December 6, 2015
We’ve been a bit delayed in getting an update out as things have been quite busy here in our part of the world over the past few weeks.
It was a blessing to be able to have another celebration service a couple of weeks ago. It is always a great time of fellowship, encouragement, and challenge as we meet together and hear testimonies and preaching. I was not able to count the folks in this service but someone else counted and told me there were 250 present. We were not able to baptize this particular Sunday due to the fact that our building had no water and we were unable to fill up the baptistery. It is a blessing to know that there were several who came to church prepared to follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism.
We are so thankful for our faithful ladies who joyfully prepared lunch for us to all enjoy. Most of them had to get up around 4:00 a.m. in order to have their time with the Lord, cook, and get to the 8:30 a.m. service on time. Thank you ladies!
It was a blessing to be able to dedicate Chy and KimLa’s daughters, Rebba and Rebeka, to the Lord. Chy has really become more faithful in his walk with the Lord over the past several months and truly desires to lead his family in the way they ought to go. It’s hard to believe that it was over 10 years ago, when he was just a teenager, that I had the privilege of leading him to the Lord! Time certainly does fly! It’s been a blessing to have Bro. Keo’s influence in Chy’s life over the past several months in particular. They travel together to preach in one of the village churches each Sunday and this has really helped Chy to see that God can use him to help teach others. Yesterday Chy and the workers in that particular village ministry taught 73 folks! Pray for Chy and KimLa as they continue to grow in the Lord.
It was wonderful to be able to be a part of Kosal and Phalley’s engagement ceremony here at the church. God allowed me to lead Kosal to the Lord 10 years ago. In fact, he was the first Cham individual that we had the opportunity to meet here in Cambodia and was the first Cham to accept Christ. (We met Cham refugees in the States back in the early 80’s but never saw any of them turn to Christ.) God has used Kosal and his family to be instrumental in seeing many Cham folks saved over the past 4 years or so. An engagement ceremony basically is a time when both families come together in a public setting and express their agreement to the marriage of their children. During the ceremony I gave a very brief challenge to the couple as well as provided each of them an opportunity to share their testimony of salvation. After the ceremony about 60 of us enjoyed eating curry together. The wedding is set for the end of January and will be held here at the church. Lord willing, we will be starting premarital counseling with them tomorrow evening. It is a great joy to see the Lord change lives and to see new families established in the church. Please pray for Kosal and Phalley as they enter this new phase of their lives.
We are so blessed to see the diligence that Grace and Sina have shown in learning Cambodian Sign Language. They are pictured here receiving their graduation certificate from the school that taught them. There are thousands of deaf and hearing impaired here in Cambodia and very few of them have ever had the opportunity to hear the plan of salvation even once. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that of the seven students in this particular class, six of them are Christians whose sole purpose in learning to sign is so that they might lead folks to Christ! The young lady standing next to Grace in the black blouse is a part of New Hope Baptist Church here in Phnom Penh and is a faithful Christian lady. The man on the far right is Missionary Stephen Benefield who has been serving here in Cambodia for many years. The two young ladies standing next to him are two of his daughters. Pray for Grace and Sina here at Pacific Baptist Church as well as the folks at New Hope Baptist and Good News Baptist Church as they seek to win the deaf of Cambodia to Christ.
It was a special blessing to see Alec’s little sister at Children’s Ministry yesterday. Srey Neaht is deaf and attends a premier school for the deaf here in Phnom Penh that is funded personally, according to my understanding, by the Prime Minister. Srey Neaht is not yet saved but seems to be very open to the gospel. I believe this is only her second time to be able to attend church. What a blessing it was to see Miss Grace and Sina translating the children’s service for her. Alec was reached with the gospel through Bro. Adrian and his Tuk Tuk route in Stung MeanChey.
Yesterday Jeremy and I had the opportunity to take Srey Nov home after the morning service and Children’s Ministry. She lives out in Prak Pnou in very difficult circumstances. I am certain that the only time she is showed love and positive attention is on Sundays when she is able to come to church. It was a real blessing yesterday to see her clutching a bag of clothing that someone here at the church gave her as a gift. She held it the entire ride home! It was also a blessing to see her joy when we stopped and bought her a simple can of Coke. Please pray that we will be able to see a work started, once again, in Prak Pnou Village. We have several folks who have made professions of faith and whom myself, Bro. Vong, and Bro. Has go teach each Tuesday but, as of yet, we have not been able to start anything on Sundays. (You may recall that we tried to get a work started there in the past but were forced to close it down nearly a year ago.)
It was a blessing to meet Prohs in our morning service. At the time that this picture was taken, two weeks ago, he was not yet saved and this was the very first time that he had ever been to a Christian church. I am thankful to report to you that he trusted Christ as his Saviour last week! Each Saturday several of the folks from the work in Psa Tricht Village go out soul-winning and they were able to meet him last month. They invited him to come to the celebration service and then continued to follow-up on him. Prohs has been in the military for 26 years and apparently has quite a bit of influence in his village and extended family. Pray for San and Ra, two of our national men, as they disciple Prohs in the things of the Lord. Also pray that he will be a good testimony and will be used by God to see many saved in his village.
Please continue to pray for Elephant Den Village (about a 40 minute drive from the church in Phnom Penh). I began going to this new village last month and have been able to meet several folks who are willing to listen to the gospel. Last week I gave Ta Son an mp3 player loaded with preaching and he promised to listen to it and discuss it with me when I return this Tuesday. At 80 years old his mind is still clear but the devil has blinded his eyes to the truth. I believe that he is truly thinking about his eternal destiny and desires to know the truth. We have had hours of great discussions where I pose different questions to him that challenge what he has believed his entire life. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will work in his heart and that he will come to understand his need to trust Jesus Christ for salvation. I am working with the following individuals in this village as well: Bonny (53 year old man), Sarum (lady in her 40s), and Sarin (23 year old man).
It was a blessing for our Phnom Penh church to be able to hear Veasna and Sinath preach this past Sunday evening. Their messages were from the heart and were used to help each of us. I’m so thankful for the many national believers who are embracing their responsibility to reach and lead their own people. Please pray for our team as we continue to win and train nationals to reach this country with the gospel. There are over 14,000 villages in Cambodia. The vast majority do not have a strong, gospel preaching church like we are privileged to have here in Phnom Penh. There is much work to do and the only way these villages will be truly reached is as the national believers are equipped and empowered to reach them!
This past week we took up a food offering for the poor. We take up this offering each month that has five Sundays. This time we had enough food to share with 12 families. Please pray that these gifts will be received in the spirit in which they were given and that they will be used to help soften the hearts of those who are so hardened to the gospel.
We were blessed to be able to set aside 5 days to be with the entire team for two days of vacation and three days of training. It was a blessing to get to know each other a little better and to challenge each other to continue in the work that God has called us each to do. We are so grateful for each of these families and their willingness to follow the Lord to difficult places.
We had many sessions Wednesday-Friday that spoke to our hearts and challenged us to make changes in our families and ministry. It has been a blessing to hear the ways God is working in our fellow team members hearts as I have been collecting feed back on the retreat from each team member. We look forward to having future meetings like this as we are able.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason