May 19, 2019
There has been so much going on here in Cambodia over the past month or so. We are so thankful for the grace of God and the direction of the Holy Spirit as we, as a ministry, have faced new trials. So many of our folks have been tested by serious sickness complete with fevers peaking over 105 degrees. While our family was not hit with the fevers, we did experience an unrelated medical issue this past week that was quite frightening and resulted in about 7 hours of medical tests at our local hospital.
Some of the young people in our Phnom Penh church are working through the painful emotions and the spiritual hurt that has come to them as this past month one of our former leaders made the decision to leave God’s will, as revealed in His Word, and pursue their own plans for their life. It is always sad to see people allow their heart to lead them rather than the Word of God. But it is particularly troubling when it brings confusion to the lives of young believers. I’m thankful for the grace of God and the comfort of the Holy Spirit that has sustained those who have been hurt. The situation that we have experienced is a great reminder that God desires that we have a genuine walk with Him and not merely serve in ministry.
Our building plans at the new property are moving ahead, albeit not as rapidly as we had anticipated. Things in this part of the world tend to move a bit slower than in the west – at least when you attempt to do things legally. The issue that we are currently facing is finding a contractor that we can afford who is competent to build the type of building we need as well as allow us to do as much of the manual labor as we are capable of doing in order to save as much money as possible. Lord willing we will have this nailed down very soon. Please pray for Brother Vong as he diligently strives to make this happen. We are so thankful for those who have felt led to help us with our building! We have raised approximately 70% of the funds needed to build two stories. If you would like to have a part in helping to provide for the amount that we still need please contact me.
This past Sunday morning and evening we honored our mothers. It was such a blessing to hear several of the young people publicly read the poems that they wrote to honor their mothers. One of the young ladies, Srey Nak, presented the plan of salvation in one of the stanzas of her poem. We were all touched to hear her tearfully and unashamedly plead with her mother to accept Jesus Christ as Saviour. Please pray for Srey Nak’s mother to be saved.
It was a particular blessing to hear Borey read the poem that she wrote to honor her mother. Her mother, Channy, came to know the Lord several years ago through the consistent love and appeal of one of the soul winners here at the church. After she was saved I remember Channy sharing a testimony of how she used to curse and yell at the soul winners when they attempted to share the gospel with her. One day she actually asked them why they continue to go to her house even though she treats them so badly. They told her that they keep sharing the gospel with her because God loves her and desires for her to be saved. It was their love for her that the Holy Spirit used to help soften her heart to receive the gospel. Over five years ago Channy died from liver failure and today is with the Lord. It was touching for me to sit on the platform behind Borey as she read her poem, and look past her to the picture of her mother on the wall. The picture includes the faces of six of our former members who today are in Heaven. The picture is a great reminder to our church that we are to remain “steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” because we know that our “labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Here is a video of the English choir practicing the song “Nail it to the Cross.” I love the truth of this song.
Sunday evening in our Married Couples small group it was a blessing to hear Ming Thach share some of her salvation testimony. She shared how that forty years ago, with her hands bound behind her back, while standing in the execution line of the Khmer Rouge, she pleaded with God to save her from impending death. She admitted that she had no idea Who the true God was. She knew in her heart that the things she had been worshiping were not truly God. They were gods that had eyes but could not see. They had ears but were incapable of hearing her cry out for help in her time of need. God did save her from the executioner’s axe that day, and for the next forty years she desired to know the God Who had created her – but she had no idea where to find Him. What a blessing it is to remember that it is God Who seeks out the lost and places within them the desire to know Him. He is faithful to create circumstances that lead the unsaved to a place where they are willing and ready to accept the gospel as is it brought to them by Christians who are obedient to Christ’s command to take the gospel to the lost. One day several months ago she sat in her home all alone. In despair she held a handful of pills and contemplated how she could get up the courage to take her own life. She was tired of the day-in day-out struggle just to survive. Her religion had provided her with no real answers and she wanted to end it all with the hope that she could maybe be reincarnated and start all over again – perhaps her next life would be better than her present life. As she sat all alone several of our folks from the outreach in StungMeanChey knocked on her door as they were going door-to-door with the gospel. After meeting with her on several occasions she came to understand that Jesus Christ was not only her Creator but He also had sustained her throughout her life making it possible for her to live long enough to hear the gospel. She came to believe that His death, burial, and resurrection had provided the only way to pay for her sin debt and place her in right standing with God. With great joy she shared how that she no longer desires to end her life but now desires to live for the Lord Jesus Christ! Thank the Lord for the power of the gospel to save anyone who is willing to “turn to God from idols” and “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We love seeing the young adults and teens in our church serve the Lord by reaching out to the children in our neighborhood with love and with the gospel. Seyha, the young man pictured above, was reached as a young person through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and today leads the teen class of our children’s ministry here in Phnom Penh. Please continue to pray for our young leaders to remain faithful to love their own people and to patiently work with the children in our neighborhood as they strive to help them understand and accept the gospel.
This past week we enjoyed a special time of fellowship with some of the married couples who are part of the church. Their joy and love for the Lord was evident as we spent the evening together.
One special aspect of our time together was when each couple stood up front and expressed their gratitude to each other and to the Lord for the marriage that they are enjoying. What a joy it was to remember that though most of our folks have very few material possessions, yet they possess the joy of the Lord and constantly look to Him as their Sustainer and the Source of their joy.
This past Tuesday evening we enjoyed a time fellowship with some of the singles in our church. Debbie and I rarely have the opportunity to be with them outside of our regular church services and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing them have a great time together. The majority of these young adults come from families that do not know the Lord. They are often pressured by family members to abandon their faith in Jesus Christ or at least live a life that is less committed to a walk of obedience. Please continue to pray for these young adults and others to continue to have a close walk with the Lord and to shine as lights in the darkness.
This past week Michelle marked her three-year anniversary of serving the Lord here in Cambodia. We have had the privilege to be a part of her life for many years and it’s been a great joy to see how she has joyfully yielded to God’s call upon her life. The impact of her investment into the lives of the young girls in our church will only be revealed in eternity. Recently these four young ladies began attending church, in part, due to the love and acceptance that they have felt as they have come to know Michelle. Please continue to pray that Michelle will remain faithful to the Lord and find her satisfaction in Christ alone.
We are trying, on purpose, to meet the families who live in and near the village where we plan to relocate this next year. It was great to get to spend some time with Sinath recently and to hear her once again express her joy that there will soon be a church near her house. She came to know the Lord a few years ago while being incarcerated for a crime that she committed. However, when she returned home a few months ago there was no one to help disciple her. She told us that she has been praying that there would be a church in her village. We are looking forward to getting to know her better as Debbie and I plan to soon begin discipling her in the Word of God. Please pray for Sinath’s spiritual growth. Two weeks ago we had the opportunity to meet several other folks who live not too far from our new land. Please pray for us to have wisdom as we seek to forge relationships with these folks that will result in them being saved: Sophal, Narun, Rithy, Chamran, Sothea, and SreySrahs.
We are so thankful for the generosity of a godly older Cambodian lady from Long Beach, California who purchased land in Preah Vithear Province and then built a simple building that provides an adequate place for our folks who are a part of that village outreach to meet for church services. For the past many months we have been meeting in the home of one of the believers, and the people are so grateful now for the Lord’s provision of a proper building that is more centrally located to their homes. Most of the new believers who are a part of this outreach are under heavy financial debt due to unwise decisions they made prior to being saved. Sadly, most of the families who live in this particular village, whether saved or unsaved, are facing eventual eviction and loss of their personal land and possessions as their debt has risen to a place that they can no longer manage to even pay the interest on the loans they took out several years ago in order to try and simply survive. It’s troubling to learn how many of them have been deceived by loan sharks who demand exorbitant interest rates. Imagine spending nearly your entire income just to pay interest payments month after month and at the end of two years owing the exact same amount that you borrowed. Humanly speaking there is no hope in sight for most of them. Pray for our leaders as we try and do what we can to help one particular family find a solution to some of the financial bondage they are facing. Poverty in this part of the world is a definite reality and we need wisdom in order to discern how we can be a blessing without becoming a spiritual stumbling block.
This past week I met with some of the men to discuss the timing for the start of our Christian School. It would seem that many of them are burdened in regard to their responsibility to train their children in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” They have come to the conviction, on their own, that they can not continue to allow their young children to be exposed to the many influences that are found in the public school system. In several of the villages where our folks live, drug abuse and immorality is rampant even among junior high young people. In their mind, it is no longer simply a matter of combating the lies of evolution and idol worship that is blatantly forced upon the young people. In fact, the young people have been sustained by the grace of God and most of them are standing for the Lord, and just like the three Hebrew children have refused to bow to idols. They believe it is now a matter of physical safety as many of the youth, even in the most remote parts of this country, are falling to drug addiction and other related vices. We are not in a position to begin an actual school but we are taking steps to begin a “learning center” that will serve, Lord willing, as a precursor to a future school. Please pray for our leadership team and the men of our church as we seek to know the Lord’s will and timing regarding our future school.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
April 26, 2019
We wanted to give you a quick update to let you know that permission has been granted by government officials in order to begin building our new church building. Things move a little slower here in this part of the world but we know that everything is moving forward in God’s perfect timing.
Please continue to uphold the ministry in prayer. Over the years we have experienced different times when it seems that resistance from the enemy is especially strong. There are other times when ministry seems to fall into a bit of a rut. During those times there are no significant difficulties whatsoever. It’s fairly evident that the enemy is not happy with the direction of our church and the new open doors that it seems like God is opening to our ministry. I believe that he realizes that his kingdom of darkness is being invaded from different directions by the glorious light of the gospel and he does not intend to sit idly by while it takes place.
Pray for all of us who are serving here in Southeast Asia to have a genuine walk with the Lord. In order to frustrate the work of God the enemy will often attack those who are on the front lines but who are spiritually unstable. When God’s people try to do God’s work without a true walk with Him, and with an independent spirit in the power of the flesh, it is just a matter of time before problems surface. Sadly, the consequences are often widespread and affect the lives of many. Every single one of us are in danger of drifting from God’s perfect will. It is so easy to erect idols within our own hearts and minds that can remain hidden but that will eventually be seen by all unless we, on purpose, repent and submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our life. Please pray a special hedge of protection about the workers and leaders who are actively and joyfully serving the Lord alongside us.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
April 12, 2019
It was a wonderful blessing for us to have our regular Celebration Service a couple of weeks ago and to see thirty-eight folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism! Despite the weather being unbearably hot, we enjoyed hearing a number of special songs by various groups in the church. So many of the folks diligently work to make these services a special time.
During the service we had the privilege of dedicating eight babies to the Lord. One of the blessings of having a young church is that we have a constant influx of babies being born. While it can present certain challenges logistically to have a number of babies present at church at any given time, we are excited to think about the potential that these children have to make a significant impact in Southeast Asia for the gospel if they are properly trained by godly parents. As a church we desire to work together to see these eight couples continue to grow in their knowledge of, and obedience to, the Word of God. As they pass truth on to their children and their children grow up in the church, we anticipate seeing a great host of faithful young couples who have known the Lord from a very young age and who are equipped to make an eternal difference in this part of the world.
We were also blessed to hear heart-given testimonies by two different families of the difference that the gospel has made in their lives. Both of these families were saved out of a religious system that caused them to live in constant fear of demons. Their lives have been totally changed since they have been set free from the powers of darkness by the power of Jesus Christ!
You can get a short glimpse into the time of fellowship that we enjoyed after the service by clicking on the video below.
Discipleship is a very important aspect of the Great Commission and I am thankful that it continues to be among our top priorities here in Cambodia. Whether we are helping to ground new believers in their faith through the public preaching of the Word of God during a church service, meeting together in a small-group context, mentoring our Bible College students in the classroom setting, or meeting with new believers one-on-one, we believe that the making of disciples is an aspect of the Christian life in which every believer ought to be passionately involved.
The Biblical truths that our Bible College students are being taught in the classroom are important to their walk with God and to their future service for Him. Equally important, if not more important, are the practical opportunities that they are afforded to put into practice the things they are learning within the context of the local church. I am always blessed to be able to drop in on one of our village outreaches and to see the Bible College students teaching and leading their own people. Please join us in praying for our college students to remain faithful to the Lord. Some of them are going through very challenging times as they receive pressure from unsaved family members to discontinue their studies and pursue a career in the world. Recently, one of the married students was forced by his employer to choose between keeping his job or continuing to study in the Bible College. In the past, his boss had allowed him to begin work each day immediately following his classes and then continue working up until the evening. For some reason he decided that he only wants full-time employees now. Even though this married Bible College student was one of his best employees, he refused to allow him to continue to work part-time. He assumed that he would choose to keep the job and drop out of college. His assumption was wrong. I know that this young couple would appreciate your prayers as they are trusting God to provide a part-time job.
I introduced Grandpa Ny to you in our last blog update. It was my privilege to travel to his village this past Sunday with our workers and to meet him in person. As with many older folks here, he was not certain how old he was in “western” years. We finally figured out that he is actually 102 years old! I was the first white person that he had ever met and we enjoyed speaking together for quite awhile. As I asked him questions about his life and about his new faith in Jesus Christ there were two things, in particular, that struck me:
1) His mind is very alert even at the age of 102. He understands exactly what is going on around him and is able to respond to questions with cohesive answers.
2) He told me that before the soul-winners came to his village and shared the gospel with him, he had never heard of Jesus. He had no idea Who Jesus was. He had no idea that there was a God in Heaven Who created everything. He had no idea that his sin had separated him from the God Who had created him. He had no idea that the penalty for his sin was eternal separation from God in Hell. He had no idea that God loved Him. He had no idea that God had prepared a way to have his sin debt paid and that it was impossible for him to ever do any religious deed or good work that could pay the debt he owed. He had no idea that simple faith in what was accomplished through the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ was all that is necessary to have his sins forgiven and to be placed in a right relationship with God.
In short, he had lived his entire life in fear of demons and in fear of what would happen to him after he died. This fear drove him to try and live a decent life and as much as possible adhere to a religion that demanded him to worship gods made by man, worship angels as well as the sun, moon, and stars, and spend as much money as he could afford in order to do good works. He spent much of his hard-earned money in order to purchase various items that he would offer in sacrifice to the demons he believed controlled his neighborhood in hope that he would appease their wrath and manipulate them into protecting his well-being and the well-being of his family. (On a lighter note, he did admit to me that when he was a teenager he smoked marijuana.)
So the question is this – In an age when soft drink companies from the West have been in this part of the world for decades, why did it take 102 years for the gospel to reach his ears? There is a long answer and a short answer to that question. The long answer may be less popular than the short answer and will have to wait for another time… The short answer, and an answer that is directly related to the long answer, is that the church of God, while “succeeding” at some things, has failed in so many ways to obey Christ’s command to take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth. I assure you, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the countries where we serve who have never heard the name of Jesus let alone heard and understood a clear presentation of the gospel as set forth in the Word of God. Grandpa Ny is far from being alone. Thank the Lord for faithful national soul-winners who are willing to obey Christ’s command and pursue the lost with the message of salvation.
We were able to produce two new gospel tracts this past week. The one on the far left is entitled True Hope. The tract in the middle is entitled The Greatest Problem of Man. Both of these tracts were written by some of our national men who we led to Christ several years ago. The front covers were designed by our son, Joshua. Through a generous donation of dear friends in the Midwest we were able to print 10,000 copies of these two tracts as well reprint our tract on the right entitled After Leaving this World: Is Reincarnation True?
As you know, with rental prices continuing to rise here in the capital city at unsustainable levels and being faced with the fact that our current lease will be expiring this next year and our rent will likely be doubled, the Lord led us to purchase a plot of land on the edge of town. So much work has already been done on the property and we are excited to see the progress even though it is not moving as fast as we would like.
Very soon the necessary paperwork will be submitted to the appropriate officials in order to obtain the legal permission to break ground on the new church. Brother Vong and others have spent countless hours dealing with various aspects of this project in order to get us to this point. As a leadership team we will be meeting on April 22nd for several hours to nail down some final things and then we hope to be able to break ground soon after. We do not yet have the necessary funds to complete the building but we are praying and trusting that they will be provided according to God’s will. We will build what we can afford to build. We want to especially thank the churches and individuals who have already shown their commitment to help impact this part of the world through helping us to get this project completed. The land could have never been purchased with only the funds that our folks are able to give. Many of the new believers in our churches live hand to mouth – one day at a time. While they have given and will continue to give, their offerings alone will fall far short of what it will take to build a safe and suitable building that can accommodate not just the current size of our ministry but will position the church and college to expand into villages that as of yet remain unreached and in some cases untouched with the gospel. The land was purchased through the love and commitment of Christian friends, as well as the leadership of pastors in America, as they led God’s people to understand the vision and to help with this project.
Likewise, we will never be able to complete this building without the help of ministry partners who not only enjoy reading about what God is doing here through our updates and the updates of others, but who truly desire to have a lasting part in helping the gospel to continue to go forth here in this part of the world.
If you desire to have a part in helping the building to be completed, please contact me. Donations can be given through our sending church or through B.I.M.I. We stand ready to help answer any questions you may have.
P.S. We are looking forward to having several different church groups visit over the next several months. Bring your work clothes! 🙂
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, and Jason
January 27, 2019
We have had an awesome weekend and want to share a short update with you so that you might continue to pray intelligently regarding the work here in this part of the world.
There has been substantial progress made on the new property over the past week! These pictures were taken yesterday morning. As you can see from the picture, the wall is nearly completed. Very soon we hope to begin bringing in truckloads of dirt in order to raise the elevation of the property so as to prevent flooding during rainy season. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR PROGRESS TO MOVE AHEAD IN GOD’S TIMING. Likewise, if you discern that the Lord would have you to be a part in helping the building to go up, please contact me.
You can see the progress on the property by viewing this video.
You learned of Sinath’s situation from the video above…PLEASE PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO BEGIN HAVING A TIME OF REGULAR DISCIPLESHIP WITH HER VERY SOON!
This morning we were privileged to have Brother San and his family with us. San preached for our morning service and his message was timely and right on point. San and Yom oversee the work in PsaTricht village and the surrounding villages. They are a godly couple and valuable partners in the work of the Lord here in Cambodia. They are expecting another child in about three months. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAN AND YOM AS WELL AS FOR THE PORTION OF THE MINISTRY THAT THEY DIRECTLY OVERSEE.
It was a blessing to have Saam and Si in the service this morning. You may recall that they recently accepted Christ. It seems that the enemy is doing all that he can to try and discourage them from moving forward in their walk with the Lord. Last Tuesday they were unable to meet for discipleship because their grandson was hit by a moped as he was crossing the street in front of their house. They had to take him to the emergency room to have scans done on his head. Thankfully there did not appear to be a concussion or any serious damage to his head. He was released from the hospital a couple of days later and sent back home. Then as they were preparing to leave the house for our service this evening he somehow stumbled and fell, thereby hitting his head once again. Apparently the fall was substantial enough that they had to take him back to the emergency room. I am certain that these two events were not random – I believe that the devil is attempting to get them discouraged. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAAM AND SI TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD. LIKEWISE, PLEASE PRAY FOR THEIR ADULT DAUGHTER, SREY MAO, AND THEIR ADULT NIECE, SREY KOEUTH, TO BE SAVED. We are meeting with them as well and explaining the gospel to them. They are very confused due to the false doctrine that they have been taught by a popular Korean cult here in Cambodia.
It was a great blessing to be able to meet Ohm Thach this evening. She was saved just a month ago through the efforts of the folks in the StungMeanChey outreach and has been faithfully attending the services there. This evening she shared with me of the joy of her salvation and her gratitude to those who spent the time and took the effort to explain the gospel to her. Dany is a student in the Bible college and had a part in helping her to be saved. PLEASE PRAY FOR OHM THACH TO GROW IN THE LORD AND BEGIN TO HAVE GODLY INFLUENCE IN THE LIVES OF HER FAMILY MEMBERS THAT WILL RESULT IN THEM BEING SAVED AS WELL.
We were happy to have SeiYak in our married couples class this evening. She is Sopheap’s mother. I remember when Sopheap accepted Christ a little over seven years ago and how SeiYak’s anger caused her to curse Sopheap and her husband, Sinath. Over the past year or so her heart has softened as she sees their godly example in their marriage and family life. She is still not willing to turn from idols and ancestral worship. I believe she realizes that the rest of her children would turn on her if she were to be saved and she is not willing to face that rejection. PLEASE PRAY THAT SEIYAK WILL COME UNDER THE CONVICTION THAT SHE IS LOST AND UNABLE TO SOLVE HER SIN PROBLEM ON HER OWN, AND THAT SHE WILL TURN TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST FOR FORGIVENESS. Isaiah 45:21-22 …there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
We were happy to have Johnny and Reeda in the married couples class this evening. Johnny was saved last year as Bro. Vong and others spent time with him and helped him to see his need to be saved. His wife, Reeda, told me this evening that she had never stepped foot into a church before tonight. We are hoping to arrange a time very soon to go to dinner with them with the goal of helping to lead her to Christ. PLEASE PRAY THAT JOHNNY WILL BE A CONSISTENT AND GODLY TESTIMONY IN HIS HOME WHICH WILL RESULT IN REEDA’S HEART BEING SOFTENED TO THE GOSPEL.
This past week Bro. Vannak and those who have been going soul winning in CheoungEk village had the opportunity to meet grandpa Ny. He is one hundred years old this year! The amazing thing is that his eyesight is still great, as is his ability to reason and remember. He told our folks that he had never heard of Jesus Christ. He knew that he was a sinner but he had no idea that his sin was a serious problem that would result in him falling under the wrath of God for eternity in Hell. He listened intently to the gospel for quite awhile as Vannak and others opened the Word of God and taught him about how the world was created by God as a place that was without sin, but that one day man chose, by his own free will, to rebel against God. This rebellion brought about death. During our testimony time this evening in our married couples class, Vannak shared that Ny’s heart is very tender to the gospel and that he seems to be understanding and accepting what he is being taught. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE SOUL WINNERS TO HAVE WISDOM TO ANSWER HIS QUESTIONS AND THAT AS THE HOLY SPIRIT ILLUMINATES HIS HEART HE WILL RESPOND TO THE LIGHT HE IS BEING SHOWN AND BE SAVED.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
January 15, 2019
It’s a blessing to have the opportunity to provide you with a brief update on just a few of the things that the Lord is allowing us to see accomplished here in Cambodia. Thank you for your faithful partnership in the gospel. We could not be here doing what God has called us to do without you being there and playing the role that God has called you to play in order to see the gospel come to places like Cambodia.
As you can see from these pictures, there is progress being made on the new property. Over the past two weeks the sewer lines have been installed, the electric has been brought into the property, a water well has been drilled, the foundation of the wall has been dug, and the wall has begun to be built. We are so grateful for the way that God has used His people to supply the needs up to this point. Not only has the land been paid for, in full, but there has been enough money to accomplish all the other things that have been done as well. Over the next couple of weeks we anticipate the wall being done. At that point we will be bringing in somewhere around 450-480 truckloads of dirt in order to raise the elevation of the land. If we don’t, we could easily be flooded out during the rainy season. Each truckload of dirt will be between $15-16.
You can see the progress on the property by viewing this video.
This past week we had a soul-winning conference at the church in Phnom Penh. It was a great blessing to have a few of our folks travel down from Romdeng village in northern Cambodia in order to participate in the conference. In addition to the folks in these pictures, there were three other young adult men who came as well. Please help us to pray that God will raise up a young married couple that will not just get saved, but who are qualified to be trained to eventually lead the outreach in Romdeng. Ideally it would be a couple who is from that part of the country and who are accustomed to living in that environment.
It was a blessing this past week to have the opportunity to lead Si and Saam to the Lord. For the past couple of years Saam has ridden her bike past our church in Phnom Penh as she sells potatoes up and down the streets of our neighborhood. Normally her face is covered by a mask to help keep out the dirt and so I had never actually seen her face. While Sinath and I met with her in her home and presented the gospel to her, she told us that she has been watching the people at the church and sees that they are all filled with joy. She has always desired to visit the church but she has been afraid that she would not be welcomed. Please pray that Si and Saam will grow in the Lord as we begin new believer discipleship with them every Tuesday afternoon. They live in a very crowded and noisy location that is not ideal for teaching, but it is important that we are willing to go to their home, sit on the floor with them, and patiently teach them the things that they need to know and do in order to live a Christian life that honors the Lord. Likewise, please pray for their 28 year old adult daughter who lives with them. I had the opportunity to meet her yesterday and hope to begin to reach out to her with the gospel.
Many of you might recall hearing of the young Muslim girl who got saved about 7 years ago as a result of the Children’s ministry in her village. When we were back stateside and visiting churches, I would often tell the story of how her strong testimony and unwillingness to compromise, even as a 9 year old girl, helped lead to her parents both being saved. She is now 16 years old and still faithful to the Lord! Tina is standing next to Debbie in the picture. Tina has been praying for many of her fellow classmates in her public school to be saved. She realizes that prayer alone is not enough – She needs to live the Christian life in front of them, and as they see the love of Christ and her consistent example, their hearts will be softened to the gospel. Because of the grace of God (the desire and the ability to joyfully obey Christ) Tina has a very good name in her school. That is why when the door was opened for her to clearly speak with her friends about their need for a personal Saviour, they were willing to listen to her. It has been a great blessing to see Theary and SreySrahs accept Jesus as their personal Saviour because of Tina’s example and boldness to live for the Lord at school! Please help pray for Theary and SreySrahs to grow in the Lord and for their parents to be saved. I am hoping to have the opportunity to meet Theary’s mother soon.
A couple of weeks ago I met Tina at the hardware store where he works. Since then we have been texting back and forth and have begun to build a relationship. Joshua and I had the opportunity to eat lunch with him in his home this past week. During the meal he told me that he is open to learning what it means to be a Christian. He was born into a belief system that offers him no hope of salvation, no forgiveness for sin, no relationship with a personal God, and no freedom from the power of darkness, and that teaches him to depend upon his own “good works” in hope that he will be reincarnated and have a more prosperous “next” life. We were stuck in traffic and arrived at his home 45 minutes late. His wife had to return back to the factory where she works just before we arrived as she only had an hour break. Please pray that Tina will seriously think about the things we taught him regarding his need for a personal Saviour. Also pray for the opportunity to meet his wife, Pe, and daughters Phoas and Peng.
Hout (on the right) and his entire family were saved a little over 3 years ago. His father, Tara, is a professor and has a great testimony where he teaches. One of his students, Tearak, recently accepted Christ and will be baptized soon. Tara teaches around 900 students and has opportunities on a daily basis to share the gospel as well as try and answer questions about the Bible and what it means to be a Christian. Tara’s burden for the lost has influenced Hout to have a burden for his own people as well. Hout is a first year student in our Bible college and is also involved in the outreach to Ondong village. Several months ago Hout began learning how to play several traditional Khmer instruments with the singular goal of using music as a way to spread the gospel among older folks who are normally not willing to listen to your typical soul-winner. A ministry like this has the potential to help open doors for the gospel to spread to places that are currently without any gospel witness whatsoever. I am sure that the enemy will work overtime to get him to follow after useless pursuits that will not result in the gospel going where it needs to go. Please pray that Hout will continue to be teachable and faithful to the vision that he believes God has given him.
We began a new term in the Bible college this past week. This term we are offering the following classes to our students: Child Development, 1 & 2 Peter, Acts, Cults 2, Discipling new believers, English, and Khmer grammar and writing. In the picture above, Brother Kosal is administering a diagnostic test to the students to try and assess their ability to effectively read and comprehend literature in their own language as well as write cohesive sentences and paragraphs regarding various topics that were discussed in class. I didn’t sit in on the class but from what I heard it was fairly difficult for most of them. Kosal recently resigned from teaching at one of the top English schools here in Phnom Penh in order to serve alongside of us full-time in the ministry. Thank God for Kosal and his wife, Phalley, and for their willingness to unreservedly surrender their lives to the cause of Christ among their own people. Please help pray for God to supply Kosal’s needs as he enters this new stage of his life in ministry.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
December 24, 2018
Greetings from hot Phnom Penh, Cambodia!
Below is a video that we shot this week at the land site we are developing. It will help you see the progress that has been made so far. As we move into January we hope to see a lot more progress made as we take care of all the things that have to be completed prior to pouring the foundation for the new church building.
Please continue to pray for wisdom and God’s provision for this project!
If you have not yet had the opportunity to help give to our church building project, and you would like to, please contact me for information. We are moving into the largest portion of the project and definitely need the help of friends and partners of the ministry here in Cambodia in order to see it come to fruition.
It was a great blessing to participate in Adrian and Bounmee’s wedding recently. Adrian has been faithfully serving here in Cambodia for the past several years and works very closely with the youth and TukTuk ministry. Bounmee was a part of our team in a “creative access” country and faithfully served there in several capacities. We are so thankful for this young couple and their godly example during their courtship. It’s a blessing to know that the young people who live in her country, and the young people here in Cambodia are being led by a couple who is not just talented, but who also has integrity. Please pray for Adrian and Bounmee as they adjust to married life.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
December 10, 2018
We had a wonderful service yesterday as we cast vision to the congregation regarding the purpose of the church. The spirit was great and the fellowship refreshing.
Here is a short video recap of the service.
The sewer lines are being put in this next week just ahead of when we plan to bring in several hundred truckloads of dirt in order to raise the elevation of the land. It is important to raise the elevation a couple of feet in order to prevent our land from flooding as the property around us is developed. We also anticipate building a cement wall all the way around the lot in order to prevent our land from being stolen little by little.
We have been encouraged by those who have already contacted us and indicated that they want to have a part in giving to this project. Our people here will be sacrificially giving but this project is well beyond their capacity to complete. Please prayerfully consider what part you can have in helping to see the new church building completed.
Please contact me for details regarding how you can send funds. Of course, if you are a member of one of our supporting churches, we encourage you to give through your local church. In the event that you are not a part of a church that partners with our ministry, we will let you know how you are able to give a tax-deductible gift. It may be that you are a business owner and you are looking for a worthy project to contribute to before the end of the year in order to reap tax benefits. We look forward to hearing from you soon. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
November 29, 2018
It has been a very busy week here in Phnom Penh but I wanted to send you a very short update regarding one of the new village outreaches that was started approximately two months ago in a village called ChoeungEk. It is located about 30 minutes from our Phnom Penh church. I shot the short video below while in ChoeungEk this past Sunday afternoon with some of the workers who are serving in this new ministry.
Eight years ago when the Lord led us to start the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry we cast a very specific vision for that ministry from the very beginning. The purpose of every one of our children’s ministries that are held every week in several different locations is threefold:
It was a great joy to be able to see SreyNak (on the left with the blue sweater) and Tina (on the right in the black sweater) serving the Lord by loving the children who are a part of the outreach in ChoeungEk! They were both reached through the children’s ministry as young children. SreyNak was reached through the outreach here in Phnom Penh and Tina was reached through the outreach in her Muslim village located about an hour and a half from Phnom Penh. As we see the young people in our church willing to invest their Sunday afternoons taking the gospel to those who are most in need, we are reminded that the future is bright and our capacity to continue reaching people and planting new churches is great! PLEASE PRAY FOR SREYNAK AND TINA, AS WELL AS THE REST OF OUR TEEN BELIEVERS, TO CONTINUE TO WALK WITH THE LORD.
SreyNeang is 14 years old and was reached with the gospel through the outreach in ChoeungEk. Her love for the Lord and the joy that is reflected on her countenance is infectious. She does not live an easy life. Sadly, her mother spends the majority of her time gambling. I have no idea what role, if any, her father plays in her life. Though she is only 14 years old, this past week her family forced her to get a job working at a factory 6 days a week in order to support the family – she will be the sole provider for her family. Unfortunately this is a scenario that is repeated over and over in the lives of many young people here in this part of the world even though it is not in compliance with the existing child labor laws that are meant to protect the young people. Despite the circumstances in which she lives, SreyNeang continues to have a desire to be a light for the Lord in her very dark neighborhood. PLEASE PRAY FOR SREYNEANG AND OTHER YOUNG PEOPLE IN OUR MINISTRY WHO ARE LIVING IN VERY DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES.
Brother Man and others have reached out to Chhay and his wife, SreyGe, with the gospel over the past several weeks. I had the opportunity to spend some time with him on Sunday afternoon and answer some of his questions as I shared the plan of salvation with him. It seems that his heart is very tender to the gospel right now. Man has done a great job in winning their hearts and showing them the love of Christ. Very soon Man is planning to take his wife, Kahna, to go and meet SreyGe and spend some time with her. PLEASE PRAY THAT CHHAY AND SREYGE WILL BE SAVED SOON. They live in ChoeungEk village and are surrounded by many people who would strongly object to them becoming a Christian.
These two teen young men and their sister seem to be very open to the gospel. They live in ChoeungEk and have had the opportunity to hear the gospel through Brother Man and those who are serving in that village. I had the privilege to meet them Sunday afternoon and it was very evident to me that Man had won their hearts! Because the cults and false religion is so very prevalent here, it often takes a lot of time and patience for the lost to see the difference between the gospel that we are striving to preach from the Word of God and the “social gospel” that is being peddled here by NGO groups and hirelings under the guise of Christianity. PLEASE PRAY THAT THE DOOR WILL REMAIN OPEN TO REACH OUT TO CHAN, CHEUN, AND HOEUN AND THAT THEY WILL BE SAVED.
We have written about the outreach in Romdeng Village on several occasions. It is a blessing to see what God is doing in the lives of those who have been saved. Each week a team of workers from Phnom Penh, StungMeanChey, or PsaTricht travel nearly 6 hours one way to reach Romdeng. Once they arrive there they disciple the new believers as well as seek to share the gospel with the lost. There is a good solid core of adults who have come to Christ and who are taking a strong stand for the Lord and we are blessed to see their burden for their lost family members and friends.
Recently a religious group of some kind has begun “courting” these folks and has offered to build them a church building if they will leave the Baptist church and become a part of their denomination. As ridiculous as this sounds – it is not at all uncommon for groups to try and pull this type of stunt here. In some cases they are simply unscrupulous opportunists who see groups of people such as our new believers in Romdeng as an opportunity for them to raise money from abroad while claiming that they are planting churches here in this part of the world. Sadly, many well-meaning people in the west naively fall prey to this type of scheme while believing they are somehow helping to support national pastors. In other cases I have known of this type of offer to be made by “missionaries” or denominational workers who don’t know the language, culture, or how to effectively present the gospel in a Theravada Buddhist or Islamic setting, and who are likely not qualified to serve in this part of the world, but who feel the pressure, for whatever reason, to appear as though they are planting churches.
I believe that the new believers in Romdeng are becoming well-grounded in the Word of God and are able to see through the deceit of this type of offer. They have witnessed first-hand the love and sacrifice of those who travel to their village week in and week out for many months at great financial cost in order to bring them the gospel. They have experienced the joy of their salvation and the spiritual freedom from the demonic power that previously controlled every aspect of their lives. I don’t believe that they will follow the voice of a stranger but I also believe that the devil would like to frustrate the work there and he is the instigator of this scheme. No doubt the Lord will use this circumstance as an opportunity to test the validity of their faith. PLEASE PRAY THAT THE BELIEVERS IN ROMDENG WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE TRUTH AND IN A VERY DEFINITE WAY REJECT THE GROUP THAT IS SEEKING TO DRAW THEM AWAY FROM THE TRUTH.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
November 19, 2018
We are thrilled to report to you that our bid for this land was approved and this property will become ours on November 26th. Our church here in Cambodia gave toward this significant purchase but the land could not have been secured without the generous gifts of God’s people abroad. We are so thankful for those who helped give so that we would have the ability to buy this land. By God’s grace, we have completed phase one [the purchase of the lot of land], and within the next few weeks hope to begin phase two [the elevation of our land to prevent flooding, and the building of a cement wall around the circumference of the property which will provide some security]. Please watch the short video below in order to see the land as well as get an update on our progress.
We are so blessed to have the privilege to serve alongside so many nationals who have been saved here at Pacific Baptist Church and discipled in the Word of God. Many of the folks in this picture have paid a high price, not for being a Christian, but for being a Christian who is faithful to the Word of God.
This past week we had our second planning meeting with those who are serving in ministry full-time. I am so thankful for their spirit and the unity that we enjoy. Please help us pray that there will be a hedge of protection placed around these folks and their families as we enter into our building program. I know that the enemy will look for opportunities to cause strife and division.
So many of our national men faithfully serve the Lord. These three men and their wives have given their entire life to help reach their own people here in Cambodia. Man, (blue shirt on the left), oversees the outreach in Stung MeanChey and is doing a wonderful job training the new believers there. This term he taught The Major Prophets class in the Bible College. Vannak, (in the middle), oversees the outreach in Ondong village and also helps preach at all of our various village outreaches. This term he taught Romans as well as 1 & 2 Peter in the Bible College. Kosal, (on the right), recently began going to Udong village and is going soul-winning with some of our folks from Stung MeanChey as well as some of the folks who are a part of the outreach in PsaTricht village. It is our goal to see a village church planted in Udong in 2020. Lord willing, Kosal will be teaching Khmer grammar and composition in the Bible College beginning in January 2019. Humanly speaking, these men as well as others are the key to helping us train the next generation of young believers here in Cambodia. With more than 8,000 villages that are without any real gospel witness the need is great and the laborers are few. If over the next five years we could double the number of villages where we have preaching points or where we have villages churches planted, we would still be way behind! One of the primary reasons for us relocating to our own property is so that we will be able to more effectively train national men from our outlying village ministries without the concern that we won’t be able to any longer afford the rising rental prices or even face eviction from unbelieving landlords. Please help us pray that our new location will become a mighty tool that will help us effectively win men to Christ and see them trained for the ministry.
One effective way that we disciple the new believers here is through our Bible College and Bible Institute. It is always a blessing to see the young people (and a couple who aren’t so young) growing in their knowledge of the Word of God. Each of these folks are involved in our village outreaches and are blessed to gain a lot of practical ministry experience. Please help us pray that the college will continue to be used to help ground national believers and that because of the things they are learning as well as the experience they are gaining many new villages will be reached with the gospel.
We are so blessed to have a number of married couples in Phnom Penh who desire to learn more about how to have a Christian family. Each Sunday after a time of testimonies and singing I teach principles relating to the home. This past Sunday evening we dealt with the importance of having the father and mother unified in the disciplining of the children – a concept that is virtually unheard of in today’s culture here in our part of the world.
Miss Grace devotes many hours each week to trying to reach the deaf with the gospel as well as disciple those who have been saved. Due to some of their work hours I think it is difficult for some of the deaf to make it to our regular church services and their lack of involvement in the “mainstream” of the church life has stunted their spiritual growth. God has given Grace the patience and wisdom to help them but I know that it is a real challenge. Please continue to pray for the deaf ministry here at Pacific Baptist.
We are presently going through the process of renewing our church permit. We hit a few bumps in the road but I believe they have been ironed out. The paperwork has passed through each level of government starting with our local village chief and going all the way up to the national level. The paperwork is now on the desk of the folks who will issue the final documents in order to renew our permit for two more years. Please pray that everything will run smoothly and we can get this process behind us within the next couple of weeks.
Please pray for the following three adults in Phnom Penh with whom we are presently working to be saved: Meng Ny, Srey Leak, and MaYou.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie
September 20, 2018
Things have been very busy here in Cambodia for the past several weeks and we have not taken the time to post any updates here on this blog. Of course, those of you who follow us on social media receive updates several times a week.
We started a new term in the Bible College this past week. We are so blessed to have the opportunity to invest in the lives of these young people. We believe that many of them will be used mightily here in this part of the world to see folks saved and new churches planted. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT THE STUDENTS WHO ARE PART OF PACIFIC BAPTIST BIBLE COLLEGE WILL BE FAITHFUL.
It was a great opportunity this past week for us to meet together with several of the couples who are serving together with us in the ministry. We were missing two of our key couples who were not able to make it for this meeting. We thank God for each one of these folks and the valuable contribution that they make to the work of the Lord here in Cambodia! PLEASE PRAY THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO ENJOY THE UNITY THAT HAS ENABLED US TO MOVE FORWARD OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS.
This past week we had the opportunity to shoot videos with three of our national leaders. We believe as this ministry is fine-tuned and developed it will be an effective tool to take the gospel to places where we may not be able to go. It will also be an effective way to disciple new believers in villages that are well beyond our capacity to plant churches in within the foreseeable future. Bro. Vong is greatly gifted in dealing with the technical aspects of this ministry and we thank God for the gifts that have been given. If it were all up to me we would be in trouble! PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO DEVELOP THE MEDIA MINISTRY TO BECOME AN EFFECTIVE SOUL-WINNING AND DISCIPLESHIP TOOL.
As we stopped and posed with these children this past Sunday evening we were reminded that their time at church each week is likely the happiest time of the week for each of them. All of these children come from very challenging backgrounds. Thank you for helping them to have the opportunity to hear the gospel! PLEASE PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN OF BOEUNG SALANG TO BE SAVED. There are so many useless and destructive voices calling out for their attention and it is getting increasingly more difficult to reach them.
PLEASE PRAY FOR SEIYAK TO BE SAVED. Her daughter, Sopheap (on the left), and family were saved here at Pacific Baptist Church about 8 years ago and are faithful members. SeiYak lives in a village a couple of hours from the church but visited our midweek service. Many of us have spent hours with her in the past trying to help her see her need to be saved. As of right now she understands the gospel and her need for a personal Saviour. However, she is not yet willing to trust Jesus Christ as her Saviour because she knows that it will ostracize her from the rest of her children.
As we wrote about in our last update (https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2018/08/26/august-26-2018/) we are in the middle of a building program for the church in PsaTricht village. The national believers have sacrificially given in order to have a church building. Brother San, the national man who is leading that outreach, has done an amazing job in teaching and leading the folks to give of their Time, Talents, and Treasures in order to see this project go forward. So far there has not been any money from overseas raised for this building and we thank God for that! Our folks in Phnom Penh have also contributed through giving offerings as well as manual labor. I wanted to share one short testimony of one of the widow ladies in our church who sacrificially gave last week to help build the church building in PsaTricht.
We needed to raise the money for 24 pillars. The folks in PsaTricht were to give money to purchase 12 and we committed to purchase 12 here in Phnom Penh as well. Two weeks ago during the morning service in Phnom Penh I asked folks to raise their hand if they were willing to purchase one of the pillars. Each pillar is approximately $30. Debbie and I raised our hands first in order to set an example and committed to purchase two pillars. After that we had enough folks raise their hands that we had raised the amount we needed to raise in order to reach the commitment we had made to Brother San and our church family in PsaTricht. I gave the folks two weeks in order to place their commitments in the offering.
This past week one of the widow ladies came to our house four times in one day in order to get a chance to talk to me. On the fourth time she finally caught me. As we were exchanging small talk she handed me the $20 bill that you see in the picture. I asked her what it was for and she told me, “I want to have a part in helping build the building in PsaTricht.” She told me, “I didn’t have $30 to purchase a whole pillar and I didn’t dare raise my hand in front of everyone.” You should have seen the huge smile and look of joy on her countenance as she handed me the money! Here’s the amazing thing – She is without a doubt one of the poorest members of our church. I literally have no idea where she would have obtained $20 in order to give. For the past week my heart has been heavy every time I think about her love for the Lord and her desire to honor Him by giving what she can. I suspect that the blessing she received by giving from her poverty was much greater than the joy most of us receive when we give from our abundance.
We are presently (even as I write this update) in negotiations with a land owner to purchase this plot of land. A lot of time and effort by several of our men has gone into trying to locate a piece of land that will facilitate our current ministries as well as allow us to be able to grow. The rental prices here in the city are getting way out of control especially since the national elections. As we try and look toward the future, it is very evident that we are being squeezed out of the rental market and will likely face a significant problem when our current lease expires. Additionally, once our lease expires it will be very difficult to find a new landlord who is willing to allow a ministry of our size and scope to operate out of his property. We thank God for our current landlord who is a high ranking government official and who is a decent man. He has on several occasions helped to shelter us from certain situations that have taken place.
We think, by God’s grace, and with the help of some of our friends we will be able to afford to purchase this plot of land (.39 acres). It is located about 50 minutes from our current location which poses some significant challenges but also would strategically place us closer to many, many villages that are without even one gospel preaching church. I won’t go into detail here in this post but I anticipate updating many of you through our written prayer letter within in the next couple of months or so – after we have successfully obtained this land (or not)… Either way, relocation is something that we have all determined must take place. Our team and national folks will be sacrificially giving in order to see this land become our own. Once we own the land it will take a small miracle for us to be able to afford to build, as most of our resources and the resources of our national folks will be exhausted by the purchase of the land. PLEASE BEGIN PRAYING THAT GOD’S PERFECT WILL MAY BE EVIDENT AND THAT THE MONEY NECESSARY TO BUILD MIGHT BE PROVIDED THROUGH WHATEVER CHANNELS HE CHOOSES.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave & Debbie