July 5, 2015
We had a wonderful weekend here in Cambodia. Each of the services were packed and the spirit was great. We enjoyed hearing some testimonies of lives that have been changed by God’s grace. Sunday morning I preached a message comparing the lives of Noah and Lot. Both men knew the Lord, but only one of them had a testimony within their home that resulted in their children fearing the Lord as well. We all know the story – Noah, his wife, and his three sons and their wives were all saved. However, when Lot warned his daughters and son-in-laws about God’s judgment, they did not take him seriously. He had lost his testimony and the result was the destruction of his family. We were all challenged to live for the Lord in our own homes and in front of our children. Three teen girls raised their hand for salvation during the invitation and are being dealt with this week by the lady workers.
Some of the ladies opened our Sunday morning service with the hymn, “The Regions Beyond.” Some of you may not know the words to this famous hymn. I challenge you to read the words and think about your own life. What are YOU doing to help the gospel get to those who have never once heard how their sins can be forgiven and have their name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
To the regions beyond I must go, I must go
Where the story has never been told;
To the millions that never have heard of His love,
I must tell the sweet story of old.
To the hardest of places He calls me to go,
Never thinking of comfort or ease;
The world may pronounce me a dreamer, a fool,
Enough if the Master I please.
Oh, you that are spending your leisure and powers
In those pleasures so foolish and fond;
Awake from your selfishness, folly and sin,
And go to the regions beyond.
There are other “lost sheep” that the Master must bring,
And to them must the message be told;
He sends me to gather them out of all lands,
And welcome them back to His fold.
To the regions beyond I must go, I must go,
Till the world, all the world,
His salvation shall know.
As we do in every Sunday evening service, we had a report on a couple of the ministries of our church. Tonight Linda gave a great report on progress that is being made in the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry as well as a couple of the outreaches to young people in various villages. It’s always a blessing to see the impact that the ministries are having on the lives of so many children in this land. Thank you for praying for the children of Cambodia to know the Lord.
Tonight Brother Sinath gave a report on the church in Prey Bang Village. (Prey Bang is approximately two hours from Phnom Penh.) This week has been a discouraging week for Sinath. To start off, this past Wednesday Sinath and Kam went to teach one of the older ladies who accepted Christ several months ago. They drive to her village and teach her every Wednesday morning. They had their Bible study with her as usual and returned to Phnom Penh. Once they arrived back to Phnom Penh, within just a few minutes they received a phone call from the village that she had passed away. We are thankful that this grandmother had accepted the Lord several months ago and is in Heaven. However, it is discouraging for Sinath and those close to the situation to see how her unsaved relatives, though they have plenty of money, are trying to put the financial responsibility for her funeral upon the workers who go and teach her the Word of God. It is sad to see the “welfare mentality” that so many have been taught in this country.
A situation has arisen in Prey Bang village that necessitates our relocating the church building from the land we are presently using to a different location. Sinath is working closely with this situation. It seems that the company that we hired to relocate the building is dragging their feet. Perhaps they are presuming that because we are Christians they can take as much time as they please and we won’t do anything about it. Though they have collected a hefty deposit, they have set our job aside and are doing work on other projects. Please pray that this situation will be resolved soon while at the same time a good testimony will be maintained and that the work in Prey Bang will be able to go forward once again.
Many people here in Cambodia believe in reincarnation. When a loved one dies there are different ceremonies that they perform in hope that the deceased will gain merit that will help them in the next life. Of course, we know as Christians that “It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment.” (Hebrews 9:27) This weekend there was a ceremony that took place in the alley next to our church. It was a 100 day funeral ceremony. This ceremony takes place 100 days after the deceased has been cremated. As Christians we do not partake in a ceremony like this, but we can and do attend the actual funeral that takes place the day, or the day after someone dies. Early Sunday morning I went down to speak with the family and assure them of our sadness at the loss of their loved one. I also gave them a gift to show, in a tangible way, that we care for them. The ceremony goes for about 18 hours. During the ceremony, much of the time is spent listening to monks chant. The chanting is piped through loud speakers and you can hear it for blocks away. Imagine how loud it is when the speakers are set up as close as they were this weekend! You can click on the video above to hear what the chanting sounds like.
This evening Borey shared a testimony about the things that God did in her heart during last years’ Youth Conference. She told us that during the conference, “I decided to serve God no matter what.” As with many of our teens, things are not always easy once they make the decision to follow Christ. We are thankful for Borey and so many teens and adults who are willing to count the cost and go forward for the Lord, no matter what!
This is a picture of just a few of the folks who faithfully serve the Lord each Saturday morning by going into the community and visiting folks and handing out tracts. One of the young men in this picture was beaten by his mother tonight when he returned home from church and physically thrown out of the house because of his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his unwillingness to compromise. Our heart truly goes out to this young man who has such a heart to do right. I am not using his name for his own protection. Please pray for those in our ministry who are paying a great price for what they believe.
We are so grateful for those who labor to serve in the 11:00 Sunday teen service in Phnom Penh. (Our regular Sunday morning service runs from 8:00 am – 10:15 am.) This service is geared toward young people who have not yet started attending our regular Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday evening services. I sat in on the teen service for awhile this morning and was blessed to hear the young people sharing testimonies and singing. Brother Vannak had a wonderful message about the changes that are to take place in our lives once we are saved. Please continue to pray that we might see 10-12 new teens move from this teen service to become a part of our regular services by the end of this year.
We are just a few days from our 2015 Youth Conference. The conference will run from July 10-12th and will be geared primarily toward teens who have accepted Christ. It will be a wonderful time of fellowship with some of the young people from the village ministries. As a church, we are having a time of prayer and fasting that will run from Tuesday-Thursday this week. Please pray for safety for the conference as well as that the Holy Spirit might work in the heart of each young person and adult who attends.
After making a hospital visit this past Friday and returning to the church, it was a blessing to have Housan’s mother meet me and tell me that Housan woke up that morning concerned that he was going to die and go to Hell. He said to his mother, “I don’t want to go to Hell. I want to know Jesus.” She asked him what he thought he needed to do, and he replied, “Would you ask Pastor Dave to teach me how to know Jesus?” Though he is only 5 years old, as I dealt with him it was obvious that he has been listening to the children’s workers and to the preaching. He understood that he is a sinner and readily agreed that his sin requires a payment. He understood that he was unable to pay for his own sin but that Jesus paid the price for him on the cross, and he placed his faith in Jesus Christ. He is looking forward to being baptized in a few weeks! His mother, SreyLeak, was saved out of Islam about a year and a half ago. Please pray for Housan to grow in the Lord.
Workers from the church have been going to Ta Skov village for the past three years. In order to get to Ta Skov you must cross the Mekong River on a ferry, then drive another hour or so before you reach the village. You can click on the video below to see what it is like to load the Tuk Tuk up on a ferry and cross over the Mekong.
Theary is from Ta Skov village and has been a faithful believer since accepting Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour nearly three years ago. She attended our Youth Conference in Phnom Penh for the past two years and was signed up to attend again this year. However, Saturday evening, while walking on a road in the village with a couple of friends, a car hit her. It was reported by eye-witnesses, who are also members of our village ministry, that once the driver realized he had hit her, rather than getting out of the car to see how he could help her, he backed up and ran over her three more times – he wanted to make sure that she was dead. This type of behavior is shocking to those of us from the west. Many westerners, even those who reject God’s Word, tend to have hearts of compassion. This is due, in part, to the influence of Christianity upon the culture of many western countries. It is not uncommon here for a driver to make the decision to kill the victim in cases like this rather than risking having to financially support her for the rest of her life due to her becoming handicapped from the accident. One is reminded of Psalm 74:20 that says, “…for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.” Many of our young people in Ta Skov village are grieving today as is Theary’s unsaved family. Thank the Lord for faithful soul-winners who made it their aim to teach Theary God’s Word and help her to grow spiritually. Please pray for all those affected by this great tragedy. Our Phnom Penh church will be taking up a special offering for the family this Wednesday evening. Pray that the gift will be used by God to help the family understand that God loves them and they need to be saved.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason