April 30, 2017
We just came off of the extended Buddhist holiday season here in Cambodia. It is a legally recognized holiday that is only supposed to last about 3 days but like every other year it seemed to drag out longer than that. Of course the believers in our ministries don’t partake in the majority of the cultural aspects of the holiday that are associated with the occult but the holiday does affect the ministry here because if interrupts momentum. It is always a challenge to get folks to return back from their home villages and get back on track with our regular church schedule. I feel like we are just not getting everyone back on track.
The Cambodian New Year corresponded this year with Resurrection Day. Thankfully as God’s children we don’t need to depend upon the “blessing” of deceased relatives because we serve a risen and living Saviour Who hears and responds to our prayers. You can click on the video below to hear some of the folks singing the hymn “He Arose.” They definitely sing from their heart and just listening to them reminds us that the gospel has made an eternal difference in their lives! Thank you for doing your part to help support the work here in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
SreyGa was saved several weeks ago and has been faithful to the church services from that day on. This morning I was able to present her with a new Bible after she completed our 100 question booklet about the gospel of Mark. She was so motivated to earn her new Bible that she worked all night and was able to complete the booklet in just one day. It normally takes folks a couple of weeks to complete all the questions.
We were blessed to have baby Joanna in church this morning for the first time since being born. Her parents, Taiwan and Sokeng, are a great example of the power of the gospel. Before being saved they both hated Christianity but are now both bold witnesses of His mercy and grace. We sure love this family of six and count it a privilege to serve along side of them to help reach this Country with the gospel. PRAY FOR JOANNA’S HEALTH. She just spent more than a week in the hospital and is presently on some medication to treat the effects of having ingested the wrong medicine just after being born.
Three of the young ladies in the Phnom Penh church recently sang a new song. Mrs. Has and Susanna worked with them for several weeks to help them learn this song. You can hear the song by clicking on the video below.
This morning we enjoyed hearing some of our ladies sing a new song they learned. You can hear the song by clicking on the video below.
It is always a blessing to see the folks enjoying fellowship together after the Sunday evening service. They come from different economic and social backgrounds but they are made one through their faith in Jesus Christ. Thank God that there is a church where they can fellowship together!
Our Phnom Penh church had a special service last year where we honored mothers. We encouraged many of our teen young people to invite their unsaved mothers to participate in the service. SreyLeak’s mother, Ya, did attend and we were all happy to see her. At that time she was not open to the gospel but she didn’t try to prevent her daughter from being a faithful Christian. Over the past year her mother has been watching her example but she was always burdened down by the trouble her teenage son, Pov, caused her.
Pov was quickly headed down a road that would end in prison or death. One day a few months ago some of our national leaders began reaching out to him and he responded by accepting the gift of salvation. At salvation his heart was radically changed and he began getting involved in church activities rather than running the streets causing trouble. His mother obviously noticed the changes in his life and God began to use his example to show her that she needed a Saviour as well. Three weeks ago Ya called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved! It is such a blessing to see her in our Sunday evening services and to see the joy on her face that has come since being saved. Last week she shared with me that her co-workers have begun to persecute her, insinuating that she should find another place to work because at her job “there is no room for Christians.” Last Sunday evening after our Married Couples class I asked her how she felt when they told her she needed to find another job and she told me, “I cussed them out!” 🙂 I was trying really hard not to laugh but as I looked at her face I just couldn’t help it – after gaining my composure I reminded her that she is supposed to be a light that shines in the darkness and that God would not want her to cuss them out. She told me, “I know, Pastor. After I cussed them I felt bad and knew that I was not a good example.” She has such a tender heart and I know that she is going to become a great testimony at her job, assuming that she is not forced out. PLEASE PRAY FOR YA TO GROW IN THE LORD.
My Saturday soul-winning team recently spent around 3 months handing out tracts in a certain neighborhood in Phnom Penh located about 15 minutes from our church. Though we went door-to-door and handed out several thousand tracts, we didn’t have anyone who expressed interest in speaking with us. In fact, many people tried to avoid us. About three weeks ago a young man, SokDen, who lives in that neighborhood began to express interest in knowing more about the gospel and Bro. Sinath and myself began meeting with him and sharing the gospel with him as well as answering the many questions that he had. Over the past three weeks we have invested around 14 hours teaching him. Many of you have been praying for him as you read about him on our Facebook or Instagram posts.
I am so pleased to be able to tell you that SokDen trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour yesterday morning in my office! I really believe that he is going to grow by leaps and bounds as he is discipled and as he gets plugged into the life of our church family. SokDen is 26 years old and works as a chef. During the recent Cambodian New Year festival he brought an mp3 player loaded with preaching to his home village which is located 4 hours from Phnom Penh. He had his family listen to some of the preaching.
His mother, who is a devout Buddhist (កាន់សិល៥), has dedicated herself to the precepts of Buddhism hoping to one day be reincarnated and have a better life. The five basic precepts of Buddhism are 1) Not cause harm to any animal. (“Animal” means animal the way we would view animals as well as human beings.) 2) Not to steal 3) Not to lie 4) To be chaste (For her “Chaste” includes refraining from all intimate relations in her marriage) 5) To be temperate.
SokDen told me that she is working hard to be a faithful Buddhist but that she has no joy in her life whatsoever. As Christians we know that peace in the soul does not come from trying hard to adhere to the rules imposed upon us by religion. Peace of heart is the result of having our sins forgiven and being reconciled to God. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus… According to SokDen, his mother was very interested to listen to the preaching and would have listened to more of it had her adult daughter not turned it off and told her that she should not listen to that type of teaching. PRAY FOR AN OPEN DOOR FOR SOKDEN TO INFLUENCE HIS LOST FAMILY FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
It is the power of the gospel that is changing lives! Our English ensemble sang a great song this morning reminding us of the importance of preaching the cross and the blood of Christ. You can listen to the song by clicking on the video below.
It was a real blessing to preach in our PsaTricht church this past week. It is simply amazing to see so many lives there that have been changed by the power of the gospel. All of these ladies have been saved out of the spiritual bondage of Buddhism and Islam. Several of them have paid, and are presently paying, a great price for their decision to live for the Lord. Your hearts would break if I were to tell you of the situations these folks face because they refuse to betray the Word of God. One of them was recently beaten severely by a member of her family because of her dedication to the Lord and her desire to honor Him with her life. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR BELIEVERS IN CAMBODIA WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR THEIR FAITH.
SokCheat was recently saved and is taking a very strong stand for the Lord. He comes from a very rough background that includes drugs and crime. He is well known by law enforcement and villagers alike. His sister and mother are saved and faithful to the Lord and his brother-in-law is a student in our Bible College. It has been a blessing to see the immediate change that has taken place in his life since he has been saved. PLEASE PRAY FOR SOKCHEAT TO CONTINUE TO GROW IN THE LORD. Also, PRAY FOR HIM TO BE RECONCILED TO HIS ESTRANGED WIFE. He is working hard to win her heart. Sadly, because of his past life she is not real interested in returning to him. However, I believe that as she can see how his life has changed, over time she will be saved and they will be back together.
Thank you for praying for our students who are studying in the Bible College. We just began our third term of study. We are gearing up for this group to take a missions trip in a few weeks to a “Creative Access” Country where we will visit two different ministries in two different cities at opposite ends of the Country. The students will spend nearly 45 hours traveling in a bus to get from Phnom Penh to the various places we need to go. The goal of the trip is to expose them to other places here in Asia that are in need of the gospel. Without a doubt there are thousands of villages here in Cambodia that do not have a solid gospel-preaching church but there are also other countries nearby that have great needs as well. PRAY THAT THIS TRIP WILL BE USED BY THE LORD TO HELP AWAKEN THE HEARTS OF THE STUDENTS TO THE NEED FOR MORE LABORERS IN THE HARVEST FIELD.
For many months myself and a few of our folks were working to build relationships and witness in Elephant Den village located about 40 minutes from our Phnom Penh church. This past year when one of the new believers passed away just a few months after being saved, the whole village became very cold to us and to the gospel. Even though the man who died was nearly 90 years old, they blamed his faith in Jesus Christ and his refusal to offer sacrifices to the territorial spirits as the cause of his death. Almost overnight all of the children who were coming to the ministry stopped and our adult contacts wanted nothing to do with us whatsoever. Elephant Den village and the villages surrounding it are very dark places where the devil seems to have complete control over their hearts and minds. Many of the families in Elephant Den village support themselves by carving idols from wood and chiseling them from stone. There is an actual altar in the center of the village that is used to offer sacrifices to the devil.
As we think of Elephant Den and so many other places here in this part of the the world we are reminded of the Word of God that tells us “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves: if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26) “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:15)
The only believer in the entire village is Bro. Sakhan. This past week I went to visit with him and found him quite discouraged and isolated from everyone. His adult children have taken away his phone and basically confined him to this room 24 hours a day. They are very unhappy that he is not following the same traditions as the other villagers and that he refuses to turn his back on Jesus Christ.
While I was there I was able to purchase some snacks that he enjoys but was only able to visit with him from outside the window. I hope to return soon and bring him a new mp3 player loaded with preaching and music to help lift his spirits. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAKHAN’S SITUATION TO SOMEHOW CHANGE AND FOR US TO BE ABLE TO COME UP WITH PLAN TO ONCE AGAIN HAVE CLOSE CONTACT WITH HIM.
This is the entrance to a Muslim village located about 29 miles from our church in Phnom Penh. Eleven years ago when God first brought us to this village there was not one believer there. Now there are many folks in this village ranging from the age of young children to nearly 80 years old who are saved and faithfully living for the Lord. To our knowledge this is the only Muslim village in the entire country with this type of a Christian presence. What God has caused to happen in this village is nothing short of a miracle and we know that the devil is not happy.
This village is only one of more than 14,000 villages in Cambodia. According to the statistics that we have been given there are more than 8,500 villages in this country without any gospel witness whatsoever. It is also evident that even among the villages that have a “church,” in many cases the leaders in that church are not even close to qualified to shepherd the flock IF they are even saved in the first place. In many cases these churches teach baptismal regeneration and other works-based salvation if they even bother to discuss the topic of salvation with their members. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we have met people here who have attended “church” for years but have never heard that they need to be saved or that have been taught that salvation is earned by following the Ten Commandments.
Meng Oeun was reached by Bro. Man and the workers at our Stung MeanChey outreach. Our soul-winners have been going to her neighborhood for nearly two years now and around 9 months ago we rented a building and have begun holding public services several times a week right near her house. Over the past 9 months several cults/religious groups led by Korean and Indian missionaries have moved into the neighborhood as well. Meng Oeun told the church this afternoon that every one of her neighbors have begun going to these churches because of all of the things they give away. I know that you will find it difficult to believe, but these groups literally use money to bribe people to go to their “churches.” A new group that was just started by Indian missionaries is paying adults $15 per week to attend their church. Needless to say, they are causing a lot of damage to the cause of Christ and we count them as enemies of the gospel. They are just one of several false churches in the neighborhood who are preying upon our folks. Not only do we not bribe people to come to church – furthermore, we teach them that God desires for them to honor Him with their time, talent, treasure, and influence. Meng Oeun is really troubled to see people she has been witnessing to for the past several months suddenly lose interest in the gospel and turn to these groups. Like it happens so many times here in this country, these groups will eventually either run out of money or accomplish their purpose (whatever it is) and either close down altogether or move on to another neighborhood and start their racket all over again. They move on, yet the damage remains…Like Stung MeanChey there are so many other villages that are in need of a true gospel-preaching church. We are presently looking at three new locations as possible church-plants where we have some converts but are not yet holding public services.
The PsaTricht church has been going soul-winning in Oudong City for several weeks now. Oudong is located just a few minutes from the church in PsaTricht and is a fairly good-sized city.
I was blessed to be able to help lead Chhay to the Lord about 10 years ago. Since then he has become a married man and now has three children. It is my privilege to disciple him on Saturday afternoons. His family is faithfully involved in the outreach in PsaTricht as well as other villages throughout the week. Bro. Chhay and his family live and work in Oudong and he has a real burden to see something started there in the near future. Chhay is an English teacher with a couple of hundred students and has been on purpose reaching out to his students in recent months. There are two young men, Heng and Leng, who seem to be opening up to the gospel. PRAY FOR CHHAY TO HAVE WISDOM AS WE AND OTHERS STRIVE TO BE A LIGHT IN THE CITY OF OUDONG.
Oudong City does not seem to have a gospel-preaching church but it does have lots of religion. Here is a short video clip of the only hope that this village presently has.
Three years ago we had an open door in Prak Pnou and were going there every Sunday afternoon as well as Tuesday mornings to teach prospects. Over time several folks made a profession of faith. However, through a series of unfortunate events that door closed. Bro. Bounna and Bro. Vong have continued to keep some contact with a few of the folks who were saved. We are considering returning to Prak Pnou and would love to be able to see a real work established in that city should the Lord permit.
Sinath is one of the adults who lives in Prak Pnou and who accepted Christ. I know that she would be thrilled if the door was open for our team to begin a work in her city. PLEASE HELP PRAY THAT WE WILL DISCERN GOD’S WILL AND TIMING IN REGARD TO ONCE AGAIN TARGETING PRAK PNOU. This particular city has many Vietnamese families, some of whom would be more effectively reached with the gospel in the Vietnamese language if God would send us a team member who is burdened for the Vietnamese people and who, hopefully, speaks Vietnamese.
Phnom Den village is located nearly 7 hours from our church in Phnom Penh. Over the past 3 months a family from that village has been in contact with us and indicated that they are hungry to know the truth of the Word of God.
VanThy and his wife, Channy, have traveled to meet us in Phnom Penh on three separate occasions now. They were put into contact with us by a Cambodian-American friend of ours who, while visiting Cambodia, happened to go to their village. While there, she was witnessing to some of her relatives and Channy happened to overhear what she was saying. Channy told our friend that she and her husband have been Christians for nearly 3 years but that the things she was teaching regarding the gospel and the Word of God were things that they had never heard. She then asked our friend where they could learn the Word of God and our friend put her in touch with us.
It was almost unbelievable to hear Channy share about her experiences in the one-and-only “church” that is anywhere near her village. It is located almost 7 miles away in another village. During rainy season it is impossible to get to that village but during the rest of the year they do their very best to go to church. She shared with me what they do at church…brace yourself…The “pastor” stands up in front of the congregation, opens his Bible and reads one verse. He then closes the Bible and tells the people that if he were to preach it would be really boring and he knows that no one wants to be bored. He then pumps music through the sound system and the entire church spends the rest of the hour dancing “unto the Lord.”
Channy and her husband (she seems to be the real go-getter in the family) have led several adults in their village to the Lord but they are too ashamed of their church to invite them to go there. I can’t imagine why… Last month, on their second trip to see us in Phnom Penh, we gave them an mp3 player loaded with preaching and encouraged them to listen to it everyday. Not only have they been listening to the preaching but they also began sharing it with the other families in their village. Several other families loved it so much that Channy purchased mp3 players and memory cards and began copying the files and sharing them with these families. It is my understanding that another family is planning to make the journey to Phnom Penh in the near future to meet us as well.
We don’t know exactly what God would have us to do in regard to this village. I don’t believe that we have met them by accident but I also can’t say that I know for certain that Phnom Den is a door that God is opening for us. We plan to take a short survey trip there within the next month and hope to bring a couple of our college young men with us. It is my understanding that there are many families from the ethnic minority group known as the Kuy who live in this village and who are friends with VanThy. According to Joshuaproject.net only .53% of the Kuy people profess to be evangelical Christians. (https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/19055/CB) PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD’S WILL MIGHT BE MADE EVIDENT REGARDING WHAT ROLE OUR TEAM AND CHURCH FAMILY OUGHT TO HAVE IN HELPING TO REACH THIS DISTANT VILLAGE.
Our Sunday evening small groups continue to prove effective in the discipling of new believers here in Phnom Penh. The targeted teaching, the fellowship, and the accountability is helping our teens, single adults, and married couples become equipped to live for the Lord in this dark world. In our married couples class I am presently teaching on child-rearing which is a very needed topic seeing that our group can’t seem to stop having babies… 🙂 Each week in our Married Couples class we have a short time of competition between the men and the women. This evening we began a 4-week competition and the winners will all go eat together in June. The women tried hard – but still lost 41 to 39!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason