November 17, 2013
We had a great combined service this morning in Phnom Penh. Every six weeks or so we have a special service that includes folks from some of the village ministries. This morning’s service was so crowded that once we filled the overflow room we had to have about 10 folks sit on the platform. This special service is always a wonderful time of fellowship for all of us. We continued with the series dealing with tearing down spiritual strongholds and our victory over the power of darkness. The service included several special songs. It was also our privilege this morning to take a special love offering to help meet emergency needs for some national pastors in the Philippines whose homes were totally destroyed during the storms this past week. Though our nationals’ capacity to give is somewhat limited, it was a blessing to see the amount they gave this morning. For some, no doubt, their offering was a sacrifice. There are 4-5 other independent Baptist churches here in Cambodia who are joining us in this special offering. Tomorrow morning we plan to forward the combined offering to Missionary Rick Martin in the Philippines to be used to help bring some physical relief to faithful servants of God who have lost virtually every earthly possession. Please continue to pray for the people of the Philippines and the missionaries as they experience this great trial. Here in Cambodia the only effect we felt from the typhoon was rain. None of the devastating winds reached us.
Some of the ladies from Phnom Penh sang the hymn, “Old Time Power.” They worked for several weeks to learn this song! Thank God for their patience and dedication to have a spirit of excellence!
Three of the young ladies from the Prey Bang church sang a traditional Khmer Christian song entitled, “God is with Us.” The song talks about how we can remain joyful even in the midst of trials because God is always with us and He knows what we are going through. This song is a favorite in our church.
About 15 of the members of the Anlong Tnout church were able to join us this morning. They sang the hymn, “Only Trust Him” as a special number. It was a blessing to be able to spend some time in fellowship with them. You might remember that many of the members of this church are Cham and have been saved out of Islam. This morning one of the men shared with me that last night his grandmother’s house was pummeled with stones by people in the village because of her faith in Jesus Christ. We thank God for these folks’ resolve to be faithful no matter what. Please continue to pray that God will protect the believers of the Anlong Tnout church and that they will continue to win the lost.
It was a blessing to have 9 folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism this morning. This lady, Meng Sean, actually accepted Christ before we met her and she began attending our church but she had never been Scripturally baptized. Several others were scheduled to be baptized but at the last minute backed out due to pressure placed on them by people in the village.
This afternoon we had a special ladies fellowship. Each lady prepared a special dessert and brought it to the fellowship. They competed for first, second, and third place prizes. Mrs. Has did a great job of getting everyone involved. Our teen girls handmade beautiful decorations to help create a special atmosphere. Then they staffed the nursery during the fellowship time. Debbie had the opportunity to give a devotional on the “sweetness” of the Word of God. Judging from the amount of noise the ladies made, they apparently had a lot of fun!
About 20 of our Phnom Penh teen boys and men took off this afternoon for a trip to the mountains. They will meet up with another 8-10 men from the Anlong Tnout church. They have been looking forward to this two-day camping trip for a long time. Bro. Has did a great job of organizing the trip and preparing lessons to be taught while they are there. I’m especially happy to see that two of our new young adult men, Vuthy and Sophal, were able to be a part of this trip. I believe it will bring them closer to the Lord and to our men.
Life is very difficult for the vast majority of our friends here in this country. Many of the young people who have been saved here at the church live in family situations that are so sad. This past week I was walking to the home of one of our faithful members and observed something very interesting. The walkway to their neighborhood is covered with trash and filth. The walls are permanently stained with mold and mildew due to the frequent flooding of the walkway. However, right there in the middle of all the filth were these beautiful flowers. It is a reminder that God can take any life and, by His grace, turn their life into something wonderful for His glory. Such is the case with many of the folks who have been saved here in Cambodia.
This past week Debbie and I were making a visit on an older lady to whom we have been witnessing for several months. Her granddaughter, Srey Souk, attends a private school not far from our church. We have been trying for a long time to get her to visit the church but to no avail. She is a professing Christian and is a member of another church here in Phnom Penh. She told me that she attends school with one of our members named Srey Leak. She shared that everyone at the school knows of Srey Leak’s faith in Jesus Christ and that she has a good testimony at the school. Apparently this past week Srey Leak was chosen by the school Principal to act in some sort of drama this next month celebrating Christmas. Her principle let her know that she would be required to wear certain clothing in order to play the role for which she had been chosen. Srey Leak boldly and cheerfully let the Principal know that she was a Christian and she wanted to honor the Lord with her clothing. She humbly requested to be allowed to wear clothing that was in keeping with her convictions or to be released from the role in the drama. This bold and cheerful appeal apparently became known throughout the entire school. Srey Souk’s question to me was this, “Does God really say anything about the way we dress?” “Why do you make Srey Leak dress a certain way?” Debbie and I happily shared with Srey Souk that the Bible does provide principles that ought to regulate our apparel but that our church has no “rules” for how members have to dress. Furthermore, we had no idea that pressure was being put on Srey Leak to compromise her convictions. We were able to share with her that Srey Leak was simply seeking to be faithful to the Lord. I think that her testimony made quite an impression of Srey Souk. Please help pray for the young people here who are striving to honor the Lord with their lives. They often time are mocked by family and people in the community. Yet, they continue to be faithful – and be faithful with a smile! Their example is challenging and convicting to say the least.
One of the blessings we are able to experience each week is that of having a weekly chapel service for our children as well as the missionary children from several other churches. Each Wednesday morning 25-30 missionary kids and some English speaking nationals meet at the church for singing in English, testimony time, competition, and preaching. It is always refreshing to be able to sing in English and hear preaching in English. We are grateful for the good friendships our sons are able to enjoy with some of the other missionary kids. It is our desire to use this service each week to help encourage not just our own family but other American families who are faithfully serving here in Cambodia as co-laborers for the cause of Christ.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason