June 25, 2018
We had a packed house this past Sunday morning here in Phnom Penh! The spirit was great and the congregation paid great attention as the Word of God was preached. I preached on the topic of our victory in Christ over the devil. Thank God for the power of the gospel that not only softens hard hearts and saves souls but also protects from the evil one who has reigned as the god of this part of the world for thousands of years.
This summer we have decided to have “family nights” one Sunday evening a month. In addition to having a normal time of testimonies, singing, and the preaching of the Word of God, we also have a time of fellowship through competition. Afterwards we all enjoy snacks together. It was a wonderful blessing to hear various testimonies from the folks of how God is working in their lives.
This past week we took 13 of our Bible College students on a week long missions trip to the Thai border. You can get a glimpse of what the trip was like by watching the three videos below as well as reading the short summaries. We are so thankful for the students’ burden to see their country reached with the gospel. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT THE BIBLE COLLEGE STUDENTS WILL REMAIN OPEN AND TENDER TO THE CALL OF GOD IN REGARD TO THEIR FUTURE SERVICE FOR HIM.
The purpose of this trip was to expose our Bible college students to many villages that are without any gospel witness. They were able to see many villages with hundreds of families, but that have no gospel preaching church. In this picture the students are praying on top of a famous shrine that the gospel will go forth throughout their country with great power.
It was our privilege to be able to spend some time with these three men who are serving in Cambodia not far from the Thai border. Brother Michi, on the left, is the fruit of Baptist missionaries who went to Japan 50 years ago and reached his father and father-in-law with the gospel. After our students interviewed him, we challenged them to realize that their faithfulness to the Lord and to the gospel will result in others serving the Lord many years from now.
The two gentlemen on the right are both national pastors who were reached with the gospel by missionaries here in Cambodia several years ago. Our students were greatly challenged by their testimonies and their example. We look forward to perhaps doing some future ministry with these men.
Our students were also challenged by the example of Jennifer, a single lady missionary serving here in Cambodia all alone. She does her best to reach ladies and children but I know that it is very difficult for her at times. After arriving on the field several years ago, she met another single Filipina who now works alongside of her. Jennifer’s family was reached a number of years ago by a Baptist missionary family who brought the gospel to their small island in the Philippines. Again, our students were challenged to have a long-term vision of how God wants to use them to win souls and make disciples, realizing that their faithfulness now will result in many being saved in years to come.
For two days of the trip our college students were privileged to help run the Children’s ministry outreaches alongside of Jennifer. It was great to see our young people showing love and compassion to some of the poorest children in this country.
The young ladies led in singing and games then the young men preached to the children. I know that it was a blessing for the children in these remote villages to have the opportunity to meet Christian Cambodian young adults. I’m confident that the vast majority of them had never met a Cambodian adult who was a Christian. We are thankful for Jennifer’s willingness to allow our students the opportunity to serve.
One of the highlights for our students was the opportunity to cross over into Thailand and meet Cambodian nationals who live and work on the Thai side of the border. One afternoon Debbie and I crossed the border along with Michelle, one of the single lady missionaries from our home church who is serving on the team. We had the opportunity to hand out many gospel tracts to the Cambodians living in the shacks pictured above. I believe that we only met perhaps one or two folks who had ever even heard the name of Jesus Christ. We were quickly spotted by these young Cambodian boys. From the point they met us until we crossed back over into Cambodia they followed us around wherever we went. It was evident that they were starved for attention. Their families make barely enough money to survive. A couple of the boys were fairly transparent with us about their living conditions and some of the fears they face on a daily basis as non-documented aliens residing in Thailand. I believe that our college students were greatly impacted by seeing their own people living in a foreign land and especially by the fact that they have no access to the gospel.
I had the opportunity to meet these two men while we were visiting an ancient Buddhist temple and shrine. The man on the left had evidently heard the gospel 40 years ago through French speaking missionaries here in Cambodia. However, he is very confused about the Bible and his need for a personal Saviour. The monk on the right patiently listened as I shared the gospel with him. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was really thinking about the things I was telling him. Sadly we were only in that area for a brief time and were unable to do more than give a cursory explanation of the gospel and of our inability to merit eternal life. As I departed from him I placed my hand on his shoulder and he immediately reached out to hold my arm as we took a picture together.
This morning in our Christian Family class in the Bible college I taught about the importance of physical touch within the family. We discussed how that many times when we are presenting the gospel here we will place our hand on the lost person’s shoulder or arm as a gesture of affection. I then showed the students this picture – when they saw this monk actually responding to my touch, it moved some of them to tears. I suppose that they had not imagined that a monk has real emotions just like everyone else, and though he is steeped in religious ritual, at the end of the day he is without Christ and without hope.
While on the trip we were able to teach the students about many things. One of the things they learned was how that the national religion of Buddhism in this country is actually a fusion of Buddhism, Hinduism, as well as animism (spiritism) and the occult. These two pictures represent some of the superstitious beliefs that are not actually part of the Buddhist religion, but that are widely accepted here. The picture on the left depicts their belief that all those who commit serious sins will one day go to hell where they will have to give answer to the “King of Hell.” After that, they will be tortured for the sins they have committed. Of course, this belief is a perversion of the truth – the Bible clearly teaches us that those who die and go to hell will face the eternal wrath of God and not the anger of the devil. The picture on the right is of a shrine that is greatly revered. It is believed by many who live in that area that the spirit of a woman who died many years ago indwells this shrine and provides protection for those who are willing to sacrifice to her. I spoke with a man at the shrine who is firmly convinced that this shrine has supernatural powers and that, in fact, those powers healed his sick child after he made the required sacrifices.
While visiting the border and speaking with many folks who live in remote villages, we were reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 which says, “But 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.”
Thank you for praying for the walls of darkness to be torn down and for the power of the gospel to go forth as we strive to make the gospel known in some of the darkest places on this planet.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie