able to see a church planted in this village in the months to come.
It was a blessing to have Srey Neang (13 years old) come and tell me that she led Srey Pich to the Lord this morning before the morning service. Srey Pich has been attending the church for the past several months. For the past three weeks she has been the first one to show up to church each Sunday morning. She attends a private school that is run by a large Christian organization here in Phnom Penh. No doubt some of the teachers at that school have faithfully planted the seed of the gospel in her heart for many months. Pray that Srey Pich will be faithful to the Lord and get plugged into the girls teen ministries.
Do you have a burden for young people? You ought to pray about coming to serve along side of us here in Cambodia. We presently have workers reaching out to about 12 different villages, but there are over 14,000 villages in Cambodia! This billboard for Coca-Cola is just blocks from our church. We are told that every day more than 1 billion Coke products are consumed worldwide. Each time I see this billboard I am reminded that this company has done what Christians have failed to do – they have literally penetrated every village here in Cambodia with their product. In fact, you would be hard pressed to go anywhere in the 10/40 window where you could not readily find Coke products.
As I am sitting here writing this update I can hear our English choir practicing their special for this next Sunday. The song is entitled, “Here Am I, Send Me.”
There’s a harvest, the fields are white, and there’s so much work to do.
And it’s so easy for me to pray that the Lord will burden you.
But this time when I kneel to pray, Lord, make this burden mine,
Let me see past my selfishness, and let my will be Thine.
Here am I, Lord, send me to share Your precious Word,
Here am I, Lord, send me to those who’ve never heard.
Let me lift my eyes to see a world that’s dying without Thee.
Here am I, O Lord, send me.
The second line is interesting – And it’s so easy for me to pray that the Lord will burden you. Our churches here are praying that more Christians in America will heed the voice of the Holy Spirit as He is trying to direct them to take the gospel to places like Cambodia and the 10/40 window. However, here is the exciting thing – Our nationals are not waiting around for more missionaries to come. They are heeding the command and obeying the call that was already given to every one of us over 2,000 years ago! They are trying to do their part to spread the message of salvation throughout this country! That being said, there are, no doubt, many more Christians from the States whom God is calling to obey the call and leave the comforts of America for the sake of the gospel. Are you one of them?
The last Sunday night of every month we have three laymen preach during the evening service. Each of these married men are students in our Bible Institute. This month we asked Taiwan, Man, and Hem to preach. All three of them preached fantastic truths that spoke to each of our hearts. Taiwan and his wife were saved out of Buddhism. Man and Hem were saved out of Islam. The key to reaching any country with the gospel is having faithful men and families who are able to reach their own people. Please continue to pray for us as we not only win folks to Christ but seek to train them to become committed followers of Christ who will win others also.
Please continue to pray for the Vong family as they are working hard to complete their deputation to come to Cambodia as missionaries. Debbie and I have known Bro. Vong and his wife, Neaty, since they were in Jr. High school. The Lord allowed us to have a part in reaching them and their families. The Vongs will be a great asset to the ministry here in Cambodia as they already speak the language and have grown up in the Khmer culture in Long Beach, California. In addition to helping plant churches in the villages we believe that God will open the door for us to start a Children’s Home when the Vongs arrive. The vision is still in the planning stages but we believe that the vision is becoming clearer. The home will primarily be geared, Lord willing, to minister to the needs of some of the families in our village ministries. We believe that the home and school will help create a whole new generation of young Christians who are trained from a young age to know God’s Word, win souls, and plant churches in Southeast Asia. It will be a very expensive endeavor but we believe that it is the right time to develop this new ministry.
This past week I was in contact with a man who has family in a village 6 hours from here. He strongly desires that the gospel go to his village. Yet, it is too far away for us to go. However, there is a strong chance that he has a young family member or two who could come and live in the home and be a part of the Phnom Penh church. We view the home as basically being a 24 hour discipleship ministry. Some of the young people may come into the home not yet knowing the Lord, and the goal, of course, would be for them to get saved.
Ten days ago a man in Prak Pnou village, who Bro. Bounna and others have been witnessing to, died from a disease. This morning his wife, Thy, and her two young children were in our morning service here in Phnom Penh. Thy shared with me that she has the same disease that he had and that it is very likely she will die as well. She told me that she is in the process of looking for some place to put her children once she dies. Stories like this, sad to say, are not that rare. You may remember that last month one of our members died from liver failure. Her daughter, Borey, is now living with one of our families. Her education, clothing, food, and medical care has become the responsibility of the church. I do believe that there will be many more “Boreys” out there who we can win and train for the cause of Christ through the Children’s Home. Please help pray that we will all have wisdom as we work toward seeing this new ministry started in the months to come.
Please continue to pray for our Pastor, Dr. Joe Esposito, and his health situation. As most of you know, Pastor has been in a coma due to an aneurism that he suffered three weeks ago. He has been not just our Pastor but also our mentor and friend for the past 25 years. His willingness to obey the Lord and encourage missionaries to go to Cambodia and Southeast Asia is, humanly speaking, responsible for much of what God is doing through our team here in Cambodia. Please pray that God would be honored to give him a complete healing. His family has been such a strong testimony of the grace of God through this entire event. Please pray that they will continue to be encouraged in the Lord and experience His comfort as they go through this trial.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason