October 16, 2016
We had another wonderful weekend. So many things happened this weekend that we wish we could report, but for the sake of brevity I will only attempt to share a small glimpse of what God is doing here in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
Today was our first week to have a small group specifically for the Deaf. We are told that there are around 85,000 Deaf in Cambodia. Only about 2% of them actually have any access to education of any type including learning how to speak Deaf Sign Language. The Deaf are considered to be an unreached people group here in Cambodia and we are thrilled that God is opening the door to reach them with the gospel.
The video below lets you learn a little more about what is happening here at Pacific Baptist of Phnom Penh with the Deaf ministry.
Please continue to pray for the Deaf Ministry as well as Miss Grace and her workers who labor to see these folks come to the Lord. So many of the Deaf work very long hours and often only have one or two days off the entire month. It is difficult for the workers to connect up with them in order to share the gospel but we are so happy to see the doors that are being opened. PRAY THAT THERE WILL BE A KHMER MAN FROM WITHIN OUR CHURCH WHO WILL BE BURDENED FOR THE DEAF, BE WILLING TO COMMIT TO LEARN SIGN LANGUAGE, AND BE ABLE AND WILLING TO HELP LEAD THIS YOUNG MINISTRY ALONG SIDE OF MISS GRACE.
The folks in the Deaf class had a great time playing this game. It is my guess that they don’t have many occasions in their life when they can have fun like this in a safe environment. Obviously the teaching of God’s Word is the most important aspect of our time each week in the small group. However, the game time helps to create an environment that is conducive to reaching out to those who are not yet saved. When I asked them if they would like for me to post the video on our Facebook page they all responded that they would like that. I am hoping that they will forward the video to their Deaf friends who currently know nothing about the Lord. The Deaf here are very interested in videos and I think that over time we can be creative in the way we plant seeds through the use of video technology.
Every Saturday morning at 8:00 we have a brief meeting at the church before going out and making visits in the community. I don’t usually get the chance to attend the meeting due to the fact that my group normally leaves at 6:30 on Saturday mornings to go soul-winning in a village that is about 30 minutes from the city. We have to leave at that time in order to not get stuck in traffic for an hour. Yesterday Debbie and I were able to be in the meeting because we took a break from going to that village and made visits in Phnnom Penh instead. All together we had around 50-60 folks out making visits and soul-winning yesterday here in Phnom Penh and Psa Tricht. It’s difficult for some of the mothers with very young children to be able to participate which means we may need to begin having a Saturday morning nursery.
During my short devotional challenge at the Faithfulness Rally I encouraged everyone to keep their eyes open for folks who used to be a prospect but who have fallen away. Wouldn’t you know it – a few minutes later Debbie and I ran into BunSeang and Srey Iam on the street where they were walking close to the home we were visiting. They used to attend our church a little over a year ago, then problems in their family caused them to move away. They both profess to have accepted Christ. There seems to be little, if any, evidence that Srey Iam is saved but BunSeang seems to have a soft heart for the Lord. He told me that he has really missed being in church and desired to return but was too embarrassed because he was gone for so long and had returned to the world. (That normally happens when folks get out of church.) He told me that he has no peace because he has been away from God (That also happens when someone is saved but not living in obedience to the Lord.) He promised me that they would be in church Sunday morning. They were not able to make it to the morning service due to their work schedule but they did attend this evening for our Married Couple’s small group. PLEASE PRAY THAT THEY WILL BE FAITHFUL TO KEEP COMING TO CHURCH AND THAT IF THEY ARE NOT TRULY SAVED THEY WILL TURN FROM WHATEVER THEY ARE TRUSTING AND TRUST CHRIST.
It was a blessing to have Somalin and Somalen in the service this morning. They were reached through another church in another Province but have moved to Phnom Penh to further their education. Their pastor has recommended that they become a part of our church. Bro. Bounna and Thy are reaching out to them and helping them to feel at home here at Pacific Baptist. I’m sure that our church is a bit different than what they are accustomed to. There are actually two other young ladies from their church in that Province who were in our Singles small group this evening as well. PRAY THAT THESE YOUNG LADIES WILL FEEL COMFORTABLE HERE AT THE CHURCH, GET INVOLVED IN ONE OF THE MINISTRIES, AND BECOME A PART OF REACHING OTHERS FOR CHRIST.
Nary is 12 years old and she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour this weekend. She is the neighbor of Navy, a lady Debbie and I were blessed to reach with the gospel a few months ago. Navy has been bringing her to church for the past several weeks. Bro. Vannak took the initiative to witness to her and lead her to Christ. Nary has a very difficult life. Words could not adequately describe the environment in which she lives. I’m confident that the only people who actually care about this young lady and her well-being are the folks here at the church. Thank God for Navy and her willingness to reach out to this young girl. She is so young and vulnerable to so much of the danger and darkness that surrounds her. The likelihood that she will live a healthy life much past her teen years is slim unless there are changes made. Thank the Lord that she is now God’s child and He never forsakes His own. Today was her first time to sing with the children. She had memorized the words and was very excited to be able to join the group. You can see her singing in the video below. She is in the front row, second from the left. PRAY THAT NARY WILL GET PLUGGED INTO THE YOUNG GROUP AND THAT THE TEEN GIRLS HERE AT PACIFIC BAPTIST WILL TAKE HER UNDER THEIR WINGS AND HELP MODEL THE CHRISTIAN LIFE FOR HER.
Yesterday was the third week of training for our nursery workers. Most of these teen girls were reached with the gospel as children. Some of them come from backgrounds similar to that of Nary and would be living a much different life than they are now had someone here at the church not taken a personal interest in their lives and sought to win them to Christ. These are great girls and they all have such potential to live lives that are significant. I’m thankful for the time and effort Debbie and Thy put into training these girls to more effectively serve in the nursery. These girls all have such good attitudes for the Lord and for His work!
Srey Nak is one of our newly trained nursery workers. She was reached through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and is now 16 years old. Today was our first time to have a separate class for 2-3 year old children. I was obviously not in the class to witness her teaching for the first time, but Michelle gave us the report that Srey Nak did a fantastic job of keeping the children’s attention and following the schedule that Debbie had laid out for her. Good job Srey Nak! I would seriously doubt that there are more than one or two, if any, other churches here in Phnom Penh that have an actual Bible class for 2-3 year old children. It is not something that would ever occur to most parents who live in this country. In many churches children this age run up and down the aisles during the adult service IF they even make it to church. Most of the time they would be left at home. It’s a blessing that we have the chance to invest into the lives of the youngest among us. I often teach the parents (and those who are still single but who will one day become a parent) that it is not the church’s responsibility to teach their children. The church should simply help to reinforce truths that are being taught in the home by the parents! I’m thankful that a number of our families are understanding this and taking their role as a Christian parent seriously. PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR TEEN GIRLS WHO WILL BE TEACHING THIS NEW CLASS ON A ROTATING SCHEDULE.
We had a great time in our Phnom Penh married couples small group this evening. Almost every person present this evening had already invested the entire day serving in the ministry in one way or another. We are so blessed to see the faithfulness of the national believers and their willingness to follow and be led. These are a great group of folks and it is a blessing to see them growing in the Lord. This evening I taught from Judges 2:10 on the topic of “A generation who knew not the Lord.” We discovered that the reason they didn’t know the Lord could be traced back to the fact that the spiritual leaders and the parents had failed to obey God’s commands. The spiritual leaders were to teach the people the difference between the “holy” and the “profane.” The parents, in particular the fathers, were to teach their children God’s Word in the home. When Pastors and Parents become sidetracked by less important things in life, the next generation always pays the price.
One ought not to wonder why American citizens are faced with the choices they are faced with in our elections this year. Psalm 11:3 says If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? America was founded on a firm foundation but for many years the foundation has been eroding while much of the church slept and in some cases was complicit with the erosion. Some of the nonsense that is going on right now and being publicized in international media is being used by the enemy to cause confusion among those who are lost here in this part of the world. THERE IS AN ALMOST UNIVERSAL ASSUMPTION HERE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA THAT ALL AMERICANS ARE CHRISTIANS. Many do not understand that the United States does not have a national religion. You can imagine the type of questions that are raised here when filth, debauchery, and corruption is exposed and publicly rationalized away by pragmatic and apologetic professing Christians. It places us, as Americans, in a difficult position as we try to deal with non-believers and teach them of God’s grace, mercy, holiness, forgiveness, and the power of the gospel to change lives while at the same time witnessing the events that are taking place in “Christian America.” Just a little something to think about…
Now – back to something a little more encouraging…Our married couples had a fun time playing this game tonight. I’ve included the video for their benefit as several of them will enjoy seeing themselves laughing and enjoying fellowship.
We had 21 singles in our Phnom Penh Singles small group this evening. There were at least five young adults that I can think of who were absent this evening. Bro. Bounna and Thy are doing a great job shepherding this group. If we could ever get everyone to come at the same time we would have real problems fitting them into the room. I’m looking forward to the day when, very soon, this group will have to change locations!
We had 35 teens in the teen service this evening. Bro. Adrian is doing a great job leading this group. The vast majority of these teens were in church and serving in various ministries throughout the day from early this morning all the way through this evening. They are definitely tired by the time Sunday evening rolls around. I give them a lot of credit for showing up with great attitudes and smiles!
Without a doubt, the key to reaching a nation with the gospel is found in reaching and discipling nationals to reach their own people with the gospel. By God’s grace we are seeing this happen here at Pacific Baptist. We take seriously the task of the Great Commission and are not content to simply “win” a sinner to Christ. We realize that Christ is not honored by simply filling up a building with a crowd. He desires and has commanded that we train the new convert to know Him and obey His Word. It was a blessing for me to be able to go soul-winning with Bro. Sinath this past week as he went to go witness to a prospect about 30 minutes from the church. Sinath and so many other national believers are such an encouragement to our family and to our team. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR OUR NATIONAL BELIEVERS TO BE FAITHFUL TO LEAD THEIR OWN FAMILIES FOR THE LORD WHILE AT THE SAME TIME OBEYING THE GREAT COMMISSION.
We continue to be blessed by what God is doing in Stung MeanChey. As you know, our folks have been reaching out to Stung MeanChey for awhile now. We began holding public services there a couple of months ago. Today there was standing room only in the Adult / Teen service! Bro. Man and his workers are doing a great job while serving in a very challenging part of town.
This past Thursday evening was our first time to hold an evening mid-week service in Stung MeanChey. Here, the men are gathering together to pray before the service. This picture would have never been possible had the gospel not changed the lives of these men. Culturally speaking, this group should not even exist – There are Khmer and Cham, old and young, middle class and the very poor, all meeting together in love and unity. This is only possible because of the love of Christ that has shined into their hearts! (2 Corinthians 4:6)
I had the privilege to preach for our first evening mid-week service. It was a blessing to have 26 folks from Stung MeanChey in attendance. This is not including my family and three other folks from Phnom Penh who tagged along. There were 18 adults, 2 teens, and 6 children who joined the service. There were other adults from Stung MeanChey who desired to attend but were prevented from doing so due to their work and school schedules. The electric had been off in that entire part of town since 2:00 and we were actually sitting in the dark in this picture using only candles. When the men met to pray before the service, they prayed that the electric would come on – – It did – – Three minutes before I got up to preach! PRAY THAT THIS MID-WEEK SERVICE WILL BE JUST ANOTHER TOOL TO HELP GROUND THE NEW BELIEVERS IN STUNG MEANCHEY.
Kanha and Phalley joyfully cooked soup in the kitchen just off of the auditorium for the folks to enjoy after the service. They are both godly young wives who were reached with the gospel through Pacific Baptist Church. They were both married here in the church and are both now expecting their first baby. Their testimony for the Lord and their support in the ministry definitely make it possible for their husbands, Man and Kosal, to effectively lead this new ministry! They are a gift to their husbands and a gift to our church! PLEASE PRAY FOR KANHA AND PHALLEY TO HAVE GOD’S PROTECTION OVER THEIR PREGNANCIES.
It was a real blessing for us to be able to spend some time with Bro. West and Bro. Kerin yesterday as they visited us here in Cambodia. They have both been a real encouragement to my home church and pastor. Bro. West has been used by God to help save our home church thousands of dollars as they are building a new building. He has a ministry that mobilizes men from around the country to donate their construction skills to local churches. I’ve often heard Pastor Esposito mention, not just from the pulpit but also directly to me, what a blessing Bro. West has been. It was a pleasure for us to be able to show him just a small glimpse of what God is doing here in Cambodia! We were refreshed by their spirits and their desire to see the lost reached with the gospel.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason