March 13, 2016
We had a wonderful week and weekend! We don’t normally send out an update two weeks in a row but there is so much encouraging news that we just had to share it with you! May those of you who faithfully follow and pray for this ministry rejoice with us because you have a part in seeing these lives changed as well.
1 Corinthians 16:9 “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” This past week we saw 11 folks trust Christ as their personal Saviour. Today we saw 4 more saved. The majority of these 15 new believers are adults. Praise the Lord! Without a doubt the enemy is not happy with the things that God is doing through this ministry. Please continue to uphold this work in your prayers.
This past Friday during our weekly family time, our family ate at a local restaurant here in Phnom Penh. It just so happened that we were seated directly across from the table in this picture. I clearly remember sitting at this particular table more than seven years ago with my sending Pastor and his wife, Dr. and Mrs. Joe Esposito, and discussing the vision that he believed God was giving him to have a team of missionaries raised up and sent out from Pacific Baptist Church of Long Beach. At that point it was simply vision, dreaming, and planning. Now several years later God is doing much more than any of us could have imagined. Please continue to pray for Pastor Esposito and his family as Pastor continues to make slow but seemingly definite progress in his recovery. None of us know what God’s will is for the future but we can trust that He knows what is best and we will all strive to trust Him. Also, as many of you are already doing, please uphold our home church and Pastor Steve Meyers and staff as they continue to move forward in reaching their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. I know that there are several folks in Long Beach who are sensing God’s call upon their lives in regard to the foreign mission field. Pray that they will, in conjunction with the direction of their God-given leaders (Acts 13:1-3, Hebrews 13:7), continue to “lift up their eyes and look upon the harvest that is white and ready to be harvested.” You can click on this link to read updates on Pastor Esposito’s progress. (http://pacificbaptist.com/pastor/)
This morning some of our men opened the service with the hymn “Jesus I Come.” We always enjoy hearing men boldly sing from their hearts!
Several of the teen young ladies have been working hard on the song “Carry Your Candle.” The song speaks of taking the light of the gospel to places that are dark and hopeless. These girls did a great job on this song that was translated by one of our men. I really appreciate the hours of work that Mrs. Has, Susanna, and the girls invest each week in helping provide heart-warming special music.
This morning my message focused on the judgment of God against the ungodly. In particular, I dealt with the truth that the lost will stand before God and will be judged not only for the sin they have committed but their judgment will be commensurate to the light they had received but rejected. I used this tract as an illustration. Yesterday while Debbie and I walked to make visits several blocks from the church, we came across one of our tracts that was crumpled and trampled upon, having been rejected by the one who received it. God worked in many hearts this morning, both saved and lost, through the truth of His Word.
Sinath lives in Prak Pnou and has been attending the church here in Phnom Penh quite faithfully over the past several weeks. Bro. Has and others have faithfully been working with her and her family for a long time now. Bro. Hem and Jeremy leave the church each Sunday at 6:00 a.m. to pick them up in Prak Pnou and bring them to church here in Phnom Penh. This morning during the message Sinath came under conviction that she was not truly saved. Following the service personal workers dealt with her and she, as well as two of her children, Virak and Srey Phe, all trusted Christ as their personal Saviour. Please pray for Sinath and her children as they now grow in the Lord. Also, please pray that in God’s timing, we will be able to see a viable work established in Prak Pnou that will be able to effectively reach that city with the gospel.
Dalin and her daughter, SreyRot, have been to church three weeks out of the past four. They only missed that one week due to the fact that they were moving. Bro. Has and several others have been faithfully working with her family for a couple of years now. It is my understanding that she came under conviction this morning during the message and after being dealt with by Mrs. San she trusted Jesus as her personal Saviour! That is a blessing! Thank God for the many many hours that have been invested into her life and the lives of her family members. God used each act of kindness and each word spoken to help draw her to Christ. Please pray for Dalin as she now grows in the Lord. Likewise, please pray for her husband, Barang, to be saved.
Last week we asked you to pray for Srey Touch to be saved. We are blessed to report that this past Thursday evening she trusted Jesus as her personal Saviour while meeting with Debbie and I at a local coffee shop. We are so thankful for the opportunity to work with her as she learns the Word of God and seeks to obey it. Please pray for Srey Touch as she now grows in the Lord. Also pray for her six year old daughter, Srey Leap, to understand her need to be saved.
Last week we asked you to pray for Phirum to be saved. He attended our Sunday evening couples class for the first time last week. It is my understanding that it was the first time that he had even been in a Christian church. It was a blessing to be able to meet with him and his wife, Srey, yesterday. It was our goal to present the plan of salvation to them and seek to answer any questions they might have had. Normally it will take a bit of time before an adult here in Cambodia comes to Christ after they have been exposed to the gospel. It’s not because the gospel is difficult to understand or difficult to receive – It’s because the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) seeks to keep them blinded and enslaved to sin. Another significant factor that causes many to delay receiving Christ or to outright reject salvation is the fact that once they are saved they will face rejection and persecution from their family and the community as a whole. After explaining the gospel to them yesterday morning Phirum looked at me and said, “Srey and I have already read the materials you gave me last Sunday and we believe that Jesus is the only God and that He alone can save us.” That was shocking! Of course we can not see their heart but God knows if they truly understand the gospel and are trusting Him. Pray for Phirum and Srey as we seek to help disciple them in the Word of God. After spending some time with them yesterday they told us that their landlord hates Christians and once he found out that they were attending our church he has made life difficult for them. He has forbidden them from inviting us to their home and wants them to move out of his building. Please pray that Phirum and Srey will be able to find a room that they can afford near the church. They both work until around 1:00 a.m. seven days a week as vegetable washers at a local market. Our hearts truly go out to this couple and their five children.
Thank God for our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry that reached out to their son, Veasna, three weeks ago when he began attending Children’s ministry. Without the faithfulness of the Children’s Ministry workers going into their neighborhood each week Veasna and his parents may have lived their entire lives without ever having the gospel clearly presented to them.
Bro. Vannak and some of the workers who have been targeting Stung MeanChey district have been reaching out to Grandma Heang for several weeks now. We are happy to report that this afternoon she accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour. It will now be the responsibility of the workers to help her to understand what it means to live as a Christian. Pray that Grandma Heang will shine as a bright testimony in her family and community as she begins to grow in the Lord.
There are many blessing that have come through our Sunday evening small groups. Not only are we seeing new adults begin to attend church but we are also seeing new friendships being made. It was a real blessing to see some of the ladies from our married couples class all get together and pose for this picture. The amazing reality is that without the changes that have taken place in their hearts because of the gospel, these ladies would have no occasion to even know each other let alone be friends. They are from different “social economic” classes and represent three different people groups. Thank God for the testimony of God’s grace that is being raised up here at Pacific Baptist Church!
This evening we celebrated the anniversaries of the couples in our small group who were married in the month of March. It was great to have the opportunity for us all to celebrate with these four couples.
Eden and Phillip were just two of many children who managed to sneak into our Sunday evening fellowship time for some chocolate cake and ice cream. My lesson during our small group time was from Proverbs 4 and stressed the importance of training up the next generation for the Lord. It was great to see the young children hanging out with their parents and to realize that they are the next generation! In our small group alone we have 4 mothers who are expecting a baby. Heads up to our nursery workers… 🙂
This afternoon we had our second public service in Elephant Den. We were missing a couple of people from last week as they were apparently in another Province for the weekend. However, we had new people who attended. They are not in this picture but we also had two drunk guys join us — Lots I could say about that but I won’t take the time…suffice it to say that one of them, Thy, stood about five feet from me for the majority of the time I was teaching and translated everything I was saying into sign language… Here’s the problem – He doesn’t speak sign language! I have no idea what he was thinking. I did my best to ignore him but the young people just sat there in amazement. To make matters worse, after I was done teaching he told the entire group that he is a Christian and loves Jesus and agrees with everything I just taught. The whole situation would be funny if it were not so sad. There is a reason why Thy and his friend spend the majority of their lives drunk. The truth of the matter is that they live hopeless lives with very little chance of tomorrow being any different from today. It is sad that the young people in this village are exposed to this type of example. Truly the only hope that Elephant Den Village and thousands of other villages just like it have is the hope of the gospel. Please pray for the two adults (Mr. Sakhan and Mr. Son) who have professed faith in Christ to grow in their walk with the Lord and to be shining lights in this very dark idol-making village. Also please pray for the following folks in Elephant Den with whom we are working: Vanny (mid-30s), Vanna (early 30s), Chea (14 years old), Somphorn (12 years old), Nigah (12 years old), SreyPa (12 years old), SreyOun (12 years old), SreyLyn (12 years old).
Today we had around 60 folks in the Prey Bang Village church service. Please continue to pray for Bro. Sinath and his workers as they travel to that village on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. This week we saw the 20 year old daughter of Vorn and Sal trust Christ as her personal Saviour. Vorn and Sal were saved a few months back and are growing in their understanding of the Word of God. Thank God for their good testimony within the home that the Holy Spirit used to help draw their daughter to Him.
Lord willing we will begin holding organized services in Stung MeanChey this coming Sunday. The services will run from 2:30 until around 4:00. This new outreach will specifically target teenagers who live in the vicinity where we will be meeting. We plan to begin at 2:30 with perhaps four Sunday School classes. Each class will be led by one of our national adults. They will each have a couple of teen workers from Phnom Penh who will assist them as they are being trained to learn how to teach and work with people as well. After the Sunday School class time is over we will have a combined service that will have singing, testimonies, and preaching. Please pray for Bro. Man and Kahna as they head up this new outreach. There are literally thousands of people living in a one to two block radius of the location where we will meet. The vast majority of them are below the age of 20.
We want to once again thank those who have helped provide the ministry with mp3 players and memory cards over the past several months. We just received a fresh supply this past week. So many of our new believers are spiritually benefiting from the preaching and teaching that they are able to listen to during the week because of our ability to loan these mp3 players to them. Many others who are not yet saved but who are open are able to listen to evangelically geared teaching that God is using to help soften their heart and show them their need to be saved. Please continue to pray that this tool will remain an effective means to reach the lost as well as to edify the saved.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason