January 12, 2017
We’ve started out this new year in high gear! Our church theme for 2017 is “Know Christ and Make Christ Known.” We look forward to seeing many folks grow in their knowledge of and obedience to the Word of God. The result will be that Christ will be made known and many new folks will be saved. Thank you for helping to pray for and support the work here in Southeast Asia.
The enemy has been actively trying to frustrate the work here as we’ve entered this new year. This was to be expected. In fact, as we came down toward the end of December I preached a message reminding our leaders that anytime we move into the devil’s territory we can expect him to seek to cause problems. He is tricky and often works to discourage and disrupt just after times of great victory. Thankfully God has done a work in the hearts of several folks who were under special attack. The devil was resisted and he fled! Here in Cambodia we have a phrase that we often repeat – “New Levels=New Devils.” By God’s grace we are entering into some uncharted territory this year and we do need your faithful prayers for protection, wisdom, and provision the the work that is being done here.
Some of the most exciting days in the history of a church are the early days when everything is a struggle. There are times when you expect everything to fall apart at any time. I remember the early days in Long Beach at Cambodian Baptist Church (now called Pacific Baptist Church) as we went from week to week. There were times when you weren’t sure if the church would ever really get off the ground. Of course we know that the church belongs to the Lord but there were still times when we just wondered how it would all come together. Now many years later she is a strong local church with mature leadership.
The work here in Cambodia reminds me so much of those early days in Long Beach with so many young people. God has blessed us with so many teens and young adults in addition to the many married couples and older folks who have been saved. We are excited to see how God is starting to put the plan into place here as well. Some of the new outreaches that we hope to start this year will require us to have more nationals trained and able to lead. Training national men who are reached through the ministry is one of a missionaries primary responsibilities. Please continue to be in prayer as we disciple the national leadership to effectively lead their own people. We are hoping to see the outreach in Stung MeanChey become a church within the next few months. Additionally, we are putting some plans together to see an additional church planted in a village about 2 hours from Phnom Penh. Both of these works will require significant time, effort, and money. It will require us to make some changes in the Phnom Penh church in order to free up national workers to enable them to help with these new works. Change is often not easy but we look forward to seeing how the Lord will lead.
I don’t normally get the opportunity to attend our Saturday morning Faithfulness Rally because my soul-winning group leaves at around 6:30 a.m. and our meeting does not start until 8:00 a.m. However, this weekend my group did not go to the village where we normally go and so I was able to join in the meeting. It was a blessing to see many folks meet at the church and prepare to go out and make visits on new prospects as well as absentees. In addition to our group in Phnom Penh we also have a group in Stung MeanChey as well as Psa Tricht Village that meet every Saturday morning for visitation and soul-winning.
Reksmey as well as two other single adult ladies completed a Bible study lesson and answered around 100 questions on the Book of Mark this past month in order to earn a new Bible. Reksmey is a relatively new believer and she is a joy to be around! She is in her fourth year of medical school and has a very busy schedule. It is a real blessing to see her desire to grow in the Lord. PRAY FOR REKSMEY AS SHE IS BURDENED FOR THE DEAF HERE IN CAMBODIA AND IS GETTING INVOLVED IN THE DEAF MINISTRY HERE AT THE CHURCH.
Please continue to pray for the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. The children who live in our neighborhood are a bit challenging at times. Most of them come from homes with no structure or discipline. I’m blessed to see how hard our workers try to be a blessing to these children. Seyha is one of the young adult workers who invests time serving in the Children’s Ministry. He was reached with the gospel here at Pacific Baptist Church several years ago. He is now a freshman in college studying Engineering. As the only believer in his family he is trying to be a good testimony to his unsaved parents and siblings as well.
SokChea and SokChun were reached with the gospel by Bro. Man and Kosal through the outreach in Stung MeanChey. It is a blessing to have them join our married couple’s small group each Sunday evening. They are both growing in the Lord and have recently begun going soul-winning with the Stung MeanChey workers. PLEASE PRAY FOR THEIR WIVES, MALIS AND NUEN, TO BE SAVED. This past Saturday Kanha and Samantha spent an hour and a half with them as they answered some of their questions and again explained their need to be saved. We feel like they are very close!
PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR SOK TO BE SAVED. He works very long hours seven days a week but gets off work on Sunday evenings just in time to make it to our Married Couple’s small group. He is still confused about what it means to be a Christian due to his background with Catholicism in Vietnam. The particular type of Catholicism that he was involved with not only worshiped idols of Mary and “saints” but was overtly involved with the occult and demon worship. Actually, this type of syncretism (the blending of one or more religious beliefs together) is very common in this part of the world. We led his wife, Navy, to the Lord several months ago. She recently gave birth to a baby boy and has returned to her village in another province for a couple of months until she fully recovers. She loves the Lord and was a growing believer when she left. PLEASE PRAY FOR NAVY TO RETURN TO US SOON WITH HER BABY BOY, JONATHAN.
We are so blessed to see what God is beginning to do in the deaf ministry. We are told that there are around 80,000 deaf in Cambodia and they are considered to be an “unreached” people group here in Cambodia. Miss Grace and a couple of our ladies have been investing a lot of time and energy in trying to reach out to this community. Grace has become a good deaf interpreter and is definitely a gift to the deaf community. We are excited to tell you that Bro. Keo and his daughter, Lynn, will begin working along side of Grace to reach this community. They will begin taking sign classes very soon. We really expect to see Grace’s months of investment and your prayers begin to pay off great spiritual dividends this coming year. In addition to Bro. Keo and Lynn’s involvement with our deaf ministry, Michelle believes that the Lord would have her to get more involved in reaching out to the deaf as well. Michelle’s mother is one of the deaf ministry leaders in our home church and she has grown up around the deaf culture for many years in Long Beach. Though the deaf community in Cambodia will not be identical, there are certain elements of “deaf culture” that seem to be quite similar and so we are excited to see her taking an active role with the deaf as well! PLEASE PRAY FOR BRO. KEO AND LYNN TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO LEARN CAMBODIAN SIGN LANGUAGE QUICKLY AND FOR DOORS TO CONTINUE TO OPEN AMONG THE DEAF OF CAMBODIA. It would be a huge blessing if one day we could have a weekly preaching service especially for the deaf! I believe that it is likely this will happen.
We are greatly anticipating the opening day of our Bible college this coming week! We are planning to have 7-8 full-time students and 5 part-time students who will begin classes on Monday. We are also looking forward to the Bible Institute resuming classes on Monday afternoon with 39-40 students. We have other folks who desire to take classes but are unable to at this time because of their work schedules.
This term we will be offering the following classes between the College and Bible Institute: Spiritual Warfare, Bible Doctrine 1, The Book of Matthew, John’s Epistles, The Book of James, The Christian Family, and English. This is a huge undertaking for us but it is vital that we train up the next generation of national leaders. PLEASE PRAY FOR GOD’S HAND OF FAVOR ON PACIFIC BAPTIST BIBLE COLLEGE AND THE MANY LIVES WHO WILL BE TOUCHED BECAUSE OF THIS NEW MINISTRY.
In our next update I hope to introduce you to some of the students and share a bit of their testimonies with you. Several of the students will be coming to Phnom Penh from their villages in order to be in the college. They will be here for about half of the week then return to their village. Every one of these folks were saved through the ministries of Pacific Baptist Church and are faithfully involved in the ministry. We are not allowing anyone to be in the college who is not already living for the Lord and producing spiritual fruit. Nor are we accepting students from other ministries of like faith, although we hope to be able to do so perhaps next year if the Lord so leads. We are raising some finances to help our students with their expenses. There will be no fee charged for them to be in college, nor will anyone who teaches in the college receive remuneration for teaching. However, these folks will incur expenses traveling to Phnom Penh each week. They will also need to purchase their own food while in the city. IF YOU FEEL BURDENED TO HELP INVEST IN THESE FAITHFUL NATIONALS AND WOULD LIKE TO HELP CONTRIBUTE TO A SCHOLARSHIP FUND, PLEASE CONTACT ME AND I WILL FILL YOU IN WITH THE DETAILS.
PLEASE PRAY FOR AN OUTREACH TO A NEW VILLAGE LOCATED ABOUT TWO HOURS FROM PHNOM PENH. The folks in the Psa Tracht church have begun witnessing in this village and have met several great prospects. These two grandfathers are very open to the gospel. Mr. Jaeng (white shirt) is 70 years old and Mr. Sein (no shirt) is 94 years old. Brother Ra (blue shirt) is the father of one of our Bible college students. Ra is a faithful soul-winner and leader in the Psa Tricht church. When we began going to the Cham village with the gospel about 12 years ago he was studying to become an Imam in the local Mosque. I don’t recall actually meeting him in those days but a couple of years ago he shared a testimony in the church of how much he used to hate me and the “foreigner” religion. I was shocked to hear that someone actually hated me as I know that I’m a pretty nice guy! 🙂 God certainly changed his life and he and his entire family are a great testimony to the power of the gospel.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason