May 21, 2018
This past week we conducted our second annual Family Camp. It was a great blessing that 199 of our folks were able to make time in their schedule as well as pay the required fees in order to attend the four day camp. It is very difficult to find facilities that will accommodate a group this size here in this country. Bro. Has and several of our national men worked very hard to find a venue as well as organize the housing, meals, and transportation.
In addition to having combined sessions in the main auditorium, we had some split teaching sessions that were divided according to life stages. It was a blessing for me to be able to teach the sessions for the married couples and to see their hunger to learn everything they can about how God desires for them to lead their families. Our second session together went over by thirty minutes as they had several questions relating to my lesson dealing with the principles of “first-time obedience” and the importance of breaking your child’s will but not their spirit. These two principles are unheard of in this culture, and so, of course, the couples never saw them modeled in their own homes growing up; therefore, they struggle to know how to effectively live them out in the day-to-day life of their family. But by God’s grace, we are seeing many of the couples not just learn Biblical principles but also seek to live them out.
Debbie had the opportunity to teach a session for the ladies. I have no idea what she taught but many of the ladies shared testimonies this weekend about how much they enjoyed her session. Several of them remarked that it was the session that benefited them the most.
While Debbie was teaching the ladies, Jason ran the children’s service along with a couple of national workers that he recruited to help him. I was in and out of that session but it was a blessing to hear him teach them about Samuel and the importance of obeying the Biblical authorities that God has placed in our lives.
For me one of the great blessings of the camp this year was seeing so many people enjoying fellowship together. When we are in our regular daily schedules it is often difficult to find the time to just sit down and spend time together. It seems that several of our young men are working hard to learn how to play the guitar. I was so happy to see the way that Setien is growing in the Lord and in his confidence to joyfully mix with others. I remember how timid he was when he first began coming to church around seven years ago. However, in recent months he seems to be really growing in the Lord as well as in his ability to socialize with others. I believe that his involvement in helping to lead one of our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry classes is really helping him to develop, as well as the individual attention that he is getting from Bro. Vannak during our Saturday evening teen boys discipleship. Before he was saved Setien’s father, Sinath, used to play the guitar for the world. In fact, by his own testimony, the lifestyle that he lived during those years nearly blew apart his marriage. I know that it is a great blessing for him to see that Setien is musically gifted by the Lord and that he is using his gift to bring honor to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Socheat and SreyLeak are wonderful examples of the grace of God. We all were touched to hear Socheat sharing of the changes that have taken place in his life since salvation. This young couple has undergone great trials with the health of their young son, Heng. In fact, as I am writing this update Heng is back in the hospital again. PLEASE HELP PRAY FOR HENG TO BE HEALED FROM THE RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS HE IS HAVING. LIKEWISE PLEASE PRAY FOR SOCHEAT AND SREYLEAK TO CONTINUE TO TRUST THE LORD. The enemy is working overtime right now to try and discourage them both.
As you may recall from previous posts, Voeuth was saved while incarcerated in a province quite far from Phnom Penh. She came to understand her need for a personal Saviour when a national Cambodian pastor made a visit to the prison to hold a Bible study with the inmates. As he left the property a tract fell out of his Bible. Voeuth saw the tract and tried to return it to him but he had already passed through the gate and she was unable to reach him. She read the tract and understood the gospel and accepted Christ. The tract that fell out of the man’s Bible was a tract from our church! We still have no idea who the man was but we definitely know that his visit to the prison was a divine appointment for Voeuth. She promised the Lord that once she was released she would call the phone numbers on the tract and travel wherever she needed to go in order to learn more about the Bible and her new life in the Lord. She kept her word and several months later she had served her time and was released. She traveled to Phnom Penh and was with us for a few weeks. During that time she was baptized as well as spent time with some of our ladies learning the Word of God. She then returned to her village far from here and is to the best of her ability living for the Lord. It was a great blessing to see the amount of effort she put forth in order to join with us for family camp. PLEASE HELP PRAY THAT HER FAMILY WILL COME TO CHRIST. To my knowledge she is the only believer in her village.
Hem and Som are wonderful testimonies of the power of the gospel! Many of you will recall hearing of their story when we were in the States last year and spoke in your church. For many years Hem was tormented with demonic oppression as well as occasional possession. I won’t go into detail about their entire testimony here, but in order to find relief from the evil powers that controlled their family, Som went from witch doctor to witch doctor seeking help. She traveled from village to village begging anyone who claimed to have the power to cast out demons to help her. Of course she only met charlatans who made their living through capitalizing on the fears of people like Som and Hem. With each ceremony and ritual that was performed came increased fees which eventually left the family bankrupt. After selling all their livestock and land they were left with nothing but emptiness, poverty, hopelessness, and dismay that their religion offered them no true answers. One day Som heard that there were folks in a nearby village who were set free from the power of darkness by trusting in Jesus Christ. To make a long story short, she was saved through their testimony and example. Several months later Hem was saved as well. The radical change that took place in his life after salvation was definitely indisputable and caused his fellow Muslim villagers to take note. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 While the majority of the village still hates Christianity and shuns the believers, they stand in amazement at the new man that Hem has become in Christ. Though we do believe in and practice door-to-door soul-winning, the most powerful soul-winning is not done through cold calls door-to-door. The most powerful soul-winning is done through the radical change that takes place in the life of a new believer once they are saved! Matthew 5:16 commands believers to let their light so shine before men [specifically the lost], in such a way that the world will come to glorify God. The only way that a lost man can truly glorify God is by being saved. Som and Hem are living a life that is shining brightly in their dark village. While their Muslim neighbors are not yet willing to turn to God from the idols they have erected within their hearts and in front of their homes, they are certainly confronted with the truth that, in Christ, Hem is a new man. The change is undeniable.
During our family camp I had the opportunity to sit down with “Mr. L” and answer some of his questions regarding salvation. Bro. San and several others have faithfully witnessed to him over this past year and it seems that he truly understands the gospel and his need for a personal Saviour. The singular thing that has brought him to the point of being willing to speak with us is the example of Hem and Som after they were saved. For many years “Mr. L” had seen the chaos and insanity that controlled Hem and his family due to the influence of the demons. For the past year he has been watching Hem and is so amazed that he is now in his right mind, living in peace with his family and the community, and a zealous servant of Jesus Christ. The thing that is holding “Mr. L” back from being saved is his fear regarding the persecution and shunning that will automatically take place toward him by the Muslims in the village once he turns to the true and living God. PLEASE PRAY FOR MR. L TO YIELD TO THE CONVICTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HIS LIFE AND BE SAVED.
We are very blessed to see what God is doing in the lives of the folks who have been saved through the outreach in Romdeng village located in northern Cambodia near the Thai border. VanThy and Channy continue to let their light shine in that very dark and spiritually impoverished village. Each week our workers and the nationals from the village who have accepted Christ meet in VanThy’s home for services. PLEASE HELP PRAY THAT GOD WILL RAISE UP A YOUNG MAN/COUPLE FROM WITHIN ROMDENG WHO GETS SAVED AND WHO IS QUALIFIED TO BE TRAINED TO TAKE THE SPIRITUAL OVERSIGHT OF THE OUTREACH IN ROMDENG.
It was a great privilege for us to hear Sophean share her testimony of salvation during our family conference. Sophean was led to Christ by Makara and Michelle as well as the influence of others who live in Romdeng village. She is part of an unreached ethnic minority group here in Cambodia known as the Kuy. There are approximately 38,000 Kuy living in Cambodia and according to recent statistics only about .53% of them are “evangelical” Christians. Romdeng and some of the surrounding villages is where the majority of the Kuy people are living in Cambodia. Among the group of folks who have come to Christ through our outreach in Romdeng, several of them are Kuy. They have their own distinct language and culture but, from our experience, most of them are conversant in Khmer as well. Several folks have come to Christ through Sophean’s example and we believe that as she continues to grow many more of her people will be saved. PLEASE HELP PRAY A HEDGE OF PROTECTION AROUND SOPHEAN AND THE OTHER KUY FOLKS WHO HAVE BEEN SAVED OVER THE PAST YEAR.
Tin was saved through the outreach in Romdeng village. Bro. Bounna, Bro. Keo, and others spent a lot of time over many weeks witnessing to him and answering his questions regarding Jesus Christ and the Bible. It was a blessing to see Tin enjoying family camp. It has his first time to join together with our folks from Phnom Penh.
When Tin returned to Romdeng he was excited about living for the Lord and about winning the lost in his village to Christ. He had been witnessing to Chanta for many weeks but he seemed to have a renewed zeal to see him saved once he returned from family camp to his village. Thankfully this past week Tin was able to lead Chanta to the Lord! PLEASE PRAY FOR TIN TO HAVE WISDOM AS HE WILL HELP TO DISCIPLE THIS YOUNG BELIEVER IN THE WORD OF GOD. Chanta is engaged to be married to Tin’s niece.
Traveling to Romdeng is not for the faint of heart! This past week our folks got stuck in the flood waters that covered the road as they tried to make it there from Phnom Penh. It’s great to see their huge smiles regardless of the fact that they are standing in filthy, disease-infested water.
Please continue to pray for the outreach in Ondong village located about 45 minutes from the church in Phnom Penh. Every Thursday and Sunday workers go there to spread the gospel as well as disciple those who have been saved. This past Sunday we had 7 adults from the village in the adult service that is held in one of their homes there in Ondong. Srey Ge was saved several years ago through our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and now lives in Ondong. Her sister, Pisay, is not yet saved but seems to be very close. PLEASE PRAY FOR PISAY AND HER HUSBAND, LIEK, TO BE SAVED. Liek was recently diagnosed with terminal cancer.
One of the positive consequences of having a church with a good number of young married couples is that we have many young children. It seems that many of the parents are coming to the conviction that they are responsible to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and that part of their responsibility in protecting them from the evil influences is to take stronger oversight of their education. There is starting to be a lot of talk among the couples of the need to have a Christian school where their children can be shielded from the filth that today’s unsaved young people have fully embraced. They are starting to take note of the detrimental effects of much of the social media that has now fully permeated the society here from the city all the way out to the remotest village. There are so many details that must come together if we are to start a Christian school. PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL GIVE DIRECTION AND WISDOM REGARDING DETAILS RELATED TO STARTING A CHRISTIAN SCHOOL FOR THE BENEFIT OF OUR CORE FAMILIES.
This picture has no particular reason for being posted other than that we think Mary is adorable, and since she’s our adopted granddaughter, I had no choice but to post it. 🙂
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie