April 12, 2019
It was a wonderful blessing for us to have our regular Celebration Service a couple of weeks ago and to see thirty-eight folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism! Despite the weather being unbearably hot, we enjoyed hearing a number of special songs by various groups in the church. So many of the folks diligently work to make these services a special time.
During the service we had the privilege of dedicating eight babies to the Lord. One of the blessings of having a young church is that we have a constant influx of babies being born. While it can present certain challenges logistically to have a number of babies present at church at any given time, we are excited to think about the potential that these children have to make a significant impact in Southeast Asia for the gospel if they are properly trained by godly parents. As a church we desire to work together to see these eight couples continue to grow in their knowledge of, and obedience to, the Word of God. As they pass truth on to their children and their children grow up in the church, we anticipate seeing a great host of faithful young couples who have known the Lord from a very young age and who are equipped to make an eternal difference in this part of the world.
We were also blessed to hear heart-given testimonies by two different families of the difference that the gospel has made in their lives. Both of these families were saved out of a religious system that caused them to live in constant fear of demons. Their lives have been totally changed since they have been set free from the powers of darkness by the power of Jesus Christ!
You can get a short glimpse into the time of fellowship that we enjoyed after the service by clicking on the video below.
Discipleship is a very important aspect of the Great Commission and I am thankful that it continues to be among our top priorities here in Cambodia. Whether we are helping to ground new believers in their faith through the public preaching of the Word of God during a church service, meeting together in a small-group context, mentoring our Bible College students in the classroom setting, or meeting with new believers one-on-one, we believe that the making of disciples is an aspect of the Christian life in which every believer ought to be passionately involved.
The Biblical truths that our Bible College students are being taught in the classroom are important to their walk with God and to their future service for Him. Equally important, if not more important, are the practical opportunities that they are afforded to put into practice the things they are learning within the context of the local church. I am always blessed to be able to drop in on one of our village outreaches and to see the Bible College students teaching and leading their own people. Please join us in praying for our college students to remain faithful to the Lord. Some of them are going through very challenging times as they receive pressure from unsaved family members to discontinue their studies and pursue a career in the world. Recently, one of the married students was forced by his employer to choose between keeping his job or continuing to study in the Bible College. In the past, his boss had allowed him to begin work each day immediately following his classes and then continue working up until the evening. For some reason he decided that he only wants full-time employees now. Even though this married Bible College student was one of his best employees, he refused to allow him to continue to work part-time. He assumed that he would choose to keep the job and drop out of college. His assumption was wrong. I know that this young couple would appreciate your prayers as they are trusting God to provide a part-time job.
I introduced Grandpa Ny to you in our last blog update. It was my privilege to travel to his village this past Sunday with our workers and to meet him in person. As with many older folks here, he was not certain how old he was in “western” years. We finally figured out that he is actually 102 years old! I was the first white person that he had ever met and we enjoyed speaking together for quite awhile. As I asked him questions about his life and about his new faith in Jesus Christ there were two things, in particular, that struck me:
1) His mind is very alert even at the age of 102. He understands exactly what is going on around him and is able to respond to questions with cohesive answers.
2) He told me that before the soul-winners came to his village and shared the gospel with him, he had never heard of Jesus. He had no idea Who Jesus was. He had no idea that there was a God in Heaven Who created everything. He had no idea that his sin had separated him from the God Who had created him. He had no idea that the penalty for his sin was eternal separation from God in Hell. He had no idea that God loved Him. He had no idea that God had prepared a way to have his sin debt paid and that it was impossible for him to ever do any religious deed or good work that could pay the debt he owed. He had no idea that simple faith in what was accomplished through the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ was all that is necessary to have his sins forgiven and to be placed in a right relationship with God.
In short, he had lived his entire life in fear of demons and in fear of what would happen to him after he died. This fear drove him to try and live a decent life and as much as possible adhere to a religion that demanded him to worship gods made by man, worship angels as well as the sun, moon, and stars, and spend as much money as he could afford in order to do good works. He spent much of his hard-earned money in order to purchase various items that he would offer in sacrifice to the demons he believed controlled his neighborhood in hope that he would appease their wrath and manipulate them into protecting his well-being and the well-being of his family. (On a lighter note, he did admit to me that when he was a teenager he smoked marijuana.)
So the question is this – In an age when soft drink companies from the West have been in this part of the world for decades, why did it take 102 years for the gospel to reach his ears? There is a long answer and a short answer to that question. The long answer may be less popular than the short answer and will have to wait for another time… The short answer, and an answer that is directly related to the long answer, is that the church of God, while “succeeding” at some things, has failed in so many ways to obey Christ’s command to take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. I assure you, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the countries where we serve who have never heard the name of Jesus let alone heard and understood a clear presentation of the gospel as set forth in the Word of God. Grandpa Ny is far from being alone. Thank the Lord for faithful national soul-winners who are willing to obey Christ’s command and pursue the lost with the message of salvation.
We were able to produce two new gospel tracts this past week. The one on the far left is entitled True Hope. The tract in the middle is entitled The Greatest Problem of Man. Both of these tracts were written by some of our national men who we led to Christ several years ago. The front covers were designed by our son, Joshua. Through a generous donation of dear friends in the Midwest we were able to print 10,000 copies of these two tracts as well reprint our tract on the right entitled After Leaving this World: Is Reincarnation True?
As you know, with rental prices continuing to rise here in the capital city at unsustainable levels and being faced with the fact that our current lease will be expiring this next year and our rent will likely be doubled, the Lord led us to purchase a plot of land on the edge of town. So much work has already been done on the property and we are excited to see the progress even though it is not moving as fast as we would like.
Very soon the necessary paperwork will be submitted to the appropriate officials in order to obtain the legal permission to break ground on the new church. Brother Vong and others have spent countless hours dealing with various aspects of this project in order to get us to this point. As a leadership team we will be meeting on April 22nd for several hours to nail down some final things and then we hope to be able to break ground soon after. We do not yet have the necessary funds to complete the building but we are praying and trusting that they will be provided according to God’s will. We will build what we can afford to build. We want to especially thank the churches and individuals who have already shown their commitment to help impact this part of the world through helping us to get this project completed. The land could have never been purchased with only the funds that our folks are able to give. Many of the new believers in our churches live hand to mouth – one day at a time. While they have given and will continue to give, their offerings alone will fall far short of what it will take to build a safe and suitable building that can accommodate not just the current size of our ministry but will position the church and college to expand into villages that as of yet remain unreached and in some cases untouched with the gospel. The land was purchased through the love and commitment of Christian friends, as well as the leadership of pastors in America, as they led God’s people to understand the vision and to help with this project.
Likewise, we will never be able to complete this building without the help of ministry partners who not only enjoy reading about what God is doing here through our updates and the updates of others, but who truly desire to have a lasting part in helping the gospel to continue to go forth here in this part of the world.
If you desire to have a part in helping the building to be completed, please contact me. Donations can be given through our sending church or through B.I.M.I. We stand ready to help answer any questions you may have.
P.S. We are looking forward to having several different church groups visit over the next several months. Bring your work clothes! 🙂
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason