July 26, 2016
We had another wonderful weekend despite the funeral march for a slain outspoken political analyst that involved tens of thousands of people across town. There were rumors that there would be turbulence in the city but our side of town was “business as usual.”
During our Sunday evening service we heard ministry updates from six of our ministry leaders. It was good for us all to have the opportunity to hear the blessings as well as to hear of the challenges that we are experiencing in each respective outreach. We heard reports on the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry, Stung MeanChey, Prek Pnou Village, Elephant Den Village, Ta Skov Village, and Prey Bang Village.
We’ve seen two new “christian” groups intrude into our church in Prey Bang Village over the past several weeks. They have been making contact with our members and trying to pull them away to themselves. This is not an uncommon practice. These are groups that had no prior interaction with the people in this village until they saw that there was a church being built. I believe we had perhaps one adult who went to visit one of their gatherings. They returned back to our church the next week expressing regret that they had been lured away with the promises of material gifts. It is my understanding that both of these groups are promising our people food and money if they will join with them. Sadly, about 30 of the children from our Children’s Ministry in Dol Village (right next to Prey Bang Village) were enticed to join with one of these groups by a group of fake Christians who have been handing out bread and rice in the village for several weeks now. It is my guess that many of these children were forced by their unsaved parents to attend that group on Sunday due to their desire for material goods. It is a fairly common thing here in Cambodia for NGO groups and fake missionaries to provide salaries for people to attend their churches. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE VARIOUS MINISTRY OUTREACHES OF PACIFIC BAPTIST CHURCH AND FOR OUR LEADERS TO HAVE WISDOM AS WE SEEK TO PROPERLY GUIDE.
It was a blessing to have 24 year old Lomdap in the service Sunday morning as well as Sunday evening. Bro. Bounna has been working with him off and on for a long time trying to lead him to Christ. Sunday morning after the service he approached Kosal (on the left) and told him that he came to understand his need of salvation during the service and he that he wanted to be saved. Kosal had the opportunity to lead him to Christ. PRAY THAT LOMDAP WILL BE FAITHFUL TO OBEY THE LORD.
It is always a blessing when folks are saved here on the mission field but it is a particular blessing when they are led to the Lord by national believers who have come to Christ themselves here at the church. This past week in addition to Lomdap there were several folks who were led to Christ by nationals. Bro. Hem (left side) and Bro. Man have been witnessing to these two ladies for awhile now. Several days ago they both turned from idols to the living God! Hem was able to lead them to salvation right in their home. I don’t remember these two ladies names. This week Hem and another worker will begin meeting with these ladies and teaching them from our discipleship lessons for new believers. PRAY THAT THESE TWO LADIES WILL BE FAITHFUL TO OBEY GOD’S WORD AND GROW IN THE LORD.
A couple of months ago one of our men ran across Koun (white shirt on the right) while they were out soul-winning and learned that he is a tailor. They immediately thought of Bro. Sinath (red shirt) who is also a tailor and brought him to meet Koun thinking it would be their first time to meet. Come to find out that they used to work for the same company, and although they had not had contact with each other for many years, had actually been friends about twenty years ago. Bro. Sinath took a real interest in winning Koun to the Lord and invested many hours teaching him and answering his questions. This past week when Sinath went to follow-up on Koun, Koun told him that he had trusted Christ that week in his home all alone! He was in the service Sunday morning and apparently loved it. He desired to be back on Sunday evening but was under pressure to finish a tailoring order that was due to be picked up very soon. He assured Sinath that he intends to be faithful to church services and looks forward to growing as a Christian! PRAY THAT KOUN WILL BE A GOOD TESTIMONY TO HIS UNSAVED WIFE AND THAT SINATH WILL HAVE WISDOM AS HE BEGINS DISCIPLING HIM IN THE WORD OF GOD.
Vanny gave birth to her baby daughter, SreySour, about two months ago and was back in church Sunday morning. This was her first time back. It often takes mothers here in Cambodia a bit longer to get out of the house and back to church than one might expect. (We are always blessed to see moms back at church within a couple of weeks!) We really hope that Vanny will be able to get plugged into the life of the church family. PRAY FOR HER HUSBAND, SALY, TO BE SAVED. Saly works much of the time, but prior to the baby being born he would attend our Sunday night married couple’s small group. He has been exposed over and over to the gospel and professes to be saved but there does not seem to be any clear evidence of a changed life.
Sunday morning our English small ensemble sang the song, “His Life for Mine.” We were missing a few folks from the group for various reasons but those who were there did a fantastic job. We are so blessed to see how these folks, though English is not the first language for most of them, diligently practice to do their very best each time they sing. As you listen to this song, focus on the words and think about the fact that Jesus gave His life that you might be free from the bondage of sin and death in Hell.
His heart was broken, mine was mended, He became sin, now I am clean.
The cross He carried bore my burden, The nails that held Him set me free.
His life for mine, His life for mine, How could it ever be?
That He would die, God’s Son would die, To save a wretch like me?
What love divine, He gave His life for mine.
His scars of suffering brought me healing, He spilled His blood to fill my soul.
His crown of thorns made me royalty, His sorrow gave me joy untold.
He was despised and rejected, Stripped of His garment, and oppressed,
I am loved and accepted, And I wear a robe of righteousness.
We’ve had a six week competition in our Sunday night married couple’s small group between the husbands and the wives. The wives won! Last night we had the opportunity to take them out for a night on the town. We were missing two or three ladies from our group but it was great for Debbie and I to spend time with those who were able to attend. It’s a blessing to see how folks from different walks of life and different age groups are able to bond together in close friendship because of the unity of the Spirit.
After taking a walk and eating dinner we all dropped by a local mall for them to be able to meet Maly just after she got off work. We led Maly to the Lord several weeks ago but she has not been able to attend a church service as of yet due to her heavy work schedule. She works seven days a week and has random days off every once in awhile. She listens to teaching and preaching on the MP3 player we loaned her but since being saved has greatly desired to be able to meet other Christians. We were so blessed to see our ladies take to her right away. Before long they were holding hands, hugging, and laughing together as though they had been friends for many years! PRAY FOR MALY’S HUSBAND, SREANG, TO BE SAVED.
One of the ladies who was able to attend the ladies night out is Navy. We wrote about Navy in an update back in March. At that time she was counting the cost of what it would mean for her to become the only Christian in her village. She knew that she was a sinner and unable to save herself yet she feared being shunned and persecuted by those around her. You can read that blog posting at this address: https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2016/03/28/march-27-2016/ Thankfully she did get saved and baptized and has been a very faithful witness for the Lord. She recently shared a testimony in front of the whole church. It is a testimony that I have heard her share on several occasions with various people. Her testimony basically goes like this – “Before I was saved I was an idol worshiping drunkard who was mean and angry all the time. I had tried to stop drinking many times but never lasted very long. My addiction was so severe that in order to eat a meal I had to get drunk first. Then Jesus saved me and immediately my desire for idols and alcohol was taken away!” Wow! What a blessing it is to see her learning truths for the very first time and to see her heart to obey the Lord as found in the Word of God. Every time she is at church she is smiling and I rarely escape getting a big hug from her! Thank God for the power of the gospel to change lives!
Each Monday morning Debbie and I disciple Sokath’s mother, Navy, in our home. Yesterday we had crayons and a coloring book waiting for her with the promise that if she did a good job she could have some candy. It may have been only the third or fourth time that she has ever colored in her entire life. She tried her very best and did a great job! Humanly speaking and without Christ this little girl has very little chance of ever living a life of significance. Her family is among the poorest of the poor in our church. Thank God that her mother is now saved and growing as Christian. PRAY FOR HER DAD, SOK, TO BE SAVED. We are trying to coordinate a time to be able to spend time with him. He sells ice cream from a cart at Wat Phnom several miles from here. Each morning he pushes his ice cream cart all the way to the other side of town and then returns back home with the cart in the evening. His heart seems to be tender to the gospel. In fact, since Navy can not read Khmer very well, he often spends time teaching her the memory verse or whatever assignment we give her for discipleship. He is apparently encouraging her to be faithful to church even though he is not yet saved. We hope he will be saved soon.
Sokath did win her candy for doing a good job coloring. She also won a bonus gift of 10,000 riels! ($2.50) I couldn’t resist giving it to her. The smile on her face as she held that money was priceless. 🙂
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason