November 30, 2014
Greetings from Phnom Penh! We’ve been extremely busy and things continue to get busier so this update will likely be shorter than usual. It has been a blessing to hear from some of you. Thank you for praying for the ministry. There are some very exciting things happening in the lives of folks here as they grow in their obedience to the Lord. With every door that God opens to reach people, there are also adversaries who attempt to frustrate the vision. Please continue to pray for the people of Cambodia, and specifically the folks who have been reached in our ministries, to truly walk with the Lord and seek to please Him.
We were all blessed recently to have some of the children sing the Patch the Pirate song, “I Want to be Faithful.” They did a great job singing it in the Cambodian language! It was evident that their leaders invested a lot of time to teach them the memory verse and song.
Ra has been attending the church for over three years. He’s actively served in the Children’s Ministry and in several of our village ministries. In recent months he has been struggling with the assurance of his salvation and he came to the conviction that he had never truly placed his faith in Jesus Christ to save him. Last Sunday during the invitation he raised his hand indicating that he wanted to be saved. It was a blessing to see him have the courage to admit to the church that he had been fooling everyone but that now he truly understood that salvation is a free gift and he was ready to receive it! Please pray for Ra and his spiritual growth. Ra is 24 years old.
Veasna shared a testimony this morning during the service. He challenged us to all be careful about our example in the community and within our own families. He specifically challenged the congregation of Cambodians not to allow foreign missionaries to love and care about Cambodian souls more than they love and care for their own people. He reminded them that it is their responsibility to win their own people to the Lord and not just leave it to foreigners. As a 17 year old young man he is taking a firm stand for the Lord. Please pray that Veasna will have wisdom to lead a new class that we are starting the first week of December.
It is a blessing to see the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry being totally operated by the nationals. Very rarely do we do anything other than show up and observe. All of the games, song leading, Scripture memory time, teaching, preaching, and transportation is all being effectively carried out by the folks in the church. Many of the workers are those who were initially reached through the Children’s Ministry themselves. Each week I meet with Brother Vannak and discuss the specifics of various aspects of the ministry. He then teaches the workers those concepts. Here we see Vannak challenging the workers early Sunday morning just prior to our Sunday morning service. Within the next 6 months we are hoping to be able to make some changes that will allow us to accommodate 40-50 more teens and Jr. High young people in the Children’s Ministry without causing havoc in our neighborhood. (You will recall that we had to scale way back last year due to our location and problems with the logistics of having several hundred children on the property all at the same time.) Please pray that the Children’s Ministry will continue to reap fruit that remains.
Each week we try to have a fun game during the Children’s Ministry service that involves several children. This past week each team of 10 children had to carry an egg in the spoon all the way around the auditorium without it falling. They had a great time!
NeyNey, 14 years old, was reached through the Children’s Ministry nearly three years ago. This Sunday was her first time to help lead singing up in front of all the children. She did a great job and her happy smile and energy helped bring joy to the children. We are so happy to see that she has a heart to reach out to those who are younger than her. She is the only Christian in her family but she is faithful to every service that we have throughout the week. Pray that NeyNey will be able to win her own loved ones to the Lord.
We asked Noi, 17 years old, to share his testimony today during the Children’s Ministry. He was reached through the Children’s Ministry when he was only 14 years old. In recent months he has really taken some steps of growth. His parents do not know the Lord as their Saviour but have not tried to prevent him from coming to church. Pray that Noi will be a good testimony in his home and that his parents will be saved.
Linda, 15 years old, was also reached through the Children’s Ministry as a Jr. High girl. Here she is writing out the Bible verse that will be taught during the message. This coming week she will start teaching in a new class that we are starting for children 7-11 years old. It is a blessing to have young people like Linda available and happy to help with whatever needs done! She is a good example to the younger children.
Srey Nak, 14 years old, and Srey Leak, 15 years old, are both examples of young people who are living their lives for the Lord. Each Sunday after our morning service they ride in this Tuk Tuk two hours one way to go teach children in another village. Brother Sinath, Kam, and Srey Nich go with them as well. They normally return to Phnom Penh and join the Sunday evening service about 30 minutes after we begin. Please pray for this group’s safety as they travel four hours each Sunday, and for fruit that remains in Prey Bang village.
San and Yom are two very faithful young Christians. They were both saved out of Islam and have endured a lot of ridicule, threats, and persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ. A little over two years ago Yom gave birth to a baby who lived for only ten minutes before dying. (The infant mortality rate in Cambodia is presently 44.31 deaths per 1,000 births versus a rate of 6 deaths per 1,000 births in the United States.) After the baby died the village leaders spread the rumor that the baby died because they had abandoned the religion of their people and that they would never be able to have another baby. Life has been rather difficult for them at times, even during their recent pregnancy as they were regularly told by the Muslims in their village that the baby they were expecting was going to die as well unless they returned to Islam. Thankfully Yom gave birth with no serious complications and they now have a baby girl! I meet with San and Yom for a few hours each Friday morning for discipleship. About a month before the baby was born I asked them what they planned to name their daughter. They said they had no idea. I suggested that they name her Sarah – they took the advice…hope she likes her name! This couple is very involved in helping to lead our church in Anlong Tnout village which is located two hours from Phnom Penh. San also helps lead in the ministry in TraBang Tma village. Additionally, he leads a discipleship group of several adults and teens each Saturday evening in the village. Please help pray for San and Yom to continue to be faithful and to have the strength, patience, and vision necessary to reach their own people with the gospel.
We continue to meet with SreyLeak every Tuesday morning for discipleship. She is doing very well spiritually and it is a blessing just to be around her. After she was saved it was no longer safe for her to remain living in her village as a single mother and she relocated to Phnom Penh to be near the church and other believers. A couple of months ago God opened the door for her and another one of our ladies, Kahna, to be able to start a small vegetable-selling business down the street from our church. God has blessed their business so much that the neighbors have become jealous and constantly try to make trouble for them. It is my understanding that both SreyLeak and Kahna are publicly berated multiple times on a daily basis by those who buy their vegetables because of their commitment to stand for the Lord. Their stable testimony and joyful spirits are definitely a shining light down on the corner. Pray that SreyLeak and Kahna may continue to have their financial needs met through this business and that their testimony will cause others to come to the Lord.
Len, Linna, and Lin (three ladies on the right hand side) are all deaf. They came to Christ here at the church a couple of months ago. Miss Grace and Sina (left hand side) were used by God to win them. They recently asked me how they could get their own Bible. I gave them a Bible study booklet that they have to read and answer the questions. Once that is done they can each receive a Bible. They leave for work early in the morning and do not return home until it is dark. Because rent in Phnom Penh is so expensive, they must share an apartment with several other folks, none of whom are Christians. Today they told me that their roommates hate them because they are Christians and they do not allow them to use the lights in the apartment after dark so that they can fill out their lessons. They have been trying to read and answer the questions each night when they return home from work (there are around 140 questions or so) by using the light that emits from their cellphone. It is often disturbing to see the lives that so many of our folks live on a daily basis and the price that they are forced to pay because of their faith in Jesus Christ. However, we do know that it is persecution and trials that build strong faith and result in God’s favor. Freedom and prosperity tend to result in a lukewarm, complacent, and anemic church. This is a Biblical concept that may be foreign to many Christians who live in the West. Please remember to pray for the deaf people who have been reached in our church to remain strong in their faith and to grow in their understanding and obedience of the Word of God.
A couple of weeks ago the missionary kids challenged the missionary men to a basketball game. Many different missionary families had the chance to gather together and rent a gym as we enjoyed watching the kids beat the men! We are thankful for good Christian friends and co-laborers in the Lord.
We recently had Sarom and Sokunthea over to our home for dinner and games. We also invited Sinath and Sopheap to join us. Please continue to pray that Sarom and Sokunthea will be saved. They seem to really enjoy being with us but have not yet taken the step to trust Christ as their personal Saviour.
The street adjacent to our property was being repaved a couple of weeks ago. I looked outside to see how much progress they were making only to find all the workers dead asleep at 9:00 a.m. in broad daylight. This picture helps explain why it took them two weeks to do a job that should have been done in no more than 3 days at the most!
We are working with a number of new prospects right now. Please pray for the salvation of these folks: Sambath (28 years old), Dr. Yim Sothy, Borey (22 years old), Pich (mid 20’s), Naren (28 years old), Sok Leng (28 years old), Meng Seng (15 years old), Sambath (40 years old).
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason