March 3, 2021
Unfortunately there has been another significant surge in confirmed cases of the virus here in our country. This has led to a third wave of restrictions on public meetings. While some ministry is able to go forward, we are prohibited from holding public or even private meetings. In the past we have been able to organize small groups of members who could meet together in various locations on Sundays and throughout the week for teaching and fellowship. However, this time the situation appears to be more serious. Thus we are seeking to comply with all the regulations passed down from those in authority. For the time being we have begun to livestream our services for members who have registered ahead of time. The livestream is not available to the general public. We want to be very cautious to not lead the church into the trap of becoming complacent with simply watching a church service take place online. We firmly believe that livestream is not a substitute for the regular meeting together of God’s people for singing, teaching, preaching, fellowship, and giving offerings to the Lord’s work. Please help pray that we will have wisdom and prudence to effectively shepherd the flock during this time of restriction.
Please continue to pray for the Bible College students to maintain their walk with God during this time of uncertainty. This has been a challenging year for nearly all of them. Some have been compelled to take on jobs that rob them of any extra time that would normally be devoted to ministry. God does not desire that these young people lose the vision God has given them to do their part to help reach their own people with the gospel. I believe it has been difficult for some of the young men, in particular, to keep focus of God’s long-term will for their lives. Pray that they will simply be faithful to follow His revealed will for today! If they do that, tomorrow will take care of itself.
Kolab and her family live just behind our new church building. Many of us have made it a point to get to know her and her daughters over the past several months. Some of the national ladies, in particular, have reached out to her and helped her to understand her need of a personal Saviour. We are so pleased that this past month she placed her faith in Jesus Christ. It was a blessing to see her follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism two weeks ago. Since being saved she has made it a point to witness to her siblings. On two separate occasions since her salvation her sister, Kim Houng, has come to visit from Siem Reap. The first time some of our ladies met with her and helped Kolab share the gospel. She took some literature back with her and read it over the past couple of weeks. This past week she made another trip to meet with Kolab and this time her heart was ready – she had counted the cost of what it would mean to become a Christian. Kolab and the national ladies are still rejoicing in the opportunity to lead another soul to Christ! Kolab left yesterday to travel to Siem Reap and visit some of her relatives. It is her desire to be a bold witness for the Lord and to see more of her family saved. Please pray for adult siblings as well as her husband, Ta, to be saved.
Sumva had been listening to “Christian” radio here in this country for several months with the desire to know God. While perhaps some of the broadcasting that he heard has some value, in all the hours he spent listening to the programming they never explained how someone can have their sins forgiven and come into a right relationship with God through trusting in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross. Frankly he because frustrated. He had heard a lot of good advice given and even a few sermons that addressed Biblical topics, howbeit on a very surface level only. But he never one time heard a clear presentation of the gospel.
One day, two months ago, he was walking to work and along the side of the busy road he noticed two pieces of paper. The papers were surrounded by lots of trash, yet they stood out and caught his attention. He later gave testimony that for some reason he felt compelled to pick up the papers and put them in his backpack to read later when he had time. After arriving to work he took the papers out and began to look them over. It was then that he discovered they were gospel tracts from our church. One was entitled “True Hope” and the other “Man’s Greatest Problem.” As he read them he came to realize that they were addressing the very thing he had been seeking! He called the numbers on the tracts and two of our national men met with him, clearly presented the gospel to him from the Word of God, answered his questions, and led him to trust Christ as his personal Saviour!
It has been a blessing to be able to meet with him and begin discipling him in the Word of God. His work schedule is very hectic and he literally has not even one free hour the entire week. He sleeps approximately 3 hours a night at his job. Other than that he is on duty as a security guard for 21 hours a day. Poverty is real and it is often a significant barrier to spiritual growth in this part of the world. Help us to pray that Sumva will be able to get a different job that will allow him time to be discipled as well as participate in church services once we are allowed to reopen.
Several of the new believers are facing increased persecution at this time. But one lady in particular, though she has only been saved for a very short time, has chosen to take a stand for the Lord that has led to great opposition by her family and fellow villagers. I am not mentioning this lady by name. She is part of an ethnic minority here in this country that holds very strictly to a particular religion. After refusing to participate in an occultic ceremony that involves animal sacrifice and demon worship she became the target of not only hate-filled and angry words, but she was also physically assaulted. Her family forced her to sleep outside a few days ago and during the middle of the night her fellow villagers began violently stoning her. They promised that they would return next time and take things to a “different level” unless she renounced her faith in Jesus Christ. I can not write more details regarding this situation in this forum. Some of our members from another village brought her to safety for a couple of nights. While in a safe place they prayed, sang, and studied the Bible. These all brought her much encouragement in the Lord. Last night she made the decision that no matter what the cost she must return to her village and seek to be salt and light. Her greatest desire is that her husband and adult children will be saved. She knows that if she is not living her faith in front of them – they will likely never come to know God.
In the picture on the left this dear lady is sharing a very joyful testimony at church just prior to following the Lord in Believer’s Baptism two weeks ago. Her courage driven by her love for the Lord and godly compassion is motivating as well as convicting to any who will take the time to think… Please pray that God’s grace will be real in her life as she returns to her village to face whatever comes next. It is virtually certain that she will face violence unless God works to prevent it. Philippians 1:29 For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake. Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for their’s is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
It has been a great blessing to see so many of the national believers becoming more burdened for their own people. In recent days these folks, and others, have organized themselves into groups and gone out on their own to hand out tracts and share the gospel with the lost. What a blessing it is to see that, though we face certain challenges that have forced us to become more creative in our soul-winning and discipleship, the gospel is still going forth into places that have been under the control of the wicked one for generations. Please pray that the gospel will continue to go forth with clarity and power that will result in genuine conversions. We are certainly surrounded in this part of the world, just like in other places, by the cults, the false prosperity gospel, and well meaning but unbiblical methods of evangelism that leave people with a shallow understanding of the gospel. It seems that “easy-prayerism” has also become more prevalent here in Southeast Asia. Please pray that our ministry will continue to practice Biblical soul-winning and discipleship that results in fruit that remains.
Our national men and women are working diligently to see this church building completed. Brother San is doing a good job of organizing work days and doing everything possible to build as economically as possible. So many of the folks have sacrificially given of their time, talent, and treasures to see this building go up on some donated land out at one of the village ministries. We are thankful for some wonderful friends who recently provided a gift that has allowed construction to continue. We anticipate seeing this building completed very soon barring any more unforeseen obstacles. Please help us pray that the building will be a tool that can be effectively used to encourage, equip, empower, and send forth laborers into the surrounding villages that are without any gospel light.
Please continue to pray for the work located in the northern part of this country. Brother Zen, a senior in the Bible college, is doing a wonderful job leading and overseeing this village ministry. Recently several new believers followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism. Sovanna, pictured above, accepted Christ a couple of years ago but until recently has been away from the Lord. A few weeks ago he returned to church and brought his wife, Sokhom, with him. She is not yet a believer but seems to have a tender heart and is willing to listen to the gospel. Please pray for Sovanna to walk with the Lord in the way that he should, and that his testimony will result in his wife trusting Christ as well. Rithy and Lawn have not yet been to church but Brother Zen says that they are presently being witnessed to. It is likely that they understand the gospel (the gospel is not hard to understand) but are counting the cost of what it will mean if they turn to God from idols. Pray that Rithy and Lawn will come to the conviction that no matter what the temporary cost may be they need to be saved.
In closing we would like to ask you to pray for the individuals pictured above to be saved. There are many other folks who are being dealt with regarding salvation at this time. But these are the names of just a few that we feel are seriously considering their need to repent of depending upon their own good works and call upon the name of the the Lord to be saved.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason