June 18, 2017
Greetings from hot and humid Cambodia! We had an awesome weekend here at Pacific Baptist Church Cambodia.
Our update this week is a video that we shot this morning just after the morning service where we were blessed to hear a lot of special music, witness the baptism of 17 new believers, hear 3 challenging testimonies from folks who were saved within the past several months, see 6 couples dedicate their newborn baby to the Lord, and hear a convicting message from the Word of God! It was a packed service but it was a wonderful time together with God’s people. After the service we enjoyed a time of fellowship as we ate lunch together.
You can view the video by clicking on it.
Thank you for your prayers and support for the work here in Southeast Asia. God is doing some amazing things for His glory.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
May 23, 2017
We had a great weekend here in Cambodia despite being drenched with rain. So many of the folks have to make great effort to get to church in the type of weather we are having this time of the year.
It was a blessing to be able to present SokDen with a new Bible during the Sunday morning service after he completed a Bible study on the Book of Mark and answered about 100 questions. As you may recall, we had the opportunity to lead SokDen to the Lord about a month ago. His work schedule makes it so that at this point he is only able to be at church on Sunday morning but we are hoping that his hours will change in the future. He works in a local restaurant as a cook. Our Saturday morning soul-winning group met him while going door-to-door with gospel tracts and after being rejected by hundreds of other people in his neighborhood. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT SOKDEN WILL BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD AND THAT HIS WORK HOURS WILL CHANGE SO THAT HE WILL BE ABLE TO BE MORE INVOLVED IN THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH.
You can hear one of our special songs from the Sunday morning service by clicking on the video below.
This past week we had the opportunity to hold our first family camp. There were 175 of our folks who were able to get time off of work and attend. We we able to find the perfect location in Kep which is located a little over 3 hours from our church.
Our family camp lasted for four days and was filled with many teaching and preaching sessions, times of competition, great food, and a couple of field trips to visit local attractions. We have heard many testimonies over the past few days of how much the camp has meant in the lives of our church family.
There were just over 50 folks in our married couples split session. I taught on the topic of “The freedom of forgiveness and the bondage of bitterness.” Many of our folks have expressed that the Holy Spirit dealt with their hearts as a result of the lessons.
Bro. Has taught the teens and singles during the split sessions. He taught on the importance of having a heart that is right with God. Thankfully our young people are flexible and were willing to meet outside on mats.
The food was awesome and we all likely ate more than we should have. For many of our people this was the biggest trip that they have ever been on in their entire life. I know that there were memories made that will last for a lifetime.
Leng is a real blessing to all of us! She is over 70 years old but at times she is the life of the party. She loves the Lord and regularly shares her faith with family, friends, and strangers alike. Sunday night it was raining very hard yet she rode her bike to church as she always does. She told me that she had to ride through flood water that was nearly up to her knees. She is a great testimony of the joy of the Lord. It was a blessing to be able to spend some time with her at family camp.
In our last update we asked you to pray for SokCheat to be reconciled to his estranged wife, SreyLeak. I am happy to be able to tell you that God has answered your prayers. SokCheat convinced his wife to attend family camp and she did. Not only did she attend camp but she also trusted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour after one of the services! They have been separated for 9 months but are now back together and rejoicing at what God has done in their lives. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THESE TWO NEW BELIEVERS TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD. They both plan to follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism in a few weeks.
In our last update I asked you to pray for Chhay and the various contacts that he and others are making in the city of Oudong. I am happy to report to you that Chhay was able to lead Leng to the Lord this past Sunday afternoon! Chhay has been witnessing to him for quite awhile and has been very patient in allowing the Holy Spirit to work in Leng’s heart, convincing him of his need to be saved. PRAY FOR CHHAY AS HE NOW HAS THE RESPONSIBILITY TO DISCIPLE LENG IN THE WAY OF THE LORD. We look forward to seeing many more folks come to Christ in Oudong in the future. Chhay and his wife are planning to move from their present residence to another location in the near future. Part of the reason they are moving is to be able to more effectively reach out to the lost in Oudong. PRAY THAT GOD WILL OPEN JUST THE RIGHT DOORS TO ENABLE THEM TO MAKE MANY MORE CONTACTS.
In our last update we introduced you to a family that has traveled on several occasions from Preah Vithear Province to meet with us. Their village is located about 220 kilometers from Phnom Penh and it takes them many hours just to get here. This is their fourth time to come and see us. They come for one reason – they are hungry to learn the Word of God.
This weekend they came to see us once again but this time they brought another family to meet us as well. This family lives about 4 miles from their village. They profess to be saved for nearly 10 years but they readily told me that no one has discipled them and they are baby Christians. They expressed their desire to have someone help them grow in the Lord. SokKim is a member of an ethnic minority group here in Southeast Asia known as Kuy. They have their own language and culture that is separate and distinct from Khmer. Her husband, Brat Sok, is Cambodian but also speaks the Kuy language. Myself, Bro. Keo, Bro. Vannak, and a couple of our Bible College young men are planning to take a survey trip to their villages in about a week. PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL GIVE US CLEAR DIRECTION IN REGARD TO HIS WILL. It may be that He is opening a great door to be able to reach into the Kuy people group with the gospel. This weekend they also brought with them their niece from Vietnam. Her name is Nyong (ញុង) and she is open to the gospel.
The key to reaching any country with the gospel is in effectively discipling national believers. We have so many open doors but are in desperate need of more leaders. So many of the folks are actively serving right now but we need to increase the number of laborers who are able to go into the harvest field. We were previously told that there are 8,500 villages here in Cambodia without any gospel preaching church. However, this past week I read a report from a large ministry that reported there are actually 11,000 villages in need of a church. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT OUR TEAM WILL BE FAITHFUL TO DISCIPLE NATIONAL MEN AND WOMEN TO REACH THEIR OWN PEOPLE.
Sunday evening our married couples had a great time playing Charades during our small group time. You can see a short clip of one of the new couples competing against each other. The men won once again!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
April 30, 2017
We just came off of the extended Buddhist holiday season here in Cambodia. It is a legally recognized holiday that is only supposed to last about 3 days but like every other year it seemed to drag out longer than that. Of course the believers in our ministries don’t partake in the majority of the cultural aspects of the holiday that are associated with the occult but the holiday does affect the ministry here because if interrupts momentum. It is always a challenge to get folks to return back from their home villages and get back on track with our regular church schedule. I feel like we are just not getting everyone back on track.
The Cambodian New Year corresponded this year with Resurrection Day. Thankfully as God’s children we don’t need to depend upon the “blessing” of deceased relatives because we serve a risen and living Saviour Who hears and responds to our prayers. You can click on the video below to hear some of the folks singing the hymn “He Arose.” They definitely sing from their heart and just listening to them reminds us that the gospel has made an eternal difference in their lives! Thank you for doing your part to help support the work here in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
SreyGa was saved several weeks ago and has been faithful to the church services from that day on. This morning I was able to present her with a new Bible after she completed our 100 question booklet about the gospel of Mark. She was so motivated to earn her new Bible that she worked all night and was able to complete the booklet in just one day. It normally takes folks a couple of weeks to complete all the questions.
We were blessed to have baby Joanna in church this morning for the first time since being born. Her parents, Taiwan and Sokeng, are a great example of the power of the gospel. Before being saved they both hated Christianity but are now both bold witnesses of His mercy and grace. We sure love this family of six and count it a privilege to serve along side of them to help reach this Country with the gospel. PRAY FOR JOANNA’S HEALTH. She just spent more than a week in the hospital and is presently on some medication to treat the effects of having ingested the wrong medicine just after being born.
Three of the young ladies in the Phnom Penh church recently sang a new song. Mrs. Has and Susanna worked with them for several weeks to help them learn this song. You can hear the song by clicking on the video below.
This morning we enjoyed hearing some of our ladies sing a new song they learned. You can hear the song by clicking on the video below.
It is always a blessing to see the folks enjoying fellowship together after the Sunday evening service. They come from different economic and social backgrounds but they are made one through their faith in Jesus Christ. Thank God that there is a church where they can fellowship together!
Our Phnom Penh church had a special service last year where we honored mothers. We encouraged many of our teen young people to invite their unsaved mothers to participate in the service. SreyLeak’s mother, Ya, did attend and we were all happy to see her. At that time she was not open to the gospel but she didn’t try to prevent her daughter from being a faithful Christian. Over the past year her mother has been watching her example but she was always burdened down by the trouble her teenage son, Pov, caused her.
Pov was quickly headed down a road that would end in prison or death. One day a few months ago some of our national leaders began reaching out to him and he responded by accepting the gift of salvation. At salvation his heart was radically changed and he began getting involved in church activities rather than running the streets causing trouble. His mother obviously noticed the changes in his life and God began to use his example to show her that she needed a Saviour as well. Three weeks ago Ya called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved! It is such a blessing to see her in our Sunday evening services and to see the joy on her face that has come since being saved. Last week she shared with me that her co-workers have begun to persecute her, insinuating that she should find another place to work because at her job “there is no room for Christians.” Last Sunday evening after our Married Couples class I asked her how she felt when they told her she needed to find another job and she told me, “I cussed them out!” 🙂 I was trying really hard not to laugh but as I looked at her face I just couldn’t help it – after gaining my composure I reminded her that she is supposed to be a light that shines in the darkness and that God would not want her to cuss them out. She told me, “I know, Pastor. After I cussed them I felt bad and knew that I was not a good example.” She has such a tender heart and I know that she is going to become a great testimony at her job, assuming that she is not forced out. PLEASE PRAY FOR YA TO GROW IN THE LORD.
My Saturday soul-winning team recently spent around 3 months handing out tracts in a certain neighborhood in Phnom Penh located about 15 minutes from our church. Though we went door-to-door and handed out several thousand tracts, we didn’t have anyone who expressed interest in speaking with us. In fact, many people tried to avoid us. About three weeks ago a young man, SokDen, who lives in that neighborhood began to express interest in knowing more about the gospel and Bro. Sinath and myself began meeting with him and sharing the gospel with him as well as answering the many questions that he had. Over the past three weeks we have invested around 14 hours teaching him. Many of you have been praying for him as you read about him on our Facebook or Instagram posts.
I am so pleased to be able to tell you that SokDen trusted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour yesterday morning in my office! I really believe that he is going to grow by leaps and bounds as he is discipled and as he gets plugged into the life of our church family. SokDen is 26 years old and works as a chef. During the recent Cambodian New Year festival he brought an mp3 player loaded with preaching to his home village which is located 4 hours from Phnom Penh. He had his family listen to some of the preaching.
His mother, who is a devout Buddhist (កាន់សិល៥), has dedicated herself to the precepts of Buddhism hoping to one day be reincarnated and have a better life. The five basic precepts of Buddhism are 1) Not cause harm to any animal. (“Animal” means animal the way we would view animals as well as human beings.) 2) Not to steal 3) Not to lie 4) To be chaste (For her “Chaste” includes refraining from all intimate relations in her marriage) 5) To be temperate.
SokDen told me that she is working hard to be a faithful Buddhist but that she has no joy in her life whatsoever. As Christians we know that peace in the soul does not come from trying hard to adhere to the rules imposed upon us by religion. Peace of heart is the result of having our sins forgiven and being reconciled to God. Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus… According to SokDen, his mother was very interested to listen to the preaching and would have listened to more of it had her adult daughter not turned it off and told her that she should not listen to that type of teaching. PRAY FOR AN OPEN DOOR FOR SOKDEN TO INFLUENCE HIS LOST FAMILY FOR THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
It is the power of the gospel that is changing lives! Our English ensemble sang a great song this morning reminding us of the importance of preaching the cross and the blood of Christ. You can listen to the song by clicking on the video below.
It was a real blessing to preach in our PsaTricht church this past week. It is simply amazing to see so many lives there that have been changed by the power of the gospel. All of these ladies have been saved out of the spiritual bondage of Buddhism and Islam. Several of them have paid, and are presently paying, a great price for their decision to live for the Lord. Your hearts would break if I were to tell you of the situations these folks face because they refuse to betray the Word of God. One of them was recently beaten severely by a member of her family because of her dedication to the Lord and her desire to honor Him with her life. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR BELIEVERS IN CAMBODIA WHO ARE PERSECUTED FOR THEIR FAITH.
SokCheat was recently saved and is taking a very strong stand for the Lord. He comes from a very rough background that includes drugs and crime. He is well known by law enforcement and villagers alike. His sister and mother are saved and faithful to the Lord and his brother-in-law is a student in our Bible College. It has been a blessing to see the immediate change that has taken place in his life since he has been saved. PLEASE PRAY FOR SOKCHEAT TO CONTINUE TO GROW IN THE LORD. Also, PRAY FOR HIM TO BE RECONCILED TO HIS ESTRANGED WIFE. He is working hard to win her heart. Sadly, because of his past life she is not real interested in returning to him. However, I believe that as she can see how his life has changed, over time she will be saved and they will be back together.
Thank you for praying for our students who are studying in the Bible College. We just began our third term of study. We are gearing up for this group to take a missions trip in a few weeks to a “Creative Access” Country where we will visit two different ministries in two different cities at opposite ends of the Country. The students will spend nearly 45 hours traveling in a bus to get from Phnom Penh to the various places we need to go. The goal of the trip is to expose them to other places here in Asia that are in need of the gospel. Without a doubt there are thousands of villages here in Cambodia that do not have a solid gospel-preaching church but there are also other countries nearby that have great needs as well. PRAY THAT THIS TRIP WILL BE USED BY THE LORD TO HELP AWAKEN THE HEARTS OF THE STUDENTS TO THE NEED FOR MORE LABORERS IN THE HARVEST FIELD.
For many months myself and a few of our folks were working to build relationships and witness in Elephant Den village located about 40 minutes from our Phnom Penh church. This past year when one of the new believers passed away just a few months after being saved, the whole village became very cold to us and to the gospel. Even though the man who died was nearly 90 years old, they blamed his faith in Jesus Christ and his refusal to offer sacrifices to the territorial spirits as the cause of his death. Almost overnight all of the children who were coming to the ministry stopped and our adult contacts wanted nothing to do with us whatsoever. Elephant Den village and the villages surrounding it are very dark places where the devil seems to have complete control over their hearts and minds. Many of the families in Elephant Den village support themselves by carving idols from wood and chiseling them from stone. There is an actual altar in the center of the village that is used to offer sacrifices to the devil.
As we think of Elephant Den and so many other places here in this part of the the world we are reminded of the Word of God that tells us “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves: if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26) “And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” (Hebrews 2:15)
The only believer in the entire village is Bro. Sakhan. This past week I went to visit with him and found him quite discouraged and isolated from everyone. His adult children have taken away his phone and basically confined him to this room 24 hours a day. They are very unhappy that he is not following the same traditions as the other villagers and that he refuses to turn his back on Jesus Christ.
While I was there I was able to purchase some snacks that he enjoys but was only able to visit with him from outside the window. I hope to return soon and bring him a new mp3 player loaded with preaching and music to help lift his spirits. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAKHAN’S SITUATION TO SOMEHOW CHANGE AND FOR US TO BE ABLE TO COME UP WITH PLAN TO ONCE AGAIN HAVE CLOSE CONTACT WITH HIM.
This is the entrance to a Muslim village located about 29 miles from our church in Phnom Penh. Eleven years ago when God first brought us to this village there was not one believer there. Now there are many folks in this village ranging from the age of young children to nearly 80 years old who are saved and faithfully living for the Lord. To our knowledge this is the only Muslim village in the entire country with this type of a Christian presence. What God has caused to happen in this village is nothing short of a miracle and we know that the devil is not happy.
This village is only one of more than 14,000 villages in Cambodia. According to the statistics that we have been given there are more than 8,500 villages in this country without any gospel witness whatsoever. It is also evident that even among the villages that have a “church,” in many cases the leaders in that church are not even close to qualified to shepherd the flock IF they are even saved in the first place. In many cases these churches teach baptismal regeneration and other works-based salvation if they even bother to discuss the topic of salvation with their members. I can’t begin to tell you how many times we have met people here who have attended “church” for years but have never heard that they need to be saved or that have been taught that salvation is earned by following the Ten Commandments.
Meng Oeun was reached by Bro. Man and the workers at our Stung MeanChey outreach. Our soul-winners have been going to her neighborhood for nearly two years now and around 9 months ago we rented a building and have begun holding public services several times a week right near her house. Over the past 9 months several cults/religious groups led by Korean and Indian missionaries have moved into the neighborhood as well. Meng Oeun told the church this afternoon that every one of her neighbors have begun going to these churches because of all of the things they give away. I know that you will find it difficult to believe, but these groups literally use money to bribe people to go to their “churches.” A new group that was just started by Indian missionaries is paying adults $15 per week to attend their church. Needless to say, they are causing a lot of damage to the cause of Christ and we count them as enemies of the gospel. They are just one of several false churches in the neighborhood who are preying upon our folks. Not only do we not bribe people to come to church – furthermore, we teach them that God desires for them to honor Him with their time, talent, treasure, and influence. Meng Oeun is really troubled to see people she has been witnessing to for the past several months suddenly lose interest in the gospel and turn to these groups. Like it happens so many times here in this country, these groups will eventually either run out of money or accomplish their purpose (whatever it is) and either close down altogether or move on to another neighborhood and start their racket all over again. They move on, yet the damage remains…Like Stung MeanChey there are so many other villages that are in need of a true gospel-preaching church. We are presently looking at three new locations as possible church-plants where we have some converts but are not yet holding public services.
The PsaTricht church has been going soul-winning in Oudong City for several weeks now. Oudong is located just a few minutes from the church in PsaTricht and is a fairly good-sized city.
I was blessed to be able to help lead Chhay to the Lord about 10 years ago. Since then he has become a married man and now has three children. It is my privilege to disciple him on Saturday afternoons. His family is faithfully involved in the outreach in PsaTricht as well as other villages throughout the week. Bro. Chhay and his family live and work in Oudong and he has a real burden to see something started there in the near future. Chhay is an English teacher with a couple of hundred students and has been on purpose reaching out to his students in recent months. There are two young men, Heng and Leng, who seem to be opening up to the gospel. PRAY FOR CHHAY TO HAVE WISDOM AS WE AND OTHERS STRIVE TO BE A LIGHT IN THE CITY OF OUDONG.
Oudong City does not seem to have a gospel-preaching church but it does have lots of religion. Here is a short video clip of the only hope that this village presently has.
Three years ago we had an open door in Prak Pnou and were going there every Sunday afternoon as well as Tuesday mornings to teach prospects. Over time several folks made a profession of faith. However, through a series of unfortunate events that door closed. Bro. Bounna and Bro. Vong have continued to keep some contact with a few of the folks who were saved. We are considering returning to Prak Pnou and would love to be able to see a real work established in that city should the Lord permit.
Sinath is one of the adults who lives in Prak Pnou and who accepted Christ. I know that she would be thrilled if the door was open for our team to begin a work in her city. PLEASE HELP PRAY THAT WE WILL DISCERN GOD’S WILL AND TIMING IN REGARD TO ONCE AGAIN TARGETING PRAK PNOU. This particular city has many Vietnamese families, some of whom would be more effectively reached with the gospel in the Vietnamese language if God would send us a team member who is burdened for the Vietnamese people and who, hopefully, speaks Vietnamese.
Phnom Den village is located nearly 7 hours from our church in Phnom Penh. Over the past 3 months a family from that village has been in contact with us and indicated that they are hungry to know the truth of the Word of God.
VanThy and his wife, Channy, have traveled to meet us in Phnom Penh on three separate occasions now. They were put into contact with us by a Cambodian-American friend of ours who, while visiting Cambodia, happened to go to their village. While there, she was witnessing to some of her relatives and Channy happened to overhear what she was saying. Channy told our friend that she and her husband have been Christians for nearly 3 years but that the things she was teaching regarding the gospel and the Word of God were things that they had never heard. She then asked our friend where they could learn the Word of God and our friend put her in touch with us.
It was almost unbelievable to hear Channy share about her experiences in the one-and-only “church” that is anywhere near her village. It is located almost 7 miles away in another village. During rainy season it is impossible to get to that village but during the rest of the year they do their very best to go to church. She shared with me what they do at church…brace yourself…The “pastor” stands up in front of the congregation, opens his Bible and reads one verse. He then closes the Bible and tells the people that if he were to preach it would be really boring and he knows that no one wants to be bored. He then pumps music through the sound system and the entire church spends the rest of the hour dancing “unto the Lord.”
Channy and her husband (she seems to be the real go-getter in the family) have led several adults in their village to the Lord but they are too ashamed of their church to invite them to go there. I can’t imagine why… Last month, on their second trip to see us in Phnom Penh, we gave them an mp3 player loaded with preaching and encouraged them to listen to it everyday. Not only have they been listening to the preaching but they also began sharing it with the other families in their village. Several other families loved it so much that Channy purchased mp3 players and memory cards and began copying the files and sharing them with these families. It is my understanding that another family is planning to make the journey to Phnom Penh in the near future to meet us as well.
We don’t know exactly what God would have us to do in regard to this village. I don’t believe that we have met them by accident but I also can’t say that I know for certain that Phnom Den is a door that God is opening for us. We plan to take a short survey trip there within the next month and hope to bring a couple of our college young men with us. It is my understanding that there are many families from the ethnic minority group known as the Kuy who live in this village and who are friends with VanThy. According to Joshuaproject.net only .53% of the Kuy people profess to be evangelical Christians. (https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/19055/CB) PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD’S WILL MIGHT BE MADE EVIDENT REGARDING WHAT ROLE OUR TEAM AND CHURCH FAMILY OUGHT TO HAVE IN HELPING TO REACH THIS DISTANT VILLAGE.
Our Sunday evening small groups continue to prove effective in the discipling of new believers here in Phnom Penh. The targeted teaching, the fellowship, and the accountability is helping our teens, single adults, and married couples become equipped to live for the Lord in this dark world. In our married couples class I am presently teaching on child-rearing which is a very needed topic seeing that our group can’t seem to stop having babies… 🙂 Each week in our Married Couples class we have a short time of competition between the men and the women. This evening we began a 4-week competition and the winners will all go eat together in June. The women tried hard – but still lost 41 to 39!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
March 21, 2017
Thank you for praying for our family, for the TEAM, and for the ministry here in Cambodia. It has been awhile since we wrote an update and so this one is likely to be a bit longer than usual. 🙂
We had great services this past weekend! It continues to amaze me how God works, and to Him be all the glory. It’s a blessing to remember that it is the grace of God that is at work in the lives of new believers and not something that is dependent upon our own efforts, wisdom, or strategic planning! We are seeing men and women move from darkness to Light, and as a ministry we are all blessed to be a small part of God’s larger plan. Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Three weeks ago I started a new Sunday morning series on “The Church that Glorifies Christ.” The first Sunday we were reminded that our church must be built upon the Solid Rock of the Word of God and not on the silly shallow fads of this world. Two weeks ago I focused on the importance of the church family maintaining close fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This is impossible to do if we love the world and the things the world has to offer. This past Sunday we considered the truth that a church that glorifies the Lord is a church that enjoys close fellowship and mutual edification. We considered Galatians 6:1-9.
It’s amazing how God’s timing is always perfect. He knew which week I would be preaching which message and perfectly orchestrated the truth of His Word to meet the immediate need of our congregation. In Galatians 6:1 we read, Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in a spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. It so happened that we had to deal with a matter of public church discipline on Sunday morning after my message. It provided a great opportunity for the church family to put into practice the truth they had just been taught as we all, together, seek to help spiritually restore the individual who was brought before the church for discipline. Thankfully she is repentant and desirous to return to close fellowship with the Lord and with her church family.
Our English ensemble did a great job singing the song “Each One Can Reach One.” This song challenges us all to do what we can to reach those around us with the gospel. You can hear them sing by clicking on the video above.
Noi was reached with the gospel through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry several years ago. He is now a 20 year old man who faithfully serves the Lord alongside his younger sister, SreyNak. A few weeks ago we began having Noi lead the song service during our Sunday morning service. We are training him to become an effective song leader. It’s always exciting to see young people grow in their desire and ability to serve the Lord. Pray for Noi and SreyNak to continue to be faithful to the Lord.
Jason has been given several opportunities recently to preach in the Cambodian language. We are thankful to have three sons who all desire to live for the Lord and serve Him with the talents they have been given!
Please continue to pray for the teen girls here in Phnom Penh. They all have very busy schedules with school and other activities in which they are required to participate. Yet, all of these girls are faithful in not just attending all of our church services but they also serve in various aspects of the ministry. As I am writing this update, one of these young ladies is upstairs in the church auditorium all by herself, cleaning the restroom. She cleans it every week and most of the time no one is around to see her do it. She does it because she loves the Lord and loves her church. Several of these girls help teach in the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry every Sunday. A couple of them travel two hours one-way every Sunday after our morning service to help serve in one of our village ministries. They return to Phnom Penh Sunday evening just in time for our evening service. Of course, each of these young ladies takes their turn serving in the church nursery!
The Lord is really using our Sunday evening small groups to help disciple our church members. It’s always a blessing to hear folks share testimonies of how the singles class is helping them to stand for the Lord. Every week we hear married couples share how they are grateful for a class that helps to equip them to lead their families for the Lord. We are privileged to have a part in their lives.
Sovann and Sina both came to Christ this past year. Their son, Veasna, was reached through our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry several years ago. Today he is a student in our Bible College preparing to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He chooses. Sovann is working hard to save money to be a part of our church’s Family Camp in May. The other day Veasna told me that he has seen major changes in his family since his parents have been growing and putting into practice the things they have been learning in our Married Couple’s class. For the first time in his life Veasna is seeing his parents pray together and express their love for one another. Please pray that Sovann and Sina will continue to allow the Lord to make the changes that need to be made in order that their lives might bring glory to the Lord.
Phan and his family were won to Christ by the folks in our PsaTricht village church over a year ago. A few years ago Phan went blind due to complications with diabetes that went unchecked for too long. Phan loves the Lord and everyone around him knows it! It is a blessing to see that he often takes part in our church-wide soul-winning each week in PsaTricht village. Even though he is blind he understands that God desires for the gospel to go to every person in his village and the surrounding villages. Please pray for Phan and his wife to continue to be faithful to the Lord and let their light shine in Jumga Village.
Bro. Ra and some of our men in PsaTricht began going soul-winning in a new village. They met Soun and have been faithfully witnessing to him for several months. A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to go with them to Soun’s village as they made a follow-up visit. The Lord opened the door for me to be able to witness to him for quite awhile that morning as well as answer some of his questions. It was a blessing to see him submit to the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart and accept the free gift of salvation! Thank God for the faithful men who have planted and watered the seed of the gospel week after week. Please pray for Soun to be a strong testimony in his village and especially to his own wife.
Ra asked Soun two questions before we left his house that morning:
1) How many years have you lived here in this village? and,
2) How many times has someone come to your house and told you of the gospel?
Imagine that! Thank you for helping to make it possible for the gospel to get to places like Wat Village and thank you for praying for our team as we strive to preach in many places that presently do not have access to the simple plan of salvation.
Bro. Shainghi was led to Christ by Bro. Vannak about a month ago. It has been a blessing to see him in church as well as attend our Married Couple’s Small Group. Soul-winning in Cambodia is normally a long-term project that requires a lot of follow-up and return visits in order to clearly explain the gospel to the lost. The problem is not that the gospel is complicated – The problem is that the heart of lost man is hard and often rejects the Good News. I am certain that Vannak and others have been to see Shainghi on multiple occasions in order to see him saved. Please pray that Shainghi will allow the Word of God to change him and that he will now grow to become the man of God that God desires him to be. Likewise, please pray for his wife to be saved.
Bro. San and others have been witnessing to Cheat but he has always rejected the gospel, and in fact took part in persecuting the believers in his village. Several weeks ago some events happened in his life that caused his heart to be opened to the gospel. San was able to lead him to the Lord. He immediately had the desire to go and win his friends to Christ. He has become San’s new soul-winning partner. His unsaved friends and family have begun to sharply criticize him for leaving Islam. Please pray that Cheat will be faithful to the Lord and faithful to church as he grows in his new faith.
Zen is a student in our Bible College and is a wonderful young man. He recently began going soul-winning in a new village and met Chhay. After meeting with him several times and witnessing to him, Chhay accepted the free gift of salvation. It’s a blessing to see our national men putting into practice 2 Timothy 2:2 as they not only grow in the Lord themselves but they faithfully disciple other men who can teach others also. Pray for Zen as he and others help to disciple Chhay in the Word of God.
The Lord continues to bless in our Stung MeanChey outreach. Each week there are new visitors in the services and things are exciting. Stung MeanChey offers some unique challenges when it comes to presenting the true gospel, but Bro. Man and Kanha, as well as Bro. Kosal and his wife, Phalley, are being used by God to make a difference in the lives of many people! Please pray for Kanha as she is expecting their first baby very soon. She has a high risk pregnancy and so she is supposed to be staying in bed and resting for her last 5-6 weeks of pregnancy. This is not an easy thing for her to do but she is trying her best.
Please continue to pray for Socheat and his wife, Noun, as they grow in the Lord. They were both reached with the gospel through the outreach in Stung MeanChey. Though Socheat works long hours he is still faithful to all the church services in Stung MeanChey as well as our Phnom Penh Married Couple’s small group. Because of Noun’s work schedule she is not able to attend church as much as she desires. I fully expect this young couple to become core leadership in Stung MeanChey as they walk with the Lord and grow in grace. It’s always exciting to see young couples reached with the gospel before they have lived long enough to really mess up their lives…
Touch is also a part of our Stung MeanChey outreach. She was saved at another church in her village some time ago but since moving to Stung MeanChey had not been a part of any church. When our workers were going door-to-door they met her and invited her to attend the services and she has been faithful ever since. Her teen daughter attends with her as well. It was a blessing to see Touch follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism a couple of weeks ago. Please pray for Touch and her daughter as they grow in the Lord.
I met Vannak a few weeks ago as Debbie and I were out going soul-winning one Saturday morning. I was able to spend quite awhile witnessing to him and he seems to be opening up to the Lord. Please pray that he will allow the Holy Spirit to work in his heart and show him his need for a personal Saviour. He is willing to believe that Jesus is God but is having a difficult time believing that God does not require the lost man to earn his salvation through doing merit. I hope to be able to see him again this week.
Please continue to pray for Sok to be saved. We led his wife, Navy, to the Lord several months ago. He works Sunday mornings but has been attending our Married Couple’s Small Group on Sunday evenings and has heard the gospel many times. This last Sunday he actually approached Bro. Sinath with some questions about the gospel. He is originally from Vietnam. Much of his family still lives in Vietnam and are Catholics. Catholicism often synchronizes with pagan religion and whatever superstitions are prominent in the culture. He has been exposed to a brand of Catholicism that is very heavily involved with the occult and is just now coming to understand that what the Bible teaches about God, sin, Heaven, Hell, and the devil is totally different than what he has believed his entire life. We can not open his spiritual eyes but God can and we believe that Sok will be saved. Please continue to pray for him as the devil will definitely do all he can to keep Sok in spiritual bondage.
I had the opportunity to meet Heng and witness to him a few weeks ago. Bro. Bounna and Bro. Vong have been reaching out to him and his wife for awhile now. We were able to have a great conversation with him that lasted perhaps a couple of hours. He had some very good questions and I could tell as I answered his questions and reasoned with him from the Word of God he was coming under conviction. As of yet, he is not willing to be saved because he fears the persecution that he knows awaits him when he turns his back on idols and false religion. He told me, “I am a Vietnamese man living in Cambodia. I have to follow the religion of Cambodia. I don’t believe any of it but I must still go to the Temple and take part in the various religious festivals of Buddhism in order to fit into this culture. I could never have the courage to be the only Christian in this village.” We know that it is only God who can change his heart. Please pray that Heng will respond to the working of the Holy Spirit in his life. He has been exposed to the gospel and he will be held responsible for the Light that he has received.
Chantha was reached here at Pacific Baptist Church a couple of years ago and is now a student in our Bible College. His mother, Navy, used to be the village drunk until she got saved. She shared a testimony the other day that the moment she accepted Christ as her Saviour she immediately lost her desire for the alcohol that had controlled her life for nearly 40 years! She is happy to see Chantha faithfully training in the college and desires to see him serve the Lord by one day taking the gospel back to their home village which is located several hours from Phnom Penh. Besides Navy, there are no other Christians in the entire village. Please pray for Chantha to be diligent in his studies and for his needs to be met. He took a huge step of faith by quitting his job in order to attend Bible College.
SreyMohm and her family were reached with the gospel in a miraculous way that I won’t take time to detail here in this update. They have been faithfully attending the church in PsaTricht. When we announced that we were starting a Bible College SreyMohm immediately expressed interest. The Lord worked in the heart of her parents and they allowed her to enroll. Even though we have only been holding classes for about 10 weeks, she is already benefiting greatly from the things she is learning and from the example she sees while living in the dorm with Susanna and Michelle. It is such a blessing to our national young ladies to be able to see what a Christian home is supposed to be like – they are able to experience a Christian family through living in the dorm. A couple of nights ago Debbie and I heard the girls in the dorm laughing and enjoying a time of fellowship in the evening and it brought great joy to our hearts to realize that they are experiencing something that they would not have had the opportunity to experience were it not for the opportunity they have to live in the dorms. Please pray for SreyMohm to continue to be faithful to the Lord and diligent in her studies and involvement in the various ministries in which she serves.
Sokun was reached with the gospel through the outreach in Stung MeanChey about 8 months ago. This past week she enrolled in the Bible College and has expressed a burden to know the Word of God and to be able to reach her own people with the gospel. Please pray for Sokun to be faithful as well as for her family to come to Christ. If anyone would like to help assist her with some basic expenses related to her education please contact me.
This last month Debbie and I had the opportunity to assist our fellow team members in a “creative-access” country by conducting a family conference for them. We had a great time and it was a blessing to be able to invest into the lives of those who have been reached through our co-laborers in that country.
During the conference Bro. Adrian asked Bounmee to marry him and fortunately she said yes! 🙂 Bounmee is a wonderful Christian young lady who was won to Christ and discipled for several years by faithful believers there and she will be a wonderful partner for Adrian as they serve the Lord together. Please pray that all of the paperwork will progress in a timely manner. There are a lot of hoops that they have to jump through in order to get things rolling over there and the natural tendency is for government paperwork to get bogged down and drag on for no real reason. They are hoping to get married in June and so that is what we are all working towards.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
February 26, 2017
Here is a view update from this morning. We had a wonderful service and were blessed with several testimonies, many special songs, preaching, witnessing 16 folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism, and great fellowship!
Thank you for praying for the work here in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
Click on the video below to watch the update.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
February 21, 2017
Here is our update for this past weekend. Thank you for praying and supporting the work here in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
February 5, 2017
This week we shot a short video as our update. Just click play in order to view the video.
Thank you for your prayers and support for the ministry here in Cambodia. There are several folks who are very close to being saved both in Stung MeanChey as well as in one of the new villages that folks from the church are targeting. Lives are being changed by God, in part, because of your faithfulness in “holding the ropes” there at home.
Please be reminded that we have scheduled a short return to the States late this year and may be available to report to you in person should you so desire. Please make contact with me if you are interested and we will do our best to make it happen.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
January 23, 2017
We had a great weekend in each of the four locations where we hold morning services here in Cambodia. Our English choir sang a song entitled “Without the Cross.” They worked hard on it for several weeks. I know that singing in English is not easy for several of them and so I really appreciate their diligence in giving their very best. You can click on the video above to hear them singing yesterday morning in Phnom Penh.
Maldy and Sitha were in our very first service back in November of 2010. They came faithfully for several years up until about a year and a half ago. While Sitha was expecting the birth of their son, David, they got out of the habit of coming faithfully to church. I think it was difficult for them due to the distance that they have to travel in order to get here and the fact that they all rode on one moped. As is the case most of the time, when someone gets out of church they also begin to slip spiritually. Over the past several months they have been going through some difficult times that may have caused them to realize that there is no real walk with the Lord when we choose not to obey God by being faithfully involved in a local church. Over recent days they have gone through some issues in their family that has caused them great pain. God may be using their trials to bring them back to Him. Bro. Keo has reached out to them and it seems that God may be working in their hearts. They were in the Phnom Penh morning service last Sunday, and yesterday they came in the morning as well as the evening. PLEASE PRAY THAT MALDY AND SITHA WILL ALLOW US ALL TO BE A PART OF THEIR LIVES AND RETURN TO CLOSE FELLOWSHIP WITH THE LORD.
Thank you for praying for Malis (Maly) to be saved. (We wrote about her on https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2016/12/05/december-5-2016/ and asked you to pray for her salvation.) We are happy to tell you that both Malis and her sister-in-law, Noun, accepted Christ as their personal Saviour this past Tuesday. Their husbands, Sokchun and Sokcheat, were both saved several months ago and are faithfully involved in the Stung MeanChey outreach. Malis is a week overdue in the delivery of her first baby and should give birth sometime this week hopefully. PLEASE PRAY FOR MALIS AND NOUN AS THEY GROW IN THE LORD.
We are happy to tell you that the younger brother and sister of Chhayry recently accepted Jesus as their personal Saviour. Somphahs is 17 years old and Veha is 14. They are part of the church in Psa Tricht village. PLEASE PRAY FOR THESE TWO YOUNG PEOPLE AS THEY GROW IN THEIR WALK WITH THE LORD.
We were blessed to have a great opening day this current session of Bible Institute. We are offering three classes this term: Spiritual Warfare, Bible Doctrine 1, and the Book of Matthew. It is a blessing to have 48 of our folks attending the classes. There are others who desire to be a part but who are unable to because of schedule conflicts. Believe it or not, only a small handful of these students are teenagers. The rest are adults – even if they do look like they are 14 years old. 🙂 If we are able to offer a nursery in the future I am confident that there will be several young mothers who will be able to attend as well. Anyone want to volunteer to come here and oversee the Bible Institute nursery? 🙂
Pacific Baptist Bible College got off to a great start as well with 12 students enrolled full-time and a few more who are studying part-time. We are thankful for those who have responded and taken action to help provide some financial assistance to the full-time students who are in need of help. We still have a couple of students who are in need of a scholarship to help with their basic living expenses. We are not charging any of the students tuition but they do need to cover their food, travel expenses, and book purchase fees. If you would like to have information regarding how you can be a blessing to the next generation of young Cambodian and Cham leaders here at Pacific Baptist Church please get in touch with me.
Also, in regard to the Bible College – Please pray for one of our young adult ladies who desires to attend Bible College. I am not at liberty to give her name here or discuss much of her circumstances but it is my understanding that her parents have basically given her an ultimatum. If she chooses to go to Bible College to train to serve the Lord then, according to them, she has turned her back on them. This is a very touchy situation and we are definitely encouraging her to seek God’s will for her life. Basically her parents, who are still young and strong, place virtually all the financial responsibility for the entire family on her shoulders. It is a terrible position to be placed in as the oldest child in this culture. Unless something changes she will likely be trapped in this situation until the day she has the courage to make a change or until per parents pass away. (This is not a situation where the parents are invalid and unable to work.) Sadly, this type of a problem is quite common here in this culture and has several of our young believers trapped as virtual slaves for family that by and large is ungrateful and expects more and more from them. PLEASE PRAY THAT THIS YOUNG LADY WILL HAVE THE WISDOM TO DISCERN WHAT GOD WOULD HAVE HER TO DO. There is a good chance that if she chooses to attend Bible College to train to serve the Lord that her parents may totally cut her out of the family. Most of us from the West have no idea the price that is paid by many believers in places like Cambodia when they decide to allow God’s will to be first place in their lives. It’s certainly humbling to try and lead folks like her.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
January 12, 2017
We’ve started out this new year in high gear! Our church theme for 2017 is “Know Christ and Make Christ Known.” We look forward to seeing many folks grow in their knowledge of and obedience to the Word of God. The result will be that Christ will be made known and many new folks will be saved. Thank you for helping to pray for and support the work here in Southeast Asia.
The enemy has been actively trying to frustrate the work here as we’ve entered this new year. This was to be expected. In fact, as we came down toward the end of December I preached a message reminding our leaders that anytime we move into the devil’s territory we can expect him to seek to cause problems. He is tricky and often works to discourage and disrupt just after times of great victory. Thankfully God has done a work in the hearts of several folks who were under special attack. The devil was resisted and he fled! Here in Cambodia we have a phrase that we often repeat – “New Levels=New Devils.” By God’s grace we are entering into some uncharted territory this year and we do need your faithful prayers for protection, wisdom, and provision the the work that is being done here.
Some of the most exciting days in the history of a church are the early days when everything is a struggle. There are times when you expect everything to fall apart at any time. I remember the early days in Long Beach at Cambodian Baptist Church (now called Pacific Baptist Church) as we went from week to week. There were times when you weren’t sure if the church would ever really get off the ground. Of course we know that the church belongs to the Lord but there were still times when we just wondered how it would all come together. Now many years later she is a strong local church with mature leadership.
The work here in Cambodia reminds me so much of those early days in Long Beach with so many young people. God has blessed us with so many teens and young adults in addition to the many married couples and older folks who have been saved. We are excited to see how God is starting to put the plan into place here as well. Some of the new outreaches that we hope to start this year will require us to have more nationals trained and able to lead. Training national men who are reached through the ministry is one of a missionaries primary responsibilities. Please continue to be in prayer as we disciple the national leadership to effectively lead their own people. We are hoping to see the outreach in Stung MeanChey become a church within the next few months. Additionally, we are putting some plans together to see an additional church planted in a village about 2 hours from Phnom Penh. Both of these works will require significant time, effort, and money. It will require us to make some changes in the Phnom Penh church in order to free up national workers to enable them to help with these new works. Change is often not easy but we look forward to seeing how the Lord will lead.
I don’t normally get the opportunity to attend our Saturday morning Faithfulness Rally because my soul-winning group leaves at around 6:30 a.m. and our meeting does not start until 8:00 a.m. However, this weekend my group did not go to the village where we normally go and so I was able to join in the meeting. It was a blessing to see many folks meet at the church and prepare to go out and make visits on new prospects as well as absentees. In addition to our group in Phnom Penh we also have a group in Stung MeanChey as well as Psa Tricht Village that meet every Saturday morning for visitation and soul-winning.
Reksmey as well as two other single adult ladies completed a Bible study lesson and answered around 100 questions on the Book of Mark this past month in order to earn a new Bible. Reksmey is a relatively new believer and she is a joy to be around! She is in her fourth year of medical school and has a very busy schedule. It is a real blessing to see her desire to grow in the Lord. PRAY FOR REKSMEY AS SHE IS BURDENED FOR THE DEAF HERE IN CAMBODIA AND IS GETTING INVOLVED IN THE DEAF MINISTRY HERE AT THE CHURCH.
Please continue to pray for the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. The children who live in our neighborhood are a bit challenging at times. Most of them come from homes with no structure or discipline. I’m blessed to see how hard our workers try to be a blessing to these children. Seyha is one of the young adult workers who invests time serving in the Children’s Ministry. He was reached with the gospel here at Pacific Baptist Church several years ago. He is now a freshman in college studying Engineering. As the only believer in his family he is trying to be a good testimony to his unsaved parents and siblings as well.
SokChea and SokChun were reached with the gospel by Bro. Man and Kosal through the outreach in Stung MeanChey. It is a blessing to have them join our married couple’s small group each Sunday evening. They are both growing in the Lord and have recently begun going soul-winning with the Stung MeanChey workers. PLEASE PRAY FOR THEIR WIVES, MALIS AND NUEN, TO BE SAVED. This past Saturday Kanha and Samantha spent an hour and a half with them as they answered some of their questions and again explained their need to be saved. We feel like they are very close!
PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR SOK TO BE SAVED. He works very long hours seven days a week but gets off work on Sunday evenings just in time to make it to our Married Couple’s small group. He is still confused about what it means to be a Christian due to his background with Catholicism in Vietnam. The particular type of Catholicism that he was involved with not only worshiped idols of Mary and “saints” but was overtly involved with the occult and demon worship. Actually, this type of syncretism (the blending of one or more religious beliefs together) is very common in this part of the world. We led his wife, Navy, to the Lord several months ago. She recently gave birth to a baby boy and has returned to her village in another province for a couple of months until she fully recovers. She loves the Lord and was a growing believer when she left. PLEASE PRAY FOR NAVY TO RETURN TO US SOON WITH HER BABY BOY, JONATHAN.
We are so blessed to see what God is beginning to do in the deaf ministry. We are told that there are around 80,000 deaf in Cambodia and they are considered to be an “unreached” people group here in Cambodia. Miss Grace and a couple of our ladies have been investing a lot of time and energy in trying to reach out to this community. Grace has become a good deaf interpreter and is definitely a gift to the deaf community. We are excited to tell you that Bro. Keo and his daughter, Lynn, will begin working along side of Grace to reach this community. They will begin taking sign classes very soon. We really expect to see Grace’s months of investment and your prayers begin to pay off great spiritual dividends this coming year. In addition to Bro. Keo and Lynn’s involvement with our deaf ministry, Michelle believes that the Lord would have her to get more involved in reaching out to the deaf as well. Michelle’s mother is one of the deaf ministry leaders in our home church and she has grown up around the deaf culture for many years in Long Beach. Though the deaf community in Cambodia will not be identical, there are certain elements of “deaf culture” that seem to be quite similar and so we are excited to see her taking an active role with the deaf as well! PLEASE PRAY FOR BRO. KEO AND LYNN TO HAVE THE ABILITY TO LEARN CAMBODIAN SIGN LANGUAGE QUICKLY AND FOR DOORS TO CONTINUE TO OPEN AMONG THE DEAF OF CAMBODIA. It would be a huge blessing if one day we could have a weekly preaching service especially for the deaf! I believe that it is likely this will happen.
We are greatly anticipating the opening day of our Bible college this coming week! We are planning to have 7-8 full-time students and 5 part-time students who will begin classes on Monday. We are also looking forward to the Bible Institute resuming classes on Monday afternoon with 39-40 students. We have other folks who desire to take classes but are unable to at this time because of their work schedules.
This term we will be offering the following classes between the College and Bible Institute: Spiritual Warfare, Bible Doctrine 1, The Book of Matthew, John’s Epistles, The Book of James, The Christian Family, and English. This is a huge undertaking for us but it is vital that we train up the next generation of national leaders. PLEASE PRAY FOR GOD’S HAND OF FAVOR ON PACIFIC BAPTIST BIBLE COLLEGE AND THE MANY LIVES WHO WILL BE TOUCHED BECAUSE OF THIS NEW MINISTRY.
In our next update I hope to introduce you to some of the students and share a bit of their testimonies with you. Several of the students will be coming to Phnom Penh from their villages in order to be in the college. They will be here for about half of the week then return to their village. Every one of these folks were saved through the ministries of Pacific Baptist Church and are faithfully involved in the ministry. We are not allowing anyone to be in the college who is not already living for the Lord and producing spiritual fruit. Nor are we accepting students from other ministries of like faith, although we hope to be able to do so perhaps next year if the Lord so leads. We are raising some finances to help our students with their expenses. There will be no fee charged for them to be in college, nor will anyone who teaches in the college receive remuneration for teaching. However, these folks will incur expenses traveling to Phnom Penh each week. They will also need to purchase their own food while in the city. IF YOU FEEL BURDENED TO HELP INVEST IN THESE FAITHFUL NATIONALS AND WOULD LIKE TO HELP CONTRIBUTE TO A SCHOLARSHIP FUND, PLEASE CONTACT ME AND I WILL FILL YOU IN WITH THE DETAILS.
PLEASE PRAY FOR AN OUTREACH TO A NEW VILLAGE LOCATED ABOUT TWO HOURS FROM PHNOM PENH. The folks in the Psa Tracht church have begun witnessing in this village and have met several great prospects. These two grandfathers are very open to the gospel. Mr. Jaeng (white shirt) is 70 years old and Mr. Sein (no shirt) is 94 years old. Brother Ra (blue shirt) is the father of one of our Bible college students. Ra is a faithful soul-winner and leader in the Psa Tricht church. When we began going to the Cham village with the gospel about 12 years ago he was studying to become an Imam in the local Mosque. I don’t recall actually meeting him in those days but a couple of years ago he shared a testimony in the church of how much he used to hate me and the “foreigner” religion. I was shocked to hear that someone actually hated me as I know that I’m a pretty nice guy! 🙂 God certainly changed his life and he and his entire family are a great testimony to the power of the gospel.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
December 12, 2016
We had a wonderful weekend at Pacific Baptist Church here in Cambodia. We continue to be amazed at what God is doing in and through the lives of the folks who have come to know Him. It is truly a blessing to serve among people here who have so little of this world’s goods but who are rich in faith and good works.
Sunday morning we took up a special Christmas offering that will be used to purchase this cow. Last week we asked you to pray for our folks to have the faith to give. We are so happy to report to you that the total amount given in the offering was $793.05. This is a little more than $200 more than we actually needed to purchase the cow, have it delivered to the village and feed it for a couple of weeks until it is given to around 30 Muslim families. The overwhelming majority of this offering was given by folks who had to make great sacrifice in order to give. Nine out of ten folks who gave in this offering could never afford to actually purchase beef for their own family. It is humbling to see their love for the Lord and for the lost. After I announced our total on Sunday evening one of our men remarked that this offering reveals the spiritual maturity of so many of our people. I agree. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT OUR MEMBERS WHO LIVE IN A PARTICULAR VILLAGE WILL HAVE THE WISDOM TO DISCERN WHICH FAMILIES OUGHT TO RECEIVE THIS GIFT AND THAT IT WILL RESULT IN MORE FAMILIES COMING TO CHRIST AS THEY WITNESS THE LOVE, FORGIVENESS, AND COMPASSION OF OUR CHURCH FAMILY.
Sunday evening our Phnom Penh teens ran the entire service. Three of them played piano specials and several of them shared testimonies and reported on the progress being made in some of our village ministries. Our youngest son, Jason, preached a great message from Daniel 1:8 and challenged each of us to know what we believe and then to live what we believe. As his parents we are so thankful to see what God is doing in his life. Perhaps the biggest blessing of the evening was realizing that he believes and lives what he preached. Seyha is technically not a part of the teen department any more. He is now a freshman in college and majoring in Engineering. Seyha was reached through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and is the only believer in his family. His life is often difficult due to the strong stand that he takes for the Lord in his family as well as among his peers in school. He preached a good message reminding us that the Lord is worthy of our praise and challenging us to live a life that brings honor and glory to Him. We are blessed by Seyha and all of the young people who are taking a stand for the Lord in spite of the circumstances in which they live. PLEASE PRAY THAT THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF PACIFIC BAPTIST CHURCH WILL CONTINUE TO GROW IN THE LORD.
Some of the teens opened our evening service with the song Joy to the World. You can hear them sing by clicking on the video below.
This past Saturday our men enjoyed a great time of competition as they played soccer. We were able to rent a local facility for a reasonable price and everyone had a wonderful time despite having one broken nose and a number of guys with cramping legs due to the heat and perhaps due to the fact that some of them are out of shape. 🙂 It is virtually unheard of here in this country for men to play soccer unless there is gambling, drinking, and yelling and screaming involved. Our men all conducted themselves as Christians and they were a great testimony to those who were looking on. I remember hearing a well-known pastor in America once say that you can tell more about a staff member by watching him play sports for 10 minutes than you can by having him work on your staff for 10 years! Though being very competitive and playing to win, our men maintained a great Christian spirit for nearly 5 hours and we are thankful for them! Thanks guys!
I have included a short clip from a couple of the games. I’m sure some of them will want to see themselves playing.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
December 5, 2016
It was a real blessing to be able to share Thanksgiving Day with our fellow team members here in Cambodia. All of the wives made more than enough food and we had a great time of fellowship together. We all have so much for which to thank the Lord.
This year our churches here in Cambodia are taking on a special project. We are challenging each member, young, old, rich, and poor alike, to give a special offering next Sunday morning to purchase a cow that we will donate to villagers who live in a particular Muslim village. We have a number of folks who have been saved and who live in that village. In the past we have received a lot of opposition from the religious leaders and villagers alike. The believers who live in the village are scorned and shunned every day. Most of them have family members who live in the village and who refuse to have any dealings with them because of their faith in Jesus Christ. After we purchase the cow we will have the members who live in that village choose around 30 families or so who will be the recipients of the beef once it has been divided up. It is our hope and prayer that this gift will be used by God to help soften the hearts of those who hate the gospel and thus hate our church. This is a huge undertaking for our people because a cow large enough to divide among 30 families will not be cheap. Normally projects like this would be undertaken by an NGO group or by very rich Buddhist or Muslim members in the community who are trying to “gain merit” by helping the poor. However, this entire project will be funded and facilitated by the Christians who themselves, in many cases, have experienced persecution for their faith and who will have to make a great financial sacrifice in order to give their offering. It is so important for the national believers to own their responsibility to serve and reach their own people and we have made this a priority from day one. Many times a missionary can cause spiritual growth to be stunted because they don’t disciple new converts to properly understand and obey the Great Commission. In some cases missionaries insist on keeping the nationals in the pew sitting and watching the missionary do all the teaching, preaching, soul-winning, and giving. We have made it a point not to do that. PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL USE THIS GIFT TO BRING ABOUT LASTING SPIRITUAL FRUIT BOTH IN THE LIVES OF THE BELIEVERS WHO GIVE AND THE LOST WHO RECEIVE THE GIFT.
Yesterday during our Deaf Small Group we were all excited to hear Seng confess that she has now placed her faith in Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour! She told us that she had returned to her village in order to tell her mother that she is now a Christian and will no longer participate in occultic rituals. Her mother does not speak sign language and so she actually brought a translator from somewhere to go with her so that her mother would clearly understand what she was saying. When I asked her if it was okay for me to post her picture on our update and tell folks that she has decided to follow Jesus she responded by saying, “Yes! Please put it in English and in Khmer. I want everyone to know that I am not an undercover Christian!” Wow! That is a blessing. PLEASE PRAY FOR SENG AS SHE IS NOW DISCIPLED BY MISS GRACE AND THE OTHER DEAF LADIES IN OUR CHURCH.
It was a blessing to have Sok return to our Married Couples Small Group last night. He is not yet saved but seems to be opening up. His wife, Navy, gave birth to a baby a couple of weeks ago and has returned to her village to stay until the rainy season is all the way over due to the fact that the room they rent here in Phnom Penh floods up to their knees with sewer water every time it rains. Sok has come to church now for three weeks in a row and listened intently. I believe that he is confused a bit due to the fact that he is from Vietnam and much of his family there attend a “church” and are part of a denomination that represents itself as Christian, but in reality worships idols, “saints”, and the virgin Mary in addition to offering sacrifices to the territorial spirits that they believe control the events around them. So he is a little confused as to why we are so different from what he is accustomed to seeing when he goes to church. When he comes to Pacific Baptist Church he sees people who are happy, singing, sharing testimonies, and who love each other. I think it is starting to sink into his heart that we might have something that his religion does not have. PLEASE PRAY FOR SOK TO UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED.
It was a real blessing to have SokChuen return to our Married Couples Small Group last night for the second week in a row. He was reached with the gospel by Bro. Man and the workers in our Stung MeanChey outreach and has been faithfully attending there every Sunday morning since he accepted Christ. Yesterday morning Maly attended church there with him as well. It seems as though her heart is opening to the gospel. They are expecting their first child next month. PLEASE PRAY FOR MALY TO UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED. It would be wonderful to see this young couple both saved and right with the Lord. They have some important decisions that they need to make in their relationship very soon. We are praying and trying to influence them to make godly decisions. PRAY FOR BRO. MAN AND KANHA AS THEY ARE COUNSELING THIS YOUNG COUPLE.
MengLy attended our Married Couples Small Group a couple of weeks ago with his wife, Neang. He was so impressed by the spirit within the meeting and the love and joy that he saw in the lives of the members. This is something that he has never experienced in his life and it made a real impact on him. PLEASE PRAY THAT MENGLY WILL UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED. Bro. Bounna and Bro. Vong have been reaching out to this family and are keeping in close contact with them.
Neang gave birth to little MengThy yesterday morning at around 2:00. This is their fourth child. It was a blessing to be able to visit her in the hospital this morning and pray for their newborn baby. PRAY FOR NEANG TO HAVE A SPEEDY RECOVERY AND TO BE ABLE TO RETURN TO CHURCH SHORTLY. Watch out nursery workers – Here comes another one! 🙂
It was a blessing to meet with San for a time of discipleship today for a couple of hours. He and his team of workers are being used by God in a great way to reach folks in his village and surrounding villages. In our last update I asked you to pray for the safe delivery of their baby boy. Yom gave birth just fine and baby Joseph is healthy and getting excited to join the nursery at church! 🙂 PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THIS GODLY YOUNG COUPLE TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD.
One of the greatest blessings in our life is to watch our sons faithfully serving the Lord. Our two oldest sons made the decision to attend Bible College via an extension learning program of an Independent Baptist Bible College in the States in order to remain involved in reaching the Cambodian people with the gospel. We are thrilled that they love the ministry that God has entrusted to them. Last Saturday night I decided to check in on a teen boys discipleship group that was meeting in the upstairs auditorium. Bro. Vannak is doing a great job of helping to encourage and equip this small group of teen boys to walk with the Lord. It was a particular blessing to hear Jason doing the teaching that evening. We thank the Lord for the godly influence that Vannak has in the lives of all of our sons. This coming Sunday evening we will have a special service in Phnom Penh and the teen department will run the entire service. Several of them will be sharing testimonies, playing special music, and reporting on the progress of a few of the village ministries. I have asked Jason as well as Seyha to preach for the service. Jason will preach for 10 minutes and Seyha has been given 20 minutes to preach. Seyha was reached through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and he is now a freshman in college studying Engineering. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY THAT WE WILL HAVE WISDOM TO EFFECTIVELY EQUIP AND HELP GUIDE THE NEXT GENERATION OF UP AND COMING NATIONAL YOUNG LEADERS.
It has been a true blessing to have Michelle serving here on the mission field with us for the past several months. She is from our home church and is finishing her senior year of Bible College here in Cambodia. Her flexible and humble spirit is refreshing and is beginning to have an impact in the lives of those to whom she is ministering. Next week our family is hoping to get away from the routine for a few days and it will be a joy to have Michelle as well as Miss Grace join with us. Michelle plans to return to the States for her graduation in May and then return here to the work that she believes God has called her to. I know that wherever God leads her in the future, whether here in Cambodia or somewhere else here in the 10/40 window, she will be a blessing to those who she will serve.
It has been so great to have Sareth visiting us from Long Beach, CA. The Lord allowed us to reach him and his family with the gospel back in 1994 or so. We had the privilege to disciple him and see him become a faithful believer. Many members of his family have been saved as well. Sareth is the father of Bro. Sara Vong who is serving alongside of us here in Cambodia. Sareth is a faithful soul-winner and Adult Sunday School teacher in our home church and we are blessed to see him still faithful after all of these years. As the Cambodian speaking community continues to get smaller and smaller in the United States there is less and less of a need for Khmer-speaking ministries. The vast majority of Cambodians who will be open to the gospel in the United States will be reached by English-speaking soul-winners. Most of the younger generation doesn’t even speak the Cambodian language. With that being said, Sareth has been on “cloud nine” here in Cambodia. This is his first trip back to Cambodia since escaping the Khmer Rouge regime in the late 1970’s. He has had the opportunity to meet so many red-hot Cambodian Christians here and it has really sparked something within him. He is seeing the vast need for more laborers in the spiritual harvest field of Cambodia and God is working in his heart in regard to his future. He has had the opportunity to go soul-winning with our nationals, share testimonies in several of the services both in Phnom Penh as well as in the villages. This Wednesday evening he will be preaching for our mid-week service here in Phnom Penh. He does understand and speak English but Khmer is his first language and he is loving having the opportunity to use it for God’s glory and for the benefit of his own people. He is praying about taking an early retirement and moving here to Cambodia to serve the Lord alongside of our team. Bro. Vong and I have spent time casting vision to him and will encourage him to return home and seek counsel from our home pastor. It is very likely that Sareth and his wife, Vorn, will be joining our team before the end of this coming summer. PLEASE PRAY FOR SARETH AND VORN AS THEY SEEK TO DISCERN GOD’S WILL FOR THEIR FUTURE.
We believe that the Lord would have us to expand our Bible Institute into a Bible College. The need for solid workers in this country is enormous. As the various cults, materialism, and other challenges that accompany the age in which we live continue to permeate the lives of our people, it is imperative that they are grounded in the Word of God. At the present time there are no other viable options in the Khmer language for our young people to get college level training in order to not only be grounded in their faith, but especially to help them be equipped to be effective in full-time ministry should the Lord lead them in that direction. We will begin classes in the middle of January and hope to have perhaps 6-7 full-time students and perhaps 15-20 others who are able to study part-time. If we are able to retain the young people that we now have, within 2 years there will be a large group of high school seniors who can and should attend Bible College when they graduate from high school. Now is the time to take this thing by the horns and get it done. This is a huge undertaking for our team and not one that we are esteeming lightly. Last week I sought counsel from a fellow missionary here in Cambodia who is a good friend and whom I trust. He said, “Dave, the water is already up to your nose and now you are getting ready to turn on the fire hose.” It’s true. At times our team can feel overwhelmed with all the opportunities that accompany a growing ministry. This is all the more reason to get even more serious about training national leaders. PLEASE HELP US TO PRAY THAT GOD WILL GIVE DIRECTION, STRENGTH, AND WISDOM AS WE BEGIN THIS MINISTRY. The students who are studying full-time have been fully vetted as to their motives and future goals. Most of them will require financial help from those who are burdened to see national leaders trained here in Cambodia. The college will definitely cost money that is not presently in the budget. We have created a scholarship program for those studying full-time. IF YOU ARE BURDENED TO SEE NATIONAL LEADERS TRAINED IN BIBLE COLLEGE AND WOULD LIKE TO HELP SOME OF OUR NATIONALS WITH THEIR BASIC NEEDS (FOOD, TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, COLLEGE TEXT BOOKS LIKE THE ONES IN THIS PICTURE) PLEASE CONTACT ME AND I WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH DETAILS.
While we were out soul-winning this past Saturday with some of our nationals here in Phnom Penh we were reminded of the power of darkness that has controlled and blinded this part of the world for thousands of years. The small altar pictured above was mounted just outside of many of the doors where we left tracts. It represents these people’s god and their hope. They believe that the spirits that control their neighborhood are those of young children and they offer sacrifices to those spirits in order to have protection and prosperity. It really is sad that, although they have no joy, peace, or hope in their lives, they are unwilling to turn to the God Who created them and has made a way for them to be free of the bondage that now controls much of their life. THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR OUR FAMILY AND THOSE WHO SERVE ALONGSIDE OF US AS WE TAKE THE HOPE OF THE GOSPEL TO THESE PEOPLE.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
November 18, 2016
There has been so much that has taken place since we last posted on this blog that I can’t possibly update you on everything. I will try to give you a brief summary of what God is doing here in Cambodia, in part, because of your partnership. THANK YOU FOR PRAYING FOR THE ITEMS REPORTED ON IN THIS BLOG POST.
It was a blessing to see God work in our Youth Conference which ran from Sunday morning through Tuesday evening this week. We began the conference on Sunday morning because we wanted to give the parents an opportunity to enjoy some of the events of the conference. It was great to have a few of the parents who were able to take part in the conference on Monday and Tuesday as well. THIS YEAR WAS WITHOUT A DOUBT OUR BEST CONFERENCE YET.
The Bible clearly teaches that it is the parents’ responsibility and privilege to rear their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. On a regular basis I remind our parents, who are all first generation Christians, that it is not my responsibility, our teams responsibility, nor the responsibility of our church to train their children to know God. We are all here to simply reinforce what they are teaching in the home. Those who have done the research tell us that upwards of 80% or more of American young people abandon their Christian “faith” when they enter their college years. One of the factors that has likely contributed, in part, to this tragedy is that many parents have delegated their God-given responsibilities to the church and assumed that all is well. Though culturally speaking it is an uphill battle, here in Cambodia we want to stay as far away from that philosophy as possible. In an ideal world there would be no need for the church to have a specific ministry dedicated to reaching out to the youth. The truths that are relevant to adults are relevant to young people as well. However, for the time being in order to effectively reach the next generation we must have ministries like our Children’s Ministry, Teen small group, and Youth Conferences.
In order to help reinforce and remind our church family that we as parents must train our children, we dedicated one of the newborn babies to the Lord during the morning service. I reminded Nathan’s parents that, in reality, we are dedicating them to the Lord and asking God to give them wisdom to rear him for the Lord. During the dedication Nathan’s father, Chhay, promised the Lord and the church family that as parents they would do their best to be a Godly example in the home, grow in their walk with the Lord, and never stand in the way of God’s will for their son’s life. CHHAY AND KIMLONG ARE ALREADY GREAT PARENTS TO THEIR TWO DAUGHTERS AND I KNOW THAT THEY WILL BE GREAT PARENTS TO NATHAN AS WELL. PLEASE PRAY FOR CHHAY AND KIMLONG.
We are thankful for the next generation of young people here at Pacific Baptist who are being reared in Christian homes by godly parents. Young men like Eden, Phillip, and Jeremy are the hope of Cambodia!
The majority of the young people here at Pacific Baptist do not come from Christian homes. Some even live in environments that are openly hostile to their faith in Jesus Christ. It is a blessing to see many of these young people growing in their walk with the Lord and their love for the lost all around them. These young people and others like them are the hope of Cambodia!
It was a blessing to have 7 folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism during our morning service of Youth Conference. Two of those who were baptized are the teen siblings of faithful members of our youth group.
So many folks invested countless hours behind the scenes in order to help ensure a smooth running and effective conference this year. Bro. Has and his team worked tirelessly to prepare skits that were not just funny but that also spoke to our hearts and communicated the theme of the conference. Bro. Vong used his skills to produce the conference booklet, banner, videos, and t-shirts. There are so many other folks who worked hard on the music, food, the grounds, and transportation. THANK GOD FOR THE GREAT TEAM OF WORKERS HERE WHO DON’T CARE WHO GETS THE RECOGNITION JUST AS LONG AS THE JOB GETS DONE AND GETS DONE TO THE BEST OF OUR ABILITY. They are a rare breed!
We enjoyed hearing four testimonies by young people during the conference. Perhaps the most dynamic testimony was given by Srey Nak. She shared of the decision that she made in Youth Conference two years ago to stand for the Lord regardless of what those around her do. Though she does not have Christian parents who encourage her to do right, by God’s grace she is one of our most faithful teen girls. She not only serves in the Children’s Ministry and music ministry but she also teaches our 2-3 year old Sunday School class.
The skits this year were second to none. Bro. Has and his team wrote great parts and practiced hard to get them just right. I am really thankful for time that Bro. Kosal (pictured in the middle of this picture in the ridiculous blond wig) invested in translating the skit lines for the members to learn. He is perhaps the best Khmer translator that I know and is definitely a gift to our church family! Thank you, Kosal, for using your talents for the Lord. Kosal teaches English at one of the premiere English schools here in Phnom Penh but in his off time he invests a lot of time in the ministry, especially the outreach in Stung MeanChey.
On Sunday afternoon many of our teens went down to the riverside and handed out gospel tracts. For some of them it was their first time to experience public ridicule and rejection because of their faith. It was a blessing while walking along the river to see many people like the man in this picture sitting and reading our tracts. AT A MINIMUM THE SEED OF THE GOSPEL WAS PLANTED IN THE HEARTS OF MANY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HAD ACCESS TO THE TRUTH. We handed out 3,500 tracts Sunday afternoon.
Makara recently relocated to Phnom Penh from another Province in order to attend College. She was saved in another church and when she moved here her pastor recommended that she become a part of our church. Many of the things she has heard and experienced in the short time that she has been here have been new to her. She is a bubbly and vibrant young lady who really enjoyed the Youth Conference. She really enjoyed the time we spent handing out tracts down at the riverside. I believe that it was her first time to ever hand out gospel tracts. We look forward to seeing her get involved in a greater way in the ministry here at Pacific Baptist!
We were encouraged to have a first time adult visitor on Sunday. She enjoyed the morning service so much that she returned for the afternoon service as well as our services all day Monday. She is in her 70’s and is not saved. She listened intently to the testimonies and the preaching and was very evidently interested in what was being said. When she left the church on Monday we all felt as though she was very close to being saved based upon the things that she was saying to some of our members. However, when I saw her yesterday on the street her countenance had totally changed and she pretended like she didn’t know us. I’m not sure what happened. She is a very wealthy lady in our neighborhood and owns a large apartment complex not far from our church. It is my guess that when her friends and family found out that she was hanging out with all of us at the church they gave her a very hard time. In the gospels we read of the hard heart, the stony heart, the thorny heart, and the good heart. (Matthew 13) Only God knows the condition of Nary’s heart and whether she will ultimately accept or reject the gospel. PLEASE PRAY FOR NARY TO SUBMIT TO THE WORKING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HER HEART.
I took this picture over 25 years ago. It is of three Cambodian pastors who were very well known prior to the Khmer Rouge regime. There was only a small handful of pastors who survived the reign of terror that resulted in the near-extermination of the church in Cambodia, which at that time numbered around ten thousand. I knew all three of these men as they had escaped Southeast Asia and fled to the United States as refugees in the early 80’s. They were godly men who took their responsibility to reach their generation seriously. They are all three in Heaven now and their work is over. I often remind our national leaders here at Pacific Baptist that it is their responsibility to reach their own generation with the gospel. Though it is very difficult here in this part of the world, we take the mandate of winning, baptizing, and discipling national men very seriously here at Pacific Baptist! There are many things that have to be done in ministry but nothing is more important than reaching men; it is the missionary’s primary mandate.
We thank God for the many men He has allowed to be reached and trained here at Pacific Baptist. It’s such a blessing to be surrounded by national men who are willing and eager to follow leadership. While speaking with one of our national men last night, I told him how easy it would be for us to grow complacent and content with the people we already have, but that we have to, on purpose, keep winning and dicipling men and families. One of the challenges that we will face here within the next few years is how we are going to effectively equip the young adults, who are now teens, for full-time Christian ministry. At the present time there is no Bible college here in Cambodia of like faith that would be adequate to help us to accomplish that task. Within the next four years I believe that we will have a good group of young people graduating from high school who feel the call of God to the mission field here in the 1040 window. PLEASE PRAY FOR US AS WE ARE MAKING PLANS NOW FOR HOW TO BEST EQUIP THESE FUTURE SERVANTS OF GOD TO REAP A GREAT HARVEST HERE IN THIS PART OF THE WORLD. The logistic and financial requirements are overwhelming and beyond our capacity, but where God leads – He provides.
We are planning to begin an intensive training program this January for several of our young adult folks who believe that God may be leading them into some type of full-time Christian service. It will be three days a week and will be much more intense than our Bible Institute. Lord willing it will be the beginning stages of a future Bible college.
Tom (28 years old) and Sane (21 years old) were both saved here at Pacific Baptist out of Islam and are faithful men of God. Their parents have also been saved and are all faithfully involved in one of our village churches. A couple months ago I approached them both and asked them to pray and seek counsel from their parents about studying in the new program that we planned to begin in January to train full-time Christian workers. Two weeks ago I met with them again and they both expressed their desire to be a part of this new ministry. While they don’t know for sure if God is leading them into full-time ministry, they both said that they want to do whatever God calls them to do. Their parents are behind them all the way. Their decision to come to Phnom Penh three days a week for training will impact their ability to support themselves as they will basically only have one day a week (Fridays) to work. Their decision to step out in faith is humbling (and scary…). I asked Tom to preach one of the messages during our Youth Conference. He did a fantastic job. We were all amazed to see the gift that God has given him to passionately and effectively communicate the Word of God. Sane shared a testimony during the conference and was a blessing as well. PLEASE PRAY FOR TOM AND SANE AS THEY “STEP OUT OF THE BOAT” AND TAKE THIS GREAT STEP OF FAITH.
Veasna (19 years old) will also be studying in the intensive program beginning in January. In recent months he has felt that God wants him to reach his own people and possibly serve one day in full-time ministry. He is a solid young man who is already very involved in ministry in Phnom Penh as well as in Stung MeanChey. Veasna’s parents both came to the Lord over the past year and a half and they are in favor of him training for full-time Christian service. Veasna was reached with the gospel about 5 years ago through the Children’s Ministry. PRAY FOR VEASNA TO TRUST GOD AS HE IS ABOUT TO BEGIN THIS NEW PHASE OF HIS LIFE.
Debbie and I led Navy to Christ several months ago and we have all been praying for her husband, Sok, to be saved. Sok works long hours seven days a week selling ice cream from a cart. He has little, if any, free time. The bottom line is this: If he doesn’t work for a day, they may not eat the next day. We recently held a small baby shower for Navy in our Married Couple’s Sunday night small group. The reason that we did it during our group time was to encourage Sok to come to church. We were all excited that he came! Today we were both up at the hospital for awhile with Navy and Sok as she just gave birth to their baby son last night. I had the chance to talk to him some more and he has indicated that he will “become a Christian very soon.” His Buddhist mother recently died but before she died she called him over to her and told him that he ought to “follow his wife’s decision to be a Christian so that there would be unity in the home.” While we know that receiving God’s gift of salvation is not a decision that is made in order to “have unity” in the home, yet it was a blessing to hear that she told him to become a Christian. Sok is Vietnamese and it is very likely that the only thing keeping him from being saved is his belief in ancestral worship as it is quite prevalent among the Vietnamese people. We hope that his mother’s words will ring in his ears and the Holy Spirit will use them, along with the teaching that he has heard and read, to soften his heart to the gospel. PLEASE PRAY THAT SOK WILL SOON BE SAVED.
MengLy has visited church on several occasions with his wife, Neang. He works as a mophed taxi driver and seldom, if ever, takes time off. Again, if he doesn’t work for a day then the family will likely not eat the next day. PLEASE PRAY THAT MENGLY WILL RESPOND TO THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED.
I met Chanta several months ago as he was working security at one of the local malls. This past week, while taking the teens ice skating during Youth Conference, he had the opportunity to meet several of our men as well. They were able to stand and have a conversation with him. He has invited me to go and visit him in his village which is 21 kilometers from Phnom Penh. PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO WORK OUT A TIME TO VISIT HIM IN HIS HOME AND EVENTUALLY BE ABLE TO LEAD HIM TO CHRIST.
We are happy to welcome baby Abigail and John into the world! Our nursery is about to get a bit more crowded as we have several more ladies who are due within the next 2-3 months!
PLEASE PRAY FOR YOM AS SHE IS SCHEDULED FOR A CESAREAN DELIVERY THIS NEXT WEEK.San and Yom are both faithful believers and have paid a price for their faith. San is the national leader of one of our village churches. In addition to going soul-winning in various villages, each week he and his team of workers minister to around 100 folks.
It’s difficult to believe that it was six years ago this week that our family started Pacific Baptist Church of Phnom Penh. So much has happened since then and so many people have come and gone. There have been far more people reached than we could have imagined and we thank God for His provision over the past six years. This picture was taken during our first public service. Four of the men in the picture are today serving alongside of us in the ministry. I had the opportunity to lead each of these men to Christ and there is nothing better than serving alongside them! I remember leading Sinath to Christ the Friday evening just two days before the church started. He lived directly across the street from our house and I would go and meet with him nearly every evening for several months before he finally got saved.
Sinath’s wife, Sopheap, did not receive Christ for nearly 5 months after Sinath got saved. She hated the gospel and didn’t want anything to do with us. As a Chinese Cambodian her faith was in idols and her ancestors. I remember the Sunday morning when she suddenly appeared in the auditorium. No one knew she was planning to attend church that day and we were all quite shocked. Right after the service I went to talk to her and asked her if she would like to accept Christ. She responded by saying, “I already did that this morning before I left the house!” Come to find out she had been waiting and watching her husband’s example. She didn’t believe that anything could actually change her husband from the mean man that he used to be. After watching him for several months she finally saw that God is real and that she was in need of a personal Saviour as well! Sinath and Sopheap are both faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ and we count them among our closest of friends.
Debbie and I were truly shocked to have the church present us with some gifts during the morning service in commemoration of our church’s six year anniversary. We had actually forgotten all about it with the busyness of Youth Conference. We are blessed to serve alongside some of the greatest people in the whole world!
The new outreach in Stung MeanChey continues to move along. We had the opportunity to speak for the Thursday evening mid-week service this week and it was great to be able to see everyone once again.
Ta Sakrut, the retired College professor, was right in his place as he has been since the day he got saved a few months ago. I always joke with him about my outlines because he always sits and reads through the outlines before the service starts. As he is reading he circles and underlines different parts. I joked with him that he was circling all my grammatical mistakes (he taught Khmer literature for around 40 years) as I’ve been known to actually make up Khmer words in the past 🙂 He always answers back that he likes to read the outline ahead of time and underline the parts he thinks he wants to go back home and study on his own! We are thankful that his cataract surgery went well. He is excited to be able to read more clearly.
SokCheat and SokChuen are brothers and were both saved about the same time. They are both married and SokCheat has a newborn baby. Bro. Man is investing a lot of time in them and they are growing in the Lord. They both attended every session of the Youth Conference and seemed to really benefit from them. PLEASE PRAY FOR THEIR WIVES TO BE SAVED. Lord willing these two young men and their wives will be the future leaders in Stung MeanChey!
Soveat, Sokun, and Tida are all young adult ladies who have been reached with the gospel through the outreach in Stung MeanChey. None of them come from a Christian home and are, at times, discouraged by their parents from doing what is right. We are thankful for their example and their resolve to be faithful to the Lord despite the opposition. Kahna and Phalley have invested a lot into their lives and it shows. It’s always exciting to see new believers here discipled by nationals. PLEASE PRAY FOR THESE THREE YOUNG LADIES AS THEY ARE GROWING IN THE LORD. Lord willing, they will be the future leaders in Stung MeanChey as well!
Sophal was led to Christ by Bro. Man about three years ago. He was growing in the Lord and faithfully served in ministry. A couple of years ago he made the decision to take a job in Korea. He sought no counsel until the night before his airplane was scheduled to depart. I remember sitting with him in the stands at a soccer game where our Pacific Baptist teen boys were competing, and discussing his decision with him. With tears streaming down his face he admitted that he had not sought counsel because he knew that he was not supposed to take the job – there was no church for him to attend in the part of Korea where he was moving to, and he knew that God didn’t want him to go there. Bro. Man has done a wonderful job of keeping in touch with him over these past months. We are all so happy because he bought a one-way ticket back to Cambodia this past week and has decided that he needs to move back here. He is enrolling in college and has a desire to be back in church and once again walk in obedience to the Word of God. He attended every session of the Youth Conference and we saw the joy that was on his face! PLEASE PRAY THAT SOPHAL WILL BE FAITHFUL, AND ONCE AGAIN LIVE HIS LIFE FOR THE GLORY OF THE LORD.
We want to share with you two stories of ladies whose lives have been changed by the power of the gospel.
Hong came to visit her son and the ministry here in Cambodia this month and it was great to get reacquainted with her. We met Hong back in 1991 while we were serving the Cambodian community in Long Beach, California. We met her through her brother-in-law whom we had led to Christ some time earlier. At that time she was not open to the gospel. He life basically consisted of gambling. Every time that I saw her she was sitting with other Cambodian women in a big circle playing cards. Little by little we were able to get to know her better and lead her to Christ. She recently reminded me that just after she got saved I went to visit her house and saw her once again sitting in the circle with her friends gambling. She reminded me of what I did – I sat down in the circle with her and threw money into the middle. The honest truth is I don’t have the slightest clue how to play cards (and it is a good thing!). Apparently I sat there for a moment joking with her then got up and left the house. After I left, she said that all the ladies in her gambling group began scolding her: “You are a Christian now. You know that you are not supposed to be gambling any more! Look – your pastor just busted you!” She told me that she has not played cards nor gambled in any way since that day. She was sharing with me that even her unsaved friends knew what was right and what was wrong for a Christian and that she is thankful that God helped her immediately get victory over the sin of gambling.
About 20 years ago there was a group of Cambodians in our church in Long Beach who decided they were not happy with some decisions that Pastor Esposito and several of us made at the church. Rather than responding in a Biblical manner, they decided to get up a petition and stage a protest. I won’t go into detail about the tragic events that happened in nearly every one of those families in the years to follow but suffice it to say that it is never right to act as Korah (Numbers 16) or Absalom (2 Samuel 15) against godly leadership. Those folks were proud, ungrateful to the Lord, and apparently not walking close enough to the Lord to see the spiritual destruction they were about to bring upon themselves and their children. They tried their best to influence Hong to follow them and rebel against the leadership. Hong made the decision to follow the Lord and follow the leaders and she is still reaping the blessings these many years later while many of our friends who rebelled are living lives full of regret after having lost all spiritual influence in the lives of their children. One of the evidences of God’s blessing in Hong’s life is manifested through the testimony of her son, Adrian.
Hong’s son, Adrian, is serving as a bi-vocational missionary with us here in Cambodia. She was very surprised to see how God is using her son to make a difference in the lives of many folks here in Cambodia. It was wonderful to be able to sit and talk with her for awhile and rehearse old times together. *She didn’t just visit Cambodia to see Adrian and the ministry here. She also came to meet her, Lord willing, future daughter-in-law!
We are thankful for the power of God to deliver Navy from the power of darkness. By her own testimony she was the village drunk for the past couple of decades. She was a mean, rude, demon worshiping woman with no peace. WHEN SHE GOT SAVED A FEW MONTHS AGO GOD CHANGED HER LIFE! She told me yesterday that she has not had a drink since being saved. I asked her if she has had any temptation to seek help from evil spirits or her dead ancestors. She responded by saying “NO! Why would I want to worship demons? I know the living God and He has saved me!” It was a blessing to see her this past week. She traveled to Phnom Penh from her village and was able to join in for one of the days of our Youth Conference. PRAY FOR NAVY TO STAND STRONG FOR THE LORD. SHE IS THE ONLY CHRISTIAN IN HER ENTIRE VILLAGE.
This video was made by Bro. Vannak, one of our national leaders. He played it during the message that he preached for Youth Conference this past week. It is reminding us all that if God had not shown us His grace we would still be without hope. Furthermore, there are many people all around us who are still in need of the gospel – Who will tell them?!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason