June 9, 2016
We have had a very busy and event-filled past couple of weeks. In an attempt to help keep you as connected to the work as possible, our update this week will have many pictures but we are not going to write as much about each one as we normally would.
TWO OF OUR NEW BELIEVERS ARE NOW IN HEAVEN
Over the past month we have seen two of our men pass away. Thankfully they had both come to faith within the past six months. Thank you for making it possible for them to hear the gospel through your prayers and support.
I began going to Elephant Den Village about six months ago. At the time that we began soul-winning in this village there were no known believers. In fact, Elephant Den seems to be particularly resistant to the gospel. It might be in part due to the fact that nearly every family in the village derives their income through the manufacturing of idols out of wood and stone. Those of you who follow the work here will know that I had the opportunity to meet 82 year old Ta Son and become friends with him. Over time be came to understand the gospel and he placed his faith in Jesus Christ. While there were many things he did not yet understand, he was clear that his hope and faith was in the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Three Sundays ago was the last time we had the opportunity to see him this side of Heaven. He was not feeling well and didn’t feel like walking to the location where the adults meet for Bible study each Sunday so we went and met in his house instead. During that meeting I asked him, once again, if his faith was in Jesus Christ alone or if he simply added Jesus to the animistic beliefs he had believed for the past eight decades. I specifically made reference to the “spirit house” that was situated just about six feet from the front door of his home. He said, “That thing belongs to my children. I have stopped sacrificing to the devil and my faith is in Jesus Christ alone. What is the use in asking the devil for help? That idol is just made of stone. It can’t help me at all.” While I could hear and understand what he said, I still had a bit of doubt as to the veracity of his words.
Two days later he fell seriously ill and was taken to the hospital where he passed away on Thursday evening. There are no other believers in his family of eight children and so they held a Buddhist funeral and cremated the body before we were even notified of his passing. The other man in this photo is Sakhan. He moved to Elephant Den Village a month after Ta Son accepted Christ. The two of them became very close and enjoyed good times of fellowship throughout the week. Sakhan told me that Tuesday morning, just before he fell sick and was taken to the hospital, Ta Son was at his house and they were discussing the Word of God. Ta Son had gone to Sakhan’s house because he needed help to charge his MP3 player that was loaded with preaching. After the player was charged he returned home to listen to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. Hearing Sakhan talk about Ta Son’s love for preaching is one sign that helps us to have confidence that he was truly trusting Jesus as his personal Saviour! But there are two more evidences that we learned this past week.
As I met with several of his adult children who were visiting from distant provinces for his funeral, I asked them if their father had ever spoken to them about Jesus. Their response was, “Yes! Every time our dad visited us over the past few months he would bring his MP3 player and make us all listen to the preaching.” Amen!
Then the third evidence that Ta Son had truly become a son of God is what everyone in the village is now saying – over the past week the villagers have begun to say that the reason Ta Son died was because he turned his back on his altars and on the spirits who had been “protecting” him for the past 82 years. Those who lived right next to him knew him best. Often a missionary or Christian worker in this country can be misled and deceived for numerous reasons. However, Ta Son’s fellow villagers took specific note that he had stopped worshiping the spirits and was now a Christian!
It is obviously a bit tricky now trying to witness in Elephant Den. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE OUTREACH THAT WE HAVE TO TA SON’S CHILDREN. His son, Sarey, and Sarey’s wife are supposed to be at our Phnom Penh church this Sunday. I had the opportunity to witness to him for a long time this past Tuesday and it was evident that he is under conviction that he needs to be saved.
Chea and his wife, Ny, came to Christ here at Pacific Baptist Church a couple of months ago. It was through the godly example of a national pastor and his family that the Holy Spirit began working in their hearts and showing them their need of salvation. Thankfully, they were able to connect with several folks here at the church and they came to faith in Christ and were baptized.
Two weeks ago, quite unexpectedly, Chea passed away. No one was more shocked than his wife, who had given birth to their youngest child just about a week prior. PLEASE PRAY FOR NY AND HER CHILDREN. Life will likely be very difficult for them for quite some time.
THERE HAVE BEEN MANY NEW CONVERTS MADE THIS PAST MONTH
In all the various outreach ministries of our church there have been many folks saved over the past month. We will tell you about three of them.
Five weeks ago Debbie and I had the opportunity to meet Navy. I was able to witness to her for an extended period of time in front of her home the first day we met her. She was receptive to a friendship with us but did not see her need for a personal Saviour. This is typical of many folks here who are hesitant to admit that they are a sinner.
We invited her to come for Friend Day four weeks ago and she came. That was the beginning of God really working in her heart. She has attended every Sunday morning service since. This past Sunday evening she attended our couples small group and seemed to really enjoy it. We set an appointment to meet with her in our home on Monday morning at 8:30 to again witness to her. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit used the Word of God to bring about conviction in her heart and after about two hours she placed her faith in Christ! She is planning to get baptized on the 26th of this month. Lord willing, Debbie and I will begin meeting with her each Monday morning from 9:00-10:00 for discipleship. PRAY THAT NAVY WILL GET PLUGGED INTO THE DAY-IN DAY-OUT LIFE OF THE CHURCH!
We met Maly about a year ago and have on several occasions sought to present the gospel to her. It is very difficult to find a time to meet with her when she is not working. She works at the modern mall across town and so many times we would meet her on our weekly date night. About two months ago we let her borrow an MP3 player that we loaded with evangelistic teaching and preaching. A couple of weeks ago she told us that she and her husband, Sreang, don’t even bother to turn on the television any more. As soon as they get home from work they play the MP3 speaker until they go to bed. Wow!
It is very difficult to find her at home because she works seven days a week and has random days off during the month. Yesterday morning I called her and told her that I wanted to go see her during her lunch break. It was then that I found out she had been given the day off work and would be at home all day. I set an appointment to meet her and was able to spend right at two hours explaining the gospel to her. I could see her heart opening up as I explained the pictures that we often use to explain salvation. With tears in her eyes she placed her faith in Jesus Christ. It was special to hear her pray and say something along the lines of this – “Jesus, I no longer want to be the child of the devil. I want to become Your child. Please forgive my sins. I am trusting only in You to take me to Heaven.” PLEASE PRAY FOR MALY TO GROW IN HER NEW FAITH. Because of her work schedule she will not be able to be at church. We are hoping to be able to find a time when we can meet with her and help her go through discipleship. Lord willing, her job schedule could change in the future. In the mean time we will be providing her with materials she can listen to on the MP3 player. PLEASE PRAY FOR HER HUSBAND, SREANG, TO BE SAVED. He works seven days a week as a security guard at the government offices in front of their house. Yesterday he told me that he wants to meet with me and will call me when he has a chance to meet.
Phoeun was saved several months ago and has been a faithful witness to his family. A number of his adult children have come to Christ and are faithful to church, but his wife, Lon, always resisted accepting Christ as her Saviour. We’ve all been praying for her and we asked you all to pray for her as well. Many of us have had the opportunity to witness to her and seek to influence her to be saved. Bro. San and the workers in the Psa Tricht Village church have really invested many hours into this family. A few days ago Lon accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour! Since then she has shown much interest in learning the Word of God as well as attending church. Phoeun was joking around the other day and mentioned to someone that every since Lon has been saved he has to eat dinner late because she spends more time reading her Bible than preparing his meals! PLEASE PRAY FOR LON AS SHE GROWS IN HER NEW FAITH. She plans to follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism on the 26th.
This past Sunday some of our ladies sang a special song. They have been working hard to get it just right and they did a great job. We are blessed by their commitment to the Lord, to their families, and to the work of the Lord!
THE KEY TO REACHING A NATION IS EQUIPPING AND EMPOWERING MEN TO SERVE
It was such a blessing to see Bro. Kosal preach for the first time for our Sunday evening service a couple of weeks ago. The Lord brought us together in 2006 and we were able to see him trust Christ. Almost immediately he had a burden to see the gospel go into his Muslim village. At that time there were virtually no Cham believers in Cambodia. You can read our prayer letter from September 2006 where we requested prayer for God to open the door for us to get into his village and for his family members to be saved at the following link: https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2006/09/ Over the past several years we have seen virtually every adult member of Kosal’s family and extended family come to Christ. Many of them are faithful witnesses for the Lord and actively involved serving in the ministry. Kosal was married here at Pacific Baptist Church several months ago to a wonderful young lady, Phalley, who was also saved out of Islam. In addition to teaching English at the premier English school in Cambodia, Kosal is a faithful teacher for our Sunday Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. He is also serving in the new outreach we started two months ago in Stung MeanChey District every Sunday afternoon. Last Sunday the Stung MeanChey outreach had 70 folks! PLEASE PRAY FOR KOSAL AND PHALLEY AS THEY GROW IN THEIR MARRIAGE AND IN THEIR SERVICE FOR THE LORD.
Kosal’s younger brother, Man, is heading up the Stung MeanChey outreach. We thank God for his faithfulness and for the spiritual growth we’ve seen in his life. Man and his wife, Kanha, are good examples not only to the teens in the church but to the adults as well. Bro. Man preached a great message on Discipleship for our Wednesday evening service this past week. Kanha has had some health challenges in recent days and could use your prayers. PLEASE PRAY FOR MAN AND KANHA AS THEY CONTINUE TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD!
It was a true blessing for us to be able to have a dear friend visit us from our home church. God allowed us to lead Vorn and her family to Christ more than 20 years ago. Today her eldest son, Sara, and his family are serving here on the mission field along side of us. This was Vorn’s first time to return to Cambodia since fleeing the Khmer Rouge nearly 40 years ago. She had a great time visiting her brothers and sisters here in Cambodia that she has not seen in all those years. She had many opportunities to witness to her family. No doubt she had a great time visiting her grandchildren as well.
For our family the greatest blessing of having her visit was the influence she was able to have with our church family here. She had the opportunity to publicly share her testimony in our services in four different settings. I heard many comments of how God used her life story to encourage our people to be faithful in spite of persecution. We thank God for her family and look forward to the time when her husband, Sareth, will be able to visit.
I was looking through some of our old prayer letters from years past and found the letter where we asked for prayer that Vorn might be saved – That was January 1994…Thank God for fruit that remains!
REACHING AND EQUIPPING THE NEXT GENERATION
One of the greatest blessings of serving on the mission field is the opportunity to be involved in reaching and equipping the next generation to know and serve the Lord. We recently had a special Sunday night service that was led entirely by the Phnom Penh teens. It was a blessing to see these young people willingly serve through song, testimony, and preaching!
Srey Roeuth and her family have come to Christ in the past several months. She gave a testimony of the power of God to change her family. Not long ago they were in the depths of despair, without God and without hope. One of our teen young men made initial contact with her family and showed them the love of Christ. Bro. and Mrs. Has then were able to get close to them and lead them to Christ. Srey Roeuth’s father, Tara, is a university professor and since being saved, has taken a strong stand for the Lord at work. Her mother, SreyMohm, serves in several of our outreach ministries throughout the week and is a great blessing to be around. As Srey Roeuth shared her testimony she broke down and wept with tears of gratitude for the new family that she has been given in Christ. PLEASE PRAY FOR SREY ROEUTH’S FAMILY TO CONTINUE TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD. Tara has taken a significant financial loss due to his commitment to be a godly man of integrity. We know that God always blesses faithfulness but it is sometimes difficult for new believers to be patient while they are waiting to see how everything will “work together for good.”
We are encouraged in the recent spiritual growth of LyHeang and her older sister, LyHang. They came to Christ this past year and always have a joyful spirit. LyHeang recently completed a booklet on the Gospel of Mark and answered 100 questions in order to earn a Bible from the church. We are very encouraged by her example. PRAY FOR THESE TWO YOUNG LADIES TO CONTINUE TO BE A GOOD EXAMPLE TO THEIR LOST FAMILY AT HOME.
Debbie has several young people who are taking piano lessons and are excelling! Borey and Tina are just two of the young ladies who are using what they have been taught for the glory of God. Borey played for some of the congregational songs and Tina played a special number. Both of these young ladies love the Lord and are faithfully serving Him through the ministries of our church. PRAY FOR BOREY’S FATHER, ROM, TO BE SAVED.
Jason did a great job on a difficult arrangement of a hymn. We are thrilled to see his dedication to practice and his willingness to use his talents for the Lord! He has been playing for the majority of the congregational singing in our Sunday evening teens class each week.
Veasna and Noi were both reached through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry several years ago as 11 and 12 year old children. Today they are 18 and 19 year old young men who are faithfully involved in reaching others! They both preached for our Teen night and did a great job! We are blessed to see their commitment and their willingness to always serve wherever they are needed. PRAY FOR NOI’S FAMILY TO COME TO CHRIST.
Believe it or not, the first Krispy Kreme donuts was opened in Phnom Penh several weeks ago. We treated the teens and workers to two donuts each after the service. It was great to see them enjoying this American delicacy. You can see pictures of some of the young people below.
YOUNG PEOPLE TRAINED TO SERVE THE LORD
The key to reaching any nation with the gospel is found in reaching and equipping nationals to reach their own people. Sadly, so many churches on the mission field are being run year after year by the missionary. We thank God for His blessing when it comes to the training of nationals for the work of the ministry. Our primary focus is on reaching and training national men. It matters not how old they are. In fact, one of the great joys that our team shares is seeing young people being saved out of the world and motivated to actively serve the Lord.
In the picture above you see Bro. Vannak leading a Children’s Ministry workers meeting. The Lord allowed us to reach Vannak with the gospel 10 years ago when he was a teenager. Today he and his wife are faithfully serving the Lord in the work of the ministry. Vannak had 31 workers in the meeting – 28 of them were teenagers!
Every Sunday we have services at eight different locations / times. One of the services is held in a village across the river names Ta Skov. A group of around 10 workers travel about an hour and a half one way to this village. One of the national men, Taiwan, heads up this outreach. He recently assigned our son, Jason, to preach every other week. It is a true blessing for us to see a picture of him preaching in the Khmer language. We are thankful that he is allowing God to push him past his “comfort zone” in order to make a difference in the lives of others.
God is truly working in the Psa Tricht church. Bro. San and his wife are doing a wonderful job of leading that outreach. I have the opportunity to preach there one weekend a month and am always amazed to see their zeal and love for the Lord. Over the past several months there have been several new adults come to Christ. Because of the steady growth of this outreach we are now faced with a bit of a challenge with transportation as well as seating in the church auditorium. We are looking at a couple of different options to temporarily alleviate some of the problems related to having “too many people.” (It’s a great problem to have!) The ultimate solution, and the goal we are working towards, is taking about 25 of these folks out of the Psa Tricht church and starting a new outreach near their village. PLEASE HELP US PRAY THAT WE WILL HAVE CLEAR DIRECTION REGARDING THIS FUTURE OPPORTUNITY.
PRAY FOR THE SALVATION OF THESE INDIVIDUALS
PRAY FOR TA IN BUNLA S’UT VILLAGE TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR NAT IN PHNOM PENH TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR ROM IN PHNOM PENH TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR SAREY AND LY IN ELEPHANT DEN VILLAGE TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR JAMES IN ELEPHANT DEN VILLAGE TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR SREY MOHM IN ELEPHANT DEN VILLAGE TO BE SAVED.
CHURCH MISSIONS TRIP TO BATTAMBANG
This month we had about 50 folks from the Phnom Penh church participate in our church’s first missions trip. In the months to come I hope to write more about our future plans in Battambang.
It was great for all of us to spend four days together. For many of the folks this was their first time to travel to Battambang. We all had a great time on the bus traveling there and back as well as staying in a hotel and sharing meals together.
We spent one of the days doing fun things like riding the Bamboo train. These train tracks were put down by the Khmer Rouge about 40 years ago and were used to transport workers back and forth. Today it is a tourist attraction. It was a little bumpy but overall the folks had a great time riding it.
The primary intent of this trip was to witness to the family members of several of the families in our church. We split into several teams and went different directions. There are several good contacts that have been made and we hope to see some people come to Christ, in part, as a result of this trip. It was a joy to be able to spend several hours walking through a village with Sinath and his family as we witnessed to those who would give us a hearing.
Battambang Province has around 1,000,000 people. It seems to be saturated with the cults and weak “evangelical churches” of various stripes. It is evident that there is a need for strong soul-winning churches to be planted in this Province. We look forward to sharing with you in the future how our team believes that God would use us to help see this happen. PRAY FOR MORE LABORERS – BOTH NATIONAL AS WELL AS NEW MISSIONARIES FROM ABROAD.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason