May 18, 2014
We apologize for getting this update out later than usual. It is our custom to prepare it on Sunday nights (our time) and have it available to you when you wake up on Sunday morning (USA time). I know that some of you use it to provide your church with an update each weekend. Our Sunday mornings start with the alarm clock ringing before 5:00 a.m. and we go continually until around 8:00 p.m. The past couple of weeks we have not had the energy to spend the time Sunday night to write an update. Thus, you are receiving it later than usual. I would imagine this will be our new format. You can expect to receive updates on Tuesdays from now on. Thank you for your understanding.
We have had a busy couple of weeks. I sometimes wonder where the time goes. In addition to our regular ministry schedule that has to be maintained we have been dealing with folks in several different situations who have complicated their lives due to sin and unwise decisions they have made in the past. It seems like several “chickens came home to roost” in the same week. Some find themselves in a difficult situation due to their lack of using common sense and their failing to seek godly counsel before making business decisions. When we go against Biblical principles, even in business, we can not expect things to turn out good. Others are hurting right now due to their own sin and failure to consistently walk with the Lord. Of course, any time that a believer sins they affect those around them as well. The devil would like to further exacerbate the situations in these people’s lives, I am sure. Please help pray that the folks involved will not give jurisdiction to the enemy and that there will be true and evident repentance demonstrated. (Ephesians 4:27)
We are busy preparing for our second Teen conference which will, Lord willing, be held in the middle of June. Here we see some of the teen girls looking at their attendance and Scripture memory chart. We hope to take those involved in the conference to a local theme park. In order for them to go without paying a fee we are requiring them to have faithful attendance for 5 weeks in a row as well as memorize and recite some verses. Most of the teens are already faithful to church and regularly serving in ministry. However, it has been a blessing to see several new teens start coming because of this competition. Please pray that the teen conference will be used by God to help strengthen the saved and reach the lost.
Miss Grace (purple blouse) and Sina (light blue t-shirt) are both a true blessing to our church. Several of our folks have commented to me that they have been encouraged by their spirit and their example. Since moving to Phnom Penh both of these ladies have been trying to reach out to old prospects. Two weeks ago Grace introduced us to some young people who she knew and taught in the past but who had stopped attending church due to the fact that the Baptist church they were attending ceased to exist. It has been a blessing for me to be able to go with Grace and Sina to pick these folks up on the Tuk Tuk for the past two Sunday mornings. (Yes, the tuk tuk was very crowded!) It seems that several of these young people are truly saved and desire to be in church. Of course they do not have saved parents and have been away from Christians and church for some time now. Please pray for Grace and Sina as they continue to faithfully reach out to these young people and others. It is our privilege to be able to serve along side of them both.
When I think of Hanah I am reminded of this verse – Philippians 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar’s household. “They that are of Caesar’s household” likely refers, at least in part, to the domestic servants who lived in Caesar’s house but who had placed their faith in Jesus Christ. They faithfully followed the Lord though they may have lived under less than favorable circumstances. Hanah is a domestic servant for a very politically powerful woman here in Cambodia who has direct connections with the Prime Minister. No one from our ministries invited Hanah to church. She just appeared here two weeks ago. She recently moved from her home province quite far from Phnom Penh in order to work for this woman as a house servant. She had apparently accepted Christ as her personal Saviour sometime prior to relocating to Phnom Penh. Having not lived in Phnom Penh very long and knowing virtually no one outside of her employer, she did not know where to go to church. She did remember seeing a church in another part of town and so she made her way to it Sunday morning two weeks ago. Upon arriving at that church she was very disappointed to find out that it was a Vietnamese speaking church and they had no ministry in the Khmer language. When she left the church building she was picked up by a Tuk Tuk driver and she told him that she wanted to go to church. To her surprise the driver said that he knew where the church was and he dropped her off in front of our church! (I’m glad that he knew where “the” church was…) As a house servant she actually lives with her boss and is on call 24/7. This gives her very little opportunity to leave the house as long as her boss is at home. Thankfully she has been able to be at church for every service over the past two weeks! When she comes to church it is such a blessing to just watch her during the congregational singing as she sings with all her heart. She listens intently to the preaching and truly loves being with God’s people. Each week during the Sunday evening service I ask the congregation 10 questions regarding my Sunday morning sermon. This Sunday night she raised her hand and actually answered one of the questions. (The question was – What is the difference between reputation and character?) Please pray for Hanah to be able to keep the freedom to come to church. We know that God desires her to be a bright light that reflects the love of Christ inside of “Caesar’s” house.
The new church plant in Prak Pnou village continues to go forward. Last month Tong (a young Vietnamese man around 20 years old) accepted Christ as his Saviour and last week Besut (a 17 year old Khmer young man) accepted Christ as his Saviour. A couple of others seem to be close. Each Tuesday Brother Vannak, the national pastor, goes to Prak Pnou to do discipleship with new believers as well as to do soul-winning. It requires time and effort as well as God’s blessing to get any church planted. Prak Pnou is proving to be no exception. We are thankful for the folks from the Phnom Penh church who faithfully travel to Prak Pnou twice a week to help serve as greeters, children’s workers, and sing special music. This past Sunday I shot this photo of three of our ladies. The lady on the left is Cham and is a part of our Phnom Penh church. The lady in the middle is Khmer. And the lady on the right is Vietnamese. Humanly speaking these three women have nothing in common and would not normally associate with each other. However, all three of these ladies have been saved through the ministries of Pacific Baptist Church of Phnom Penh and are sisters in the Lord! Thank you for praying for and supporting the mission work and church planting in Cambodia. These three ladies are fruit that remain to your account.
Brother Vannak’s wife, Samantha, as well as Kahna Sann and Justin Keo have started a Sunday class in Prak Pnou that is geared toward children ages 4-5. I took this picture last Sunday. The class meets down by the river underneath a traditional wooden house. Nearly all of these children happen to be Vietnamese. Please continue to pray with us that God will open the door to be able to effectively reach Vietnamese speaking people here in Cambodia with the gospel.
This past week Debbie and I were privileged to be able to take Sokha and her son, Sovannara, out to lunch and spend a few hours with them. I introduced Sovannara to you several weeks ago. Sokha works as a lab technician in the Tuberculosis hospital and Sovannara is a university student studying Banking and Finance. They seem to have a heart for God and have been faithful to come to church each Sunday morning but, as of yet, have not attended other services during the week. This is often typical of folks here in Cambodia who come from other churches as they are not accustomed to being part of a church that has multiple services during the week. Please continue to pray that we will have wisdom as we try to minister to this family.
We have known Virak and Srey Pouv for some time now. Srey Pouv accepted Christ about a year ago. I had the opportunity to lead Virak to Christ this past week. He is planning to follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism as soon as he is given the opportunity to do so. Today I began doing new believers discipleship with them both in their home. Lord willing I will continue meeting with them each Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. This young couple seems to be at a turning point in their lives and they really want to make some changes. Please pray that they will remain teachable and that they will both have a heart of obedience to God’s Word as it is taught to them.
Please be in special prayer for Srey Leak and her brother, Hem (on the far left). Even as I am writing this update they are undergoing serious persecution in their village because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Srey Leak has only been saved around 2 months but has a strong faith in the Lord. Their mother is near the point of death due to kidney disease and the Muslims in the village are blaming Srey Leak and Hem for her sickness because they refuse to call upon the witch doctors for help from the spirits (demons). They have sworn to strip Srey Leak of her legal inheritance of land and possessions once her mother dies and to drive her and her son from the village. It is actually illegal for them to do so but that does not mean it will not happen. It has happened to several other believers in our church. I am not allowed into the village but we have several Cham Christian families living in that village. They are “shunned” (cut off from the social and economic life of the village) and unable to visit Srey Leak in her home due to the fact that her house is right next door to the Mosque. However, she is able to go to their home and has done so on several occasions over the past couple of weeks for protection as well as encouragement. I try to keep in daily contact with her via the phone. Two days ago she asked me if we would agree to do a Christian funeral for her mother when she dies because that is what she and Hem desire. I told her that we will do our best to accommodate her wishes. Her mother made a profession of faith around a month ago. Please pray for this family and their spiritual, emotional, and physical safety.
*UPDATE ON SREY LEAK’S MOTHER* – May 21, 2014 7:00 AM – We received a call from the village that her mother passed away last night at 8:00 PM. The Muslim villagers immediately confiscated her body and proceeded to have a Muslim funeral at 3:00 AM today. They did this against the wishes of her Christian adult children. It has been determined that Srey Leak and her son will come to Phnom Penh today and stay here at the church as it is unsafe for her to remain in the village. It is likely that the villagers will unjustly and illegally begin confiscating all of her earthly possessions including her land and house. This will leave her with nothing more than what she can carry on the Tuk Tuk as she leaves the village today. WHY? – Because she dares to follow Jesus Christ. I wonder what price you and I are paying for following the Lord today? Pray that we will have wisdom to help guide Srey Leak in regard to her long-term future.
In the next few updates I hope to share with you short examples of how superstition controls so much of people’s daily lives here in Cambodia. One example was just shared by Brother Keo this past Sunday evening. He told us that there is a restaurant in one of the villages that the soul-winners from our Phnom Penh church like to eat at when they are soul-winning in the village. They have eaten there weekly for some time now. They just found out this past week that, while the owner agrees to feed them, he actually considers them to be “bad luck” for his restaurant because they are Christians, and he immediately burns incense and asks for protection from the evil spirits. They had seen him burning incense each week but had no idea it was his attempt to ward off the evil “Jesus Spirit.” It’s my guess that our folks will take their “bad luck” and their money to a different restaurant starting this week!
I took this particular picture out in front of our church. Our neighbor across the street, for whatever reason, placed this plate of fruit and incense in the gutter. I have no idea what he is hoping to accomplish through this gesture but I wouldn’t doubt but what he is trying to protect his family from the very bad things that he believes are happening each time the Christians gather together.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason