December 1, 2013
The Lord blessed us with great services again today. The attendance in Phnom Penh was down just a bit due to various reasons but we still had a few chairs set up in the overflow section. Please continue to pray for the spiritual stability of this new church. This past month we turned three years old. It is a blessing to see all that the Lord has done in this short amount of time. God has allowed our Phnom Penh church to plant two additional village churches in the past two years. Lord willing, we are planning to see another church planted this coming January in Prak Pnou village about 8 miles outside town. Please be in prayer concerning this new church plant. Like many places here in this country, Prak Pnou is a tough area. It has been pretty much saturated with NGO groups and “church” groups who give away medicine, free English classes, etc… in an attempt to bribe the people into becoming Christians. This is a popular method used here in Southeast Asia. It is so counterproductive to the Great Commission. Though there are several groups already represented in Prak Pnou, it is a rare thing to actually meet anyone who is a true believer. It is somewhat challenging for the workers to do evangelism there because we are constantly compared with the other groups who give away so much stuff. We have been going to Prak Pnou for some time now and have a small nucleus of adult believers as well as teens and children. We hope to begin the church with somewhere around 25-30 folks in addition to perhaps a family or two from the Phnom Penh church who will go there to help the church get off the ground.
It was a blessing this morning to have some of the ladies sing the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy. They obviously worked very hard on this special because it sounded great. Srey Neang is one of our very faithful teen girls. This morning before the service I had to run downstairs to get something. As I came back up the stairs a few minutes later I saw her meeting with several girls younger than her. She had gathered them together and was asking them about their walk with the Lord. No one asked her to do this. She has taken the initiative to care about their spiritual well-being. That was a blessing indeed!
This past week we had two of the men preach during the Sunday evening service. It was encouraging to hear them both preach from their hearts. As missionaries we understand that we have to place great emphasis and importance on not just winning nationals to the Lord but also on equipping them to reach people as well. Sinath and Sovann are two national men who love the Lord and desire to see their own people saved.
We plan, Lord willing, to have a special Christmas service on December 22nd. Our folks are working hard at practicing the songs and learning their parts for the play. This year they will be singing several Christmas songs that we have had translated into the Khmer language. The tunes are very unfamiliar to them and so it is requiring all folks to work that much harder. We plan to have 7 special songs that will be sung by 6 different groups during the Christmas service. The play is entitled The Greatest Gift of All. Bro. Has is working hard at coaching those in the drama. Mrs. Keo and Debbie are working with the music groups. Mrs. Has is heading up the costumes and decorations. We plan to have a combined service that Sunday with many folks coming in from the village churches and works as well. Please begin praying that the music, drama, testimonies, and preaching on that day will be used as an opportunity to give a clear presentation of the Gospel and that folks will be saved as a direct result.
This past week we began a new term in the Bible Institute. This term we are teaching three classes: 1) The Christian Family in Today’s Society, 2) Bible Study Methods, 3) Missionary Heroes from the Past. I believe that each of these courses are very important and will prove to be helpful in the lives of those studying. This term we have around 26 adults and 3-4 teens from the church studying in the Institute. We have not, as of yet, opened up the classes to members of other churches but may do that this next term as there have been some requests from other missionaries to do so.
Yesterday we had the opportunity to have a time of fellowship with several of the folks who memorized the entire book of 2 Peter about three months ago. This obviously took a lot of hard work. While some folks were not able to attend this outing due to the fact it conflicted with their schedule, we still had three tuk tuks full of folks who were able to enjoy this special rewards trip. Sopheap, a mother of 4, was the first adult from the Phnom Penh church to complete this Scripture memory challenge. I very clearly remember the time when, just three years ago, she hated us for winning her husband, Sinath, to the Lord. She has now become a wonderful example to all of us of what God can do with a life that has been changed by the power of the Gospel.
We were able to take spend a few hours at a private park outside the city. This was a quiet and beautiful location and everyone had a great time looking at the animals in the small zoo, fishing, boating, and eating together.
They also enjoyed making teams and having boat races. This picture was taken just before one of the boats was “accidentally” tipped over, throwing one passenger into the water. 🙂 It is so important that these new believers are able to enjoy wholesome and godly fellowship with the church and we are looking forward to going again this next year with those who participate in the Scripture memory challenge!
I led Nigah to the Lord several years ago when I went to her clinic to get therapy for my back. As a Chinese Cambodian she initially wanted nothing to do with the Gospel, but about a year after we first met she finally got saved. She has had some challenges in her walk with the Lord but over the past year has seemed to really desire to be faithful. Debbie has been discipling her one-on-one each week for the past year. Nigah is totally blind, speaks nearly fluent English, and is highly skilled in her profession. As a small business owner she provides employment to 9 or 10 other blind Cambodians. Four months ago an organization in South Sudan, Africa requested that she go there to help train some blind folks to begin their own business as well. We were not excited about her going there for several reasons but ultimately she chose to go out of a feeling of obligation and desire to help other blind people become self-supporting. She brought along several books of the Bible in the Braille language as well as an mp3 player full of preaching in the English language. Though she is temporarily living in a Mosque, (apparently it is the safest place for her to stay as a single foreign lady in South Sudan), she has been listening to the English preaching in the open. Her students apparently speak English quite well and have grown to love the preaching as well. I am not certain if any of them have made professions of faith but I do know that they have requested copies of the preaching so that they can listen to it when she returns home to Cambodia. For us it has been encouraging to know that, though Nigah has been away from us and her Christian friends here in Phnom Penh, she is still trying to let her light shine for the Lord! Pray for Nigah to continue to be a good testimony for the three weeks that she remains in South Sudan.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason