December 5, 2016
December 5, 2016
It was a real blessing to be able to share Thanksgiving Day with our fellow team members here in Cambodia. All of the wives made more than enough food and we had a great time of fellowship together. We all have so much for which to thank the Lord.
This year our churches here in Cambodia are taking on a special project. We are challenging each member, young, old, rich, and poor alike, to give a special offering next Sunday morning to purchase a cow that we will donate to villagers who live in a particular Muslim village. We have a number of folks who have been saved and who live in that village. In the past we have received a lot of opposition from the religious leaders and villagers alike. The believers who live in the village are scorned and shunned every day. Most of them have family members who live in the village and who refuse to have any dealings with them because of their faith in Jesus Christ. After we purchase the cow we will have the members who live in that village choose around 30 families or so who will be the recipients of the beef once it has been divided up. It is our hope and prayer that this gift will be used by God to help soften the hearts of those who hate the gospel and thus hate our church. This is a huge undertaking for our people because a cow large enough to divide among 30 families will not be cheap. Normally projects like this would be undertaken by an NGO group or by very rich Buddhist or Muslim members in the community who are trying to “gain merit” by helping the poor. However, this entire project will be funded and facilitated by the Christians who themselves, in many cases, have experienced persecution for their faith and who will have to make a great financial sacrifice in order to give their offering. It is so important for the national believers to own their responsibility to serve and reach their own people and we have made this a priority from day one. Many times a missionary can cause spiritual growth to be stunted because they don’t disciple new converts to properly understand and obey the Great Commission. In some cases missionaries insist on keeping the nationals in the pew sitting and watching the missionary do all the teaching, preaching, soul-winning, and giving. We have made it a point not to do that. PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL USE THIS GIFT TO BRING ABOUT LASTING SPIRITUAL FRUIT BOTH IN THE LIVES OF THE BELIEVERS WHO GIVE AND THE LOST WHO RECEIVE THE GIFT.
Yesterday during our Deaf Small Group we were all excited to hear Seng confess that she has now placed her faith in Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour! She told us that she had returned to her village in order to tell her mother that she is now a Christian and will no longer participate in occultic rituals. Her mother does not speak sign language and so she actually brought a translator from somewhere to go with her so that her mother would clearly understand what she was saying. When I asked her if it was okay for me to post her picture on our update and tell folks that she has decided to follow Jesus she responded by saying, “Yes! Please put it in English and in Khmer. I want everyone to know that I am not an undercover Christian!” Wow! That is a blessing. PLEASE PRAY FOR SENG AS SHE IS NOW DISCIPLED BY MISS GRACE AND THE OTHER DEAF LADIES IN OUR CHURCH.
It was a blessing to have Sok return to our Married Couples Small Group last night. He is not yet saved but seems to be opening up. His wife, Navy, gave birth to a baby a couple of weeks ago and has returned to her village to stay until the rainy season is all the way over due to the fact that the room they rent here in Phnom Penh floods up to their knees with sewer water every time it rains. Sok has come to church now for three weeks in a row and listened intently. I believe that he is confused a bit due to the fact that he is from Vietnam and much of his family there attend a “church” and are part of a denomination that represents itself as Christian, but in reality worships idols, “saints”, and the virgin Mary in addition to offering sacrifices to the territorial spirits that they believe control the events around them. So he is a little confused as to why we are so different from what he is accustomed to seeing when he goes to church. When he comes to Pacific Baptist Church he sees people who are happy, singing, sharing testimonies, and who love each other. I think it is starting to sink into his heart that we might have something that his religion does not have. PLEASE PRAY FOR SOK TO UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED.
It was a real blessing to have SokChuen return to our Married Couples Small Group last night for the second week in a row. He was reached with the gospel by Bro. Man and the workers in our Stung MeanChey outreach and has been faithfully attending there every Sunday morning since he accepted Christ. Yesterday morning Maly attended church there with him as well. It seems as though her heart is opening to the gospel. They are expecting their first child next month. PLEASE PRAY FOR MALY TO UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED. It would be wonderful to see this young couple both saved and right with the Lord. They have some important decisions that they need to make in their relationship very soon. We are praying and trying to influence them to make godly decisions. PRAY FOR BRO. MAN AND KANHA AS THEY ARE COUNSELING THIS YOUNG COUPLE.
MengLy attended our Married Couples Small Group a couple of weeks ago with his wife, Neang. He was so impressed by the spirit within the meeting and the love and joy that he saw in the lives of the members. This is something that he has never experienced in his life and it made a real impact on him. PLEASE PRAY THAT MENGLY WILL UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED. Bro. Bounna and Bro. Vong have been reaching out to this family and are keeping in close contact with them.
Neang gave birth to little MengThy yesterday morning at around 2:00. This is their fourth child. It was a blessing to be able to visit her in the hospital this morning and pray for their newborn baby. PRAY FOR NEANG TO HAVE A SPEEDY RECOVERY AND TO BE ABLE TO RETURN TO CHURCH SHORTLY. Watch out nursery workers – Here comes another one! 🙂
It was a blessing to meet with San for a time of discipleship today for a couple of hours. He and his team of workers are being used by God in a great way to reach folks in his village and surrounding villages. In our last update I asked you to pray for the safe delivery of their baby boy. Yom gave birth just fine and baby Joseph is healthy and getting excited to join the nursery at church! 🙂 PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THIS GODLY YOUNG COUPLE TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD.
One of the greatest blessings in our life is to watch our sons faithfully serving the Lord. Our two oldest sons made the decision to attend Bible College via an extension learning program of an Independent Baptist Bible College in the States in order to remain involved in reaching the Cambodian people with the gospel. We are thrilled that they love the ministry that God has entrusted to them. Last Saturday night I decided to check in on a teen boys discipleship group that was meeting in the upstairs auditorium. Bro. Vannak is doing a great job of helping to encourage and equip this small group of teen boys to walk with the Lord. It was a particular blessing to hear Jason doing the teaching that evening. We thank the Lord for the godly influence that Vannak has in the lives of all of our sons. This coming Sunday evening we will have a special service in Phnom Penh and the teen department will run the entire service. Several of them will be sharing testimonies, playing special music, and reporting on the progress of a few of the village ministries. I have asked Jason as well as Seyha to preach for the service. Jason will preach for 10 minutes and Seyha has been given 20 minutes to preach. Seyha was reached through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and he is now a freshman in college studying Engineering. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT WE WILL HAVE WISDOM TO EFFECTIVELY EQUIP AND HELP GUIDE THE NEXT GENERATION OF UP AND COMING NATIONAL YOUNG LEADERS.
It has been a true blessing to have Michelle serving here on the mission field with us for the past several months. She is from our home church and is finishing her senior year of Bible College here in Cambodia. Her flexible and humble spirit is refreshing and is beginning to have an impact in the lives of those to whom she is ministering. Next week our family is hoping to get away from the routine for a few days and it will be a joy to have Michelle as well as Miss Grace join with us. Michelle plans to return to the States for her graduation in May and then return here to the work that she believes God has called her to. I know that wherever God leads her in the future, whether here in Cambodia or somewhere else here in the 10/40 window, she will be a blessing to those who she will serve.
It has been so great to have Sareth visiting us from Long Beach, CA. The Lord allowed us to reach him and his family with the gospel back in 1994 or so. We had the privilege to disciple him and see him become a faithful believer. Many members of his family have been saved as well. Sareth is the father of Bro. Sara Vong who is serving alongside of us here in Cambodia. Sareth is a faithful soul-winner and Adult Sunday School teacher in our home church and we are blessed to see him still faithful after all of these years. As the Cambodian speaking community continues to get smaller and smaller in the United States there is less and less of a need for Khmer-speaking ministries. The vast majority of Cambodians who will be open to the gospel in the United States will be reached by English-speaking soul-winners. Most of the younger generation doesn’t even speak the Cambodian language. With that being said, Sareth has been on “cloud nine” here in Cambodia. This is his first trip back to Cambodia since escaping the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970’s. He has had the opportunity to meet so many red-hot Cambodian Christians here and it has really sparked something within him. He is seeing the vast need for more laborers in the spiritual harvest field of Cambodia and God is working in his heart in regard to his future. He has had the opportunity to go soul-winning with our nationals, share testimonies in several of the services both in Phnom Penh as well as in the villages. This Wednesday evening he will be preaching for our mid-week service here in Phnom Penh. He does understand and speak English but Khmer is his first language and he is loving having the opportunity to use it for God’s glory and for the benefit of his own people. He is praying about taking an early retirement and moving here to Cambodia to serve the Lord alongside of our team. Bro. Vong and I have spent time casting vision to him and will encourage him to return home and seek counsel from our home pastor. It is very likely that Sareth and his wife, Vorn, will be joining our team before the end of this coming summer. PLEASE PRAY FOR SARETH AND VORN AS THEY SEEK TO DISCERN GOD’S WILL FOR THEIR FUTURE.
We believe that the Lord would have us to expand our Bible Institute into a Bible College. The need for solid workers in this country is enormous. As the various cults, materialism, and other challenges that accompany the age in which we live continue to permeate the lives of our people, it is imperative that they are grounded in the Word of God. At the present time there are no other viable options in the Khmer language for our young people to get college level training in order to not only be grounded in their faith, but especially to help them be equipped to be effective in full-time ministry should the Lord lead them in that direction. We will begin classes in the middle of January and hope to have perhaps 6-7 full-time students and perhaps 15-20 others who are able to study part-time. If we are able to retain the young people that we now have, within 2 years there will be a large group of high school seniors who can and should attend Bible College when they graduate from high school. Now is the time to take this thing by the horns and get it done. This is a huge undertaking for our team and not one that we are esteeming lightly. Last week I sought counsel from a fellow missionary here in Cambodia who is a good friend and whom I trust. He said, “Dave, the water is already up to your nose and now you are getting ready to turn on the fire hose.” It’s true. At times our team can feel overwhelmed with all the opportunities that accompany a growing ministry. This is all the more reason to get even more serious about training national leaders. PLEASE HELP US TO PRAY THAT GOD WILL GIVE DIRECTION, STRENGTH, AND WISDOM AS WE BEGIN THIS MINISTRY. The students who are studying full-time have been fully vetted as to their motives and future goals. Most of them will require financial help from those who are burdened to see national leaders trained here in Cambodia. The college will definitely cost money that is not presently in the budget. We have created a scholarship program for those studying full-time. IF YOU ARE BURDENED TO SEE NATIONAL LEADERS TRAINED IN BIBLE COLLEGE AND WOULD LIKE TO HELP SOME OF OUR NATIONALS WITH THEIR BASIC NEEDS (FOOD, TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, COLLEGE TEXT BOOKS LIKE THE ONES IN THIS PICTURE) PLEASE CONTACT ME AND I WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH DETAILS.
While we were out soul-winning this past Saturday with some of our nationals here in Phnom Penh we were reminded of the power of darkness that has controlled and blinded this part of the world for thousands of years. The small altar pictured above was mounted just outside of many of the doors where we left tracts. It represents these people’s god and their hope. They believe that the spirits that control their neighborhood are those of young children and they offer sacrifices to those spirits in order to have protection and prosperity. It really is sad that, although they have no joy, peace, or hope in their lives, they are unwilling to turn to the God Who created them and has made a way for them to be free of the bondage that now controls much of their life. THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR OUR FAMILY AND THOSE WHO SERVE ALONGSIDE OF US AS WE TAKE THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL TO THESE PEOPLE.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason