June 15, 2014
We had a great weekend ! I know that some of you were praying for us as we held the morning service. Thank you. Please pray for Ra, a young adult Cham man, who accepted Christ after the morning service. Several of our folks have been witnessing to him for quite some time.
The English ensemble did a wonderful job singing “Empower Me.” We are so thankful for the hard work they put into practicing over the past several weeks. We also were blessed to have several other special songs which spoke to our hearts as well.
One of the highlights of the morning service was hearing Hem and his wife, Soam, share of the change that has taken place in his life since he accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. Please continue to pray for Hem and his spiritual growth. One man told me that he believes, over time, many more Cham people will come to Christ as they see the change that God has made in Hem’s heart. It is well-known throughout the village that Hem was often possessed with demons. I have been told that everyone feared him due to his irrational behavior when he was possessed. It was a blessing to see him share in front of the church for the very first time.
It was a blessing to have 15 folks publicly identify with Christ through following the Lord in Believer’s Baptism on Sunday morning. Please continue to pray for Srey Leak and the others who took this step of obedience.
After the service we all enjoyed a great time eating curry together. We appreciate many of the ladies waking up and cooking early Sunday morning! Debbie got up at 4 a.m. to make sure that her curry was just right. I’m pretty sure it was the best!
Several weeks ago I mentioned the deaf young ladies who have been attending the church. Please continue to pray for the salvation of Len, Lin, and Linna. They are totally deaf but seem to be very receptive to the church. I am certain that they do not yet comprehend the gospel. Miss Grace met them and has been working with them trying to explain salvation. Please pray for Grace as she attempts to win these ladies to the Lord. She has started taking Cambodian sign language classes in order to be able to communicate with them more effectively. A couple of them can read Khmer and so that helps. It is still very difficult to communicate concepts relating to God, Heaven, Hell, the devil etc… For example – it is my understanding that the word “devil” or “Satan” in Cambodian sign means “a ghost who haunts people.” Kim and Chea are their friends and they have attended church for the past two weeks. Please pray for their salvation as well. It was a blessing to have Valerie visiting from our home church for the past two weeks. Her grandmother is deaf and is a member of our sending church. She was able to help translate. Even though American Sign Language is different than Cambodian Sign Language they were able to understand perhaps 50 percent of what she was saying. I am thinking about hiding her passport so she can’t return to the States! 🙂
We had our second annual teen Youth Conference this past week. We had a great time but a very tiring time! I’m sure we are all glad it’s over. We had a great group of teens who joined the three day conference even though one of the days of the conference was a school day.
We had special music, skits, special videos, special testimonies, and 4 preaching sessions for the conference this year. Brother Joseph Esposito, the eldest son of our sending Pastor, was able to preach one of the messages for the conference. He preached from John 12:24 which says, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
Perhaps the most effective session of the conference was when Miss Grace shared her personal testimony of how she surrendered to the mission field. She emphasized the importance of surrendering to be used of God in a significant way for His glory and going forward for the Lord no matter what obstacles you face. Her testimony was spoken from her heart and I know that it reached the hearts of everyone who listened.
Many young people made decisions for the Lord after the closing session on Saturday evening. We are grateful for the teens that made the Youth Conference a priority this year. Several of the young people forfeited going on a trip to another city with their school in order to be able to attend the entire conference.
One of the highlights for the young people was the trip to a local amusement park on Saturday morning. About 30 of the teens qualified to go for free through having perfect attendance at church for 5 weeks in a row as well as memorizing and quoting some verses. FYI – if you ever come to Cambodia and decide to visit Dreamland – be informed that the bumper cars are vicious! It is a wonder that we didn’t have a bunch of kids in the hospital with whiplash!
Many people worked very hard to make the conference a success this year. Countless hours were invested in music practices and skit practices. Brother Has created several very good videos to go along with the theme of “Each One Reach One.” Mrs. Has and several of the teen girls spent hours painting this mural to communicate this year’s theme as well.
We are thankful for many of you who have a part in the ministry here in Cambodia. Each time we fill the 5 tuk tuks up with gas we are reminded of the sacrifice of God’s people who faithfully give to world-wide missions. We are grateful for the folks at Freedom Baptist Church in TaKmou, Cambodia and Missionary Chad Phillips who graciously allowed us to borrow one of their tuk tuks for our conference. It enabled us to run 6 tuk tuks which meant we only needed to find additional rides for 10-15 folks.
Saturday evening after the closing session I announced that we would have a special prayer of dedication Sunday morning for any teen who made the decision to go forward for God no matter what the cost. Each teen was instructed to spend time Saturday night counting the cost. We were blessed to have around 30 or so teens come forward Sunday morning to publicly proclaim their commitment to serve the Lord with their lives. Please continue to pray for the young people of Pacific Baptist Church of Phnom Penh. Some of them face some pretty stiff opposition from family members.
It has been a real blessing to have a group of folks visiting us from our home church in Long Beach, California. Each year people from the church make a missions trip to Cambodia. This year the young people have just been phenomenal! It seems that they have gone out of their way to connect with our young people. They have truly been a blessing to all of us. We hate to see them return to the States. Pray for these young people as more than one of them are seriously considering joining us here on the mission field as the Lord leads.
The young people have discovered that life on the mission field (at least life here with our church / ministry) involves bumpy rides on roads traveling back and forth to villages as well as fighting your way through traffic without getting run over as you try and walk to make local visits. These girls joyfully joined in at 5:00 a.m. to help make breakfast one of the mornings for the Youth Conference. Well, I think the smiles are real…
Here is the link to a video we prepared this weekend. It is about 7 and a half minutes long. On the video Brother Johnny Esposito is sharing some of his impressions of the church here in Phnom Penh. At the end of the video I included excerpts from the congregational singing this past Sunday morning. http://vimeo.com/98427513
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason