November 10, 2013
We had a full crowd once again this morning here in Phnom Penh. Our English choir sang a special entitled, “Here am I, Send Me.” Some of the men sang the hymn, “Lord, I’m Coming Home.” I continued in the second week of our new series entitled, “Tearing Down Strongholds.” Today we dealt with the topic, “Did God Create the Devil?” This topic is very apropos to the people here in Cambodia. Next week I will deal with the topic,“If God is Omnipotent, Why Does He Allow the Devil to Exist?”
Thank you for continuing to pray for Borey. You may remember that her mother passed away a couple of months ago. She has been left in the care of our church and seems to be really growing in her spiritual life. We are so grateful for a fine Christian family from our home church who is helping to provide for her financial needs. Her father basically has no interaction with her whatsoever. Since the funeral he has attended nearly every Sunday morning service and seems to be listening intently to the preaching. This past week I went to visit him at the house just a few blocks from our church. He was not home but I had the opportunity to speak with some of his neighbors. They were very quick to tell me that the entire neighborhood hates him and does not like having him live there. He does come from a very difficult background and lives a life that would lend itself toward having a lot of enemies. It is great that he can come to the church and be accepted by the Christians just as he is. We hope that the love being shown to him will help to soften his heart and that he will soon be saved. Please continue to pray for Borey and her spiritual growth as well as the salvation of her estranged father, Rom.
The Children’s Ministry workers continue to do a wonderful job in caring for the children from our neighborhood. Each Sunday they meet at the church with the children to sing, share testimonies, and listen to God’s Word as it is preached. Often they will play a game with the children as well. This morning I heard the kids all laughing and having a great time as they played this game – this boy had to blow up the balloon and see how many cups he could blow off the table in 10 seconds. The boys competed against the girls. It is a blessing to see the amount of effort that the workers put forth to love and lead the children each week.
This morning there was a Tuk Tuk full of teens from Ta Skov village who joined us in the morning service. Since our youth conference in September, we have made a special effort to see the faithful teens from this village have the ability to join us here in Phnom Penh once each week. Two of our faithful men get up very early each Sunday morning to drive to this village and transport the children here for the service. They leave the church at 5:00 for the hour and a half long trip to the village which includes a ride across the Mekong River on the ferry boat. Then two more faithful men take the children home after the service. We are so blessed to have a great team of nationals who have been saved and love the Lord and their own people enough to make the effort to faithfully bring these children to church each week. Lord willing, we will see a church planted in Ta Skov village this coming year. Please help us pray about that. Home Bible studies and the Children’s Ministry in this village have been helpful but what this village truly needs is a local church.
During our Sunday evening service it is our custom to take time to share blessings. This is always an encouraging time for us to all hear how God has been working in our lives throughout the week. There are normally testimonies about lessons learned and prayers answered. Often the folks will take this time as an opportunity to thank someone in the congregation who has been a special blessing to them throughout the past week. This evening Brother Sinath shared that he was so blessed to be able to take part in our Highways and Hedges soul-winning yesterday. The village we went to was new to our church but it turns out it was not new to him. Before he got saved he used to go to that particular village to participate in a demonic ceremony. He shared that he was so thankful that now he is free from the power of darkness. He expressed his thanks to God for allowing him to now take the gospel to the very village where he used to worship the devil.
Today we began something new. Beginning this month we will have our Phnom Penh teens run one Sunday evening service per month. They are responsible to do virtually everything in the service. As we look toward the future we know that it is vital to have nationals trained to do the work of the ministry. The Khmer culture does not tend to give much value or responsibility to young people. We are, on purpose, trying to let the young people know that they are special to God and special to our church. We are establishing a new culture, we hope. This evening some of the teens sang a special song entitled, “He Came to Redeem.”
Buth led in opening prayer as well as gave an update on one of the soul-winning ministries. Justin facilitated the testimony time during the service. Veasna led the congregational singing. Isaiah preached a message from the Book of James. Neang gave a report on the nursery ministry. We are so blessed to have these young people and others who love the Lord and desire to serve Him. If you want to reach teens for Christ – we have a place for you in Cambodia ! We need help !
In addition to the teens running one service each month, we all plan to have a time of fellowship with them immediately following the service. We are calling these times “Destination Unknown.” No one knows what we will do or where we will go until they arrive there on the Tuk Tuks ! Tonight, for our first Destination Unknown, we took some of the teens to the modern mall and bought them ice cream. I believe they had a great time and most of all they were reminded that their lives have value to the Lord and to us !
In this blog we try and keep you informed in regard to some of the various weekly ministries here in Cambodia. Perhaps the most important ministry we have seen started here is our 6:30 a.m. Tuesday prayer meeting. It is a blessing to have around 30 or so folks come out every week for this special meeting.
Every 6 weeks or so we have a special time of soul-winning to a remote village. We call this ministry the “Highways and Hedges” ministry. Yesterday it was a blessing to have 42 folks show up to be involved. It is a time when newer members can go soul-winning without having to speak as we pair them up with someone who is able to explain the gospel. We traveled about an hour and a half to a village in Kandal Province named Wat Brasat Poom Swi. I feel like we were able to meet some good prospects. Debbie, Jeremy, and myself met a man, Mao, and his wife, Boom. I believe there is a very good chance that they will invite us back to teach them more. The wife, in particular, seems to be very interested. Please help us pray about the various contacts that our folks were able to make in this new village.
Apparently not everyone was excited to have us there in the village. We found this tract torn up and laying on the road as we returned from the village to our Tuk Tuk.
Yesterday we were able to see Chenda for a few minutes as we passed through her village on the way to our Highways and Hedges soul-winning. I met Chenda a couple of months ago and she invited me back to teach her how to know God. Bro. Adrian and I have been to her home in Prek Pnov village on several occasions but we have never found her at home. Pray that God opens the door for us to teach Chenda and that she will be saved.
Each Friday afternoon we try and take a few hours for family time. We normally go to eat at some small restaurant. This past Friday as we were eating a family came and was seated right next to us. I thought I recognized the gentleman but was not 100% sure as to his identity. Debbie told me, “It’s funny – He has the same face as the King.” I told her, “That’s because it is the King’s son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh.” Prince Ranariddh was elected First Prime Minister in the 1990’s and was active in politics at the highest level here in Cambodia until this past year. He presently serves as a special adviser to the King. It was neat to have the opportunity to speak with him and his family for awhile. (I was actually in a meeting with him 20 years ago in Long Beach, California.) The owner of the restaurant spoke with him and his family but other than that it was like they were invisible to the people in the restaurant. I am not sure exactly why. Perhaps it is because he has his head shaved and no one recognized him. Although the armed body guard sitting 10 feet from his table should have given it away… Perhaps it was because they did not dare try and speak to him because of his “position” in the royal family. (There is system of hierarchy in the Cambodian culture that precludes people from “lower” social or economic status from approaching people who are of “higher” status.) Being Caucasian and foreign, we are able to play by a different set of rules which sometimes allows us opportunities that the nationals may not have. The Prince was very friendly and has a great sense of humor. Before leaving the restaurant we had the opportunity to give his family a gospel tract. You never know – perhaps they will read it…
Life was a bit challenging this past week as our internet was down for two days straight. Finally after working on the lines, connections, and router for hour upon hour, the “tech” (and I use that word quite loosely) finally took my recommendation and replaced the Ethernet cable coming from the hub into our house. We were up and running in no time! This picture sort of sums up the situation quite well – the tech shows up with no wire strippers, no soldering gun or solder, no line tester, and no ladder! Once he finally agreed to change out our line he climbed this pole without a ladder and stood on the electrical meter box while trying to get the new line connected. The box is about 20 feet off the ground. It is a wonder that you rarely hear about techs getting electrocuted to death, seeing as how I get shocked every time I touch the side of my computer without wearing shoes! Apparently OSHA does not have a branch here in Cambodia.
Here is the link to a video we shot this weekend at Highways and Hedges soul-winning. It includes a 6-7 minute clip of some of the bumpy roads we traveled to get to the village. https://vimeo.com/79005808
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason