Category Archives: PRAYER LETTER ARCHIVE – 1990-2015
December 23, 2013
We did not plan to post an update this weekend since our update was so long last week. However, this weekend was just so encouraging that we had to share it with those of you who are praying! Thank you for praying for the special Christmas service.
So many people worked so diligently to make the Christmas service successful and we believe that God blessed their faithfulness. Bro. Bounna worked and rehearsed for many hours to write the Christmas play entitled “The Greatest Gift of All.” Debbie, Mrs. Has, and Mrs. Keo worked hard with those who sang special songs throughout the play. Joshua and Justin built the set. Jeremy figured out how to make a very complicated origami star and then taught Mrs. Has how to make it. Mrs. Has, in turn, taught the teen girls how to make the star and they created many of them to decorate the auditorium. Brother Kosal spent countless hours translating the play and songs from English into Khmer. We are indeed blessed to have so many faithful nationals who have been saved here and worked so hard to learn their special songs and their parts for the play. Many of the ladies got up very early, well before the sun came up, to prepare special food for after the service. Several of the men, including Bro. Keo, left the church Sunday morning while it was still dark in order to transport a few of the folks from some of the village ministries to Phnom Penh to join with us in the special service.
My message related to the love of God for us all and was entitled, ” How Much Does God Love Me? “ Unlike most Sunday morning messages here, it was evangelistic in nature due to the fact that we did have a few unsaved first time visitors with us. We were reminded that 1) God loves me so much that He sent His Son to leave the perfection of Heaven and come to sinful earth. 2) God loves me so much that He set aside His glory and took on human flesh. 3) God loves me so much that He suffered the punishment that I deserve upon the cross to redeem me from the curse of the law, the power of the Devil, and the the bondage of sin. 4) God loves me so much that He is preparing a place for me in Heaven.
The play centered upon the life story of a poor family from the countryside and focused upon a very ill mother and a rebellious son. The son rejected his family and left home because he was ungrateful for the gift that his parents gave him for Christmas. The mother’s dying wish was to see her rebellious son return home and come to Christ. However, she passed away before her son got saved. When her son heard of her dying wish it broke his heart and he understood that he was in need of the greatest gift of all – salvation.
Taiwan and Sokeng, who are married in real life, played the parts of the father and mother. They did a fantastic job! Both of them managed to draw the congregation into the reality of the story. Somehow they managed to have real tears at just the right times. I would venture to guess that there was not a dry eye in the house.
Tina played the part of the youngest daughter. Many of you have heard me tell the story of how Tina got saved and became burdened for her parents to know the Lord as well. You may recall that her father, Hem, was working in Malaysia at the time. One day he called Tina on the phone and told her that he was flying back home to Cambodia in a couple of days and that she was to go and buy some alcohol so that he could celebrate with his friends. She told him that she could no longer purchase the alcohol because she was now God’s child and God didn’t want her to do that any more. He was very surprised to hear her say that but figured he would find out more about the crazy “cult” that she had become a part of once he returned home. He then instructed her to go tell “Uncle Ra” that he was coming home and to have Ra go make the purchase for her. Tina responded by saying, “Dad, we are so happy you are coming home but there is a problem…Uncle Ra has become God’s child as well and I’m sure he won’t buy it for you either!” The last Hem knew, Uncle Ra was a faithful Muslim who was training to become an Imam. To make a long story short, Hem returned home to find that many of his family members had accepted Christ and their lives were totally changed. He did not understand the change but his heart was softened because of Tina’s testimony, and soon after his return to Cambodia both Hem and his wife, Beh, accepted Christ as their personal Saviour.
Hem played the part of the saved uncle of the rebellious son. His role in the play brought many laughs from the congregation. God truly has changed his life. Pray for Hem and Beh as they continue to grow. We are planning, Lord willing, to have them become “seed members” of the new church plant in Prak Pnou village.
It was a huge blessing to have Hem (a different Hem) in the service Sunday morning. Hem is the husband of Soam. You may recall that Soam came to the Lord out of Islam and that once she was saved and refused to compromise by attending occultic ceremonies at the Mosque, she was severely persecuted. In fact, she sought refuge for awhile here in Phnom Penh until things settled down a bit. Hem was one of the primary persecutors. It seems that his heart has softened to the truth of the gospel. This is, no doubt, due to Soam’s testimony within the home. Hem is not saved yet but it is a huge step that he is taking by simply joining with the Christians inside of the church. Please pray that Hem will be saved! (FYI – the name Hem comes from the name Abraham. Hem is a common name within the Cham community due to the fact that Islam claims Abraham, of the Old Testament, as one of their prophets.)
We were so happy to have Narann in the morning service. He is the 25 year old son of one of our faithful ladies. Yesterday was his first time to come to church and he felt very welcomed. I am planning to go meet with him this evening at 5:00 to do an evangelistic Bible study with him. His heart is very open and I don’t think it will be long before he understands his need for salvation and accepts Christ. Please pray for myself, Vuthy, and Ra as we all go meet with him this evening.
We took a special offering yesterday to help purchase chairs for the new church plant in Prak Pnou. It is so important that our Phnom Penh church stays involved in helping to spread the gospel throughout the villages as well planting churches in those villages as adults and families come to faith. The natural tendency is to look to the missionary to do evangelism, provide all the vision and leadership, and plant the churches. I am on purpose doing some things to counter that mentality. Our “Gift for Jesus” Christmas offering was just one more reminder that the new church plant in Prak Pnou is a shared responsibility. We are so grateful to see that the folks are burdened for souls and willing to share of their meager resources to see their own people come to Christ. We are reminded of the promise in Philippians 4:19 that God will supply the needs of those who are faithful to Him – especially in the area of giving of their resources for the cause of Christ and His church.
These six teen girls were all a part of the work in Trabang Tma village. (Starting with the young lady in the red sweater on the left. The girl on the far left in the pink sweater is Borey from Phnom Penh.) Shortly after our Youth Conference a few months ago, their parents forced them to come to Phnom Penh to work in a factory. Five of these girls were saved in the Children’s Ministry in Trabang Tma. They pleaded with their parents to not force them to leave home to work in the city. Their primary reason for not wanting to leave was that they desired to remain active in the ministry. Brother Vannak, the national worker who heads up the ministry in Trabang Tma village, told me that the girls all cried when they told him they were leaving. They said that they knew the Christians in Phnom Penh love them and they promised to pray for us all every day.
The girls were basically hidden from Vannak and the rest of our workers for a couple of months. They are forced to work and live in the factory. They work from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. They are forced to work for the illegal wage of 11 cents per hour. It is entirely possible that the product they produce will be under the Christmas tree of many Americans in a few days.
By God’s grace, Vannak and Samantha were able to locate them a couple of weeks ago and reestablish contact with them. Vannak has done a fantastic job of building rapport with their factory supervisor. The girls were miraculously allowed to leave the facilities yesterday from 7:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. so that they would join us for the Christmas service. They were so excited. Our hearts truly go out to them. The five that are saved has such sweet attitudes and are grateful for every kind gesture that was made toward them yesterday. Vannak and Samantha are working hard to see them be able to be at church once a month. Please pray that their boss will be sympathetic to this idea.
Here is the link to a 7 minute video I made yesterday. I encourage you watch the video and take time to thank God for the many blessings He has given you. In the video I share some practical examples of what it is like to earn and try to survive on 11 cents per hour here in Cambodia. It is good for us to be reminded of these girls, our sisters in Christ, plight in life – Especially during this time of year when the world is focused on buying, selling, and receiving gifts. http://vimeo.com/82503610
Thank you for praying and giving that we might all see this part of the 10/40 window reached with the gospel.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
December 18, 2013
This past Sunday we had wonderful services in all three churches. Our attendance in Phnom Penh was very good as was everyone’s attention during the preaching. I continued preaching in our series dealing with God’s power over Satan and the forces of darkness. We considered some of the lies that the devil tries to make us believe in regard to sin: 1) Sin is only sin if I get caught. 2) When others sin there might be consequences, but I’m smarter than they are. I can sin and get away with it. 3) It doesn’t really matter what the Bible says. If a certain thought, action, or philosophy is accepted by society then it is not sin. 4) I do so much service for God and the church and so if I sin a little it’s no big deal. God will understand.
After the morning service in Phnom Penh we changed clothes and many of us went to the park for a picnic. This was our first church picnic and it went very well! It was a blessing to have about 75 folks take part in the picnic. Most of the men enjoyed playing volleyball while some of the teen girls played Frisbee with Debbie and I. Most of the women just enjoyed a time of fellowship out in the open air.
After a couple hours of eating and playing sports, we all met together to read the Christmas story as recorded in Luke chapters one and two. We also spent a significant amount of time sharing testimonies of how the Lord has blessed our lives over the past twelve months. Everyone enjoyed this event so much that we plan to do it on a regular basis this next year.
One of the biggest blessing of having the picnic was the fact that some of the newer people were able to get to know us better. It is so difficult on Sundays to have the time to fellowship together because of the busy schedule. It has been a blessing to have Rom attend most Sunday mornings for the past two months or so. You may recall that Rom’s wife, Srey, passed away this past August. She left her daughter, Borey, basically in our custody because the situation at home with Rom was not safe for Borey. Since her passing, several of us have been reaching out to Rom and trying to win his heart. We praise the Lord that this past Sunday he not only attended the morning service but he was also sober! That is literally a first! He attended the picnic with the church and he seemed to have a great time.
It was very touching to see him play badminton with Borey for the first time in her life! I know it was a very special time for Borey as well. When I spoke with her later about it, she smiled like I have never seen her smile. Please continue to pray that Rom will be saved very soon.
This past Sunday the church in Prey Bang village had its highest attendance ever. The folks there were very blessed to have nearly 20 new people attend the services from Si Tho village, a neighboring village about 4 kilometers from the church, where our soul-winners have been going for the past couple of months. Please pray for the many new contacts in Si Tho village. There are some people that Brother Keo and Brother Sinath have been witnessing to who seem to be very close to salvation.
This past week Isaiah went to apply for his national identification card. During his interview he was asked what his religion was. When he said that he is a Christian the government worker responded with shock. He said, “Here at our office we only have maybe one in a thousand who tell us they are a Christian.” It is my understanding that the worker actually praised him for being brave enough to say that he is a follower of Jesus Christ. The worker understands that there may very well be more than one in a thousand who are Christians but that they are ashamed to let anyone know. We were all encouraged when Isaiah shared this testimony with us. It is a blessing to see young people letting their light shine even at the risk of being mocked!
A couple of months ago Kanha started selling vegetables and meat out in front of her house in order to make a little extra money. You may recall that she was saved a couple of years ago and got married this past year. Kanha and her husband, Man, are very active with the teen ministry. In fact, they moved to this particular apartment in order to be in close proximity to some of the young people in the church with whom they are working. It has been a real blessing to see Kanha use her new business as an opportunity to witness to people. Everyone in her neighborhood knows that she is a Christian and that she loves the Lord. Debbie and I were walking back from making a visit and just happened to walk past her as she was selling some vegetables to this lady. Thank the Lord for faithful young adults who let their light shine!
It is still a very strange feeling this time of year to see Christmas decorations in all of the modern stores and shops here in Phnom Penh. Of course the weather feels nothing at all like December would feel in America. (Although it got down to 70 degrees today. You should have seen the people here. They had on hats and scarves. One person told me the other day that they were sure it would snow soon… They have no idea!) Perhaps the strangest part of all is the fact that the modern malls are playing very beautiful Christmas hymns in English. Of course they have no idea what the words mean. It is sad in a way to hear these songs being played here in this Buddhist country over the speaker system but to realize that many, if not most, stores in the United States would not dare to play Christian Christmas songs for fear that they would be sued.
This past Saturday evening we had a Christmas party at our house for 25 of the faithful teens here in Phnom Penh. It is wonderful to know that all of these young people, with the exception of one, were saved here at Pacific Baptist Church. It was a wonderful time of fellowship, singing, competition, and food!
We played many games and the young people were able to win prizes and candy. This particular game involved putting certain events that related to the Christmas story in the proper order. The members of the winning team each won $5. They were very excited. We also had a white elephant gift exchange. At first they were very hesitant to “steal” each others gifts but after awhile they got the hang of it and it was a lot of fun.
Linda was saved a couple of months ago and has been very faithful to nearly every church service. Recently her mom, Vine Srey, made a profession of faith, in part, because of the change that she saw take place in Linda. We are so thankful to be able to influence young people like her and many others for the Lord.
Virak, Linda’s seventeen year old brother, has been watching her as well and has seen the changes that God has made in her life. This past week Brother Adrian was able to lead Virak to the Lord. Please pray that Virak will be faithful to church and that he will get plugged into the youth group. He seems to really have a heart for the Lord.
Please continue to pray for Chhay and KimLa and their walk with the Lord. They are both growing spiritually. Chhay has begun driving the Tuk Tuk to pick up children for the Anlong Tnout church each Sunday. As new parents of a baby girl they both want to learn as much as they can about how to have a Christian home. It has been a blessing to have them studying in the Bible Institute as well. Chhay is the son of a very popular Cham witchdoctor. Though his father died a couple of years ago, everyone in the Cham villages around Anlong Tnout village all know of his father and many of them know Chhay. Now that his father is dead, his mother has picked up right where he left off and has become involved in casting spells and other occultic practices. KimLa’s parents are both Buddhist and not very supportive of her decision to follow Jesus Christ.
This past week Mrs. Has gathered several of the teen girls together and taught them how to make origami stars. Tomorrow they will begin decorating the roof top for our special Christmas service this coming Sunday. Please pray for the service as we plan to have a 45 minute drama dealing with the story of Christmas. Many of the folks from our other two churches are planning to commute to Phnom Penh to join in the service as well. Pray for safety for the folks as they travel as well as for things to run smoothly during the service. I am sure that there will be some neighborhood people present as well who are not saved. Pray that the gospel message will be clearly presented during the play and that the power of darkness will be bound. Many of our folks here in Phnom Penh have worked very hard to memorize their parts in the play as well as about 8 special songs that will be sung during the program.
We hope, Lord willing, to see a new church planted in Prak Pnou Village at or around the end of January. We have been going to this village now for some time and have a group of adults who have been saved as well as a small group of children.
Lord willing some of our teens from Phnom Penh will be involved in helping to get this new church planted. A couple of weeks ago some of the students had a day off of school so they went with us to Prak Pnou to teach and follow-up on folks. It is always a great blessing to have them participate in the various village works. These kids are all from the city and so the village life is strange even to them.
Grandma Kai is fairly representative of many of the folks who live in Prak Pnou. She is Vietnamese, speaks broken Khmer, can not read any language whatsoever, and is very superstitious. At 80 years old she is very proud of the fact that she worships every “deity” and does not “discriminate” against any religion. I teach her in Khmer but it is very difficult because of the fact that her language is so limited. More than likely we would have a better chance to reach her if we were able to do it in the Vietnamese language. While she will likely not be a part of the new church plant, there are literally hundreds of other Vietnamese adults and children who live all around her who we hope will become prospects.
Our workers normally have around 30 children in the Prak Pnou Children’s ministry but depending upon the time of year the attendance can swell to 60 or more. Many of these young people are Vietnamese and are the children of fishermen. During certain times of the year the children have to help with the fishing and have no free time to do anything else, including attend school. Many of the families who live along the river front are not living in Cambodia legally and therefore they are vulnerable to various types of abuse ranging from loan sharks, to illegal eviction, to working at slave wages or worse.
You may have seen the special documentary on CNN that is running this month dealing with the Child Trafficking that takes place here in Cambodia. If you choose to watch it, please be forewarned that it is quite frank and would definitely not be suitable for viewing in all circumstances. However, it is real life here in Cambodia. They featured one particular village in that documentary where trafficking is practiced, especially among Vietnamese children. That village happens to be just down the road from Prak Pnou village. While we were out making some visits the other day I saw this poster on the wall. It is warning parents not to sell their children to the traffickers. Sad to say, it is not an uncommon practice.
These two children (green shirt and red shirt) are Vietnamese and they both attend our Prak Pnou Children’s Ministry. Their mother is a professing believer and she attends our Phnom Penh church when her health permits her to do so. Once the church is started in Prak Pnou she will become a part of that church rather than commuting to Phnom Penh. Two months ago these children’s father died from a disease. Last month their mother came to meet with me and told me that she has the same disease and she will definitely die. She said it is just a matter of time. She begged me to promise that we would take her children once she dies. She is very fearful that they will end up becoming a part of the child trade as well because her extended family is very poor and does not want the burden of caring for her orphaned children. It is a very sad situation. Many of the families with whom we and the workers will be dealing in Prak Pnou have similar life circumstances. Please pray for this new church plant. Prak Pnou has been saturated with NGO groups preaching a social gospel and it has caused much confusion.
Here is the link to a video we made this weekend introducing the new church plant in Prak Pnou. The video is about 6 minutes long. http://vimeo.com/82187709
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
P.S. Have you ever seen a 12 pound papaya? Brother Maldy (the family who used to ride their bikes 26 miles to come to church before they were able to purchase a moped) gave it to us last week. It is from their own tree.
December 1, 2013
The Lord blessed us with great services again today. The attendance in Phnom Penh was down just a bit due to various reasons but we still had a few chairs set up in the overflow section. Please continue to pray for the spiritual stability of this new church. This past month we turned three years old. It is a blessing to see all that the Lord has done in this short amount of time. God has allowed our Phnom Penh church to plant two additional village churches in the past two years. Lord willing, we are planning to see another church planted this coming January in Prak Pnou village about 8 miles outside town. Please be in prayer concerning this new church plant. Like many places here in this country, Prak Pnou is a tough area. It has been pretty much saturated with NGO groups and “church” groups who give away medicine, free English classes, etc… in an attempt to bribe the people into becoming Christians. This is a popular method used here in Southeast Asia. It is so counterproductive to the Great Commission. Though there are several groups already represented in Prak Pnou, it is a rare thing to actually meet anyone who is a true believer. It is somewhat challenging for the workers to do evangelism there because we are constantly compared with the other groups who give away so much stuff. We have been going to Prak Pnou for some time now and have a small nucleus of adult believers as well as teens and children. We hope to begin the church with somewhere around 25-30 folks in addition to perhaps a family or two from the Phnom Penh church who will go there to help the church get off the ground.
It was a blessing this morning to have some of the ladies sing the hymn Holy, Holy, Holy. They obviously worked very hard on this special because it sounded great. Srey Neang is one of our very faithful teen girls. This morning before the service I had to run downstairs to get something. As I came back up the stairs a few minutes later I saw her meeting with several girls younger than her. She had gathered them together and was asking them about their walk with the Lord. No one asked her to do this. She has taken the initiative to care about their spiritual well-being. That was a blessing indeed!
This past week we had two of the men preach during the Sunday evening service. It was encouraging to hear them both preach from their hearts. As missionaries we understand that we have to place great emphasis and importance on not just winning nationals to the Lord but also on equipping them to reach people as well. Sinath and Sovann are two national men who love the Lord and desire to see their own people saved.
We plan, Lord willing, to have a special Christmas service on December 22nd. Our folks are working hard at practicing the songs and learning their parts for the play. This year they will be singing several Christmas songs that we have had translated into the Khmer language. The tunes are very unfamiliar to them and so it is requiring all folks to work that much harder. We plan to have 7 special songs that will be sung by 6 different groups during the Christmas service. The play is entitled The Greatest Gift of All. Bro. Has is working hard at coaching those in the drama. Mrs. Keo and Debbie are working with the music groups. Mrs. Has is heading up the costumes and decorations. We plan to have a combined service that Sunday with many folks coming in from the village churches and works as well. Please begin praying that the music, drama, testimonies, and preaching on that day will be used as an opportunity to give a clear presentation of the Gospel and that folks will be saved as a direct result.
This past week we began a new term in the Bible Institute. This term we are teaching three classes: 1) The Christian Family in Today’s Society, 2) Bible Study Methods, 3) Missionary Heroes from the Past. I believe that each of these courses are very important and will prove to be helpful in the lives of those studying. This term we have around 26 adults and 3-4 teens from the church studying in the Institute. We have not, as of yet, opened up the classes to members of other churches but may do that this next term as there have been some requests from other missionaries to do so.
Yesterday we had the opportunity to have a time of fellowship with several of the folks who memorized the entire book of 2 Peter about three months ago. This obviously took a lot of hard work. While some folks were not able to attend this outing due to the fact it conflicted with their schedule, we still had three tuk tuks full of folks who were able to enjoy this special rewards trip. Sopheap, a mother of 4, was the first adult from the Phnom Penh church to complete this Scripture memory challenge. I very clearly remember the time when, just three years ago, she hated us for winning her husband, Sinath, to the Lord. She has now become a wonderful example to all of us of what God can do with a life that has been changed by the power of the Gospel.
We were able to take spend a few hours at a private park outside the city. This was a quiet and beautiful location and everyone had a great time looking at the animals in the small zoo, fishing, boating, and eating together.
They also enjoyed making teams and having boat races. This picture was taken just before one of the boats was “accidentally” tipped over, throwing one passenger into the water. 🙂 It is so important that these new believers are able to enjoy wholesome and godly fellowship with the church and we are looking forward to going again this next year with those who participate in the Scripture memory challenge!
I led Nigah to the Lord several years ago when I went to her clinic to get therapy for my back. As a Chinese Cambodian she initially wanted nothing to do with the Gospel, but about a year after we first met she finally got saved. She has had some challenges in her walk with the Lord but over the past year has seemed to really desire to be faithful. Debbie has been discipling her one-on-one each week for the past year. Nigah is totally blind, speaks nearly fluent English, and is highly skilled in her profession. As a small business owner she provides employment to 9 or 10 other blind Cambodians. Four months ago an organization in South Sudan, Africa requested that she go there to help train some blind folks to begin their own business as well. We were not excited about her going there for several reasons but ultimately she chose to go out of a feeling of obligation and desire to help other blind people become self-supporting. She brought along several books of the Bible in the Braille language as well as an mp3 player full of preaching in the English language. Though she is temporarily living in a Mosque, (apparently it is the safest place for her to stay as a single foreign lady in South Sudan), she has been listening to the English preaching in the open. Her students apparently speak English quite well and have grown to love the preaching as well. I am not certain if any of them have made professions of faith but I do know that they have requested copies of the preaching so that they can listen to it when she returns home to Cambodia. For us it has been encouraging to know that, though Nigah has been away from us and her Christian friends here in Phnom Penh, she is still trying to let her light shine for the Lord! Pray for Nigah to continue to be a good testimony for the three weeks that she remains in South Sudan.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
November 17, 2013
We had a great combined service this morning in Phnom Penh. Every six weeks or so we have a special service that includes folks from some of the village ministries. This morning’s service was so crowded that once we filled the overflow room we had to have about 10 folks sit on the platform. This special service is always a wonderful time of fellowship for all of us. We continued with the series dealing with tearing down spiritual strongholds and our victory over the power of darkness. The service included several special songs. It was also our privilege this morning to take a special love offering to help meet emergency needs for some national pastors in the Philippines whose homes were totally destroyed during the storms this past week. Though our nationals’ capacity to give is somewhat limited, it was a blessing to see the amount they gave this morning. For some, no doubt, their offering was a sacrifice. There are 4-5 other independent Baptist churches here in Cambodia who are joining us in this special offering. Tomorrow morning we plan to forward the combined offering to Missionary Rick Martin in the Philippines to be used to help bring some physical relief to faithful servants of God who have lost virtually every earthly possession. Please continue to pray for the people of the Philippines and the missionaries as they experience this great trial. Here in Cambodia the only effect we felt from the typhoon was rain. None of the devastating winds reached us.
Some of the ladies from Phnom Penh sang the hymn, “Old Time Power.” They worked for several weeks to learn this song! Thank God for their patience and dedication to have a spirit of excellence!
Three of the young ladies from the Prey Bang church sang a traditional Khmer Christian song entitled, “God is with Us.” The song talks about how we can remain joyful even in the midst of trials because God is always with us and He knows what we are going through. This song is a favorite in our church.
About 15 of the members of the Anlong Tnout church were able to join us this morning. They sang the hymn, “Only Trust Him” as a special number. It was a blessing to be able to spend some time in fellowship with them. You might remember that many of the members of this church are Cham and have been saved out of Islam. This morning one of the men shared with me that last night his grandmother’s house was pummeled with stones by people in the village because of her faith in Jesus Christ. We thank God for these folks’ resolve to be faithful no matter what. Please continue to pray that God will protect the believers of the Anlong Tnout church and that they will continue to win the lost.
It was a blessing to have 9 folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism this morning. This lady, Meng Sean, actually accepted Christ before we met her and she began attending our church but she had never been Scripturally baptized. Several others were scheduled to be baptized but at the last minute backed out due to pressure placed on them by people in the village.
This afternoon we had a special ladies fellowship. Each lady prepared a special dessert and brought it to the fellowship. They competed for first, second, and third place prizes. Mrs. Has did a great job of getting everyone involved. Our teen girls handmade beautiful decorations to help create a special atmosphere. Then they staffed the nursery during the fellowship time. Debbie had the opportunity to give a devotional on the “sweetness” of the Word of God. Judging from the amount of noise the ladies made, they apparently had a lot of fun!
About 20 of our Phnom Penh teen boys and men took off this afternoon for a trip to the mountains. They will meet up with another 8-10 men from the Anlong Tnout church. They have been looking forward to this two-day camping trip for a long time. Bro. Has did a great job of organizing the trip and preparing lessons to be taught while they are there. I’m especially happy to see that two of our new young adult men, Vuthy and Sophal, were able to be a part of this trip. I believe it will bring them closer to the Lord and to our men.
Life is very difficult for the vast majority of our friends here in this country. Many of the young people who have been saved here at the church live in family situations that are so sad. This past week I was walking to the home of one of our faithful members and observed something very interesting. The walkway to their neighborhood is covered with trash and filth. The walls are permanently stained with mold and mildew due to the frequent flooding of the walkway. However, right there in the middle of all the filth were these beautiful flowers. It is a reminder that God can take any life and, by His grace, turn their life into something wonderful for His glory. Such is the case with many of the folks who have been saved here in Cambodia.
This past week Debbie and I were making a visit on an older lady to whom we have been witnessing for several months. Her granddaughter, Srey Souk, attends a private school not far from our church. We have been trying for a long time to get her to visit the church but to no avail. She is a professing Christian and is a member of another church here in Phnom Penh. She told me that she attends school with one of our members named Srey Leak. She shared that everyone at the school knows of Srey Leak’s faith in Jesus Christ and that she has a good testimony at the school. Apparently this past week Srey Leak was chosen by the school Principal to act in some sort of drama this next month celebrating Christmas. Her principle let her know that she would be required to wear certain clothing in order to play the role for which she had been chosen. Srey Leak boldly and cheerfully let the Principal know that she was a Christian and she wanted to honor the Lord with her clothing. She humbly requested to be allowed to wear clothing that was in keeping with her convictions or to be released from the role in the drama. This bold and cheerful appeal apparently became known throughout the entire school. Srey Souk’s question to me was this, “Does God really say anything about the way we dress?” “Why do you make Srey Leak dress a certain way?” Debbie and I happily shared with Srey Souk that the Bible does provide principles that ought to regulate our apparel but that our church has no “rules” for how members have to dress. Furthermore, we had no idea that pressure was being put on Srey Leak to compromise her convictions. We were able to share with her that Srey Leak was simply seeking to be faithful to the Lord. I think that her testimony made quite an impression of Srey Souk. Please help pray for the young people here who are striving to honor the Lord with their lives. They often time are mocked by family and people in the community. Yet, they continue to be faithful – and be faithful with a smile! Their example is challenging and convicting to say the least.
One of the blessings we are able to experience each week is that of having a weekly chapel service for our children as well as the missionary children from several other churches. Each Wednesday morning 25-30 missionary kids and some English speaking nationals meet at the church for singing in English, testimony time, competition, and preaching. It is always refreshing to be able to sing in English and hear preaching in English. We are grateful for the good friendships our sons are able to enjoy with some of the other missionary kids. It is our desire to use this service each week to help encourage not just our own family but other American families who are faithfully serving here in Cambodia as co-laborers for the cause of Christ.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason