May 8, 2016
We had a wonderful Mother’s Day celebration this morning here at PBCPP! It was great to hear these two music groups share the special music that they had practiced for several weeks. We are so blessed to see their desire to do their very best for the Lord and for their parents.
One of the special aspects of our service was the reading of poems that the teenagers had composed for their mothers. Here NeyNey is reading the poem she wrote for her mom. We also had a special time for folks to share special memories of their mothers and to express their thanks for the mother that God gave them. It was a very special time when the God-given emotions that we have all been given for our mothers were touched. There was not a dry eye in the house. Thank God for faithful mothers who love us and sacrifice so much for our well-being.
We were blessed to have 6 mothers of some of our teens visiting with us. They are not yet saved but agreed to attend our special service. So many of the young people were hoping that their moms would come and I am confident that some of them were disappointed that their moms didn’t come. All together we had 26 mothers in our morning service here in Phnom Penh. Judging by how many tears there were on the faces of the mothers I believe that the service touched their hearts. We pray that seeds of the gospel were planted in the hearts of the 6 visiting mothers.
BouKong was very happy that his mother agreed to come to church today. I have written in the past about the persecution he has taken at home, not for getting saved, but for striving to live an uncompromising life that honors and glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the young man who several months ago shared a testimony during one of our church services that he was so blessed to be able to be at church with his Christian brothers and sisters. He wept as he said, “It is worth being here with all of you even though when I return home I will be beaten for going to church.” His mother has been his primary persecutor. This is why we were all so surprised to see her show up in the service. She actually came this morning with the goal of asking us to help her stop BouKong from coming to church. However, as the service progressed her heart began to be softened and she was surprised by what she witnessed. She saw young person after young person stand up and share testimonies of their gratitude for saving them and of their love for their parents. She heard preaching from Proverbs 31 that elevated the value of motherhood and reminded the families in the church that we as church leaders desire to partner with them in helping their children to be obedient and successful for the Lord. I watched from the platform as tears flowed down her face and her spirit radically changed. Then we all were amazed to see her stand up and publicly tell the entire church that she has three sons but only one of them is obedient and never rebels against her at home – BouKong. She said that she has misunderstood the value of our church in the life of her son and realizes now that it is the church that is causing her son to be obedient. Before all of us, and again to me in private, she vowed to not try to prevent her son from being a part of the church but rather to encourage him to keep going! Wow! Of course we know that it is God, not the church, that has changed her son’s life and given him a love for his family, but she does not yet understand that. PLEASE PRAY THAT BOUKONG AND THE REST OF THE TEENS WILL CONTINUE TO LIVE FOR THE LORD BEFORE THEIR FAMILIES IN SUCH A WAY THAT HELPS TO SOFTEN THEIR HEARTS TO THE GOSPEL.
Bro. Vannak and his brothers presented their mother, Ya, with a special gift during the service. He also shared a great testimony of his love and appreciation for his mother who for many years has lived for her children. Ya was saved in 2011 and her life was radically changed. I clearly remember when we first met her in 2006 in her village. As a Muslim she was living without hope and without God. In 2007 she visited one of our services in Phnom Penh but was not ready to be saved. The joy that is in her life is a testament to the power of the Holy Spirit to change one’s life.
Mrs. Has recently organized a two day ladies retreat for a few of the Phnom Penh ladies. They had a great time of fellowship and edification as they took a short break from their daily routines.
Sok and Nyung live in a village about two hours from Phnom Penh near the Psa Tricht church. Bro. San and some of our men met them a few months ago as they were going door-to-door in their village handing out gospel tracts. These folks have been a part of some sort of Christian ministry for three years but never clearly understood the gospel until a couple of weeks ago. It was great to receive word that the workers were able to lead them to assurance of their salvation. PRAY FOR THIS COUPLE TO BE FAITHFUL TO ATTEND CHURCH AND TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A CLEAN BREAK FROM THE MINISTRY THEY HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN A PART OF OVER THE PAST THREE YEARS.
It was nice to have Somphoah’s mother, Navy, visit Phnom Penh a few days ago. Somphoah is our most faithful deaf member and as a new Christian she is very burdened for the salvation of her family. We were able to take them out to dinner and spend a few hours with them. I briefly encouraged Navy to open her heart to the Lord but Miss Grace and Sina later had the opportunity to speak with her at greater length. PRAY THAT SOMPHOAH WILL CONTINUE TO MAKE WISE DECISIONS THAT HONOR CHRIST AND THAT SHE WILL REMAIN A STRONG TESTIMONY TO HER LOST FAMILY.
Cheang is a part of the deaf ministry here at Pacific Baptist. Miss Grace and Sina have been doing a good job in loving her and helping to lead her. We were all happy to see her complete a booklet on the gospel of Mark and answer 100 questions in order to receive a new Bible. I know that she has spent several weeks diligently working on this project each evening after she got off work. Her work schedule gives her very little time off and she normally is not able to attend Sunday morning services. We hope to present her new Bible to her this coming Sunday night.
We continue to try and make new contacts in Elephant Den Village. Ta Son has been having issues with his health that has made it difficult for him to get out of the house. He still enjoys listening to the preaching on his mp3 player and we are hoping that he will be well enough to once again study with us. Mr. Sakhan is the only adult who has continued to attend each Sunday and Tuesday. All of his adult children have found “convenient” excuses to not attend. In reality, they only attended the first couple of weeks in order to see if we were going to be giving them any free giveaways. Sakhan’s heart is burdened over their spiritual condition. As you might already know, the majority of “ministries” and “churches” here in Cambodia use free food, clothing, jobs, English classes, building free houses, digging wells, etc… The lack of wisdom and prudence on the part of so many of these groups has caused a real stumbling block that makes it a real challenge to actually help people in a physical way without doing damage. By God’s grace He has enabled our church family to recognize true God-given opportunities to exercise hospitality and show the love of Christ.
We recently had the opportunity to meet some of Ta Son’s children. His son, Sarey, is a soldier and lives in Preah Vihear Province on the Thai / Cambodian border. He has been visiting his father for a couple of weeks and so we have been able to spend time getting to know him. He told me that since 1990 he has wanted to know what Christianity is all about. He would often listen to Christian radio programs. While we are thankful for some of the good that these programs do, they tend to do a lot of surface talking without actually saying anything substantive. In particular, they normally do not make it clear how someone can have their sins forgiven and become God’s child. Last week I had the opportunity to thoroughly present the plan of salvation to him and his wife, Ly. Unfortunately Sarey had to return to work and left this past week. He asked if he could get some teaching on mp3 so that he could listen to it and more clearly understand salvation. We prepared this teaching for him and his wife sent it to him by taxi. Ly has remained in the village in order to try and find a job. The bad part about her finding a job is that once she begins working she will work 7 days a week from early morning until late evening. This leaves virtually no time to meet with us. She has shown a lot of interest in knowing what it means to be a Christian and is also listening to teaching on an mp3 player. We are not certain when we will actually be able to meet her again but I will continue to try to see her. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAREY AND LY TO COME TO CHRIST.
Srey Kouch is another one of Ta Son’s children. She sat in on the teaching last week and seems interested as well. Like her sister-in-law, she works 7 days a week and it is very difficult to meet up with her. PLEASE PRAY THAT SHE WILL ALSO LISTEN TO THE MP3 TEACHING AND THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL CONVICT HER OF THE NEED TO BE SAVED.
A few weeks ago I began going door-to-door in a new village not far from Elephant Den Village and was able to meet Chime and her two adult children, Linna and SreyNy. Debbie and I have had several opportunities to meet with them and are striving to help them understand the gospel. Chime enjoys listening to the teaching on the mp3 player we lent to her and seems to be very open. We are hoping that they will attend our special Friend Day this coming Sunday. I have asked Bro. Vannak to preach a salvation message this Sunday. PLEASE PRAY THAT CHIME, LINNA, AND SREY NY WILL BE SAVED SOON.
We had the opportunity to meet Navy this past week and spend an extended period of time sharing the gospel with her. She seems open to a friendship with us but does not yet see her need for a personal Saviour from her sin. She has told us that she will come to church for Friend Day this coming Sunday. PRAY THAT NAVY WILL KEEP HER COMMITMENT AND THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN A RELATIONSHIP WITH HER THAT WILL RESULT IN HER SALVATION.
PRAY FOR OUR UPCOMING FRIEND DAY ON MAY 15TH. WE ARE PLANING TO HAVE SEVERAL TESTIMONIES AS WELL AS A GREAT EVANGELISTIC SERMON BY BRO. VANNAK ON THAT DAY.
Borey shared a Mother’s Day poem that she wrote with the church this morning. It was touching to see her read the special poem that she wrote for her mother, though her mother is now in Heaven. Her father, Rom, was in the morning service and listened intently as his daughter thanked God for the mother she had been given. Due to circumstances in the family it was agreed before her mother passed away that we would take responsibility for Borey and that her father would have very little influence in her life, at least for the time being. PLEASE PRAY THAT ROM WILL BE SAVED. Many of us have invested time on numerous occasions presenting the gospel to him but as of yet he has not yielded his will to admit that he is in need of a personal Saviour. I do believe that the Holy Spirit is working in his heart. This morning he showed me the most recent tract that I left on his door this past week when my wife and I tried to go visit him. He then stuck it in his front pocket and said that he is reading it.
Our Sunday evening small groups are going well. We have seen new contacts made and lives impacted because of the structure of these small groups. This evening in our married couples group after spending time sharing blessings and testimonies we spent a few minutes playing Guesstures. There was some fierce competition as the women challenged the men! After the game I taught on the life of Eli and the mistakes he made as a father that helped contribute to the destruction of his family.
Hoa works many hours each week as a bus driver in order to support his wife and young baby. He normally works 7 days a week. One of the curses of poverty in this country is that if you are fortunate enough to have a job, that job will likely consume your entire life leaving you very little if any free time. Hoa has attended our couple’s small group for the past two weeks because he has requested to have this month off of work so that he can be at church. This evening he told me that he became a Christian as a teenager but shortly after that he began working and has never grown. However, he desires to grow as a believer – that is why he has requested time off of work in order to be at church. PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO MAINTAIN A RELATIONSHIP WITH HOA AND THAT HIS SCHEDULE WILL WORK OUT SO THAT HE CAN BE MORE INVOLVED WITH THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH.
We have written about Dalien in the past. She is doing her best to be faithful to the Lord in spite of the very difficult circumstances in which she lives. This evening just after church she collapsed to the floor in our living room out of exhaustion and was unconscious for about 20 minutes. She and her step-daughter, SreyRoeuth, help support the family through collecting items that can be recycled. She worked all day in the blazing heat pushing her cart up and down the streets of Phnom Penh trying to find cans that she could recycle and apparently didn’t eat all day. That was the likely reason that she fainted. Once we got her revived and learned she had not eaten we immediately sent one of our young adult ladies down the street to purchase food for her. She told us that she didn’t eat because she is too depressed about her family situation. We, along with the help of a couple of our national ladies, did manage to get her to eat enough to regain some strength. She told us that it was likely that her husband will beat her tonight if he finds out she was at church. Most of us can not imagine what it would be like to live in her situation. Hebrews 13:3 says, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” PLEASE REMEMBER DALIEN IN YOUR PRAYERS. PRAY FOR HER HUSBAND, BARANG, TO BE SAVED. Bro. Bounna and Thy have been working with this couple for some time now.
This past week we were privileged to have some friends visit from the United States for 4 days. It was refreshing to spend some time with them. They have been a true friend to our family and to the ministry over the years. As we brought them to see the Killing Fields we were once again reminded of the long-term damage that has been done to his country through the Khmer Rouge regime and events that followed. The Killing Fields has been “commercialized” for the benefit of attracting foreign tourists and the emotional impact is nothing at all like it was the first time I visited it over 20 years ago. Yet it is still sobering to see the evidence that remains as a testament to the depths of depravity to which mankind can sink when they are without God and under the control of demons.
Please continue to pray for our team of nationals and missionaries as we strive to make disciples of Jesus Christ and take the gospel to places where it has not previously been taken. An influential NGO group here in Cambodia recently published that of the over 14,000 villages her in Cambodia, 8,500 of them are without any gospel witness whatsoever. The key to reaching Cambodia is seeing more national believers grounded in the Word of God and able and willing to spread the gospel to these villages.
PRAY FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF PBCPP AS WE CHALLENGE THEM TO GIVE THEIR FUTURE TO THE LORD’S WORK! Sadly, there are many distractions thrown at them in their daily lives. In recent days I’ve been reminded of the damage that can come into a young person’s life when social media (Facebook in particular) becomes preeminent in one’s life. Yes, even here in Cambodia… Not only is a lot of time wasted following useless trends and fair-weather “friends” but it seems that many young people in this generation seem to be unwilling or unable to discern what is that “good and acceptable and perfect will of God” due to the multitude of voices calling out for their affection. We have a great group of teen young people who love the Lord, are willing to face persecution, and enjoy serving in ministry. Lord willing, this core group of young people will continue to have soft hearts as they give Christ the preeminence in their lives!
It has been a true blessing to have Miss Joy Esposito serving here in Cambodia for the past 15 months or so. As a single lady missionary she has given her life to make a difference in the lives of others! We are sad to see her return to the States to get married but we look forward to seeing how God will direct her future steps for His glory.
This evening one of our young men, Buth, heard me speaking about a new single young lady who will be coming from Long Beach to serve with the team. He innocently asked me this question, “Why are there so many single ladies coming to the mission field? Where are the single young men? Why don’t they desire to serve God like the ladies do?” That is a pretty insightful question from a young believer who is the only Christian in his Buddhist family. Something for us to think about…Perhaps you are a young single man who desires to obey God’s call on your life to GO with the gospel to some place around this world where it is most needed. What is stopping you? Why not step out and be the one to answer the call!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason