March 18, 2014
Greetings! It has been several weeks since I have been able to write. For part of the time I was in a “creative access” country and did not have a secure internet connection. I was able to help counsel with our missionary team in that country. It was a blessing to see the progress that has taken place over the past year since I was last in that country. Though they do not have the freedom to publicly gather together for church like we do in Cambodia, yet they are seeing some folks saved and discipled. I also had the opportunity to go to the Philippines with a supporting pastor and friend from the United States. It was a great opportunity to see what God is doing in that country.
I was provided the opportunity to preach while there and was given the option to choose the Sunday School hour or the morning service. I requested the Sunday School hour – assuming Sunday School meant small classes…This was the Sunday School class! There were over 1,000 people in the class. It was a blessing to be around the pastor and the people. I would like to take a couple of our Cambodian national pastors to attend a conference at this church perhaps this next year if it is possible. I know that they will be stirred and motivated as they see their Filipino brothers and sisters zealous in the work of the ministry.
One of my purposes for going to the Philippines was to begin looking for a “model” that we can follow as we begin planning to, Lord willing, expand our Bible Institute into a small Bible College to help equip Cambodian and Cham nationals for church-planting and the work of the ministry here in Southeast Asia. The church I visited has a very unique Bible College. There are approximately 100 students from their local church studying in their college. It was a blessing and challenge to be able to spend a lot of time with the students for three days. Seventeen of the students study in the college for only one day a week due to the fact that they live so far away. They live in Baguio City which is approximately 8 hours from Manila. Every Sunday night after their evening service they load up onto the church bus and make the commute to Manila. They leave at 11:00 p.m. Sunday and arrive at the college around 7:00 a.m. on Monday. They are in class until about 11:00 p.m. Monday when they load onto the bus with their pastor and travel back to Baguio City.
We have 4 of our adult men who study in our Bible Institute here in Cambodia who travel 2 hours one way to Phnom Penh every Monday. I shared with them the example of the students in the Philippines. Their testimony of perseverance has helped to encourage our folks here to keep on keeping on!
While in Manila, the pastor of the church brought us to see the American Cemetery. This cemetery is a memorial to the thousands of American soldiers who gave their lives to help secure freedom for the Philippines during the Second World War. It was very sobering to be there and grasp the scope of sacrifice that was made by the men and women of our armed forces on behalf of that country. Those of us from America were very touched as the Filipinos who were there with us led us all in singing “God Bless America.” They then shook our hands and thanked us for the sacrifice that our country made on their behalf. In the four days that I was at that church I must have heard the people say at least 10-15 times, “We love America and pray every day that America will turn back to God.”
We had good services this past Sunday at each of the four churches. It was a blessing that our new Children’s Ministry route had their highest attendance ever with 46 children attending. Adrian and his workers are doing a great job! Please help pray for Friend Day on April 6th. We are encouraging folks to invite their unsaved friends to the morning service. We plan to have an evangelistic service on that day with testimonies from several folks about the difference that God has made in their lives. We will have Friend Day in each of the four churches so it will likely be a very busy day!
Please continue to pray for the new church in Prak Pnou. Vannak and Samantha are doing a great job of loving the folks. It is normally difficult to start a church from scratch but Prak Pnou is proving to have some extra challenges that we have not experienced in the other three churches – at least not to the same degree. There is so much confusion in this particular city regarding what it means to become a Christian. This is due, in part, to the presence of several NGO groups there who are “nominally Christian” at best. We don’t seem to have any trouble getting first time visitors, but once they understand that we are there to strictly teach them about God and how they can come to know Him, they are no longer interested. It is their hope that we will hand out money, food, medicine, free eyeglasses, teach them English, or provide them free medical care. Once they find out that they will receive none of those things we have had them literally get up and leave.
It seems to be going slow with the adults. We are hopeful, however, that some of the teens are beginning to see their need for salvation. There is a group that is beginning to come regularly. Brother Man and his wife, Kanha, are working with the teens and they are doing a great job trying to connect with them. Please help pray for these teens who have been coming but are not yet saved: Nitha, Riya, Tida, Choi and Besut.
Vy attends most of our mid-week services in Prak Pnou. He is not able to attend on Sundays due to his work schedule. He is not yet saved but seems to be interested. Today I spent around an hour witnessing to his wife, Sok Ly. Today was one of the rare occasions that I have met her and she was not stone-cold drunk. It is very obvious that sin has taken its toll on this family. I believe that they understand the gospel message but are too afraid of what their neighbors will say if they become a Christian. Please help pray that Vy and Sok Ly will be saved soon.
We recently nearly ran out of tracts and needed to get some printed. We were so blessed to be referred to a new printer by another missionary. The prices at this new printer are literally slightly less than half the price that we used to pay! We were able to get 33,000 of the first three tracts reprinted. (We paid for 30,000 but he threw in 3,000 extra!) Lord willing we will be printing this fourth tract for the first time sometime early next month. We are also hoping to get a tract printed in the Vietnamese language in the very near future. Thank you for helping to support the work here in Cambodia through your prayers and finances. Your giving helps to make this ministry possible.
We had a bit of an ordeal this past week. Joshua was playing basketball with friends from the church when he tripped and fell. The fall dislocated his wrist and broke his arm. After consultation with the orthopedic surgeon it was determined that surgery needed to be done to install a steel plate and screws. So he got to spend two days in the hospital and will be in a sling for the next three weeks and restricted in his activities for the next three months. So much for all the paint jobs he was supposed to do around the property! We are thankful that we were able to get the surgery done here in Cambodia.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason