January 3, 2011
Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that it is already 2011. It seems like just yesterday that we were all waiting for the year 2000. We want to thank you for standing with us faithfully in prayer and support over the past 12 months. We are grateful for the role that you play in helping to reach southeast Asians with the Gospel. For sake of space we will not detail the many blessing that God has bestowed upon our family and ministry in the year 2010. We thank you for your part in seeing lives changed and look forward to seeing what God will do in and through us all this new year.
This past Sunday was the eighth week of Pacific Baptist Church of Phnom Penh. We are just amazed to see how the Lord is working in hearts and opening doors of influence. He is blessing far beyond our competence and faithfulness that is for sure. From the first Sunday we began with Sunday morning / Sunday evening services, Wednesday evening Bible Institute, and Saturday soul-winning/visitation. This past Sunday we had 43 in attendance in both morning and evening services. We are not presently able to offer a children’s ministry but we hope to begin one very soon. Below you will see a snapshot of the Bible Institute class meeting on our ping pong table. The majority of those studying with us are baby Christians and are very hungry to know God’s Word. It has been exciting to hear how several of our people have been using what they have been learning to try and win their friends to the Lord.
In December of 2009 I met a monk named Sopheak at the Toul Tumbong Buddhist Temple. I was able to have an extensive conversation with him and asked him a question: “Why are you a Buddhist monk? Do you truly believe Buddhism?” He told me that he had been a Buddhist monk for the past 12 years, not because he actually believed in Buddhism but in order to show gratitude to his parents and to try and repay them for giving him life. The Lord led me to tell him that he was being dishonest to the Buddhists who came to his temple and he was even being dishonest to himself. That made him very upset at me! I assumed that I would never see him again. However, in February of 2010 I received an email from him telling me that he made the decision to leave the monkhood. Over the past month I have had opportunity to meet with him several times and I believe that his heart may be softening to the Gospel. He has not attended any services nor has he been willing to sit down with me for the express purpose of studying the Bible (evangelistic Bible study). He was willing to attend our Christmas fellowship and he told me that in his entire life he had no idea that people had so much fun and laughing as our church people had that evening. He is pictured below in the stripped black and white shirt participating in a Bible verse game. It is a bit funny to see the amazement of the new believers in our church when they learned that he was formerly a monk. They had no idea that a monk could be interested in knowing God. It will be a powerful testimony of God’s mercy and grace when we see Sopheak saved. He is 30 years old and a university graduate. Please pray that the enemy will not have occasion to interfere as God is drawing Sopheak to Himself.
We have been working with Mr. Mat Meas over the past month or so. We had asked you to pray that he would accept Christ. We are happy to report to you that this past Saturday our soul-winners were able to lead him to the Lord ! He was in church Sunday morning with a smile on his face. Mr. Meas is actually from Vietnam and so he speaks Vietnamese as well as Khmer. His profession of faith is just the first step in what God desires for his life. Please pray that Mr. Meas will surrender his life to the Lord and grow the way that God desires for him to grow.
This past Sunday we also saw two Cham (Muslim) young adult men who have been attending services for the past six weeks make a profession of faith. Before they began attending our church they had exposure to the Gospel at another solid independent Baptist church in Phnom Penh where I am confident that one of the leaders, Wang, invested many hours of prayer and teaching into their lives. Thank God for Wang’s faithfulness and love for the Lord and the lost. The Apostle Paul wrote, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth anything, neither is he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase” 1 Corinthians 3:6-7. We all have a role to fulfill to see folks saved but we know that ultimately it is up to God to use our witnessing and His Word draw the lost to Himself. Please pray that Ly and Ya will be faithful to grow as a new believer.
We have known Mr. Sarouen for several years and have always strove to witness to him. Just recently it seems that his heart has become soft to the Gospel. He has attended the Sunday morning services for the past two weeks. We are still trying to set a specific time to meet with him during the week to clearly present the Gospel to him and answer his questions. We are just waiting for him to agree to set aside the time to meet. Pray that Sarouen will be saved very soon.
Channa and SreyRoeuth have been attending Sunday morning and evening services for the past three weeks. They are not yet saved and prior to coming to our church they claim to have never had exposure to the Gospel. Please pray that this young married couple will be saved very soon. They are expecting their first child in two months.
Thank you for praying for the Keo family to arrive safely. They arrived three days ago with no problems whatsoever. Mrs. Keo is expecting their fourth child in a few months. God has provided a house for them just a very short distance from our home. As they are able to get settled in and acclimated to ministry here in Cambodia we will be able to expand our outreach. Please pray for them to have a smooth transition. Below you will see them pictured on the right side. Their unsaved family members attended the Sunday morning service with them this past Sunday. Please pray, in particular, for Bro. Keo’s 19 year old niece named Kynya to be saved. The Keo’s are making it a point to focus on winning her to the Lord.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
December 19, 2010
We apologize for sending two updates in one week but right now we have such good news that we can’t help but to let you know. There is an ebb and flow in ministry and often we all tend to take for granted the good things that God is doing in our midst. Right now we seem to be having momentum which is encouraging.
Three days ago I heard from a young mane named Sopheak (29 years old). I met him a year ago while I was visiting a Buddhist temple. He was a monk at that temple and had been a monk for twelve years. During the conversation I had with him I asked him this question: Do you really believe in what you are doing as a monk? I challenged him to think about the religious things he was doing and really question whether it was truth or lies. Needless to say he was not very happy with me. I assumed that would be the end of our relationship. Believe it or not three months later he emailed me and told me that he had decided to cease being a monk and was going through the ceremony to remove him from the monastery. I had not heard from him for six months then three days ago he made contact we me and asked me if we could meet. We met and he told me that he desires to know about God. He did not show up to church today but he has promised to attend our Christmas fellowship this coming Wednesday evening. We hope to be able to win him to the Lord. He will be a tough one because he still very much claims to believe in Buddhism. Yet, at the same time, he is apparently not satisfied. Please pray that we will be able to win Sopheak to Christ very soon.
Please pray for a 23 year-old young man named Chan. He works for our internet company and I have had the opportunity to speak with him about the Lord on several occasions. Two days ago he came to our home to talk more about what it means to know God. Please pray that Chan will respond to the gospel and accept Christ soon.
KimHoun is 33 years old and lives a block from our home. I have had several opportunities to talk with him about surface issues but he has not seemed to be open to hearing about God. He seems to be consumed with the cares of this world. This past week he told me that he was turned down during a job interview because his English was not good enough. This was a job that he really wanted and so he is seriously disappointed. He asked me if I could help him sharpen his English skills. It looks like I will be able to have some influence in his life through a new ministry that we plan to start in January. We plan to begin English tutoring some of the members of our ministry one evening a week. We plan to start only with those who are already attending. However, we are going to invite KimHoun to join with us. Please pray that KimHoun will come to know the Lord through this new outreach ministry.
This morning we had five new adult visitors from one family. They returned to the evening service and brought one more adult man with them. They appear to be truly interested in the Lord. We are excited to follow-up on these new prospects but at the same time we sometimes feel overwhelmed trying to find ways to truly connect with them. The husband, Vity, is a nurse at a very large government hospital in town. His wife, Phareth, is a stay home mother. Mr. Phin and his wife, SreyRut, are expecting their first baby in three months. Please pray specifically that we will be able to help this entire group come to the assurance of their salvation. Miss Sok and Miss Eng will be focusing on the two twenty-year-old young ladies, Sopheap and Sophannaly.
We always have a time of sharing testimonies during the evening service which allow the people to share the good things that God is doing in their lives. Although the church is only five weeks old, the people are bold to share. Tonight, Sitha (early 30s) shared about what God is doing in her heart. She has been a public school teacher for years. Tonight she told the entire church that she has been recently convicted about the curriculum she is forced to teach to the students. (Last week during Bible institute I warned the parents about the danger of allowing our children to be taught the lie of Evolution.) She said that God has shown her that she is not honoring Him by teaching the children lies. Therefore she made the decision to quit her job! This is not something that she has ever discussed with Debbie or I. This is something that she says God required her to do. She told the church that God will take care of her needs and she has decided to be content with whatever God provides. Wow! Do each of us have the faith to do whatever it is that He is asking us to do? Please pray that Sitha will not regret following her new-found convictions and that she will see God provide for her needs in a miraculous way!
Please pray for our Christmas fellowship this coming Wednesday evening. We have invited several adults who are not yet saved.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
P.S. I wonder if he volunteered to sit in the back?
December 14, 2010
This weekend we had four first time visitors. Three of them are from a very rough part of town that we have been visiting on Saturdays. Please pray for SreyNik in particular to return. She claims to have been saved at another ministry however she is making some very foolish decisions in her life. Unfortunately she lives in a neighborhood that has been saturated by “churches” and organizations who give away money for going to church. Pray that she will be drawn back to our church and that we will have the opportunity to really help her. Miss Sok and Miss Eng are focusing on reaching her.
Mrs. Rep Ut (in the center) visited for the first time on Sunday morning. We are not sure that she is saved but she seems to have a hunger for truth. She told me that the was so excited to be at church. Pray that she will return and that we will have the opportunity to lead her to the assurance of her salvation very soon.
My language classes with a high ranking government official seem to be going good. I meet with him three days a week from 11:00-11:45 a.m. Of course my objective in agreeing to teach him English is to seek to present the Gospel to him. He is part of a segment of society here that is virtually untouchable through traditional methods of evangelism. Yesterday he was not able to come to study because the Deputy Prime Minister called to meet with him. Today he was telling me about his responsibilities to help organize events in commemoration of an upcoming national holiday on January 7th. This is the day that Cambodia celebrates being liberated from the Khmer Rouge by the Vietnamese. I saw this as an opportunity to draw the attention to eternal things. I told him that the Vietnamese were the savior of the Cambodia people. Likewise, December 25th is a special time when we celebrate the Saviour coming from Heaven to save those who would accept Him. We spent the majority of the class period dealing with why someone would need a Saviour. This man is a very proud, arrogant, and self-sufficient man who denies that he has even sinned once. Humanly speaking I am certain that he has done many commendable things for this country but of course those things can not save him. Please pray that I will discern the doors God is opening and that our conversations will allow the Holy Spirit to bring about conviction in this man’s hard heart and that he will not resist salvation.
I just returned from meeting with my sending Pastor and some of our missionaries in a neighboring communist country. It looks like that God is opening the door for our TEAM to open an English school in this particular country. The school will allow the missionaries to have a “cover” to remain in the country as well as provide access to potentially hundreds of young people each month. I do not have space here to detail all the doors that seem to be opening but please help to pray that God will give clear direction. As more Asian Americans are reached with the Gospel through our home church and the new church plants in the States we believe we will continue to see many called by God back to southeast Asia and we will have many opportunities to gain access to “closed” countries. Here is a picture of a Christmas tree being decorated in this communist country. Above the tree was a sign (which you can not see) that says, “Merry Christmas.” That is quite a contrast to the “Happy Holidays” that one is likely to see in America.
Please pray for the Touch Keo family who will, Lord willing, complete deputation and be arriving here to Phnom Penh on December 31st. We look forward to having them here with us. I know that God will use them in mighty ways to win many Khmer to Him. Once they arrive and get settled in we are planning to begin a children’s ministry as well as an English language outreach ministry targeting young adults. We have several more missionary families who are still on deputation. As they begin arriving over the months ahead we anticipate being able to plant multiple works simultaneously.
Two weeks ago we had a medical situation arise in our family that cost us $2,000. God used one of you to provide for that need in full. That was a great blessing to us. We are grateful for the role that God has called each of you to play in helping to reach southeast Asians with the Gospel. We could not be doing what God has called us to do without your prayers and support.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
P.S. This picture might explain why our internet access is somewhat sporadic!
November 27, 2010
We wanted to give you a quick update in regard to the starting of the new church in Phnom Penh. Tomorrow will be our third Sunday. We feel like things have been progressing at a good pace. We are beginning with Sunday morning and Sunday evening services as well as a Wednesday evening service. We have also begun a Saturday morning soul-winning/ visitation program. Additionally, we teach a new believers class every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evening at 6:00 and again at 7:00. Normally we are done by 9:30. We will continue these classes as long as it is necessary.
Many of you have likely heard about the tragedy that happened here in Phnom Penh this past week where several hundred young Cambodians were killed in a stampede. This has shaken the whole country and driven many of them to offer regular sacrifices in order to “scare off the ghosts” that they believe are haunting the city. None of our people were hurt although one of our young men was near the bridge when the stampede happened and he saw many people being pushed into the river and drowned. Today while out visiting met a man whose responsibility it was to transport 80 of the corpses back to their village for the funerals. He is so traumatized that he has not eaten food for several days. This tragedy has made it even more difficult for our new believers to stand for Christ as there is a lot of pressure put on them to participate in offering sacrifices to the spirits to avoid bringing another catastrophe. Please pray for the new believers as they try to live lives that are honoring to Christ. Here is a picture of 300 monks that gathered at the scene to perform various rituals that are believed to ward off the spirits.
We are excited to tell you that Sinath accepted Christ two weeks ago. He immediately went home and began to destroy his Buddhist altars and other icons that he used to protect his home from demons. Pray that he will continue to be sensitive to the Lord. He is one of the men I am teaching every evening. Pray for his wife, Sophiep, who is still not saved. Included in this photo is Oudom (14 years old) who accepted Christ this past week. Please pray that his family will not prevent him from participating in the various events of the church.
During the Wednesday evening service this week Vandy shared with the congregation that she had just destroyed her Buddhist altars because she wants to be faithful to God. Her unsaved family members are not happy with her and likely think she is being brain-washed at the church. Please pray that she will have courage to continue to take a stand for the Lord in her own family. Navy is not yet saved but is attending services seeking to learn more about what Christians believe. Pray that she will be saved soon.
Please pray for our next door neighbor, Sokha. She is not saved yet but has expressed interest in knowing more about salvation. Please pray that Sokha will be saved very soon. Her daughter, SokLynn, claims to be saved and has attended some other type of church in the past. Please pray that she will continue to come and that she will come to understand why we don’t do some of the things that other “churches” do such as speak in tongues, roll around the aisles, dance with rock music during the services, etc… She is pretty confused right now to say the least.
We were amazed this past Sunday to have 12 Muslims show up to the church. (There are approximately 600,000 Muslims in Cambodia and we are told that there are less than 50 who have converted to Christianity.) They traveled two hours from their village just to find out what we are teaching here. LyJah’s 21 year old son lives here in Phnom Penh and has been studying with us. Recently he began witnessing to her and the family. LyJah’s husband just passed away a month ago. He was supposedly a very powerful Muslim witchdoctor and has followers all over Cambodia who would travel for hours to have him perform various rituals on them or to cast spells. The whole family is scared because he is supposedly coming back and haunting them and threatening them not to follow the “foreign” religion of Christianity. The son realizes that the spirit is not his father but rather a demon. After the morning service was over we held a special two hour meeting just for them where I taught from Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazarus. I stressed the fact their deceased loved one is definitely interested in seeing his family come to know God. In fact, that is the thing he wants most. We will need wisdom to know how to best deal with this group. They appear to be open to listening to the Gospel. It is obviously not practical for them to continue to travel two hours to Phnom Penh to come to church so we will plan to go to them. For security reasons we can not hold Bible studies in their village as it is controlled by Islam. Therefore we have secured a meeting place about 10 minutes outside of their village where we will be able to hold services. Please pray that they will remain open to the Gospel and that we will have clear direction from the Lord in regard to this outreach.
Today I met Mat Meas (53 years old) while we were out soul-winning. He is from Vietnam originally but he speaks Khmer as well. He has agreed to allow me to go to his home beginning this Monday to begin an evangelistic Bible study. Please pray that he will open his heart to receive the teaching and that he will soon accept Christ.
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason