March 27, 2016
We had a great weekend! Thank God for the safety He provided for those who traveled as well as for the hundreds of folks who navigated the somewhat precarious stairs of our church! I didn’t have a chance to estimate the size of the congregation but one of our other men said he counted 300 or so. We’re thankful for the blessing of being able to influence so many lives. Please continue to pray for the work here in Phnom Penh as well as our various village works. No doubt the evil one is not happy and he will seek various ways to frustrate the work that God is doing as people continue to turn from idols to serve the living God, from the power of his darkness to the glorious light of the gospel.
Our role is not to force people to accept Jesus. We simply serve as voices to carry God’s message of salvation. It is the Holy Spirit Who draws men and women to God. Thank the Lord for the many people who have decided to follow Jesus! You can hear our opening chorus from this morning, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, by clicking on the video below.
It was a blessing to witness sixteen folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism this morning. There were five others who were planning to be baptized but for various reasons were unable to. Please pray for these folks to continue to grow in their new faith in the midst of persecution. Two teen young people were scheduled to be baptized. However, their parents who are not believers prevented them from doing so. They had no problem with their young people attending church and claiming to be “saved,” but when they decided to publicly identify with Christ through Baptism, it was then that their parents stepped in and prevented it.
Srey Nite is 23 years old and has been attending the church off and on for about four years. Last month she finally came to the point where she saw her need to be saved and trusted Christ as her personal Saviour. She immediately had a desire to witness to her friends and loved ones. Her boss did not like her decision to become a Christian and immediately fired her from her job. While this was difficult for her she continued to have a desire to see those around her come to Christ. It is my understanding that last Tuesday she came to the church and requested a handful of tracts which she handed out to folks living near her home. When her family found out what she was doing they told her that if she didn’t stop sharing her faith they would kick her out of the house and onto the street. With all that she has faced in recent days she was still joyfully baptized this morning. After the service she told me that she has completed the 100 question booklet from the Gospel of Mark in order to receive a Bible from the church. She also let me know that her younger sister, who was standing right next to her smiling ear to ear, would like to get a copy of the booklet because she wants a Bible as well! PLEASE PRAY FOR SREY NITE AND MANY OTHER BELIEVERS HERE WHO FACE PERSECUTION ON A DAILY BASIS BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITHFULNESS TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
My message this morning was entitled, The Resurrection Changes Everything! 1) It changes our eternal destiny, 2) It changes the way we live each day, and 3) It changes our perspective on death. (It gives us the assurance that the death of our saved loved ones is simply a temporary separation and we will see them again one day.)
I asked two individuals to share testimonies with the congregation this morning about the changes that have taken place in their daily lives since the time that they came to know the living God. Both testimonies were powerful and moving.
Ra was saved out of Islam and came to Christ about 4 years ago. He shared with the church of his hatred for myself and others 10 years ago when we would go to his village with the gospel. Through a series of events he and his wife were saved and now are both actively serving the Lord! I won’t go into detail here due to the sensitive nature of his testimony, but he detailed some of the persecution that has come against the believers in our church who live in his village and of their resolve, by God’s grace, to continue to serve the Lord and seek to win those around them to Him.
Sokeng shared of the changes that have taken place in her family since they have known the Lord. She shared that before she was saved she hated Christianity because she thought it was a foreign religion. He husband was the first one in her family to be saved. She shared that it was the love of Bro. Keo and others in the church that helped soften his heart toward the Lord. After Taiwan was saved she continued to hate God but she began noticing major changes in Taiwan’s life. He used to be mean and selfish but when he got saved he became kind and was concerned about the needs of his family. It was the godly testimony of her husband that caused her heart to be softened to the gospel. She shared of her joy to be married to a godly husband and to have two children who are now saved as well. Her testimony of gratitude and her tears of joy moved all of our hearts.
So many of our ladies got up this morning at 4:00 in order to spend time with the Lord before they cooked food for our church family to enjoy. We had a Curry cooking competition and these three ladies were the winners! Several of our men left very early this morning in order to pick people up who needed transportation to church. Today, like every Sunday, would have never happened had it not been for the willingness of the many, many faithful national believers who love the Lord and who love their own people to sacrifice their own comforts in order to be a blessing to others!
Mrs. Has, Bro. San and Yom, and other workers have invested many hours in helping the children learn how to sing for the glory of the Lord. Two children’s groups sang for us this morning. You can click on the videos below to hear them sing…be sure to pay special attention to the little girl in pink standing in the front row singing the song I Know the Saviour Lives Today. She is singing with all her might!
Our English ensemble sang the song Lift Up the Cross in English and Khmer this morning. They did a fantastic job. I’m thankful for Bro. Kosal who translated the song as well as for my wife who leads this group. Each one of the members in this group are very involved serving in multiple soul-winning and disciple-making ministries here in the church. Yet, they invest the time each week to practice for their special numbers. They are a good example of faithful church members! You can click on the video below to hear them singing.
One of the highlights this morning was our time of fellowship after the service. Click on the video below to see some of the folks enjoying time together.
We were so happy that four folks from Elephant Den Village were able to join us for the service this morning. We began holding public services in Elephant Den at Mr. Sakhan’s home four weeks ago and have been averaging 10-12 people. It has been a little difficult getting the group started as it often is when new village ministries begin. It was good for Sakhan to see what our church is like here in Phnom Penh and get a vision for what God can do in his village. When we arrived back to his village this afternoon he told me that his heart was so warmed by the singing, testimonies, and preaching. He then said, “Tell people to pray for my village because my village is full of the Devil and is very dark.” Please continue to pray for Sakhan, Vanna, Vanny, Somphoahs, Chea, and Ta Son. I had the opportunity to witness to Chea for some time this past week and hope to see him again this Tuesday.
It was a blessing to have Navy visiting with us this morning. She is visiting two of her children in Phnom Penh for a few weeks. Today was the first time she has ever been to a church. As I watched her while I was preaching it was evident that she was listening intently. After the service I had the opportunity to speak with her for awhile and she asked me this question, “If I become a Christian can I still go to the temple and participate in various ceremonies in my village?” This is a common question, and while we try to be sensitive in our answer, it is an issue that has to be addressed. She continued by saying, “If I don’t go to the temple then everyone in the village will hate me and I won’t have any more friends.” I spoke with her about how we ought to fear God more than we fear man. She told me that she is counting the cost right now and that she wants to become a Christian but is scared of the persecution. I was able to take a gift of freshly barbecued chicken and vegetables to her this evening and again remind her that she should not delay receiving the Lord. It seemed evident that she is under conviction of her sin. Please pray that her children, SokChea and Chantha, will be a good testimony to her while she is here and that Navy will accept Christ soon.
This morning in conjunction with the message on the resurrection and the promise found in God’s Word that we will see departed loved ones again, we revealed a memorial picture of five members of our church who were saved over the past five years through the ministry here and who are in Heaven today. At the bottom of the picture is the verse 1 Corinthians 15:58 reminding us that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. Borey’s mother, Channy (pictured second from the left), is one of the folks pictured. We will be mounting this picture in the church auditorium and hope that it will serve as an encouragement for the church family to continue to remain faithful to witness to their lost loved ones. Thank you for your prayers and support that have helped people like these five folks come to the Lord.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason