July 15, 2018
Here is a video we shot yesterday morning while out making some visits on some of our members. Please help pray regarding the things I discuss in the video.
We had wonderful services this morning here in Phnom Penh. It was a blessing to have two unsaved visitors in our midst. One of them, a teen young lady, accepted Christ as her Saviour this afternoon while at one of the church member’s homes. The other visitor is a young man who has been affiliated with Catholicism for several years and is a little confused about the authority of the Bible and the necessity to trust Jesus alone for salvation. Today was his second week in a row to visit. He is the student of a university professor, Tara, who is a part of our church. The young man respects the testimony that Tara has at the university and is therefore wanting to know more about what has changed Tara from a superstitious, materialistic, and conceited man to a humble, patient, and loving Christian man. Pray for Tara and his family as they continue to witness to the young man and to many others within their sphere of influence.
It was a blessing for us to present Nita with a new Bible this morning. Nita studies English at the local high school with NeyNey. In fact, they have been friends for awhile. NeyNey has been witnessing to her and a couple of weeks ago she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour. She immediately desired to have a Bible and so she began diligently working to complete a Bible study booklet based upon the Book of Mark. She answered approximately 100 questions and earned her new Bible! From the time that she got saved until the time she completed answering the questions was about two weeks! Pray for NeyNey and Nita as they both strive to be a shining light for the Lord at their high school.
It was a great blessing to walk around and observe the young people running our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry today. Each of these young people were saved here at the church and are devoting their lives to help make a difference in the lives of others. Pov, the young man in the purple shirt, is helping to prepare some snacks for the children to take home after their class is over. Jason is preaching for the teen service.
Setian has been diligently learning how to play the guitar and plays for the teen service nearly every week. NeyNey, in the middle, is teaching the children ages 4-7. SreyNak is writing out the Scripture verse for the children ages 8-11 to memorize.
It is our privilege this week to host Bro. LeLeaux and Bro. West as they are here visiting us from the States. These two men have been a great blessing and encouragement to our home church over the past several years and we are thrilled that they have come to see firsthand some of the things that God is doing here in Cambodia.
Grandma Thul was saved several years ago but is housebound due to poor health. If I remember correctly she has only had the opportunity to be at church perhaps once over the past three years. She lives in a second floor apartment and is unable to safely navigate the stairs anymore. Debbie and I had the chance to visit with her yesterday and encourage her in the Lord. She loves to listen to preaching on the mp3 player that she is borrowing from the church.
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to sit and fellowship with Grandma Pana for about an hour or so. She was saved out of Islam and the occult. Since she has been saved it is a very rare thing to see her without a huge smile on her face. She showed me her Bible and spoke of her love for the Word of God. Though she has only been saved a few short years, her Bible is well worn. It is evident that she uses it quite often. She told me, “If I go for one day without reading my Bible, I don’t feel right in my heart. I must read it everyday or I feel like there is something missing in my day.” No wonder she has such a great smile on her face and joy in her heart!
These three older men were all saved through the ministry here. Before salvation, Ta Ai was drunk 24 hours a day and had lived as a drunkard for decades. Now he is sober and in his right mind. He’s in church nearly every time the doors are open. SeangHi heard the gospel from missionaries before the fall of Cambodia back in 1975 but was never truly saved until recently. It has been a blessing to see that he began tithing several months ago.
Ta Sokrut taught Khmer Literature for 40 years at the university level. He is a highly educated and cultured man. For years he sought to know who God was, but he would be continually disappointed as he only found man-made religions that promoted idol worship and a structure of hierarchy that promoted man. Two years ago he was saved as the workers who are a part of the outreach in StungMeanChey met him and patiently explained the gospel to him. For the past two years he has faithfully attended church, participated in door-to-door soul-winning, and become a real student of the Word of God.
Several days ago he became ill and is now bedridden and drifting in and out of consciousness. It is very likely that he will be going to Heaven soon. We had the opportunity to be with him for awhile yesterday morning, as well as speak with his adult children. His children are not saved and, in fact, have persecuted him because of his faith in Jesus Christ. However, yesterday they were forced to admit that their father truly believes in Jesus Christ and has a solid testimony that the Lord has changed his life. We don’t know what the future holds but we know that Sokrut loves the Lord and is burdened for his children to be saved. Please pray that Sokrut will be healed if it is God’s will and that his children will come to know the Lord through this situation.
So much of the ministry here in Cambodia would come to an abrupt halt tomorrow if there were not single young ladies who loved the Lord and were willing to invest in His work! SreyNich and Nisa (left hand side) spent several hours making a fried dessert for the entire church on Saturday evening. They are both involved in numerous ministries here at the church that touch the lives of others and it’s a blessing to see them investing their single years in things that will reap eternal rewards.
Miss Grace, Michelle, and Susanna are a huge blessing. As single-lady missionaries they do on a regular basis some things that many men I know might not be willing to do. They are all three great examples to the national young people of purity and godliness and we thank God for them! If you’re looking for someone to bless this Christmas they would be a great choice!
The outreach to Ondong Village, located about 40 minutes from our Phnom Penh location, continues to go forward. Twice each week a team of workers travels there to disciple the new believers, go soul-winning, hold children’s services, and hold services for the adults.
This past Tuesday evening we had a fellowship with several of the adults who have been saved and who desire to grow in the Lord. We met in the food court of a shopping mall. After having dinner together I challenged them from the Word of God with some daily habits that they need to firmly establish in their lives if they are going to grow to be the Christian that God has called them to be. Bro. Vannak heads up the Ondong outreach and he is doing a wonderful job. It is a blessing to serve alongside a national man who is burdened to see the gospel reach his people. Please help pray for Vannak and his wife, Samantha, to continue to have wisdom, strength, God-given vision, and a happy marriage as they serve the Lord.
Leak and Pisey were both reached with the gospel through the outreach in Ondong. We have all grown to love them and desire to see them make it for the Lord. They are going through a huge trial right now as Leak has a type of blood cancer. They are in and out of the hospital on a regular basis and each time it totally drains them of all their finances. Several of us have helped and continue to help with their medical bills in order to try and get him the help that he needs. This picture was taken Tuesday evening at the fellowship – Wednesday morning he was admitted into the emergency room and, even as I write this update, is near the point of death. Yesterday Vannak and I went to the hospital to encourage Pisey. Our hearts truly go out to her and all of the other families who have loved ones in the emergency room. Pisey has literally slept on the sidewalk every night outside of the room where her husband is laying. She told us that the mosquitoes are so bad at night that none of them can sleep. Of course we told her that she is very welcome to come stay at the church or in our apartment with our family but she let us know that if she leaves for even a short time there is no one to take care of her husband as he requires several things to be done for him constantly. (In this part of the world there are not enough medical personnel in most hospitals to take care of non- medically related tasks such as feeding and things related to caring for regular bodily functions.) Words definitely can’t describe the spirit that we felt as we stood in the emergency room next to Leak’s bed. He is in a room with approximately 20 other patients and their families. There is such a look of hopelessness on the faces of patients and family alike. Privacy is non-existent. We fully expect that Leak will pass away any moment now. Please pray for Pisey to remain strong in the Lord as she will likely soon become a single mother to three children.
We wanted to at least show you Sokhom’s picture. I will not take time in this update to share her testimony. Lord willing, we can do that at a later time. Sokhom was saved through the outreach in Ondong. Prior to her salvation she was drunk most of the time and not a real nice person to be around. She now has the joy of the Lord in her heart and has not touched alcohol since being saved! No doubt the change that has taken place in her life is seen by everyone in the village. Please pray for her husband, Naruth, to be saved.
SreyGe accepted Christ when she was a young teenager attending our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. However, due to pressure from her unsaved family members, she began working on Sunday and got out of church and away from regular fellowship with God’s people. As we would all be prone to do, she began living a life that was not honoring to the Lord and she married a non-believer. Ever since that time her life has been very difficult. Last year she moved to Ondong Village. Once Bro. Vannak and the workers began going to her village a few months ago, she began responding to the Holy Spirit’s working in her life and has returned to once again seek to live a life that is honoring to the Lord. Pray for SreyGe as she submits to the Lord and allows her light to shine in her very dark village. Nat is her husband and ChanNy is her mother. Neither one of them are saved but they both joined in the meeting on Tuesday evening. Pray for Nat and ChanNy to be saved. Nat clearly understands the gospel but he is allowing his love for sin and his desire for popularity with his “friends” to keep him from coming to God.
Ya is a lady who, humanly speaking, might have cause to frown. However, she is filled with the joy of the Lord! She was saved out of Islam and has undergone a lot of persecution but she continues to allow the joy of the Lord to be her strength. After the preaching a couple of weeks ago she came up to me laughing and said, “Pastor, you preached for an hour and fifteen minutes but it seemed like only a few minutes!” She has the same hunger and love for the Word of God that so many of our people have. They don’t come to church hoping that the preaching will be “short and sweet” so that they can get to the restaurant and eat lunch or get home to watch the ball game… Their example is a rebuke to much of the lukewarm “Christianity” that sadly seems to be prevalent in so many churches in the west. What a pleasure it is for our family and our team to serve alongside folks such as Ya!
Samnang came to know Christ through the outreach in StungMeanChey. He is a young man who has a pretty difficult life but who, since getting saved, almost always has a huge smile on his face. Last night he texted me at 9:30 p.m. to ask for the link to a video our church made several years ago entitled “A Letter from Hell.” It is a tool that we often use when seeking to share the gospel with someone who has a hard heart. It is also a great wake-up call to Christians who are ashamed of the gospel. I asked him what he was doing at 9:30 p.m. and he told me that he was at his friends house witnessing to them! He then asked me to pray that his friends, Dara and Vutha, would be saved. Samnang is a faithful young man and we expect God to use him greatly to reach his own people as he grows in the Lord. Pray for Samnang to remain faithful.
It has been a great pleasure for us to have Sareth and Vorn visiting here from Long Beach for the past 4 months. They are in the process of making arrangements to return here permanently after the first of the year. We had them over to our home for dinner this past week and while they were here I pulled out old prayer letters that we had written back in 1992 when we first met them in Long Beach. You remember 1992 — back when all we had was a dot matrix printer… They were both happy to see several letters that we wrote back in the 90’s asking for folks to pray that they would be saved. Then once the Lord allowed us to lead them to Christ we continued to write of them on a regular basis as we introduced their family members who needed to be saved or who had just accepted Christ. Sareth and Vorn both love the Lord and expressed to me very clearly their intent to return here and work alongside of our team and the nationals as we win folks to the Lord, make disciples, and plant churches here in this needy part of the world. It will be a great joy to once again serve alongside of this great couple! Pray for Sareth and Vorn to be able to tie up all their loose ends in Long Beach and make a smooth transition back here to Cambodia.
It was a great joy for our family to spend a day together with some of the team at a hotel outside of town. We have been blessed with some awesome co-laborers whom we consider to be family. Pray for us to have wisdom as we lead the team and continue to forge into new territory for the glory of God and His fame among the people of this land.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie