July 9, 2014
The summer is quickly passing here in Cambodia. I’m sure many of you have the same feeling there where you are living. We have been very busy not only trying to maintain our regular weekly schedule but also trying to get prepared for our next term in the Bible Institute. Our next term will be starting August 4th and we will be offering two new classes: Men and Women of Proverbs and 1 Corinthians. I am writing the curriculum for our 1 Corinthians class. As of today I am only on chapter 5 and have spent 66 hours working on the project. If chapters 6-16 take as long as chapters 1-5 have taken we are in big trouble. 🙂 It gets tricky to find large amounts of time in a single day to work on this project. We need about 2 more days to be added to our week!
Well, the employees of the trash collection company here in Phnom Penh have decided to go on strike once again. The government actually requested that people keep their trash neatly stacked inside of their homes until collection resumes. This picture was taken about an hour ago. As you can see, the folks in our immediate neighborhood either 1) didn’t get the memo, 2) got the memo but don’t know how to read, or 3) got the memo, understood the memo, but decided to dump the trash in front of the church figuring that since we are Christians we can’t get mad at them. 🙂 It can, and will, only get worse… I just wish I could effectively capture the aroma and post it here on the blog.
We had great services in Phnom Penh this past weekend. It was a blessing to have a new deaf lady attend the Sunday morning service with some of the other deaf ladies who have been attending. Please continue to pray that the door will be opened to effectively reach the deaf population here in Cambodia with the gospel.
The Sunday Children’s Ministry here in Phnom Penh continues to go strong. It is such a blessing to see that about 90% of it is now being led by the national believers. When we started the Children’s Ministry nearly 4 years ago, we did so with 3 stated goals as our objective:
1) To get the gospel to the children and see them saved.
2) To provide an opportunity and an environment that would be conducive for the national believers to reach, teach, and lead their own people.
3) To see the older young people become part of the main-stream of the church and then return to the Children’s Ministry as teen workers rather than as children who just sit and listen.
By God’s grace we have seen and continue to see these three objectives fulfilled. This past Sunday 4 young people from the Children’s Ministry sought out workers and indicated that they wanted to know more about how to become a Christian. Please pray that they will be saved soon.
These 4 teen boys are fruit that remains as a result of the Children’s Ministry. They are all very faithfully involved in every service that we have here in Phnom Penh. They are also helpers in the Children’s Ministry each Sunday. Here in this picture we see Brother Man doing discipleship with them this past Monday evening. Praise the Lord for our national leaders who understand the urgency to invest in the next generation !
Last week we sent a special email (not publicly posted on the blog) to some of you asking for prayer for Srey Leak and some of the men who were traveling to the Cham village to build a fence in an effort to try and protect her land. Some of the neighbors are slowly moving the easement landmark between her land and their land in an attempt to steal her property. Thank you for praying for their safety. Some of the Muslim neighbors cursed and yelled at her but there was no physical altercation. Please continue to pray for Srey Leak as she grows in the Lord. Each Tuesday Debbie and I spend time with her as we teach her some of the basics of the Christian life. Please pray for her older brother, El, to trust Christ. Though he is a Muslim he was willing to risk his own safety and acceptance in the village by helping her build the fence this past week. Monday night after Bible Institute Srey Leak held a small birthday party for her 4 year old son, Housan. It was a good time of fellowship for us all.
Please pray for a young Cham couple who is presently seeking God’s will for their lives. They have both been saved through the ministry and are faithful to the Lord. They run a small business in their village and are able to generate enough money to live comfortably. However, God has been working in both of their hearts for some time now about getting more involved in ministry. They have a strong burden to see more of their people saved and discipled in the Lord. God used our youth conference this past month to really break the husband’s heart for the lost. He met with me this past week to seek some counsel regarding his future. He told me that he feels like he is wasting time just making money when there are so many thousands of people living in villages all around him who have never heard a clear presentation of the gospel. Both he and his wife are in agreement that they want to make a change in order to better reach the lost. I hope to be able to share more details about this couple in the weeks / months to come.
For now, please pray for the following in regard to this fine young couple: 1) For them to recognize God’s clear and continued direction in their lives, 2) For their Muslim parents to not try and prevent them from taking the steps they believe God is leading them to take, 3) For them to be able to find someone trustworthy who they can appoint to oversee their small business so that they can step away from most of the day-in day-out activity that ties up the majority of their time, 4) For God to provide them a way to make up the financial loss they will incur due to having to hire someone to run their business.
Two weeks ago we began a new Sunday afternoon soul-winning / tract distribution ministry from 1:00-3:00 p.m. in a district of the city called Toul Kork. Toul Kork is about 15 minutes from our church. We are looking at the far north side of Toul Kork as a possible future church-plant within the next year or so should the Lord continue to lead in that direction. We have discovered that the part of Toul Kork where we have been handing out tracts seems to be an area that is especially hardened to the gospel. We have had more folks flat-out refuse to even accept a tract in this area than in all the other parts of town we have been in put together. I had one lady literally tear a tract up into small pieces right in front of me. We have seen many of our tracts discarded along the road. With that being said, there are still, no doubt, people living in this district who will be open to the gospel and who will get saved if someone will just tell them how. For the past 2 Sundays we have had 25-30 folks join us in handing out tracts in this area. This past Sunday one of our ladies made a good contact with a teen girl. In fact, the girl called her on the phone and told her that she had been reading the tract and that she wants to accept Jesus. One of our men met some teen young men who seem to be interested as well. Our church here is doing our part by planting and watering. God the Holy Spirit is doing His part by drawing people to Himself. Will you do your part by praying for hearts to be opened, for demonic strong-holds to be broken, and for patience for our soul-winners?
I took this picture this past Saturday while Debbie and I were handing out tracts in Toul Kork. This picture was taken in front of someone’s house. It is a makeshift food and drink sacrifice to the “spirits” that they believe protect their neighborhood. You will notice that one of the candies appears to have been opened and eaten. I can assure you that the spirits didn’t do it! Neighborhood children likely saw the candy and hated to see it wasted.
Pov works as a security guard at a local coffee shop in Toul Kork. He works from early morning until late into the evening 7 days a week. He just told me this past week that he actually sleeps at the coffee shop as well. I have seen him on 4-5 different occasions. Each time I see him I give him a tract and apparently he actually reads them. This past week he met me in the parking lot of the coffee shop as I was parking the Tuk Tuk and preparing to run inside and get some coffee. He said, “Do you have any new tract yet? I have read your tract Do You Know God?, One Minute After You Die, and Scared of the Tiger but Not Scared of the Thorn.” I was able to give him a tract that he had not yet read and he assured me that he will read it. The coffee shop closes at 9:00 p.m. at which time he is off work as well. It is my intention to go and meet him very soon some night and have the opportunity to sit and talk with him at length about the gospel. Please pray that God will use the truth in the tracts to bring Pov to a point that he understands his need for salvation and that he will be saved.
The church-plant in Prey Bang village is about a year and a half old now. We built this simple structure in July of 2013. There continues to be a good group of people from Prey Bang village as well as a couple of other villages who attend the church. The church in Prey Bang desires to have walls built as well as a cement floor put in. We agree that it is the right time and we are planning to work towards that end. Most of the funds for the roof and the pillars were donated last year by the high school senior class (Class of 2013) in our home church in Long Beach. This year we hope for the money for the walls to be raised by the church in Prey Bang as well as our church here in Phnom Penh. Lord willing, we will be having a “Buy a Brick Sunday” sometime early August. We are going to challenge everyone to do their very best to purchase as many bricks as they believe they can purchase and pay for within 3 months. Once the total amount has been pledged we will, at that point, complete the project. We are not asking for any financial help from abroad on this project. We believe it is best for the national believers to make the sacrifice necessary to see this project completed. Please pray that this project will go forward in God’s timing and that it will result in further strengthening the believers.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason