September 15, 2013

September 15, 2013

Dear friends,

9.15.13-Sokang

We had great services today at Pacific Baptist Church! The spirit here in Phnom Penh this morning was uplifting, exciting, and enthusiastic. There was standing room only! There is just something special about hearing an auditorium that is jam-packed full of people singing from their heart to the Lord. This morning I continued in our series from 2 Peter with a message entitled, “How Then Ought We To Live?” based on 2 Peter 3:11, Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness. Lord willing, we will finish the book of 2 Peter next Sunday.

This morning four of the ladies sang the hymn “The Cleansing Wave.” Sokang and her husband, Taiwan, have been saved for almost two years now. It is exciting to see their faithful walk with the Lord and their faithfulness to the ministries of the church. Last night at our men’s weekly Discipleship accountability group Taiwan shared some specific areas of Christian stewardship in which Sokang has recently grown. He shared how blessed he is to have a wife who is willing to trust God and take Him at His Word. I know that God has something special for this fine young couple. It is a blessing to help lead new believers who are willing to simply step out, by faith, and trust God to provide for them. Brother Keo and some of the workers travel with Taiwan to his village every Wednesday afternoon for soul-winning and Children’s Ministry. There are currently some very good adult prospects in that village who seem to be close to salvation. Please help us pray for Ta Skov village in Kandal Province.

9.15.13-Rom-Pheap

Rom is the husband of the lady, Srey, who passed away last month. Rom’s daughter, Borey, is not able to live with him because of issues in his life that make it unsafe for her to do so. She is now living with one of our members. Pheap is Rom’s friend. They work together, live together, and for the past two Sunday mornings have visited our services together – drunk. I know that it was embarrassing for Borey to have her father in the services like that. Thankfully our people have a heart of compassion for these two men and have not made Borey  feel uncomfortable. I, and others from our church, have sought on several occasions to witness to Rom but have never been able to find him sober enough to comprehend the Gospel. This morning it appeared as though they both had sobered up by the time preaching time came and they seemed to listen intently. Please help us pray for these two men to be saved. If Rom would trust Christ and his life became a testimony in this community, it would be a wonderful thing!

9.15.13-J-cr-acc

This evening we had a missionary from our home church in Long Beach visit the service. She will be here in Cambodia with us for 9 days. She is serving with a group of missionaries from Long Beach in a “creative access” country. I asked her to share a testimony regarding what it is like to try and win souls in a country where you are closely watched by a government that hates Christianity and that forbids you to teach nationals the Word of God. Even with all the turmoil that is currently going on with the political situation here in Cambodia, our people here can certainly praise the Lord for the amount of freedom that we all enjoy here in this country. Please pray for the missionaries serving alongside of this young lady as they win souls and help to train nationals for the cause of Christ.

9.15.13-3-preachers

We had a wonderful service this evening that was filled with singing, sharing testimonies, updates from three of our village works, and preaching from three of our laymen. We have begun having a special Sunday evening a month where we have three different men preach. We understand that the key to reaching a country is in winning and equipping nationals to do the work of the ministry. I reminded the church this evening that God is looking for faithful national men and women who will reach this country. We try to practice this Biblical philosophy of ministry through everything we do here in Phnom Penh, and God is blessing, in part, because many of the national believers are owning the vision for their own people. Sinath, Vannak, and Maldy are all students in our Bible Institute. All three of them are faithful men who devote many hours each week to winning and discipling folks in the villages. This evening Sinath preached a message entitled, “Travailing in Prayer for the Lost” taken from Isaiah 66. Vannak preached a message entitled, “God Carries Us Along” taken from Isaiah 46. Maldy preached a message from Luke 23 entitled, “Don’t Weep for Me. Weep for Yourself.” All three of these messages spoke to our hearts in a powerful way. If you have prayed and supported our work you have a part in the spiritual development of these three men, their families, and many other folks here in Cambodia. Vannak will, Lord willing, be married this next Saturday here at the church. It was a special blessing to have him meet with me this past week and request permission to start a new discipleship group in one of the villages targeting teens. He has a vision to draw  teens from three different villages (including the Cham Muslim village) and invest additional time in them each week. It is a blessing that he understands that soul-winning is just the beginning point of the Great Commission. Please help pray for Vannak, his soon to be wife, Samantha, and this new outreach to the teens in Trabang Tma, Swi Pím, and Anlong Tnout villages. We look forward to giving you more information about this new ministry in the months to come.

9.15.13-cont

We recently renewed contact with some old prospects. As the Bible tells us, sometimes people seem interested in the Gospel for awhile then as the cares of this world take over, they lose interest. However, the seeds of the Gospel have already been planted and God continues to try and draw them to Himself (John 6:44) through the truths they read and heard. Within the past two weeks both of these families have called me and expressed an interest in knowing more about how to be saved. Please help pray that 1) We will be faithful to pursue them, 2) That Dara, Sokha, Sreang, LeHooat, and Srey Neang will respond to the truth and be saved.

9.15.13-Somally-Oudom

Somally and her 26 year old son, Oudom, live in Prak Pnou village. Somally’s husband is a military general. They live in a large villa (mansion type home) on a huge plot of ground. We met Oudom while out soul-winning a couple of months ago and God has given me favor with this family. After meeting with Somally several times I learned that she accepted Christ as her Saviour as a young girl just before the Khmer Rouge regime in 1975. After surviving 4 years of the brutal regime she was forced to marry her husband through an arranged marriage. Because of his position in society she had never felt the freedom to reveal the fact that she was a believer. Though throughout all these years she has never one time seen a Bible, she realized that Jesus was her Saviour. She gave testimony that, though she does not have the courage to stand against her husband and his idols in the home, she does not burn incense or bow down to them at all. She told me that the Khmer Rouge soldiers smashed all the idols in her village, killed the monks, and destroyed the temples but they could not destroy her God because He was in her heart. She shared with me that in recent months she has become extremely concerned that her family is going to die and go to Hell because they do not know God and she realizes that she lacks the courage to tell them what she believes. She told me that night after night she would go to bed worrying about how to get the Gospel to them. So when I met Oudom on the street in Prak Pnou and he brought me to his home to meet his family, she was overwhelmed with joy. After winning her heart and getting somewhat close to her and Oudom, I taught her that God desires for her to grow as a Christian and that the spirit of fear that she has is not from the Lord. She agreed and appears to be so thankful for the new relationship we are forming with her. Oudom is not saved yet but I believe he is very close. Please pray for wisdom as we try and reach this family. Last week I told Somally that God wants her and Oudom to know Him and live for Him in the home and that through their testimony of a changed life He desires to have the whole family come to salvation. She smiled real big and said, “This is what I want also!”

9.15.13-what-if

Our ministries here use a lot of Gospel tracts. We have seen that God honors our efforts and His Word as it is placed into the hands of thousands of people each month. Bro. Bounna Has wrote our latest tract entitled, “What If…” Missionary Sara Vong (www.thevongfamily.com) designed the very attractive cover. It is a tract that challenges the reader to seriously consider the consequences of believing a lie – especially in light of the fact that your eternal destination is determined by what you believe in regard to Jesus Christ. Please help pray that this new tract will be just another effective tool to be used by the soul-winners to see many come to salvation. We now have 4 basic tracts that we are effectively using here to spread the Gospel message. Lord willing, I will complete another new tract in the next few weeks entitled, “Born, Old, Sick, Die…then what?” This tract is based on a common saying in Buddhism with which every Cambodian is familiar. The title doesn’t make much sense in English but makes perfect sense in the Khmer language. If you would like to have a part in helping to pay to print these tracts please let me know.

9.15.13-moon-god

Today Chinese people all around the world took part in a festival known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. While it is a time for family and friends to gather together, it is primarily a pagan festival that is dedicated to the worship of the “moon god.” Moon cakes, like the ones in the picture, are being sold all around town. Today I made reference to the festival during my morning message and asked for a show of hands as to how many of the folks used to participate in this festival. Over half of the congregation raised their hands. It is interesting to note that the pagan practice of worshiping the moon (and sun) goes back thousands of years. It was one of the abominable practices in which the children of Israel learned from the heathen nations around them and in which they engaged themselves. We see reference to this practice in Jeremiah 7:18 which says, “The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven (the moon), and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger.” We thank the Lord for His power to break the bonds of pagan idolatry in the lives of the Cambodian people.

9.15.13-flood

We are well into rainy season here in Cambodia. This past week our Children’s Ministry in Prak Pnou had to be relocated because of the fact that the river had risen and flooded the land where we meet each week. I took this picture this past Tuesday night at about 10:00. This is right in front of our door. Thankfully the property we are renting is about two feet above the street level and so our house did not flood. The water directly in front of our door was about a foot and a half deep.

Thank you for your prayers and interest in the ministry here in Cambodia. If we can help you in any way please feel free to contact us.

Because of God’s grace,

Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason

September 1, 2013

September 1, 2013,

Dear friends,

9.1.13-tngls

We had exciting services here in Phnom Penh today as well as in two of the village churches. This morning I preached on the topic The Patience of God from 2 Peter 3:8-9. Some of the teen girls sang the song “In Christ Alone.” They did such a good job that we asked them to sing it again for this evenings service. This evening Bro. Bounna Has preached a great message entitled “I Am A Christian.” Each of his 15 points reminded us of what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ and not just a “Christian” in name only.

9.1.13-Sunday11

We continue to have an 11:00 outreach to the children who live around the church here in Phnom Penh. A few months ago, for several reasons, we had to down-scale the number of children that we bring to the premises at any given time. We divided our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry into three different teams and we are only able to have one team come at a time. This morning Team Emmanuel had about 20 first time visitors. It was fun to see the excitement on the children’s faces as everything was so new to them. The workers are doing a fantastic job of showing the love of Christ to these children. We believe that the seeds that are being planted in the lives of hundreds of children each week here in Phnom Penh and in the various village ministries will one day reap great dividends.

Please continue to pray for the following adult prospects who we are intentionally trying to win to Christ. Several of these folks are very close I believe: 1) Grandpa Chhang, mid 70’s (Prak Pnou village), 2) Somally, 49 years old (the Army General’s Wife), 3) Oudom, 27 years old (the Army General’s Son), 4) Peseth and his wife, mid 30’s (LawGombou village), 5) Rith, 27 years old (works as a night time security guard)

9.1.13-SreyMar-then-and-now

Many of you in the United States have heard me tell SreyMar’s story. As a 19 year old university student in 2007 she used to attend our church. Debbie invested many hours into her life teaching her how to be saved. We had very high hopes for her and her brother, Tola. One day she came to our house crying. She returned her Bible to us and told us that her mother forbade her from being a Christian. We encouraged her to at least accept Jesus as her personal Saviour even if she was not allowed to attend church and be around our family. She said that her respect for her mother and father was too strong and she could not disobey them. That was May of 2007. In June we moved. Around July or so she began having second thoughts and went to go find us intending to accept Christ regardless of what her parents said. However, much to her dismay, we had moved and she was unable to make contact with us. According to her own testimony she has been searching for us online for the past 6 years but because she did not know our last name she was unable to find any reference to our family online. She is now a college graduate and works full-time at the Phnom Penh airport. She regularly meets Americans who fly in and out of the airport. She shared how that she has asked scores of Americans (in the airport) if they know “teacher Dave and Debbie” from America… of course no one did. She began praying that IF God is real to please bring “teacher Dave and Debbie” back into her life somehow. Fast forward to August 2013, just three weeks ago… We had no contact with her since 2007 and as far as we knew she still wanted nothing to do with Christ. I had told her story many times in various conferences in the States. I had even shared her story in our various churches here in Cambodia. I often use her as an example of someone who is willing to die and go to Hell because they fear man more than they fear God. Three weeks ago, while returning back to Phnom Penh from Prak Pnou village, for some reason I had the impression that I ought to go try and track her and her brother down. I now believe it was the Holy Spirit Who impressed me to seek to renew contact with this family. I assumed that her parents still disliked us and what we represented. After doing some asking around I was able to find her house and went to go meet her family. SreyMar and Tola were both at work but her parents were home. Her mother immediately invited me into the house and told me over and over that her children missed me and have been trying to find us. I actually thought that she was making this up so as to not cause me to “lose face.” So I thanked her for speaking with me and proceeded to leave the house. She quickly followed after me and asked for my phone number insisting that her children would want to speak with me. A couple of days later I did receive a text message from SreyMar telling us how happy she was that we went looking for her. I did not pay the message much attention. Then last week our family had occasion to be at the Phnom Penh airport so I texted her and asked if she was on the premises because we would like to say hi to her. Unfortunately she was off that day but she promised me that she would see us when we returned from our short trip. So we told her that would be fine and we departed for a family trip to Bangkok, Thailand. Thursday afternoon as we disembarked the airplane in Phnom Penh, sure enough SreyMar was waiting there standing in the VIP section with a sign saying “Welcome Dave and Debbie.” It kind of caught us by surprise because we did not expect to see her. She immediately began sharing her story of how she has been looking for us for all these years and she even began praying that God would show Himself real to her and bring us into her life once again. With tears in her eyes she said, “I always heard you say that God is real and that He has power but I never thought He would show His power in MY life. I thought He would only show Himself strong in the lives of others. God is real! He answered my prayer! He answered my prayer!” WOW! To make a long story short – We are so blessed and excited to be able to report to you that SreyMar accepted Jesus as Her personal Saviour this afternoon in our home with Debbie. She was in the service this evening and was the first one to raise her hand during the time in our service when we share blessings. She said, “Today is a very special day for me because I became the child of God!” Many folks in our church already knew of her because they had heard me tell her story on more than one occasion. I’m reminded of some lessons because of what has happened with SreyMar: 1) Plant as many seeds in the lives of others as you can. You never know the effect that those seeds will have in their life. 2) Be sensitive to the impressions that God places upon your heart. So many times, I believe, God impresses upon us that we ought to call someone, write a letter to someone, or somehow make contact with them – but many times we do not obey those promptings. What if I had not obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit that afternoon? 3) It is God Who is good and not us. I have to admit that, if I remember right, I didn’t have the best attitude as I was driving back from Prak Pnou village that day. I don’t remember all the details but I do remember that things were not going the way I wanted them to go with our outreach that day. Aren’t you thankful that God has not chosen to use only the perfect people – who have perfect attitudes… Please pray for SreyMar and her spiritual growth.

9.1.13-rings

Vannak and Samantha will, Lord willing, be joined together in marriage at the end of this month. I had the privilege to lead Vannak to Christ back in 2006. God has truly done the miraculous in his life. He has a strong and fervent testimony in the community and is a committed soul-winner. I believe that his testimony is partially responsible for many of the Cham folks coming to Christ. I don’t think I know a better lay-preacher than Vannak. Samantha was reached through our home church in Long Beach. California. After Bible college she surrendered to follow the Lord wherever He would lead her. He led her to come serve along side us as a single lady missionary. Samantha’s love for the Lord and her compassion for her people is truly remarkable. Though Samantha is of Cambodian decent, because she is from the United States she is considered to be a foreigner and the process to get married  to a Cambodian national is somewhat more complected. We praise the Lord for their patience and Godly testimony to the church and in the community as they have diligently sought to jump through all the hoops that the government requires in order to be officially recognized as a married couple in this culture. Their paperwork is due to be completed early this week which means that we are now free to begin planning the wedding. This afternoon I had the opportunity to accompany Vannak and Samantha along with Vannak’s mother and aunt to the mall and help them pick out wedding rings. We will begin premarital counseling this Friday morning. Friday afternoon we will have the official engagement. It is Vannak and Samantha’s dream to serve the Lord right here in Cambodia for the rest of their lives. After he is married Vannak will begin a one year process of preparing to be ordained to the ministry. God’s hand of blessing is evident on this young couple. Please pray for Vannak and Samantha to continue to maintain a strong testimony in the days leading up to their wedding day.

9.1.13-tr

I will not say much about the current political situation here in Cambodia. Suffice it to say that rumors abound as to various scenarios that could possibly play-out within the next week. Elections were held several weeks ago but the results are being contested. The leading opposition party has publicly announced they are calling for mass demonstrations (protests) here in Phnom Penh this coming Saturday. Apparently the government does not have confidence in the loyalty of the army here in the city and are perhaps fearful that some would like to “jump sides.” Last week it was reported that many soldiers from the city had their weapons confiscated by the government. It has been reported that many troops are being brought in to the city from outlying areas under the belief that they are more loyal to the ruling party. Saturday, as I returned from the village, I saw, first hand, military vehicles at the edge of the city. At our Saturday evening men’s discipleship group one of the national men reported that he had seen many large Armored Personnel Carriers at the other edge of town as he was returning from doing ministry in a different village. We don’t know exactly what will happen but we know that everything is in God’s hands. Please help pray that peace and sanity will prevail and that all of our people will remain safe. It is possible that we will not be able to leave the city to head out to the village works, or even leave the general vicinity of our property this next Saturday due to the fact that much of the city could be under curfew.

9.1.13-25years

This past week we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. I am so blessed to have a wife like Debbie. If I had the opportunity I would marry her all over again! We were able to get away and take a short family trip to Bangkok, Thailand. Although three of us got seriously sick (two of us went to the hospital) we still had a great time.

9.1.13-traffic

9.1.13-MD

9.1.13-mas

The city of Bangkok has anywhere from 10-12 million residents depending upon where you draw the city lines. It is huge! We were able to stay at a Christian guesthouse located just about a minute walk from public transportation. We had fun riding the electric train and the underground shuttle. The boys also enjoyed eating at McDonalds. The shopping malls in Bangkok make the malls in America look like a cheap strip mall. We walked around many of the malls although we did not buy anything. Many of the malls are 5-8 stories tall and are packed with thousands of people. One of the malls we entered sold Rolls Royce and Maserati cars right there in the mall. It is very evident that the god of materialism is alive and well in Bangkok!

9.1.13

One of the interesting (and sad) things that we witnessed was how committed the Thai people seem to be to Buddhism and ancestral worship. It is a very common site to see huge idols on the corners of streets right in downtown Bangkok. Many people will stop and pay their respects to every idol they pass. This is something we have never witnessed here in Cambodia.

9.1.13-idol-worship

What would be the ramifications if we as Christians were as bold in public as these Buddhists were as they publicly offered their prayers to the spirits? Of the hundreds of folks we saw worshiping idols during our time there, we did not see a one of them trying to hide their faith. None of them were ashamed to be identified with their religion. Something for those who call themselves Christians to think about…

9.1.13-CBC

It was a blessing to be able to visit the first church that was ever established in Thailand. The Chinese Baptist Church is 176 years old and was started by American missionaries. It started out as a very small group of economically disadvantaged Chinese immigrants and has grown over the years to a congregation of over 700 members strong!

9.1.13-chickens

We thought this was an interesting picture taken here in Phnom Penh… These chickens are on the final ride of their life – Headed to the market.

Thank you for your prayers and interest in the ministry here in Cambodia.

Because of God’s grace,

Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason

August 18, 2013

August 18, 2013

Dear friends,

8.18.13-Yim-and-family

We wanted to give you an update on the family for whom we asked you to pray a couple of weeks ago. You may remember that Som was admitted to a hospital here in Phnom Penh to be treated for an illness. However, they administered the wrong medicine and she had a serious allergic reaction. Her family took her to a neighboring country in order to seek more competent medical help. The doctors there gave her a 30% chance of survival. The reaction to the medication caused her to prematurely give birth to her baby. The baby was not given much chance to survive either. We want to report to you that God has chosen to heal them both. The family returned to Cambodia on Friday and were in church this morning. Thank you for praying! Yim and Som chose to name their baby boy Vary. This is short for Calvary. This morning after the morning service Yim told me that they named him Vary for two reasons: 1) So that when he gets older he will remember that He belongs to God, 2) So that his life will be a reminder of what Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary. Please continue to pray for this family.

8.18.13-Srey-Borey

Srey accepted Christ as her personal Saviour this past year after one of the soul-winners from our church persisted in following up on her and her 12 year-old daughter, Borey. According to her own testimony she cursed the soul-winner and told him that she wanted nothing to do with the church or Christianity. She recently told me that she cursed him in order to see if he truly cared about her soul or if he was all talk. Thank the Lord that Vannak was more than just talk. He was not just out handing out tracts because it was one of the “programs” of the church. Srey and Borey have been very faithful to church and we have really grown to love this family. Though they are perhaps the poorest family in our Phnom Penh church, Srey would bring our family and others fresh vegetables nearly every week.

Two weeks ago Srey became very ill due to problems with her liver. Much effort and expense was taken to try and get her the best possible medical attention. Many of us were involved in helping to meet with doctors as well as finance her medical treatment. After being in the hospital for a few days it became evident that she would likely not be making a recovery. I asked her if there was anything that she wanted me to know in case the Lord took her home. She said there were two things: 1) She wanted a Christian funeral, 2) She wanted to make sure that we would all take care of her daughter. This past Friday we brought her home from the hospital and prepared to have a minimum of two church members with her and her daughter 24 hours a day. Saturday morning she passed away and by Saturday afternoon she was already buried in her home village in Kompong Cham Province, three hours from Phnom Penh.

8.18.13-Srey-funeral-walking

Srey and Borey are the only Christians in their family. The rest of the family is Buddhist and did not help with planning the funeral whatsoever. In fact, her own family charged us for digging her grave. Through her sickness over the past two weeks there was a very sharp contrast between the love and compassion shown by her church family and the selfishness and coldness of her lost family and extended family. We are thankful, however, that the family consented to having her buried on the family property even though we did not allow any monks or Buddhist ceremonies to be performed. (Before Srey passed away she put in writing that she did not want any monks or priests to be involved at all.)

Some of the men from the church carried the casket about 200 yards through the forest to the spot designated as the burial site by the family. This proved to be very difficult due to the fact that it had rained the night before and the ground was very muddy. By the time it was all over we all had nearly two inches of mud stuck to the bottom of our shoes.

8.18.13-Srey-site

8.18.13-Srey-funeralThe entire time that we were doing the graveside service we were also fighting huge ants while at the same time trying not to sink too far into the mud. I still have bites on my feet from ants. We are so blessed to see how so many of the church members jumped right in to do all that they could to help. Please pray for Borey. She is presently staying with Miss Samantha Thaing, a single missionary lady from our home church who is serving with the team here in Cambodia. However, Samantha will be getting married, Lord willing, in the next month or so and some decisions will need to be made regarding Borey’s future. Please pray that we will all have wisdom to know how best to be a blessing to Borey. Also, remember Borey’s father in prayer. His name is Rom. He has not played a very active role in her life due to his problem with alcohol. Before Srey passed away she specifically told me to make sure we take Borey and raise her and not to allow her to go with her father. Srey’s desires are supported by Borey’s grandmother as well. We are not certain what should or will happen in regard to her future living arrangements. For her own safety we are not inclined to send her back home to live alone. We also have to keep in mind that we have three teen boys in our own family and it is not likely that we are in a position to take Borey into our home. So please help pray that we will all have the mind of Christ to discern what is best for all involved.

8.18.13-mansions

We began going door to door in a small village about 5 miles from our church on the outskirts of Phnom Penh. Here you see the entrance to a neighborhood full of townhouse mansions. Last year I actually toured one of the mansions. I am including this picture to show you the wide disparity between the “haves” and the “have nots” here in Cambodia.

8.18.13-Law-Gombou-Village

This is a picture of Law Gomebou village. It is located on the same street as the mansions. Each of the homes in the village look just like these small shacks. There is no such thing as government subsidized housing here in Cambodia. In fact, most believe that they are poor because of the karma from their “past life.” The rich here often boast that they are wealthy because of all the good things they did in their “former life.” In actuality many wealthy people here in this part of the world are wealthy because of corruption and illegal land-grabbing from the poor and powerless. Please pray for Mr. Peseth and his family of 5 who live in this village. We are presently building a relationship with them and looking to present the Gospel to them as the opportunity arises. We believe they are opening up.

8.18.13-adidCambodia has many factories that produce textiles that are exported to the United States and Europe. Many times these items are also sold in the stores here in Phnom Penh. A shirt that would sell in the mall in America for $60 can be purchased any day of the week here for $5. Counterfeit items are readily available on the street as well and it is often difficult to know what is real and what is fake. This past week my sons each purchased an Adidas Dri Fit shirt for $5 each. We are told that the same shirts normally sell for $30 in the States. They assumed the shirts were the real thing because of the quality of the material and the packaging. It was not until they got the shirts home and actually read the tag that we all began to have our doubts that these shirts were made to be exported. What was the thing that tipped us off? Take a moment and read the tag. It has got to be the worst English I have ever read! Just goes to remind us all that not everything that looks real – is actually real!

Thank you for your prayers and support for the work here in Southeast Asia.

Because of God’s grace,

Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason

P.S. Yes, I’m aware I spelled “forest” wrong on the pictures…

July 22, 2013

July 22, 2013

Dear friends,

7.21.13-ShelterThe auditorium was packed Sunday morning as we had several of the members from our villages churches / outreaches present in the service along with our regular Phnom Penh members. Every six weeks we have a special service in Phnom Penh with baptism and a meal and we invite a few folks from each village work to join with us. During the first hour some of the ladies and girls sang “A Shelter in the Time of Storm.”

Nearly every person in our ministries are first generation Christians. It has been our experience that very often first generation Christians have a zeal for the Lord that, sadly, is not found with many second generation Christians. We are regularly challenged by the faith of these folks. We are especially blessed to hear the folks sing unto the Lord from their heart.

7.21.13-Higher-GroundFive of the young men sang “Higher Ground.” We are so happy to see Jason jumping in and singing in the Khmer language. Over the past six months his reading and vocabulary has really improved. Of course that makes it more difficult for his mother and I to talk about him behind his back! 🙂7.21.13-SetupAfter the morning service all the chairs and song books had to be taken up to the roof for the baptismal and testimony service. It was a blessing to have about ten of the teenagers and young adults stick around to help tear down and clean up the roof after the service and pot luck. I know from first hand experience that it is not an easy task to carry the chairs up and down the narrow staircase. One wrong move and it’s all over… Yet, we heard no complaints from the workers!

7.21.13-Soam7.21.13-ChanthaWe had eight folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism on Sunday morning. Soam has a very good testimony in the village and a strong desire to honor the Lord with her life. Please continue to pray for her husband, Hem, to be saved. Chantha is one of our very faithful teen girls. The joy of her salvation radiates from her countenance. It is always refreshing to watch her during preaching as she is intent upon hearing and understanding everything that is being taught. Soam and Chantha are both a part of our church plant in Anlong Tnout village.

7.21.13-PoPo and his daughter were both baptized as well. Po is a growing Christian who, I believe, is trying to be a good testimony for the Lord in his village. He is the uncle of one of our faithful men, Brother Sinath. Lord willing, we will begin holding Sunday morning services in his village in the new building we just built beginning on the first Sunday of August. Please pray for Brother Keo, Vannak, and Sinath as they will travel back and forth to Prey Bang village each week to help get this new work established. Over time we intend to have some of our other members from Phnom Penh help with this new church plant as well.

7.21.13-GeneralsIt is interesting how God often uses connections from our past to help reach people. Back in 2006 I taught English for a time to six or seven Army Generals at the Ministry of Defense (Department of Defense) here in Phnom Penh. Though my involvement only required a few hours a week, I was able to learn quite a few things that have helped in my ministry here in Cambodia. Fast forward to the year 2013 — Last week I was in Prak Pnou village handing out our new tract, “One Minute After You Die” and I met a young man named Oudom. Oudom is 27 years old and speaks fairly good English. We stood and spoke with each other at the side of the road for awhile. When it became evident that he wanted to know more about the Lord I had him show me where he lives. To my surprise he lives with his parents in the only villa (mansion) that I have ever seen in Prak Pnou. Last Tuesday I went to his home and met with him outside next to the family fish pond for about two hours. I asked a lot of questions with the goal of understanding where he was coming from. I discovered that he is a graduate of the Military Academy and that his father is a high ranking officer in the Cambodian Army. I handed him some evangelistic materials to study and arranged to meet him again on Saturday. The meeting on Saturday went even better than the first meeting. After teaching him for nearly four hours his mother invited me into the house to eat lunch with the family. Oudom and I spent some time looking at family pictures that were on the wall. Most of the pictures were of his father shaking hands with very powerful people here in Cambodia such as the Prime Minister, the President of the Senate, and the top Army General. When we got to the picture of the General I told Oudom that I used to teach him English and I called him by name. This came as quite a surprise to Oudom and his mother. This picture was taken in the General’s office at the Army headquarters where I taught English. Oudom and his mother, Somally, and his 15 year old sister, Srey Pich, seem very open to the gospel. I have a third appointment scheduled to meet with them tomorrow morning at 8:45. Please pray that we will see both Oudom and Somally come to know the Lord. Oudom is 27 years old.

Several months ago I met a 27 year old man named Rith while I was at a coffee shop studying. I gave him a tract and did some small talk with him and left it at that. Last week he called me out of the blue and we arranged to meet once again at the coffee shop. The meeting went well and I was able to speak more directly with him about his life and the Lord. Rith is a university graduate, has a good job, and speaks English very well. Yet he told me that there is something huge missing from his life. He says he wants to make changes in his life but he doesn’t know what changes he needs to make nor how to make them. We have another meeting scheduled for this Thursday morning at 8:30. Please help pray that the Holy Spirit will use the materials we have given him and our conversations to draw him to salvation. He told me that I am the first person who has ever spoken with him about Jesus.

7.21.13-signOne will occasionally see this yellow sign posted on trees or poles around Phnom Penh. The sign says, “Jesus is the way to be free from sin.” I drive past this particular sign on a regular basis. The most amazing thing is that no one tears these metal signs down. I have no idea what group posts these signs but we thank God for every Biblical method of spreading the gospel message in this country.

Unfortunately not all “Christian” groups in this country have the sense to know how to appropriately and effectively share their faith. Some of the methods used do great damage to the cause of Christ here in this predominately Buddhist country.

Case and point: Cambodia will hold elections in less than a week. One of the political parties has as their motto “P’doo” – that means “change.” Those loyal to that particular party are zealous to help campaign for their cause. For the past couple of weeks they have traveled throughout the country riding on mopeds and on flatbed trucks playing recordings of political speeches. It’s amazing how loud their speakers can get. As they gather together at their political rallies by the thousands they chant “P’doo ! P’doo !”

Yesterday one of our members saw and heard a truck going down the road here in Phnom Penh. They were apparently taking advantage of the situation and had mounted speakers on top of their truck. Playing very loudly through the speakers was the phrase, “P’doo ! P’doo ! If you don’t change what you believe you will die and go to Hell !” They are not only a poor testimony in the community but foolish methods like that can cause serious problems for the rest of us.

7.21.13-rallyThis is what downtown Phnom Penh looked like Friday early afternoon. This man is running in the elections but for the past four years he has been self-exiled from the country and living abroad in order to avoid facing a prison sentence on charges that he claims are false and politically motivated. This past week the King issued him a pardon which cleared the way for him to return. He arrived this past Friday at 9:00 in the morning. Out of curiosity I drove to the airport at around 6:45 a.m. to see how many of his followers were there. At that time there were around 10,000 people already lining the street in front of the airport. I hung around for about 20 minutes then decided that I better get out of there unless I wanted to be a part of what was sure to become a serious traffic jam. This is how the crowd looked at 12:00 noon. One local newspaper reported that there were 100,000 supporters at this rally. Please help pray for the elections which will be held this Sunday. Things could be very quiet or they could take a turn for the worse as passions on both sides are inflamed.

7.21.13-SomYim and Som are a very faithful family in the church. They were both saved out of Islam and have undergone serious persecution for their faith in Christ. Som’s father, the village chief, disowned her because she would not renounce the Lord Jesus Christ and return to the Mosque. Yim’s mother took away his inheritance of land because of his stand for the Lord. This past week Som felt ill and went to the hospital here in Phnom Penh. After staying there for three days she seemed to get worse. The family was particularly concerned because she was 8 months pregnant. They made the decision to take her to a hospital in Vietnam that is known for its excellent care and compassion for human life. After she underwent testing it became evident that the hospital here in Cambodia had been injecting her with the wrong medications and she was having a serious reaction. Last night the word from the hospital was that she only had a 30% chance of survival. If she lived they said the baby would definitely perish. If the baby was able to be born alive there was almost no chance that Som would survive the birth process. The decision was made this morning to perform a C-section in order to try and save both Som and the baby. Many here have been praying earnestly that God would preserve these two lives. This is a wonderful and godly family. Yim is a student in the Bible Institute. Two of our members are with them at the hospital in Vietnam. Tomorrow morning very early Bro. Keo will leave on a bus to make the 5 hour commute to the hospital as well. Please help pray that God would be glorified by sparing these lives and that this situation will work together for good. The latest word that we have received is that the baby is in an incubator and seems to be fine. We think that Som is doing better than last night but we are all receiving second and third hand information.

7.21.13-ox-cartPhnom Penh has, in many ways, become quite modern but every once in awhile you will see “vehicles” like this ox cart that just startle you! This cart is full of clay pots. The owner has traveled to Phnom Penh from Kompong Chhnang Province (about an hour past our village church in Anlong Tnout). I have been told that it takes him about a week to reach the city. He will remain in Phnom Penh until he sells all the pots then he will make the long trip back home to the village. The amount of profit he makes would likely not even pay for a nice meal for a family of four at a decent restaurant in the States.

Thank you for your interest in what God is doing here in Cambodia. We all covet your prayers.

Because of God’s grace,

Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason

July 7, 2013

July 7, 2013

Dear friends,

7.7.13 Teen girlsWe had great services today here in Cambodia. Five of the teen girls sang “Blessed Assurance” during the morning service. Please continue to pray for the young people in our ministries. It is always frustrating to have a teen young person who is a growing believer all of a sudden be forced to stop coming to church by their parents. Today we had one of our very faithful teen boys come and tell us that he has to miss church for the next two months as his parents are forcing him to work in their store. Another teen young man told me today that he is actually attending church without his parents knowledge because if they knew he was a Christian and attending church they would force him to stop coming. He met with me this morning to seek counsel about what to do when his mother tries to force him, as she did this morning, to offer incense to the deceased relatives. This month the workers will be starting two special clubs for teen young people to help them in their walk with the Lord. Please pray that these clubs will help to ground the young people in their new faith and that their parents will not prevent them from being involved.

7.7.13 2 PeterLast Sunday I completed our 14 week sermon series dealing with the transformed life. This morning we began a new 8 week sermon series preaching through the book of 2 Peter. I believe that this series will be very helpful to the people as we deal with the important issues addressed in this epistle. The church family in Phnom Penh, as well as the village churches, continues to memorize the entire book of 2 Peter. It is encouraging to see so many getting involved. We are, on purpose, trying to create a culture in the church that values the Word of God.

7.7.13 sewersSome people in America may be under the misconception that the poor are automatically open to the message of the gospel. Very often the opposite is true. They are often ready to receive a “social” gospel that will hand out money, food and medicine. But the true message of the gospel that shows mankind his sinful and helpless condition without Christ has never been popular with the masses. In recent days we have seen the poor outright reject the message of salvation. This past Saturday some of our soul-winners went to follow-up on prospects living along the open sewers just a few blocks from our Phnom Penh church. It was very sad to have some refuse to accept a gospel tract. One man, who we have been witnessing to for several months, actually laughed at one of our men who was trying to encourage him to accept Christ. Another poor man, who is dying of cancer, mocked Brother Sinath for walking around with the foreigners and witnessing about the “foreigner” religion. He said that if Sinath was going to do that he should at least be getting a salary for wasting his time. It was encouraging to see Sinath and others keep a good attitude and a soft heart toward those who mocked them.

It has also been encouraging to see the spiritual growth of so many of the adults. Some of them are having their faith tested as never before. In recent days several of the folks have come face-to-face with circumstances that have been somewhat troubling to them such as being openly mocked for being a true Christian. One young couple is being accused by their family of “killing their grandmother” because they refuse to offer sacrifices in order to appease the evil spirits who their lost loved ones believe are causing grandma to be gravely ill. Some of our other believers who have undergone major persecution for their faith were deeply troubled in recent days to witness other Christians who, knowingly or ignorantly, compromised their testimony under the guise of trying to be culturally appropriate. One circumstance in particular has, according to the nationals, caused them to value even more a church where they are taught to follow the Word of God even when it is not culturally accepted by the Buddhists living all around them.

7.7.13-Prey-Bang-buildingThe work in Prey Bang village continues to go forward. The roof was finally installed a couple of weeks ago. Lord willing, we will being holding services the first Sunday in August. For the time being we will do so without any walls. In time, we intend to build walls as the work grows and the nationals are able to raise the money. There are around 20 adults in this village who have now professed faith in Christ. Additionally, we have around 20 children who are attending a weekly Children’s outreach. We are happy to report that this past week another lady, Soun (over 70 years old), accepted Christ as her personal Saviour. Please pray that we will continue to see more families reached through this new work. It will require a lot of time and effort by many to see this new work get off the ground and we certainly covet your prayers.

7.7.13-cmMany of the hundreds of children who are part of our Children’s Ministries each week come from very difficult living circumstances. Some of the children are told on a regular basis that they are unwanted, not loved, and a burden on their parents. Even children who come from “decent” homes very often lack any public display of affection by the adults in their lives. Telling your family that you love them is a very rare thing in this culture. It was sad – last Sunday morning I asked for a show of hands of all those who had hugged their parents and told them that they loved them at least once over the past week. Three hands went up – they were the hands of my own children. Not a one of the national children raised their hands ! I snapped a picture of the back of this young girl’s shirt. It says, “Love Me.” I believe that this shirt pretty much summarizes the reason why so many of the children love to attend the church and the Children’s Ministry. They know that they are loved here at the church. Debbie told me that one young girl came and just stood by her… It finally dawned upon her what they girl was doing. She was waiting to get a hug. Apparently she gives this 4 year old girl a hug every Sunday. I wonder if that is the only hug that she receives the entire week…

7.7.13 One MinuteThis week we are printing 5,000 copies of our new tract entitled “One Minute After You Die.” This tract is based on the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Pray with us that God will use it to bring about conviction to many. Thank you for giving so that we can continue to print quality materials such as this and see people saved.

7.7.13 camThe election campaigning is in full swing this month as the country will hold national elections on Sunday, July 28th. Sights like this are a daily occurrence throughout the entire country. They begin early in the morning and continue until the evening. Last week we had campaign trucks and bull-horns campaigning down our street at around 9:30 p.m.

7.7.13 securityCivil unrest is always a concern during elections whenever you are in a country such as Cambodia. One local newspaper reported that the government has dispatched an additional 20,000 security forces to ensure that there are no uprisings. There is so much that could be said about the whole election situation but I shall leave my opinions to myself. Please pray that the elections will come and go without any difficulties.

Because of God’s grace,

Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason

June 9, 2013

June 9, 2013

Dear Friends,

6.9.13-Phnom-Penh16.9.13-Phnom-Penh2Phnom Penh is a very crowded city. It is comprised of people who come from every Province and village in Cambodia. There are 897 villages within the city limits. (Country-wide there are more than 14,000 villages.) Current government statistics state that there are approximately 1.5 million people living here in the city. The metropolitan area of Phnom Penh is home to about 2.2 million people. Our primary outreach is directed toward the people who live here in the city, specifically the people who live in and around our locality. We believe that as strong churches are planted here in the city, the entire country can be reached with the Gospel. As we have stated in past posts, we are strategically reaching out from Phnom Penh to other areas that are within two hours of our church. We are presently reaching out to about 10 different villages. This is possible only as the folks here in Phnom Penh begin to have a burden for lost family members who still live back in their respective villages.

6.9.13-Highways-HedgesWe recently began a new ministry called Highways & Hedges. The goal of this ministry is to distribute gospel tracts door-to-door in remote villages where there are not currently any type of gospel preaching churches. This last week was our “kick-off” for this ministry and we encouraged many folks to get involved. I had publicly stated that our goal was to have 40 folks involved on our first day. We were all very pleased last Saturday to have 61 folks show up eager to get involved in this new ministry. In three hours we were able to pass out nearly 2,500 tracts along National Highway 5. (In Phnom Penh 61 people could, no doubt, hand out 2,500 tracts in less than 30 minutes.) We do not do mass tract distribution in Phnom Penh. As a rule, that would not be a very effective means to present the gospel and see people saved here in a Buddhist culture. However, in remote areas where people are not accustomed to having strangers hand out literature we have been encouraged to see that they are willing to read the tracts. Our primary goal in the Highways & Hedges outreach is to, at a minimum, plant the seed of the gospel into the hands of people in these remote areas. Yesterday I was able to return to one of the villages that we had visited last week and begin teaching a group of about 6 people who have showed an interest in knowing God. Please pray for these teaching times in the village named Poom Grewa. I’m presently teaching and explaining the gospel to two grandmothers and 4-5 young people. Poom Grewa is about 2 miles past Prak Pnou village. Highways & Hedges will meet and go out one Saturday a month.

6.9.13-pizza16.9.13-pizza2We were blessed to have 15 of the teens involved in Highways & Hedges. This year we are on purpose trying to do some things to help ground the teens in their faith. An important part of their spiritual growth includes being a public witness for the Lord. We were all encouraged to see their excitement and boldness as they went door-to-door. On our way back to Phnom Penh we enjoyed a time of fellowship. For several of these young people this was the first time they had ever eaten pizza. Teens are the same everywhere – they love pizza !

It is important to evaluate each ministry in the church. Ministries that are not producing lasting fruit should be changed or eliminated. This month we are evaluating every ministry of the church. Some programs will be eliminated. Others will be given more attention and effort. One of the areas that we are hoping to strengthen is the outreach to our faithful teens. (The focus will not be on the casual attender but rather on the teen who is already faithfully attending church.) With the Lord’s help, we hope to do some things with the teens that will help encourage a higher level of commitment to the Lord as well as a higher level of involvement in ministry. Please pray for the teens of Pacific Baptist Church of Phnom Penh to be excited to embrace the vision and be willing to step out of their comfort zone for the Lord and the good of the church.

6.9.13-AM-serviceWe had great services today in Phnom Penh. I continued with the series dealing with the transformed life from Romans chapter 12. Today we considered verse 13, “Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”  Next week we will actually deal with how a believer is to go about helping another believer in times of need. But this morning we explored some of the causes of poverty. There are many factors that contribute to poverty. Some poverty is the result of outside influences such as war, corruption, and natural disasters. However, this morning we focused on poverty that can come as a result of one’s personal sin or sins committed within their family. I devoted some time to each of the following sins and how, according to God’s Word, they contribute to poverty: 1) Laziness, 2) Gambling or the desire to get rich quick, 3) Stinginess and Covetousness, 4) Immorality, 5) Alcohol and Gluttony, 6) Deriving one’s income in an immoral way, 7) Not being faithful to the Lord by the paying of tithes and giving of offerings, and 8) Turning a blind eye to others in their time of need. It was actually a a bit difficult to preach this message. Many people in this country have been conditioned to be a “receiver” rather than a “giver.” It is a mindset that is not a Biblical one. It may have been shocking for some to hear this morning that not all the poverty in Cambodia is as a result of war in the past or present day corruption by some who are in power. I’m thankful to have the privilege to preach to and teach new believers who, although a truth may be hard to receive, are willing to listen to truth being taught and act upon that truth.

6.9.13-fellowshipThis morning we all enjoyed a time of fellowship after the services. It was a great opportunity to spend time getting to know some folks with whom we don’t normally have time to fellowship. We thank the Lord for the building that He has provided that will facilitate such fellowships.

6.9.13-baptismThis morning we had 24 folks follow the Lord in believer’s baptism. We were all very encouraged to see them take this public stand for the Lord. There is much confusion in this country regarding baptism. It has been our experience that the vast majority of “churches” here in Cambodia believe in baptismal regeneration. For some groups baptism provides a perfect opportunity to win the affection and financial assistance of visiting foreigners. Today one of our teen girls told me that this was the second time she had been baptized. She said that before she was saved a “church” hired a man to go to her village and recruit a bunch of children to go to the church and get baptized. She said that was his full-time job – going from village to village and gathering many people to come to the city and get baptized. No doubt the pictures and reports were sent abroad for the benefit of well-meaning donors. Sad to say, that is not an isolated incident.

6.9.13-grandma-Prak-PnouGrandma Sooan was baptized this morning. Please continue to pray for her husband, Chang, to be saved. Sooan is a growing believer and was very excited to be able to publicly follow the Lord in believer’s baptism.

6.9.13-Somvoeuth-Prak-PnouMr. Somvoeuth also followed the Lord in believer’s baptism. He, like Brother Sinath on the left hand side of this photo, is a tailor. His business is located on a very busy street in Prak Pnou village. As a small business person he is concerned with how he  is perceived by the community; if they think that he has “betrayed” the national religion of Buddhism he is fearful that they will stop coming to his business. This fear caused him to keep his Buddhist altars in his home and business even though he professed to place his faith in Christ and stopped offering sacrifices to the ancestors and the devil. Thankfully two weeks ago he took the step of faith and destroyed the altars. Please pray for Samvoeuth to continue to grow in the Lord.

6.9.13-Prey-Bang-buildingWe are still patiently waiting for the roof to be completed on the Prey Bang village church. I give the contractor credit for coming up with some pretty creative excuses this week. Hopefully the roof will be completed by the end of this week.

6.9.13-Soly-Prey-BangSoly and her husband, Tola, live about three houses from the church in Prey Bang village. We are happy to report that Soly accepted Christ as her Saviour two weeks ago and Tola accepted Christ this past week. Tola comes from a family that is deeply involved in the occult. For many years he has had an “angel” that appears to him and “helps” his family. We know that this angel is nothing more than a familiar spirit (an evil spirit that has been passed down within the family from generation to generation). The reason that he would not accept Christ at the same time as his wife is that he thought it was impossible for God to save him. The believers in the village give testimony that on Saturday night Tola and Soly destroyed all of their altars and occultic items in their home. This morning at church Soly confirmed that they both want to be fully committed followers of Christ. Soly requested that the spirit strings be cut off of her and her children, and so this morning after the service we did just that.

6.9.13-spirit-stringsSpirit strings are used by witchdoctors for various reasons. Ultimately it is believed that they provide protection from the evil spirits. The news will spread quickly in the village that this family has taken a stand for the Lord. Already some of the neighbors have responded to the destroying of their altars by cutting up a Bible and strewing it all along the road that leads to the new church building in the picture above. Tola and Soly as well as some other folks there in the village are just new believers and they are not sure how to respond to the actions of these neighbors. This morning Brother Sinath and I were able to spend some time teaching them how we are to respond when non-believers persecute us because of our faith in Jesus Christ. Please pray for Tola and Soly’s safety as well as their spiritual growth.

6.9.13-Oeun-OalPlease pray for Oeun and her adult daughter, Oal and their family. They live in Prey Bang village and have both professed faith in Christ within the past three months. It was a blessing last week to be able to teach them both. They are likely some of the poorest believers that we know. For the past 10 years they, and many other families, have been squatters on land that is owned by the local Buddhist association. This past week one of the monks came to her home (the shack behind them) and asked Oeun the following question: “I heard that you are now a Christian. Is that true?” Oeun responded that she had indeed trusted the Lord for salvation and is now a follower of Jesus Christ. She was then told by the monk that she and her family would soon be evicted off of the land because of her decision to follow Christ. This leaves this very poor family is a tight situation. If they remain resolved to follow Christ they will literally become homeless with, humanly speaking, no other options on the table. Oeun has stated that under no circumstances will she turn away from the Lord. Please pray for these dear folks as well as for all of us to have wisdom to know how best to help her.

6.9.13-MaldyYou may recall my writing about Brother Maldy and his family last year. They are the family who faithfully rode their bikes 26 miles round-trip to church several times a week. Several months ago they had some issues arise that prohibited them from coming to church. We were all so thrilled this morning when they showed up at church. Maldy told me that issue is now resolved and they will once again be faithfully involved in attending church. Pray for this family’s spiritual stability. They are very gracious and giving people even though they own almost no worldly possessions. Their example is a great challenge to us all !

6.9.13-bikesI snapped this photo Friday afternoon as we were stuck in a traffic jam. We have seen them stack bikes even higher than this !

Because of God’s grace,

Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason

May 26, 2013

May 26, 2013

Dear friends,

5.28-SopheakSopheak, 18 years old, attended our church faithfully for quite some time last year until her grandmother prohibited her return. She did not like the “changes” that were taking place in Sopeak’s life because of the things she was being taught at the church. After being gone for nearly 6 months, she showed up again this past Sunday. It seems as though her grandmother has agreed to allow her to return. However, she is only allowed to attend on Sunday morning. We are happy to report that, while meeting with one of the national workers, she obtained the assurance of her salvation this past week. Lord willing she will follow the Lord in believers baptism on Sunday, June 9th. Please pray for her spiritual growth as well as the salvation of her grandmother.

5.28-SokSanSok San is a close relative of Somaly Ros, the youth pastor’s wife at our sending church in California. When Mrs. Ros visited Cambodia several months ago she invited Sok San to attend the church. Due to the godly testimony of the Ros family Sok San has seen her need of salvation and has accepted Christ as her personal Saviour. She is making an effort to not just attend the services but to get involved as well. It was a blessing to see her stay after the morning service to help work in the 11:00 a.m. Children’s Ministry outreach. She was singing right along with the children and appeared to be having a great time. She is a sharp young lady and seems to have a lot of natural abilities. Please pray that she will keep coming to church, stay involved in ministry, and grow in her new faith.

5.28-building15.28-building25.28-building3About 20 or so of the men from Phnom Penh traveled to the village church in Anlong Tnout village last week to paint the new church building. We had a wonderful time working together and the building looks much better now that it has a few coats of paint on it. Point of interest: They do not seem to sell primer here in Cambodia so we were painting right on the bare cement walls. It took about 5 coats ! The village congregation will now begin working on raising money to purchase windows and doors for the building. Lord willing the money will be raised within the next few months and the building can be completed.

There has been a slight delay in getting the roof for the new church building in Prey Bang village. It seems that the contractor in the village did not have a welding machine in order to weld the metal together that he had promised to have welded almost two weeks ago ! When we finally got a hold of him this week to see what was taking so long, he let us know that he was trying to find the equipment and would have the roof up for us by the end of this week. Here’s my take on the situation – He knows we are Christians and “can’t” get mad at him. So, he is doing other people’s jobs ahead of ours even though we have a signed contract. If he doesn’t fulfill his end of the deal real soon I guess we will have an opportunity to put his theory to the test. 🙂  ...can’t or shouldn’t…?

5.28-Chhay-KimLaOne of the families who has recently begun to attend the village church is Chhay and KimLa. The Lord allowed me to lead Chhay to the Lord some time ago but his wife just recently accepted Christ within the past couple of months. They are expecting their first baby in a few months. Chhay is the son of a very popular Cham witchdoctor and has had some struggles in the past dealing with some issues related to that situation. (The Cham people are believed to possess the strongest occultic powers of any people group here in Cambodia. I have been told that his father, before dying this past year, was one of the most famous witchdoctors and had clients all over Cambodia.) I believe that Chhay and KimLa desire to have a family that honors the Lord. Last week they asked if I would be willing to sit down with them and teach them about how to have a Christian family. As other couples heard that we planned to meet they asked if they could participate in the meeting as well. To make a long story short, we decided that we will have a couple’s seminar sometime in June or July. This will enable us to offer teaching that we can’t provide during church-wide services. Please pray that Chhay and KimLa will remain consistent in their church attendance and walk with the Lord. They have been at church now for 5 weeks in a row.

5.28-childreFor the past two months we have been trying something different for the Sunday Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. Rather than having all 150-200 children meet at the church all at once we have been having them come in smaller groups of between 30-50 children. This past week Brother Vannak preached for the children’s service and he did a wonderful job of communicating to the children. He preached on the importance of not depending upon good works in order to have your sins forgiven. He used a poster that we recently created to use when we do evangelistic outreaches. I have included a low resolution copy of the poster for the benefit of those of you who read Khmer.

5.28 posterHere is the link to a short video that we shot on Monday morning. Included in this video are some short excerpts of our Sunday evening service in which we had 4 of the Bible Institute men preach. Each of these men are faithful believers who have taken a strong stand for the Lord. We are grateful for their teachable spirits and the zeal that they have for the work of the Lord. They all help to preach in our various Children’s Ministries and teen services throughout the week. They are also all 4 involved in the various village outreaches as well. I believe you will be blessed by listening to the short excerpts. They obviously preached in Khmer but I have added English subtitles for the benefit of those who can not understand the Khmer language. https://vimeo.com/67138581

Because of God’s grace,

Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason