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
October 16, 2016
We had another wonderful weekend. So many things happened this weekend that we wish we could report, but for the sake of brevity I will only attempt to share a small glimpse of what God is doing here in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
Today was our first week to have a small group specifically for the Deaf. We are told that there are around 85,000 Deaf in Cambodia. Only about 2% of them actually have any access to education of any type including learning how to speak Deaf Sign Language. The Deaf are considered to be an unreached people group here in Cambodia and we are thrilled that God is opening the door to reach them with the gospel.
The video below lets you learn a little more about what is happening here at Pacific Baptist of Phnom Penh with the Deaf ministry.
Please continue to pray for the Deaf Ministry as well as Miss Grace and her workers who labor to see these folks come to the Lord. So many of the Deaf work very long hours and often only have one or two days off the entire month. It is difficult for the workers to connect up with them in order to share the gospel but we are so happy to see the doors that are being opened. PRAY THAT THERE WILL BE A KHMER MAN FROM WITHIN OUR CHURCH WHO WILL BE BURDENED FOR THE DEAF, BE WILLING TO COMMIT TO LEARN SIGN LANGUAGE, AND BE ABLE AND WILLING TO HELP LEAD THIS YOUNG MINISTRY ALONG SIDE OF MISS GRACE.
The folks in the Deaf class had a great time playing this game. It is my guess that they don’t have many occasions in their life when they can have fun like this in a safe environment. Obviously the teaching of God’s Word is the most important aspect of our time each week in the small group. However, the game time helps to create an environment that is conducive to reaching out to those who are not yet saved. When I asked them if they would like for me to post the video on our Facebook page they all responded that they would like that. I am hoping that they will forward the video to their Deaf friends who currently know nothing about the Lord. The Deaf here are very interested in videos and I think that over time we can be creative in the way we plant seeds through the use of video technology.
Every Saturday morning at 8:00 we have a brief meeting at the church before going out and making visits in the community. I don’t usually get the chance to attend the meeting due to the fact that my group normally leaves at 6:30 on Saturday mornings to go soul-winning in a village that is about 30 minutes from the city. We have to leave at that time in order to not get stuck in traffic for an hour. Yesterday Debbie and I were able to be in the meeting because we took a break from going to that village and made visits in Phnnom Penh instead. All together we had around 50-60 folks out making visits and soul-winning yesterday here in Phnom Penh and Psa Tricht. It’s difficult for some of the mothers with very young children to be able to participate which means we may need to begin having a Saturday morning nursery.
During my short devotional challenge at the Faithfulness Rally I encouraged everyone to keep their eyes open for folks who used to be a prospect but who have fallen away. Wouldn’t you know it – a few minutes later Debbie and I ran into BunSeang and Srey Iam on the street where they were walking close to the home we were visiting. They used to attend our church a little over a year ago, then problems in their family caused them to move away. They both profess to have accepted Christ. There seems to be little, if any, evidence that Srey Iam is saved but BunSeang seems to have a soft heart for the Lord. He told me that he has really missed being in church and desired to return but was too embarrassed because he was gone for so long and had returned to the world. (That normally happens when folks get out of church.) He told me that he has no peace because he has been away from God (That also happens when someone is saved but not living in obedience to the Lord.) He promised me that they would be in church Sunday morning. They were not able to make it to the morning service due to their work schedule but they did attend this evening for our Married Couple’s small group. PLEASE PRAY THAT THEY WILL BE FAITHFUL TO KEEP COMING TO CHURCH AND THAT IF THEY ARE NOT TRULY SAVED THEY WILL TURN FROM WHATEVER THEY ARE TRUSTING AND TRUST CHRIST.
It was a blessing to have Somalin and Somalen in the service this morning. They were reached through another church in another Province but have moved to Phnom Penh to further their education. Their pastor has recommended that they become a part of our church. Bro. Bounna and Thy are reaching out to them and helping them to feel at home here at Pacific Baptist. I’m sure that our church is a bit different than what they are accustomed to. There are actually two other young ladies from their church in that Province who were in our Singles small group this evening as well. PRAY THAT THESE YOUNG LADIES WILL FEEL COMFORTABLE HERE AT THE CHURCH, GET INVOLVED IN ONE OF THE MINISTRIES, AND BECOME A PART OF REACHING OTHERS FOR CHRIST.
Nary is 12 years old and she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour this weekend. She is the neighbor of Navy, a lady Debbie and I were blessed to reach with the gospel a few months ago. Navy has been bringing her to church for the past several weeks. Bro. Vannak took the initiative to witness to her and lead her to Christ. Nary has a very difficult life. Words could not adequately describe the environment in which she lives. I’m confident that the only people who actually care about this young lady and her well-being are the folks here at the church. Thank God for Navy and her willingness to reach out to this young girl. She is so young and vulnerable to so much of the danger and darkness that surrounds her. The likelihood that she will live a healthy life much past her teen years is slim unless there are changes made. Thank the Lord that she is now God’s child and He never forsakes His own. Today was her first time to sing with the children. She had memorized the words and was very excited to be able to join the group. You can see her singing in the video below. She is in the front row, second from the left. PRAY THAT NARY WILL GET PLUGGED INTO THE YOUNG GROUP AND THAT THE TEEN GIRLS HERE AT PACIFIC BAPTIST WILL TAKE HER UNDER THEIR WINGS AND HELP MODEL THE CHRISTIAN LIFE FOR HER.
Yesterday was the third week of training for our nursery workers. Most of these teen girls were reached with the gospel as children. Some of them come from backgrounds similar to that of Nary and would be living a much different life than they are now had someone here at the church not taken a personal interest in their lives and sought to win them to Christ. These are great girls and they all have such potential to live lives that are significant. I’m thankful for the time and effort Debbie and Thy put into training these girls to more effectively serve in the nursery. These girls all have such good attitudes for the Lord and for His work!
Srey Nak is one of our newly trained nursery workers. She was reached through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and is now 16 years old. Today was our first time to have a separate class for 2-3 year old children. I was obviously not in the class to witness her teaching for the first time, but Michelle gave us the report that Srey Nak did a fantastic job of keeping the children’s attention and following the schedule that Debbie had laid out for her. Good job Srey Nak! I would seriously doubt that there are more than one or two, if any, other churches here in Phnom Penh that have an actual Bible class for 2-3 year old children. It is not something that would ever occur to most parents who live in this country. In many churches children this age run up and down the aisles during the adult service IF they even make it to church. Most of the time they would be left at home. It’s a blessing that we have the chance to invest into the lives of the youngest among us. I often teach the parents (and those who are still single but who will one day become a parent) that it is not the church’s responsibility to teach their children. The church should simply help to reinforce truths that are being taught in the home by the parents! I’m thankful that a number of our families are understanding this and taking their role as a Christian parent seriously. PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR TEEN GIRLS WHO WILL BE TEACHING THIS NEW CLASS ON A ROTATING SCHEDULE.
We had a great time in our Phnom Penh married couples small group this evening. Almost every person present this evening had already invested the entire day serving in the ministry in one way or another. We are so blessed to see the faithfulness of the national believers and their willingness to follow and be led. These are a great group of folks and it is a blessing to see them growing in the Lord. This evening I taught from Judges 2:10 on the topic of “A generation who knew not the Lord.” We discovered that the reason they didn’t know the Lord could be traced back to the fact that the spiritual leaders and the parents had failed to obey God’s commands. The spiritual leaders were to teach the people the difference between the “holy” and the “profane.” The parents, in particular the fathers, were to teach their children God’s Word in the home. When Pastors and Parents become sidetracked by less important things in life, the next generation always pays the price.
One ought not to wonder why American citizens are faced with the choices they are faced with in our elections this year. Psalm 11:3 says If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? America was founded on a firm foundation but for many years the foundation has been eroding while much of the church slept and in some cases was complicit with the erosion. Some of the nonsense that is going on right now and being publicized in international media is being used by the enemy to cause confusion among those who are lost here in this part of the world. THERE IS AN ALMOST UNIVERSAL ASSUMPTION HERE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA THAT ALL AMERICANS ARE CHRISTIANS. Many do not understand that the United States does not have a national religion. You can imagine the type of questions that are raised here when filth, debauchery, and corruption is exposed and publicly rationalized away by pragmatic and apologetic professing Christians. It places us, as Americans, in a difficult position as we try to deal with non-believers and teach them of God’s grace, mercy, holiness, forgiveness, and the power of the gospel to change lives while at the same time witnessing the events that are taking place in “Christian America.” Just a little something to think about…
Now – back to something a little more encouraging…Our married couples had a fun time playing this game tonight. I’ve included the video for their benefit as several of them will enjoy seeing themselves laughing and enjoying fellowship.
We had 21 singles in our Phnom Penh Singles small group this evening. There were at least five young adults that I can think of who were absent this evening. Bro. Bounna and Thy are doing a great job shepherding this group. If we could ever get everyone to come at the same time we would have real problems fitting them into the room. I’m looking forward to the day when, very soon, this group will have to change locations!
We had 35 teens in the teen service this evening. Bro. Adrian is doing a great job leading this group. The vast majority of these teens were in church and serving in various ministries throughout the day from early this morning all the way through this evening. They are definitely tired by the time Sunday evening rolls around. I give them a lot of credit for showing up with great attitudes and smiles!
Without a doubt, the key to reaching a nation with the gospel is found in reaching and discipling nationals to reach their own people with the gospel. By God’s grace we are seeing this happen here at Pacific Baptist. We take seriously the task of the Great Commission and are not content to simply “win” a sinner to Christ. We realize that Christ is not honored by simply filling up a building with a crowd. He desires and has commanded that we train the new convert to know Him and obey His Word. It was a blessing for me to be able to go soul-winning with Bro. Sinath this past week as he went to go witness to a prospect about 30 minutes from the church. Sinath and so many other national believers are such an encouragement to our family and to our team. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR OUR NATIONAL BELIEVERS TO BE FAITHFUL TO LEAD THEIR OWN FAMILIES FOR THE LORD WHILE AT THE SAME TIME OBEYING THE GREAT COMMISSION.
We continue to be blessed by what God is doing in Stung MeanChey. As you know, our folks have been reaching out to Stung MeanChey for awhile now. We began holding public services there a couple of months ago. Today there was standing room only in the Adult / Teen service! Bro. Man and his workers are doing a great job while serving in a very challenging part of town.
This past Thursday evening was our first time to hold an evening mid-week service in Stung MeanChey. Here, the men are gathering together to pray before the service. This picture would have never been possible had the gospel not changed the lives of these men. Culturally speaking, this group should not even exist – There are Khmer and Cham, old and young, middle class and the very poor, all meeting together in love and unity. This is only possible because of the love of Christ that has shined into their hearts! (2 Corinthians 4:6)
I had the privilege to preach for our first evening mid-week service. It was a blessing to have 26 folks from Stung MeanChey in attendance. This is not including my family and three other folks from Phnom Penh who tagged along. There were 18 adults, 2 teens, and 6 children who joined the service. There were other adults from Stung MeanChey who desired to attend but were prevented from doing so due to their work and school schedules. The electric had been off in that entire part of town since 2:00 and we were actually sitting in the dark in this picture using only candles. When the men met to pray before the service, they prayed that the electric would come on – – It did – – Three minutes before I got up to preach! PRAY THAT THIS MID-WEEK SERVICE WILL BE JUST ANOTHER TOOL TO HELP GROUND THE NEW BELIEVERS IN STUNG MEANCHEY.
Kanha and Phalley joyfully cooked soup in the kitchen just off of the auditorium for the folks to enjoy after the service. They are both godly young wives who were reached with the gospel through Pacific Baptist Church. They were both married here in the church and are both now expecting their first baby. Their testimony for the Lord and their support in the ministry definitely make it possible for their husbands, Man and Kosal, to effectively lead this new ministry! They are a gift to their husbands and a gift to our church! PLEASE PRAY FOR KANHA AND PHALLEY TO HAVE GOD’S PROTECTION OVER THEIR PREGNANCIES.
It was a real blessing for us to be able to spend some time with Bro. West and Bro. Kerin yesterday as they visited us here in Cambodia. They have both been a real encouragement to my home church and pastor. Bro. West has been used by God to help save our home church thousands of dollars as they are building a new building. He has a ministry that mobilizes men from around the country to donate their construction skills to local churches. I’ve often heard Pastor Esposito mention, not just from the pulpit but also directly to me, what a blessing Bro. West has been. It was a pleasure for us to be able to show him just a small glimpse of what God is doing here in Cambodia! We were refreshed by their spirits and their desire to see the lost reached with the gospel.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
October 9, 2016
We had a wonderful day today here in Cambodia. It started out a bit slow here in Phnom Penh and I was wondering if everyone had moved or something. However, the auditorium filled up about twenty minutes after the service started. I think all the rain and sickness here in Cambodia has everyone just a bit under the weather. Once we got going the service picked up momentum and we had a wonderful time.
We have been reaching out to Heng for the past several weeks. We met him just last month. While I was in a “creative access” country recently I kept in touch with him through phone calls and we are working hard to win his heart. He works six days a week from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Sunday is his only day off and that makes it a bit difficult to find the time to meet with him for any extended period of time. We don’t normally invite the lost to attend church when they have not had any background with Christianity as it is always better to present the gospel to them in their homes. I know that he was totally lost today during the service and likely a bit uncomfortable. He said that he will return next Sunday with his wife, Mara, and their three children. We have made plans to go out to eat together after the service. PLEASE PRAY THAT HENG AND MARA WILL UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED.
We have been reaching out to 24 year old Pheaktra for the past year. He works at a local coffee shop that we frequent on our date night. This past week we had the opportunity to meet with him for an extended period of time because he had no customers. He planned to be in the service this morning but he got lost and returned back home after he could not reach us on the cell phone. (It came as a shock to him that my cell phone would be turned off while I am preaching 🙂 ) I returned his call after the morning service and helped him find our place. He joined our family for lunch today and, again, I had the opportunity to witness to him. He told me that the reason he is interested in the gospel is because of the example he has seen in our lives while we are on our date night and in his coffee shop. He said that he has never seen married people who are happy and he desires to have that kind of happiness in his life. You never know who is watching you and what they perceive about your life. PLEASE PRAY THAT PHEAKTRA WILL UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND RESPOND TO THE WORKING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HIS HEART.
This evening we heard reports from three of our outreach ministries. SreyMohm shared about the progress of the work in Stung MeanChey as well as her gratitude to God for allowing her family to have a part in the work of the Lord.
Jason gave us an update on the outreach in Ta Skov Village. It is definitely a blessing for us to see him faithfully involved in that ministry each week. Brother Taiwan, the national man in charge of the Ta Skov Village outreach, has asked Jason to preach there in the village every other week. It sure would be nice if Debbie and I would have the opportunity to hear him one of these days.
Brother Bounna gave us a report on the work in Psa Tricht Village. He noted that the nationals who are leading that work are growing in their ability to lead their own people. He told us that even though there were a number of folks sick and not at the church today the auditorium there was full!
Yesterday a few of the ladies gathered together for a baby shower for Phalley. Phalley and her husband, Kosal, were married here at the church this past year and are both very faithfully involved in the ministry. Kosal works as an English professor at one of the premier English schools here in Phnom Penh and Phalley is a homemaker. They both serve together in the new Stung MeanChey outreach as well as other areas where they are needed. This evening Kosal preached for our Sunday evening service here in Phnom Penh. We are thankful for this young couple. Their lives are about to change with the birth of their soon-to-arrive baby girl! PLEASE PRAY FOR PHALLEY’S SAFETY AS SHE GIVES BIRTH AT THE END OF THIS MONTH.
We rejoiced to have the opportunity to celebrate Tara’s graduation a couple of weeks ago. He graduated with his Master’s Degree. Tara teaches undergraduate classes at his university and we were also happy to have the opportunity to meet a few of his students who were graduating at the same time. He presently teaches a combined total of around 900 students each week. Tara and SreyMohm have been saved just over a year now and are a wonderful testimony of the power of God to change lives. Debbie has the opportunity to teach their youngest daughter, Srey Roth, the piano. Both Tara and SreyMohm are helping to serve in the new outreach in Stung MeanChey and are a blessing to the folks there in that ministry. PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS FAMILY AS THEY CONTINUE TO GROW IN THE LORD. The devil would love to try and cause them to stumble as there are a lot of people watching their example.
There has been A LOT of sickness going around here in Cambodia. Even as I write this update we have two of our members’ babies in the hospital. One has dengue fever and the other one has been having seizures and a high fever. Several of the adults are quite sick right now as well. Michelle (in the blue shirt) has been here in Cambodia serving for the past 5 months. Eating the wrong food finally caught up with her! She had the opportunity here in this picture to experience what it is like to be in the hospital here in Cambodia! Even though she is having serious stomach cramps in this picture she still has a smile on her face. It’s a pleasure to serve along side Michelle and many others here who, despite facing difficulties, continue to smile and go on for the Lord. PRAY FOR MICHELLE TO FULLY RECOVER. Sometimes foodborne illness here can drag on for a long time. She made it to church this morning but stayed home this evening as she was not feeling well.
In our last update we asked you to pray for Ta Lote and his salvation. I’ve been back to see him a couple of times since that update. It seems that he is coming to understand what it means to be be saved and he is rejecting it. He told me that there is no way that he can give up his god and accept Jesus Christ. It is not likely that he will be willing to spend much more time talking with me. I plan to try and drop in on him from time to time. This is particularly sad due to the fact that he plainly told me that his god (idols) has never helped him and constantly demands that he make sacrifices and do good works in order to gain merit for his “next life.” The issues for him is that he feels he can not turn his back on what he has believed for his entire life. It is sad to see him continue to live without God and without hope. (Ephesians 2:12)
Please continue to pray for the Stung MeanChey outreach. Beginning a new ministry is always a slow process and requires a lot of time and effort. Brother Man and his wife, Kanha, as well as Brother Kosal and his wife, Phalley, are going a wonderful job of loving their own people and investing in their lives. The Children’s Ministry and Adult class is going well and continues to be led by the nationals.
We are beginning two ministries in Stung MeanChey beginning this week. This coming Thursday we will begin having an evening mid-week service. The Stung MeanChey national leaders will only speak in this service once a month. The other weeks we will have various leaders from our other churches in Phnom Penh and Psa Tricht. This will give the Stung MeanChey folks an opportunity to be influenced by a broader group of leaders. It will also help our national leaders who are not part of the Stung MeanChey outreach to have a part in that ministry. Debbie and I will have the opportunity to go teach for the first service this coming Thursday. Additionally, Bro. Man and Kosal are beginning a new teen service in Stung MeanChey this coming Sunday at 11:00 a.m. We have a good group of teens who have been reached through the Stung MeanChey ministry and this new service will help disciple them. It is likely that a couple of our Phnom Penh teens will join with that service in order to help the newer believers grow. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE NEW MID-WEEK SERVICE FOR ADULTS AND THE NEW TEEN SERVICE TO BE EFFECTIVE TOOLS TO HELP GROUND NEW BELIEVERS IN THE LORD.
This coming Sunday afternoon we are planning to begin a new small group especially for the deaf. We took this picture last year when we had a special day and had a large group of deaf who attended. The majority of these folks do not attend church but will visit on occasion. Miss Grace (in the green dress) has been working with the deaf now for over a year and has won several in this group to the Lord. She feels that beginning this new group will help us to see more deaf won to Christ as well as see those who are saved get grounded. There are a couple of cults here that are targeting the deaf and causing a lot of confusion to some of them. We plan to start the group in our home and run it just like we run our Sunday evening small groups. Lord willing it will prove to be an effective tool to reach this unreached people group here in Cambodia. It is my understanding that there are around 85,000 deaf in Cambodia. We have been told that only about 2% of them have access to learning Cambodian Sign Language. Imagine the impact that our church could have in the deaf community if just a handful of these folks were to be saved and discipled to walk with God and reach their own people. Though I will be the one teaching in the small group, Miss Grace is really the one who is working with them day in and day out. PLEASE PRAY THAT GRACE AND MYSELF WILL HAVE WISDOM AS WE BEGIN THIS NEW GROUP.
One of the most important ministries in the church is the nursery and some of the most valuable workers in the church are the ladies who serve in that ministry! We are so thankful to have about 30 different ladies and teen girls who serve in our nurseries. Their task is not an easy one. So many of the toddlers who come to church with their parents or siblings come from homes where there is virtually no structure and definitely no Biblical discipline. This makes the nursery workers job even more of a challenge as we strive to have the nursery run decently and in order. Most of our faithful parents, especially those who are a part of our married couple’s small group, are growing in their understanding of Biblical parenting and are making great strides with their young children.
In order to help the nursery ministry become more effective Debbie has begun training and recruiting new workers. This past week she held training for several young teen girls who will begin teaching the 2-3 year old class on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. We hope to begin the new class for 2-3 year old children starting this next Sunday. This new expansion will afford a great opportunity for these young ladies to learn how to work with children. It will also be great training for when they become mothers themselves.
Winning and discipling nationals is the most important task of a missionary. A country will only be reached with the gospel as the nationals are reached and see their responsibility to personally obey Christ’s command to GO WITH THE GOSPEL, BAPTIZE NEW BELIEVERS, and MAKE DISCIPLES. One of the joys of serving with fellow team members in the ministry is the opportunity to have a broad sphere of influence and to have it in more than just one location. This past week we had the opportunity to serve in a “creative access” country here in Southeast Asia as we filled in for the missionary while they are in the States for a short time. It was a joy to see what God is allowing our team there in that country to accomplish for His glory.
I had the opportunity to teach and preach 10 different times. It was a blessing to see the hunger of these young believers to know the Word of God. The young man in the red shirt translated for me and did a good job.
This young man is a star athlete and has won 4 national gold medals in his particular sport. He is a new believer but desires to be faithful to the Lord. The director of his school recently told the other students that if any of them listened to him talk about Jesus or dared to even visit the church then they would be expelled from the school. Furthermore, he told this young man that if even one more student in the school became a Christian then he would be expelled. There are presently only 2 Christians in the entire school. I seriously doubt that the school would actually expel him due to the fact that he is rated number one in the entire country in his particular sport. However, you can see the pressure and persecution that so many of these folks live with when they become a Christian. It was a blessing to see him smiling while sharing his testimony of his desire to live for the Lord! PLEASE HELP PRAY FOR PERSECUTED BELIEVERS HERE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA WHO ARE TAKING A STAND FOR THE LORD.
I had the opportunity to teach these students Monday-Thursday in for 3-4 hours each morning. I taught on the topic of “Bible Study Methods” as well as “Spiritual Leadership.” It’s always refreshing to teach young people who have to make a special effort to be in class. Each of these young adults face serious persecution for their faith every time they engage in public ministry yet they are beginning to really get a vision of what God wants to do in and through their lives in their own country. The lady who translated for me during these classes has spent time in jail for publicly sharing her faith in Jesus Christ yet she remains a joyful servant of the Lord.
These four young men are from another ministry of like faith in the area and joined in our Bible Institute training each morning. Their pastor, though still a young adult man, has been arrested in the past because of his faith and for gathering folks together for church. It was a joy to have them join together with us.
The young folks who were in class each morning have a lot of potential to reach their own people if they will remain faithful and obedient to the Lord. I’m looking forward to discussing further with our team there in the “creative access” country about further ways that we can help them to develop their members who feel called to full-time Christian service.
Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason had the opportunity to interact with the students who study English in the English school that is run by our team mates. It gave the students the chance to speak with native English speakers from America as well as be asked questions in English. Most of the students in the school are not saved. After one of the sessions one of the national leaders actually had the opportunity to present the plan of salvation.
While in that country we had the opportunity to visit with a national preacher and his wife who live way out in the country. We were told that this man often rides his bike from province to province sharing the gospel and preaching in churches. We were touched by the poverty of his family and by his dedication to the Lord’s work. Sadly, it does seem that he and other national leaders are lacking in so much of the training that is available in the west when it comes to knowing how to effectively and Biblically lead the family and the church. Those of us from the west often take for granted the many conferences, books, mp3 sermons, and other resources that are available to us any time we want them. So many folks in much of the world have access to none of those tools.
While there we were able to do some premarital counseling with this young couple. Our hearts really go out to them as they have never really seen how a family is supposed to interact. I think they will likely face a very difficult marriage and family life. It is our hope that they will allow some of the leaders there to influence them. PRAY FOR THIS YOUNG COUPLE AS THEY DO NOT HAVE A CLEAR TESTIMONY OF SALVATION.
It was a joy to be able to visit a village ministry that our team has started about 90 minutes outside of the city. In order to get there we had to cross over the river on a ferry. That was not as fun as it sounds. 🙂
The young man who started and is leading this village ministry is doing a great job. Though he is only 21 years old he has a real burden to see his home village know the Lord. He started this outreach 5 months ago and they are running about 35 folks. As he continues to walk with the Lord and grow in his ability to interact with people, I believe that God will use him in a great way. It was a joy to watch the young people sit for nearly three hours as they sang and listened to the Word of God taught.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
September 18, 2016
You can click on the video below to get an update from this weekend along with a sampling of some of the special music in the Khmer language.
We had a wonderful service here in Phnom Penh this Sunday morning. It’s always a blessing to have the opportunity to meet together in the Lord’s house and see folks from different walks of life fellowship together in Christian love and unity. We are always thankful for the safety God grants to those who travel to get to church as well as for the safety we enjoy while everyone is here on the property.
Thank the Lord for 12 folks who followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism. Here in Southeast Asia it is common for the persecution to begin once a believer takes the step of baptism. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE FOLKS WHO WERE BAPTIZED TO BE FAITHFUL IN THEIR WALK WITH THE LORD AND IN THEIR TESTIMONY AMONG THEIR LOST FAMILY MEMBERS.
These folks sang a song reminding us that the Lord is returning and that is is important for everyone to be ready. We are blessed by their faithfulness to the Lord. Several of the folks in this group have experienced in the past, or are at the present time experiencing great persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Nearly everyone in this picture was saved out of Islam. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE FOLKS IN PSA TRICHT VILLAGE TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD.
Bro. Vong, Bro. Sinath, and Bro. Chhay are doing a great job working with the folks from PreyBang village. In recent days there has been a group of Koreans pursuing our members who live in this village and a couple of villages nearby. They use their normal method of trying to “buy” converts to their group by offering the nationals gifts and finances in order to join with them. Some fringe folks were lured away for a short time but once they actually attended that “church” they discovered there was no substance to their message and no true love for the Lord. They discovered that they were merely being used for the purposes of that group. Groups like that are somewhat common here in this part of the world. Thankfully they don’t normally speak the language and have to hire translators (that tells the thinking national a lot right there when someone does not care about them enough to even bother to learn the language and culture). I don’t think anyone in this picture was part of that group. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR BRO. SINATH AND THE FOLKS IN PREYBANG VILLAGE.
This group of children did a fantastic job of singing a song entitled “Sunday is Here!” The song talks about the joy that believers experience when they gather together on the Lord’s day in the Lord’s house. Mrs. Has and Susanna Esposito are doing a great job working with these children. It is a blessing to be a part of church that places value upon children. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN WHO ARE A PART OF THE CHURCH HERE IN PHNOM PENH.
Our English ensemble sang the song “We Choose the Fear of the Lord” based on Proverbs 9:10 which says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” This group invested a lot of time learning this song and I believe the Lord was glorified through their singing. Every one of the young people in this group not only go to school full-time but they are also very involved in ministry here at the church. Some of them teach in the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. Some of them travel each week several hours to minister in villages outside of Phnom Penh. Mrs. Board is doing a great job leading and developing this group.
These folks are part of our newest outreach in Stung MeanChey. Ten of those in this picture are new believers who have been saved only a few months. We are blessed to see how God is working in Stung MeanChey through this ministry outreach. It is a difficult area in which to minister due to the pervasive poverty and the saturation of NGO groups and various “churches.” PLEASE REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR BRO. MAN AND HIS WIFE, KAHNA, AS WELL AS BRO. KOSAL AND HIS WIFE, PHALLEY, AS THEY INVEST THEIR LIVES IN THIS NEW OUTREACH.
This was Phary’s first time to attend a service here in Phnom Penh. Her son, Phanya, was saved and baptized a few months ago. She accepted Christ within the past few weeks and has been studying with Bro. Sinath and the folks in PreyBang village. Phary has six children and it is my understanding that her husband was recently laid off of his construction job. Her life is a difficult one. It was good to see her in church this morning with a smile. PRAY FOR PHARY AND THE MANY OTHER LADIES IN OUR CHURCH WHO HAVE UNBELIEVING HUSBANDS.
Ra and his wife, SreyPich, shared a testimony during the service of how they came to Christ and the changes that have taken place since coming to know the Lord. They were both saved out of Islam and continue to live in a village that is entirely Muslim. Ra works as an electronics repairman but is really thinking about what God would have for his future. PRAY FOR THIS YOUNG COUPLE AS THEY PURSUE GOD’S WILL FOR THEIR LIVES.
Ta Sakrut shared his testimony of salvation this morning. I gave him a 5 minute allotment to share whatever God placed on his heart – 19 minutes later he was done sharing! 🙂 Things tend to go that way sometimes. I can truly say that his testimony was the highlight of our service. As a retired University professor he is not only eloquent in his speaking but he has a real gift to know how to connect with people. He is in his 70’s, retired, and not in the best of health, but is full of the joy of the Lord! He has been saved for less than 5 months. In his testimony he gave some details of his search for truth and for God over these many years. He was reached through door-to-door soul-winning as Bro. Man and other nationals took the time over several weeks to help him see his need of salvation. He shared that once he came to the belief that Jesus is God and the only way to have his sins forgiven was to trust the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, he then took all of his idols, amulets, and other occultic items and destroyed them. His children all think he is crazy but he said he will never return to idols and the devil. He challenged each of us to be zealous in our witness to the lost. As he grows in his understanding of the Word of God and his walk with the Lord, I would love to have him write some booklets in Khmer dealing with various aspects of faith and practice. PLEASE PRAY THAT HE WILL HAVE THE NECESSARY HEALTH TO BE ABLE TO HELP US PUT INTO WRITING SOME MATERIALS IN KHMER THAT WILL HELP DISCIPLE AND STRENGTHEN THE FAITH OF CAMBODIAN BELIEVERS FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.
Those of you who speak Khmer may want to listen to Ta Sakrut’s testimony on the video below. Due to the noise taking place Sunday morning next to our church there are a few times when it is hard to hear him, but for the most part his voice is clear. Keep in mind that he has only been saved for a little over 4 months and is still growing in his understanding of the Word of God. That being said, it is amazing to hear him talking about things that none of us have ever taught him – It must be that he has a special Teacher from above! 🙂
Both is a senior this year and studies in a private school here in Phnom Penh. Lord willing, I will begin meeting with him one-on-one this Wednesday afternoon. He was won to Christ through the example of his English professor and he has been faithful to as many church services as possible. He has a lot of restrictions and is unable to be a part of much of what goes on here at the church due to the fact that his family does not know Christ. PRAY THAT GOD WILL BLESS OUR WEEKLY TIME OF DISCIPLESHIP AND THAT BOTH WILL TAKE A STRONG STAND FOR THE LORD IN HIS OWN FAMILY.
We met Saroeun and his wife, Chanthy, Saturday morning while making visits in their village. Saroeun used to attend some type of church several years ago for about 6 months but has no understanding of salvation. We were able to spend quite a bit of time showing him some verses that we hope will cause him to take the Lord seriously. Chanthy was kind to us but point blank told us that she has no interest in knowing anything about Jesus Christ. However, she laid on the hammock and listened as I spoke to her husband. I hope to meet with Sarouen very soon. PRAY THAT SAROEUN AND CHANTHY WILL COME TO SEE THEIR NEED OF SALVATION AND BE SAVED.
We were also able to meet 87 year old Ta Lote and his wife, Yey Bo. He was very receptive to everything we taught him. After spending perhaps 30-40 minutes talking to him, the rest of our team (Bro. Sinath, Jeremy, and Ra) met up with us and were able to help talk to them as well. Sunday afternoon I brought them an MP3 player with teaching to help awaken him to his need of salvation. He admitted to me that after many many years of following his religion and trying to earn merit – he has ultimately been left with no hope. He certainly has no expectation of ever making it to Heaven. I hope to return to his house again Tuesday morning. PRAY THAT THIS ELDERLY COUPLE WILL HAVE THE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND A HEART TO RECEIVE IT AS TRUTH.
This week 7 new mp3 players were distributed to different families. Two of the units went to new believers and were loaded with preaching to help them in their walk with the Lord. Five of the units went to non-believers with whom the nationals are presently working. The teaching on those units will be useful in helping to awaken them to their guilt before God and their need for a personal Saviour. Wednesday morning we will be swapping SD memory cards with 10 other families who are already saved and faithfully serving the Lord. These cards will be loaded with new preaching that they have not yet heard. We want to thank those who have given to help provide mp3 players, Bibles, and other materials for the benefit of the lost and the newly saved. PLEASE PRAY THAT THE 5 UNITS THAT WENT TO THE LOST WILL BE USED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO BRING ABOUT CONVICTION IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO LISTEN TO THE PREACHING AND TEACHING.
We will be leaving in a few days to go teach and preach in a “creative access nation” where our team has planted a new church. We plan to be gone for about 10 days during which time we will have the opportunity to teach on Christian leadership as well as teach the entire book of Philippians. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAFETY WHILE SERVING IN THAT COUNTRY AS WELL AS FOR THE WORD OF GOD TO BEAR FRUIT THAT REMAINS IN THE LIVES OF THE NATIONAL BELIEVERS WE WILL BE DISCIPLING.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
August 14, 2016
This week we are posting a video rather than a written update. There is so much going on here and it’s difficult to keep up with it all at times. Thank you for continuing to pray for the work that God is doing here.
This video will introduce you to a few new folks as well as give you an update on the new work started in Stung MeanChey!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
August 8, 2016
Our Phnom Penh service opened on Sunday morning with the ladies group singing the hymn “Burdens are Lifted at Calvary.” Thank the Lord for the freedom that is available in Christ because of Calvary. We are grateful for the part that you are playing in helping to provide spiritual freedom to the people of Southeast Asia.
Our services went very well this weekend. It is always an amazing and humbling thing for us to see so many folks not just come to church every Sunday but also give their entire day to the Lord. We are planning to have a worker’s fellowship soon for all of those who volunteer to serve the Lord in the various ministries God has entrusted to us, but we are realizing that it is going to be a difficult thing to do due to the large number of folks who are involved. We will likely have to split the workers up into two or three different groups. As full as the schedule is, that might be a real challenge.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world…these things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:11, 12, 15
Sunday morning I spoke on the dangers that the simple person faces as well as the solution to stop being simple and become wise. The message was very direct and pointed especially at the parents who were in the congregation. We have to, on purpose, warn and direct many of the parents in the way of the Lord. Biblical parenting is virtually unheard of here in this country even among the majority of those who claim to be Christian. The message confronted and challenged several aspects of the Cambodian culture and I wasn’t entirely confident that it would be well received. In a loving way at the close of the morning message I reminded our church that no one is making them attend our church and that there are other options in Phnom Penh, and if they didn’t like to have direct preaching they could certainly find a church that would tell them what they wanted to hear. I’ve never said something like that to our folks but it seemed appropriate due to the issues that I had addressed in the message. It was a blessing on Sunday evening to see the church packed once again with smiling faces and to hear several share testimonies of their gratitude to the Lord for saving them and allowing them to be a part of a church family that works hard to help the next generation succeed for the Lord. During our couples small group on Sunday evening one of the wives thanked the Lord that they are not left to try and parent their children alone. They feel like they have a team (the church) that is helping them to guide their children. That was a blessing for us to hear.
It is always a blessing to see the young children of our faithful families being taught the Word of God as well as how to serve the Lord. Debbie and Sue worked with these children over the past couple of weeks to teach them the song “One Way God Said to Get to Heaven.” They sang for us Sunday morning and did a good job!
Lord willing we will be splitting the baby nursery from the toddlers (2-3 year olds) in September. We have so many ladies who are expecting babies that if we don’t get a handle on the younger kids soon we will be in serious trouble. It will bring a whole new dimension to the nursery as well as provide new opportunities for our young ladies to learn how to teach children.
There are so many fresh and challenging testimonies that we could share with you of the faithfulness of the folks here in Cambodia but we will only share four of them with you in this update.
SreyTouch was saved several months ago and has been very faithful despite facing persecution from her husband and extended family. It’s been such a blessing to see her joyful spirit and smile as she always jumps right in and serves anywhere she is able and needed. During our couples small group last night she shared how that her husband and family members are putting serious pressure on her to leave our church. They would be totally fine with her going to a number of other churches where there is little, if any, preaching but they don’t like the fact that she is learning the Word of God and applying it in her daily life. She constantly faces opposition from her husband when she tries to bring her children to church, although they love it every time they come. Her family is trying every method possible to get her to quit church and “quit” being a Christian. This past week they even went so far as to hire a witch doctor to place a spell on her to cause her to quit. Who knows, they probably placed a spell on all of us as well. Despite all that she faces at home she remains joyful and burdened for her family to be saved. PLEASE PRAY FOR SREYTOUCH TO BE PROTECTED AND FAITHFUL TO THE LORD AS SHE SEEKS TO LET HER LIGHT SHINE IN THE DARKNESS OF HER OWN FAMILY.
We led Navy to Christ a couple of months ago and she has been growing in the Lord ever since. Each Monday morning Debbie and I meet with her and teach her the basic steps of walking with the Lord. This morning she shared with us of an incident that happened to her yesterday after the morning service as she and her two children were walking back home through the neighborhood. It’s a well known fact that Navy’s family is very poor. Her husband leaves for work every morning at about 5:30 and walks about 30 minutes while pushing his ice cream cart to a specific location where he remains until around 6:00 in the evening when he pushes the cart back home. At that point he spends the next 4 hours making ice cream to sell the next day. If he takes a day off it is likely the family won’t eat the next day. It’s been encouraging to see the ladies in the church, of their own initiative, take clothing to Navy for herself and her children.
As she walked home from church she walked past a new business that had just opened. The business owners had just performed a Buddhist ritual that involves sacrificing a chicken on an altar to the ancestral spirits. (The altar looked similar to the one pictured above.) Seeing Navy and knowing that she is poor, they offered to give her the chicken so that her children could eat it for lunch. Navy boldly told them that she is a Christian and that she will not knowingly eat food that is offered to idols and kindly declined their offer. Without a doubt the chicken would have cost more money than she would even dream of spending on a single meal. Turning down the chicken meant returning home and eating whatever food they could scrounge up but it certainly would not be equivalent to a chicken dinner. As Navy shared this incident with us this morning she said, “No one ever taught me not to eat that chicken but God told me in my heart that He didn’t want me to be involved with anything that relates to the devil and false religion. That’s why I told them I would not accept it.” Wow! May we all have hearts as sensitive as Navy’s. PRAY FOR NAVY AS SHE SEEKS TO BE A GOOD TESTIMONY TO HER LOST HUSBAND, SOK.
Tara and SreyMohm were saved several months ago and have been growing spiritual by leaps and bounds. Each Tuesday afternoon I meet with them and answer questions they have about the Bible as well as teach them from our church discipleship curriculum for new believers. Tara is a university professor and is bold in his witness on the job. This past week he had the opportunity to sit down with Rithy, a fellow professor, and discuss his faith in Jesus Christ. Rithy had many questions; some of which Tara was able to answer and some which he could not yet answer. It was a blessing to hear Tara tell me how he used things he learned from my message last Sunday to confront Rithy with his need of salvation. Thank God for Tara and SreyMohm’s bold testimony and their servant spirit. PLEASE PRAY FOR TARA TO HAVE WISDOM AS HE CONTINUES TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REACH OUT TO RITHY WITH THE GOSPEL.
Sane is a faithful young adult man. He and his entire family were reached with the gospel about four years ago. Every Sunday and Thursday he drives a Tuk Tuk to pick folks up from Chumga Village and take them to the Psa Tricht Church. After the Sunday morning service in Psa Tricht he and another national man, Chhay, drive 71 kilomoters one-way to the church in Prey Bang Village in order to lead the Children’s Ministry there. Then they return back to Psa Tricht in time for the evening service. Recently Sane and Chhay have become burdened for all the families that they pass along the road as they travel 71 kilometers to Prey Bang. They have decided that rather than taking a short nap between the Psa Tricht service and the time they leave for Prey Bang, they will leave early in order to spend 20-30 minutes going door-to-door handing out tracts to the several hundred homes along the road. I preached at the Psa Tricht Church last Sunday and took this picture of Sane as he cheerfully changed the tire that went flat just before they arrived to the church. He didn’t get done changing it until the service was nearly half over. Thank God for faithful young adults who are willing to invest in the lives of others. PRAY FOR GOD’S CONTINUED DIRECTION IN SANE’S LIFE.
Soveat is a friend of one of the new Christians here in Phnom Penh. Yesterday was her second time to attend our church and she listened intently to the testimonies and preaching. Saturday evening Kanha spent about 2 hours answering some of the many questions that she has about the Bible and about the gospel. As a Chinese-Cambodian her family is deeply steeped in Buddhism and ancestral worship but as a young adult she realizes that she has to make her own choice. It would seem that God is really dealing with her heart and that she is close to being saved. PLEASE PRAY FOR KANHA AND OTHERS TO HAVE WISDOM AND COMPASSION AS THEY CONTINUE TO PATIENTLY LEAD SOVEAT TO THE LORD.
Saroeun recently graduated from university with a degree in Computer Technology. He is friends with Oudom, one of the single young adult men in our Phnom Penh Church. Yesterday was his first time to visit our church. After the service he requested to meet with me and told me that he has been to several churches in the past but has never seen anything quite like what he saw and experienced during the service that morning. He told me that he had never heard the type of preaching that we have here and that it really spoke to his heart. He is not clear on salvation and has asked to meet with we to further discuss what it means to be saved. We have an appointment to meet together this coming Saturday morning at 11:30. PRAY THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL BE AT WORK IN SAROEUN’S HEART AND THAT HE WILL GAIN THE ASSURANCE OF HIS SALVATION. LIKEWISE, PLEASE PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO CONNECT WITH HIM AND SEE HIM BECOME A FAITHFUL MEMBER OF THE CHURCH FAMILY.
Every Saturday morning we will normally have around 50-60 folks who break up into groups and go out soul-winning in Phnom Penh and in the villages around Psa Tricht. My group leaves at 6:40 and includes myself, Debbie, Jeremy, and two or three of our national men. For the past several weeks we have been traveling to a particular village that is located about 40 minutes from Phnom Penh. Ra, the young man in white, has had the opportunity to witness to Wang and SokLang on several occasions now and this week he brought me to meet them. We tag-teamed together as we presented the plan of salvation to this couple. Wang finally expressed that he believed everything we were teaching him. However, when I asked him if he was ready to turn from his idols to the living God, he said that he was not ready to stop sacrificing to his ancestors. It is clear that he understands the gospel and knows that he can’t be a child of God while continuing to place his trust in the spirits. PRAY THAT WANG AND SOKLANG WILL WELCOME US INTO THEIR HOME ONCE AGAIN AND THAT THEY WILL STOP RESISTING THE CONVICTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THEIR HEARTS AND BE SAVED.
Sovann and Sina are the parents of Veasna, one of our very faithful 18-year-old young men here in Phnom Penh. Veasna was reached with the gospel through our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry about 5 years ago and today faithfully serves in several ministries in the church including preaching several times a week in various children’s outreaches. Sovann and Sina were saved this past year through the faithful testimony of Veasna. Their work schedules are very tight and they have very little, if any, free time. They work 7 days a week from early morning until into the evening. Since starting our Sunday evening small groups Sovann has made it a priority to become a part of our married couples group. We were so excited to see him bring Sina with him last night. I’m not sure what has changed to make it so that she didn’t have to work but she looked like she was having a great time. When our group was over Sovann told me that she will be back again next week. During the time when we share blessings he told our group that he was so happy that his wife could join the group. He told us all that even though she has never been able to attend church because of her job she faithfully listens to the MP3 preaching that we have provided for her. PRAY THAT SOVANN AND SINA WILL BE ABLE TO HAVE THE TIME TO GET MORE PLUGGED INTO THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH FAMILY.
Each week during our couples small group we teach a lesson dealing with the family and the responsibilities that we have as outlined in the Word of God. Virtually everything I teach is new to the members of our group due to the fact that they have not been saved that long nor did any of them grow up in a Christian family. Last night we dealt with the role that a father and a mother each play and how that role uniquely relates to their son and to their daughter. So many of the people in our group have been serving in various ministries throughout the day and they are often very tired by Sunday evening. We always try to create an environment that is uplifting as well as inspiring even though the message is often quite serious and sometimes difficult for them to receive.
The husbands competed against the wives last night in this game – unfortunately the husbands lost, but as you can see in the video, everyone had a great time!
Since Ta Son passed away in Elephant Den Village a couple of months ago we’ve had a challenging time trying to get his fellow villagers to talk to us. Because of their superstition many in the village believe that he died because he stopped offering sacrifices to the spirits who control the village. Slowly we’ve seen the children in the village begin to open up to us once again. We were happy to have 14 children attend the outreach yesterday. Ra and Jeremy taught the children while Debbie and I met with our one remaining adult, Sakhan. It was great to have these three young ladies with us yesterday. They saw our Tuk Tuk arrive in the village and walked over to see who we were and what we were doing. Come to find out, they used to attend our Children’s Ministry in Prak Pnou Village two years ago but have now moved to Elephant Den Village. They seemed to be very happy to have the chance to once again be a part of our group. We hope they will continue to attend.
As we met with Bro. Sakhan, I asked him a bit about his childhood. He told me that the only religion in his village other than Buddhism and demon worship was Catholicism. When asked if he had ever heard the gospel he emphatically responded by saying, “No. Never!” Thankfully Sakhan’s house is now being used to teach the gospel to any children who are willing to listen! Those of you who speak Khmer can hear him respond to my question in the video below. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE OUTREACH TO ELEPHANT DEN VILLAGE.
The cults and false religions are everywhere here in Cambodia. It is a regular thing to see them riding their bikes or walking through the neighborhood. In order to draw a group of people whom they can teach, their tactics often include targeting new converts from churches like ours. We’ve seen them do this more and more in recent days here in Phnom Penh as well as in some of our village ministries. Sadly, they are even targeting some of the deaf folks in our church who are newly saved but not yet really grounded in their faith. Yesterday one of our deaf young ladies asked me about the literature one of the groups had given her. When she found out what they believed she quickly told me that she didn’t want their book any more and asked me to get rid of it for her. PRAY THAT GOD WILL PLACE A HEDGE OF PROTECTION AROUND OUR NEW FOLKS WHILE THEY ARE BEING DISCIPLED IN THE WORD OF GOD.
We’ve had a Children’s Ministry outreach to Stung MeanChey now for a few months and it has been going well. Bro. Man is doing a fantastic job of leading workers from the Phnom Penh church every Sunday afternoon as they teach the children. For the past two weeks we have had about 100 children each Sunday afternoon at this outreach.
When we made the conscious decision to begin sending workers into Stung MeanChey we always believed that God would one day open the door to not just have an outreach to children but to have a vital outreach to the tens of thousands of teens and adults who live in that district. For some time workers have regularly sought to reach teens and adults in this area and we have seen several folks come to Christ and continue to grow.
About a month ago we made the decision to step out and begin a small group specifically targeting teens and adults in Stung MeanChey. Without going into all the details, the decision was made to have Man and his wife, Kahna, as well as Kosal and his wife, Phalley, move into a rented property in Stung MeanChey and begin a small group that would meet each Sunday afternoon. Man and Kosal, as well as the Phnom Penh church, have rented a building with a one year commitment and with the goal of seeing this group become a church.
We cast the vision to the church to help purchase chairs and a few basic items to help us get this new group started and announced that we would be taking a special offering. We have been simply amazed to see the response from the national believers. No doubt some of them really sacrificed in order to be able to participate in this offering. The money in this picture was given by an older lady in the church who has no income of her own. She depends on her children to sustain her. I know for a fact that this past week she was counting her money to see if she could afford to go to a doctor or not after coming down with a bad stomach flu. The folks gave more than we could have ever imagined and for that we give God thanks. We are blessed by their desire to have a part in the Lord’s work.
No one knows for sure how many folks were in this first public service. Because of the fact that I’m in Elephant Den Village on Sunday afternoons I was not able to attend our first service. However, there was somewhere between 30 and 43 teens and adults from Stung MeanChey in attendance. This does not include a number of workers from Phnom Penh who are helping to get this new work started. Nor does it include any of the 100 children and workers who gathered a short distance away for our children’s outreach.
I believe that with God’s blessing and through following an already proven method of church-planting, we will see this new work take off. I think there is a very good chance that most of the 30-43 folks will continue to attend due to the fact that for a couple of months the workers have already been teaching them in smaller groups.
I believe that this work will become a church within the next year or so. This could never happen without God’s blessing and without the countless hours that our national folks have invested in soul-winning and discipling new believers. The entire country of Cambodia is in great need of many more gospel-preaching churches. We have been told that there are 8,500 villages in Cambodia without any church or gospel witness whatsoever. While there are numerous churches in Phnom Penh, it would be safe to say that many of them are not gospel preaching. Most would be a convoluted mixture of baptismal regeneration, charismatic nonsense, “come to church and we will teach you English for free and even pay you a monthly stipend to attend”, etc… Many of the churches that faithfully teach a pure doctrine (especially as it relates to salvation) tend to be very small and lacking in vision and leadership. There is definitely a need to see more churches planted in the city that are aggressive in evangelism, have the leadership necessary to effectively equip new believers, and that have a vision for this part of the world. By God’s grace we hope to see the Stung MeanChey group become one of those churches! PLEASE REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR MAN AND KOSAL AS THEY LEAD THIS NEW WORK.
In two weeks we hope to begin a new men’s group on Saturday evening for the four men in the white shirts. Each of these men have been saved over the past couple of months and are relatively the same age. They all come from different backgrounds and have different life experiences. One of these men lived in Vietnam for many years and in addition to speaking Khmer speaks Vietnamese very well. One of them is a retired University professor who taught the Khmer language for many years. One of them is a professional Tailor who used to work with Bro. Sinath (in the blue shirt) 20 years ago. The amazing thing is that they are all now brothers in the Lord. PRAY THAT THIS NEW MEN’S GROUP WILL BE HELPFUL IN DISCIPLING THESE MEN.
This past week, like nearly every week over the past year, we prepared MP3 messages and lessons to give to those who are newly saved or who are close to getting saved. There are certain frustrations with buying the MP3 players in Cambodia as they tend to not last as long as if we were able to purchase them in the States but the benefits far outweigh the liabilities. It’s always a blessing when one of our new believers brings me their SD card and asks if we can please load new preaching onto it for them.
We are looking forward to picking up these tracts from the printer this Wednesday. The first tract, “Do You Know God?”, is a reprint of a tract I wrote in the past with a new cover and some minor changes on the inside. We have seen a good response to it in the past. The tract in the middle, “After You Leave This Earth,” is a brand new tract that was written by Bro. Vannak. I believe it will be very effective. He told me that he felt led to write this tract after completing an assignment dealing with reincarnation in Bible Institute this past term. The tract on the right, “What If,” was written by Bro. Has and is a reprint with a new cover and minor changes made on the inside. It poses several questions that are intended to awaken the readers’ conscience in regard to eternity and the consequences of dying without Christ. Lord willing these 30,000 new tracts will result in not just seeds being planted but in souls being saved. PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL USE THESE TRACTS IN A MIGHTY WAY IN THE MANY VILLAGES WHERE WE HOPE TO USE THEM.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason