April 24, 2016
We had a great weekend here in Cambodia. It was my privilege to be with our church in Psa Tricht this weekend. While there I shot a short video which will be used this week instead of our regular typed update. Some of you have asked if we could do a video update to use in your church and so we decided to make this video update available to everyone. There is background noise from the street but that sort of goes with the territory here in noisy Cambodia !
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
March 27, 2016
We had a great weekend! Thank God for the safety He provided for those who traveled as well as for the hundreds of folks who navigated the somewhat precarious stairs of our church! I didn’t have a chance to estimate the size of the congregation but one of our other men said he counted 300 or so. We’re thankful for the blessing of being able to influence so many lives. Please continue to pray for the work here in Phnom Penh as well as our various village works. No doubt the evil one is not happy and he will seek various ways to frustrate the work that God is doing as people continue to turn from idols to serve the living God, from the power of his darkness to the glorious light of the gospel.
Our role is not to force people to accept Jesus. We simply serve as voices to carry God’s message of salvation. It is the Holy Spirit Who draws men and women to God. Thank the Lord for the many people who have decided to follow Jesus! You can hear our opening chorus from this morning, I Have Decided to Follow Jesus, by clicking on the video below.
It was a blessing to witness sixteen folks follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism this morning. There were five others who were planning to be baptized but for various reasons were unable to. Please pray for these folks to continue to grow in their new faith in the midst of persecution. Two teen young people were scheduled to be baptized. However, their parents who are not believers prevented them from doing so. They had no problem with their young people attending church and claiming to be “saved,” but when they decided to publicly identify with Christ through Baptism, it was then that their parents stepped in and prevented it.
Srey Nite is 23 years old and has been attending the church off and on for about four years. Last month she finally came to the point where she saw her need to be saved and trusted Christ as her personal Saviour. She immediately had a desire to witness to her friends and loved ones. Her boss did not like her decision to become a Christian and immediately fired her from her job. While this was difficult for her she continued to have a desire to see those around her come to Christ. It is my understanding that last Tuesday she came to the church and requested a handful of tracts which she handed out to folks living near her home. When her family found out what she was doing they told her that if she didn’t stop sharing her faith they would kick her out of the house and onto the street. With all that she has faced in recent days she was still joyfully baptized this morning. After the service she told me that she has completed the 100 question booklet from the Gospel of Mark in order to receive a Bible from the church. She also let me know that her younger sister, who was standing right next to her smiling ear to ear, would like to get a copy of the booklet because she wants a Bible as well! PLEASE PRAY FOR SREY NITE AND MANY OTHER BELIEVERS HERE WHO FACE PERSECUTION ON A DAILY BASIS BECAUSE OF THEIR FAITHFULNESS TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.
My message this morning was entitled, The Resurrection Changes Everything! 1) It changes our eternal destiny, 2) It changes the way we live each day, and 3) It changes our perspective on death. (It gives us the assurance that the death of our saved loved ones is simply a temporary separation and we will see them again one day.)
I asked two individuals to share testimonies with the congregation this morning about the changes that have taken place in their daily lives since the time that they came to know the living God. Both testimonies were powerful and moving.
Ra was saved out of Islam and came to Christ about 4 years ago. He shared with the church of his hatred for myself and others 10 years ago when we would go to his village with the gospel. Through a series of events he and his wife were saved and now are both actively serving the Lord! I won’t go into detail here due to the sensitive nature of his testimony, but he detailed some of the persecution that has come against the believers in our church who live in his village and of their resolve, by God’s grace, to continue to serve the Lord and seek to win those around them to Him.
Sokeng shared of the changes that have taken place in her family since they have known the Lord. She shared that before she was saved she hated Christianity because she thought it was a foreign religion. He husband was the first one in her family to be saved. She shared that it was the love of Bro. Keo and others in the church that helped soften his heart toward the Lord. After Taiwan was saved she continued to hate God but she began noticing major changes in Taiwan’s life. He used to be mean and selfish but when he got saved he became kind and was concerned about the needs of his family. It was the godly testimony of her husband that caused her heart to be softened to the gospel. She shared of her joy to be married to a godly husband and to have two children who are now saved as well. Her testimony of gratitude and her tears of joy moved all of our hearts.
So many of our ladies got up this morning at 4:00 in order to spend time with the Lord before they cooked food for our church family to enjoy. We had a Curry cooking competition and these three ladies were the winners! Several of our men left very early this morning in order to pick people up who needed transportation to church. Today, like every Sunday, would have never happened had it not been for the willingness of the many, many faithful national believers who love the Lord and who love their own people to sacrifice their own comforts in order to be a blessing to others!
Mrs. Has, Bro. San and Yom, and other workers have invested many hours in helping the children learn how to sing for the glory of the Lord. Two children’s groups sang for us this morning. You can click on the videos below to hear them sing…be sure to pay special attention to the little girl in pink standing in the front row singing the song I Know the Saviour Lives Today. She is singing with all her might!
Our English ensemble sang the song Lift Up the Cross in English and Khmer this morning. They did a fantastic job. I’m thankful for Bro. Kosal who translated the song as well as for my wife who leads this group. Each one of the members in this group are very involved serving in multiple soul-winning and disciple-making ministries here in the church. Yet, they invest the time each week to practice for their special numbers. They are a good example of faithful church members! You can click on the video below to hear them singing.
One of the highlights this morning was our time of fellowship after the service. Click on the video below to see some of the folks enjoying time together.
We were so happy that four folks from Elephant Den Village were able to join us for the service this morning. We began holding public services in Elephant Den at Mr. Sakhan’s home four weeks ago and have been averaging 10-12 people. It has been a little difficult getting the group started as it often is when new village ministries begin. It was good for Sakhan to see what our church is like here in Phnom Penh and get a vision for what God can do in his village. When we arrived back to his village this afternoon he told me that his heart was so warmed by the singing, testimonies, and preaching. He then said, “Tell people to pray for my village because my village is full of the Devil and is very dark.” Please continue to pray for Sakhan, Vanna, Vanny, Somphoahs, Chea, and Ta Son. I had the opportunity to witness to Chea for some time this past week and hope to see him again this Tuesday.
It was a blessing to have Navy visiting with us this morning. She is visiting two of her children in Phnom Penh for a few weeks. Today was the first time she has ever been to a church. As I watched her while I was preaching it was evident that she was listening intently. After the service I had the opportunity to speak with her for awhile and she asked me this question, “If I become a Christian can I still go to the temple and participate in various ceremonies in my village?” This is a common question, and while we try to be sensitive in our answer, it is an issue that has to be addressed. She continued by saying, “If I don’t go to the temple then everyone in the village will hate me and I won’t have any more friends.” I spoke with her about how we ought to fear God more than we fear man. She told me that she is counting the cost right now and that she wants to become a Christian but is scared of the persecution. I was able to take a gift of freshly barbecued chicken and vegetables to her this evening and again remind her that she should not delay receiving the Lord. It seemed evident that she is under conviction of her sin. Please pray that her children, SokChea and Chantha, will be a good testimony to her while she is here and that Navy will accept Christ soon.
This morning in conjunction with the message on the resurrection and the promise found in God’s Word that we will see departed loved ones again, we revealed a memorial picture of five members of our church who were saved over the past five years through the ministry here and who are in Heaven today. At the bottom of the picture is the verse 1 Corinthians 15:58 reminding us that our labor is not in vain in the Lord. Borey’s mother, Channy (pictured second from the left), is one of the folks pictured. We will be mounting this picture in the church auditorium and hope that it will serve as an encouragement for the church family to continue to remain faithful to witness to their lost loved ones. Thank you for your prayers and support that have helped people like these five folks come to the Lord.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
March 13, 2016
We had a wonderful week and weekend! We don’t normally send out an update two weeks in a row but there is so much encouraging news that we just had to share it with you! May those of you who faithfully follow and pray for this ministry rejoice with us because you have a part in seeing these lives changed as well.
1 Corinthians 16:9 “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.” This past week we saw 11 folks trust Christ as their personal Saviour. Today we saw 4 more saved. The majority of these 15 new believers are adults. Praise the Lord! Without a doubt the enemy is not happy with the things that God is doing through this ministry. Please continue to uphold this work in your prayers.
This past Friday during our weekly family time, our family ate at a local restaurant here in Phnom Penh. It just so happened that we were seated directly across from the table in this picture. I clearly remember sitting at this particular table more than seven years ago with my sending Pastor and his wife, Dr. and Mrs. Joe Esposito, and discussing the vision that he believed God was giving him to have a team of missionaries raised up and sent out from Pacific Baptist Church of Long Beach. At that point it was simply vision, dreaming, and planning. Now several years later God is doing much more than any of us could have imagined. Please continue to pray for Pastor Esposito and his family as Pastor continues to make slow but seemingly definite progress in his recovery. None of us know what God’s will is for the future but we can trust that He knows what is best and we will all strive to trust Him. Also, as many of you are already doing, please uphold our home church and Pastor Steve Meyers and staff as they continue to move forward in reaching their Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. I know that there are several folks in Long Beach who are sensing God’s call upon their lives in regard to the foreign mission field. Pray that they will, in conjunction with the direction of their God-given leaders (Acts 13:1-3, Hebrews 13:7), continue to “lift up their eyes and look upon the harvest that is white and ready to be harvested.” You can click on this link to read updates on Pastor Esposito’s progress. (http://pacificbaptist.com/pastor/)
This morning some of our men opened the service with the hymn “Jesus I Come.” We always enjoy hearing men boldly sing from their hearts!
Several of the teen young ladies have been working hard on the song “Carry Your Candle.” The song speaks of taking the light of the gospel to places that are dark and hopeless. These girls did a great job on this song that was translated by one of our men. I really appreciate the hours of work that Mrs. Has, Susanna, and the girls invest each week in helping provide heart-warming special music.
This morning my message focused on the judgment of God against the ungodly. In particular, I dealt with the truth that the lost will stand before God and will be judged not only for the sin they have committed but their judgment will be commensurate to the light they had received but rejected. I used this tract as an illustration. Yesterday while Debbie and I walked to make visits several blocks from the church, we came across one of our tracts that was crumpled and trampled upon, having been rejected by the one who received it. God worked in many hearts this morning, both saved and lost, through the truth of His Word.
Sinath lives in Prak Pnou and has been attending the church here in Phnom Penh quite faithfully over the past several weeks. Bro. Has and others have faithfully been working with her and her family for a long time now. Bro. Hem and Jeremy leave the church each Sunday at 6:00 a.m. to pick them up in Prak Pnou and bring them to church here in Phnom Penh. This morning during the message Sinath came under conviction that she was not truly saved. Following the service personal workers dealt with her and she, as well as two of her children, Virak and Srey Phe, all trusted Christ as their personal Saviour. Please pray for Sinath and her children as they now grow in the Lord. Also, please pray that in God’s timing, we will be able to see a viable work established in Prak Pnou that will be able to effectively reach that city with the gospel.
Dalin and her daughter, SreyRot, have been to church three weeks out of the past four. They only missed that one week due to the fact that they were moving. Bro. Has and several others have been faithfully working with her family for a couple of years now. It is my understanding that she came under conviction this morning during the message and after being dealt with by Mrs. San she trusted Jesus as her personal Saviour! That is a blessing! Thank God for the many many hours that have been invested into her life and the lives of her family members. God used each act of kindness and each word spoken to help draw her to Christ. Please pray for Dalin as she now grows in the Lord. Likewise, please pray for her husband, Barang, to be saved.
Last week we asked you to pray for Srey Touch to be saved. We are blessed to report that this past Thursday evening she trusted Jesus as her personal Saviour while meeting with Debbie and I at a local coffee shop. We are so thankful for the opportunity to work with her as she learns the Word of God and seeks to obey it. Please pray for Srey Touch as she now grows in the Lord. Also pray for her six year old daughter, Srey Leap, to understand her need to be saved.
Last week we asked you to pray for Phirum to be saved. He attended our Sunday evening couples class for the first time last week. It is my understanding that it was the first time that he had even been in a Christian church. It was a blessing to be able to meet with him and his wife, Srey, yesterday. It was our goal to present the plan of salvation to them and seek to answer any questions they might have had. Normally it will take a bit of time before an adult here in Cambodia comes to Christ after they have been exposed to the gospel. It’s not because the gospel is difficult to understand or difficult to receive – It’s because the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4) seeks to keep them blinded and enslaved to sin. Another significant factor that causes many to delay receiving Christ or to outright reject salvation is the fact that once they are saved they will face rejection and persecution from their family and the community as a whole. After explaining the gospel to them yesterday morning Phirum looked at me and said, “Srey and I have already read the materials you gave me last Sunday and we believe that Jesus is the only God and that He alone can save us.” That was shocking! Of course we can not see their heart but God knows if they truly understand the gospel and are trusting Him. Pray for Phirum and Srey as we seek to help disciple them in the Word of God. After spending some time with them yesterday they told us that their landlord hates Christians and once he found out that they were attending our church he has made life difficult for them. He has forbidden them from inviting us to their home and wants them to move out of his building. Please pray that Phirum and Srey will be able to find a room that they can afford near the church. They both work until around 1:00 a.m. seven days a week as vegetable washers at a local market. Our hearts truly go out to this couple and their five children.
Thank God for our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry that reached out to their son, Veasna, three weeks ago when he began attending Children’s ministry. Without the faithfulness of the Children’s Ministry workers going into their neighborhood each week Veasna and his parents may have lived their entire lives without ever having the gospel clearly presented to them.
Bro. Vannak and some of the workers who have been targeting Stung MeanChey district have been reaching out to Grandma Heang for several weeks now. We are happy to report that this afternoon she accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour. It will now be the responsibility of the workers to help her to understand what it means to live as a Christian. Pray that Grandma Heang will shine as a bright testimony in her family and community as she begins to grow in the Lord.
There are many blessing that have come through our Sunday evening small groups. Not only are we seeing new adults begin to attend church but we are also seeing new friendships being made. It was a real blessing to see some of the ladies from our married couples class all get together and pose for this picture. The amazing reality is that without the changes that have taken place in their hearts because of the gospel, these ladies would have no occasion to even know each other let alone be friends. They are from different “social economic” classes and represent three different people groups. Thank God for the testimony of God’s grace that is being raised up here at Pacific Baptist Church!
This evening we celebrated the anniversaries of the couples in our small group who were married in the month of March. It was great to have the opportunity for us all to celebrate with these four couples.
Eden and Phillip were just two of many children who managed to sneak into our Sunday evening fellowship time for some chocolate cake and ice cream. My lesson during our small group time was from Proverbs 4 and stressed the importance of training up the next generation for the Lord. It was great to see the young children hanging out with their parents and to realize that they are the next generation! In our small group alone we have 4 mothers who are expecting a baby. Heads up to our nursery workers… 🙂
This afternoon we had our second public service in Elephant Den. We were missing a couple of people from last week as they were apparently in another Province for the weekend. However, we had new people who attended. They are not in this picture but we also had two drunk guys join us — Lots I could say about that but I won’t take the time…suffice it to say that one of them, Thy, stood about five feet from me for the majority of the time I was teaching and translated everything I was saying into sign language… Here’s the problem – He doesn’t speak sign language! I have no idea what he was thinking. I did my best to ignore him but the young people just sat there in amazement. To make matters worse, after I was done teaching he told the entire group that he is a Christian and loves Jesus and agrees with everything I just taught. The whole situation would be funny if it were not so sad. There is a reason why Thy and his friend spend the majority of their lives drunk. The truth of the matter is that they live hopeless lives with very little chance of tomorrow being any different from today. It is sad that the young people in this village are exposed to this type of example. Truly the only hope that Elephant Den Village and thousands of other villages just like it have is the hope of the gospel. Please pray for the two adults (Mr. Sakhan and Mr. Son) who have professed faith in Christ to grow in their walk with the Lord and to be shining lights in this very dark idol-making village. Also please pray for the following folks in Elephant Den with whom we are working: Vanny (mid-30s), Vanna (early 30s), Chea (14 years old), Somphorn (12 years old), Nigah (12 years old), SreyPa (12 years old), SreyOun (12 years old), SreyLyn (12 years old).
Today we had around 60 folks in the Prey Bang Village church service. Please continue to pray for Bro. Sinath and his workers as they travel to that village on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. This week we saw the 20 year old daughter of Vorn and Sal trust Christ as her personal Saviour. Vorn and Sal were saved a few months back and are growing in their understanding of the Word of God. Thank God for their good testimony within the home that the Holy Spirit used to help draw their daughter to Him.
Lord willing we will begin holding organized services in Stung MeanChey this coming Sunday. The services will run from 2:30 until around 4:00. This new outreach will specifically target teenagers who live in the vicinity where we will be meeting. We plan to begin at 2:30 with perhaps four Sunday School classes. Each class will be led by one of our national adults. They will each have a couple of teen workers from Phnom Penh who will assist them as they are being trained to learn how to teach and work with people as well. After the Sunday School class time is over we will have a combined service that will have singing, testimonies, and preaching. Please pray for Bro. Man and Kahna as they head up this new outreach. There are literally thousands of people living in a one to two block radius of the location where we will meet. The vast majority of them are below the age of 20.
We want to once again thank those who have helped provide the ministry with mp3 players and memory cards over the past several months. We just received a fresh supply this past week. So many of our new believers are spiritually benefiting from the preaching and teaching that they are able to listen to during the week because of our ability to loan these mp3 players to them. Many others who are not yet saved but who are open are able to listen to evangelically geared teaching that God is using to help soften their heart and show them their need to be saved. Please continue to pray that this tool will remain an effective means to reach the lost as well as to edify the saved.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
March 7, 2016
Thank you for your prayers and support for the work here in Southeast Asia. This week we have included a short video update. I know that some of you use these videos during your Sunday School classes or other church services to help keep missions in the forefront. If you have difficulty downloading this video please let me know. If you simply want to watch it just click on the video below.
It was nice, as always, to have some of the folks open the morning service with a special song. We really appreciate all the time that they invest each week in practicing and preparing for their special music.
The morning service was packed to the limit this past Sunday. We continue to be amazed that God would see fit to bring so many people into the ministry here. One of our biggest needs is going to be having a permanent place to meet. As prices in the city continue to go up it is very likely that we will sooner than later be priced out of the market. If the ministry here were the size of the average church here in Cambodia (18 members according to the most recent research I could find) we would not be facing this problem. However, humanly speaking it seems a bit overwhelming to try and think about what we are going to do to house a church of our size when the time comes. Please help us to pray that God would somehow provide us with our own property here in the city that can be used as “headquarters” for the far-reaching ministry that God is seeing fit to build.
Mrs. Has and Susanna did a great job of working with the children for a special medley they sang during the service. Not only did they sing beautifully, but they also quoted a memory very to go along with their song.
It’s always a parent’s greatest joy to see their children faithfully serving the Lord. All the men who meet in our Saturday evening men’s accountability group voted for Jason to be the one to share a testimony on Sunday morning during the service. This was his second time to share in front of the adults and he did a great job speaking about the importance of us all maintaining a faithful prayer life.
It was great to have Srey Touch in the services both Sunday morning as well as evening. She is not a believer as of yet but she told me that she is seeking to understand what it means to be a Christian. She seems very open. Please pray for Srey Touch to be saved very soon and that we will have wisdom as we try and help her with some issues in her life.
Our Sunday evening small groups are back in session after taking a scheduled three week break. Each one of the groups has experienced growth since starting a couple of months ago and there are now folks attending Sunday evening church who would not normally do so. Please pray for these groups to continue to be an effective way to disciple new believers and to strengthen the overall church.
Please pray for these two adults (unrelated) to be saved. Sareun has attended a church not far from here for quite some time but by her own admission she is not saved. Phirum, to my knowledge, has never attended church before in his life. He is 29 years old and has a wife and 5 children. Both of these folks were invited to attend our couple’s group. They seemed to have open hearts. Pray for our workers this week as they are following up on these two prospects.
Several weeks ago we wrote and requested prayer for Chea and Ny to be saved. We are happy to report that they both trusted Christ as their personal Saviour just after our Sunday evening small groups dismissed. Pray for Bro. Vong and myself as we will be focusing on helping this young couple to grow in their new faith.
Lord willing, we will be starting a new teen outreach in Stung MeanChey beginning a week from this coming Sunday. We were able to speak with the owners of this home and a couple of other homes adjacent to it and they have agreed to allow our workers to use the space located underneath their houses. We are hoping to start with 4-6 different “Sunday School Classes” at this location. Immediately following the class time there will be a combined service. Perhaps the most encouraging thing about this new outreach is that it will be totally run by the nationals. Brother Man and his wife, Kanha, have agreed to oversee this new work and I will meet with Man every week to discuss the specifics. We plan to have each of the classes taught by a national believer who will also be training another national to take their place as the goal is to begin a second location in Stung MeanChey within perhaps 4-6 months or maybe even sooner. The only thing that would hold us back from expanding to a second location would be a lack of qualified national workers who can effectively teach young people. Please help pray for this new ministry to be used to see many teens come to Christ as well as be added to the church.
This past Sunday was our first week to begin holding public services in Elephant Den Village. Myself, Debbie, and Jeremy will begin going to this village every Sunday to meet with these folks. For the time being we are not promoting the group to the entire village. We are only inviting those people with whom we have already shared the gospel. As this entire group comes to faith and begins to become solid in their faith we will hopefully open it up to others. We already know of several teen girls who are interested in being a part of the group right away so we may go ahead and invite them in a couple of weeks. It is always very tricky when you first get a new village ministry started as there are often misconceptions about what we are trying to do. Most people in the village expect that we would go there and teach English or some job skill. Others are shocked because we are there talking about religion and handing out tracts rather than gathering the entire village together and handing out money to everyone. So in order to help stem off some of these misconceptions we are striving to work closely with those who already understand our motives. This village and the villages surrounding it are well known as villages where the primary industry is that of making idols and religious relics. It is a village that is in great need of the gospel. Please pray that these folks will come to Christ and that a strong house-church will be established in Elephant Den Village! This new ministry could also effectively reach out to Prak Pnou, Law Gombou, and several other villages if it is able to get up and going.
I began meeting with Hem and Beh for a weekly time of discipleship beginning last week. It is very encouraging to see their hunger to learn God’s Word and the principles that are necessary for a victorious Christian life. Please continue to pray for this couple as they grow in the Lord.
I also began meeting with Tara and SreyMohm for a weekly time of discipleship beginning this past week. As new Christians nearly everything is new to them and they are eager to know what God says and of their responsibility before God. Tara is a university professor and since being saved has taken many opportunities to plant seeds of the gospel with his students. He has nearly 900 students who attend the various classes that he teaches. I believe that any investment I’m able to make into this couple will no doubt bear fruit many times over. Each Sunday after the morning service they travel two hours one way with others from the Phnom Penh church in order to minister to the church in Prey Bang village. They return back to Phnom Penh just in time for our Sunday night services, no doubt tired and a bit sore from the bumpy commute. Additionally, SreyMohm travels to Prey Bang village every Tuesday to be a part of the soul-winning team that is reaching out to various villages in that part of the country. It is an encouragement to see their gratitude to the Lord and the joy they have in serving Him. Pray for Tara and SreyMohm to continue to walk with the Lord and grow in their knowledge and obedience to the Word of God.
One of the greatest joys a missionary will experience is seeing his spiritual “Timothy” faithfully serving in the ministry. Each week Brother Sinath travels back to his home village several times to hand out tracts as well as to disciple those who have made professions of faith. Their family has been able to recently adjust their schedule to make it so that Sinath’s wife, Sopheap, is also able to go to the village with him on a regular basis. This has been her desire for some time now and we are thankful it is working out.
It was a blessing to have Sinath go with me this past Saturday to Elephant Den Village and help witness to some folks who I’ve been witnessing to for a few weeks now. It’s always good to get another voice involved. Pray for Mr Wang to be saved. He told us this past Saturday that he wants to be saved but he is afraid of the many people living around him who will persecute him once he does. I thank God for Sinath’s faithfulness to the Lord and his willingness to try and persuade Wang not to delay in accepting Christ.
Brother San and the workers in the Psa Tricht church are doing a great job of reaching out into new areas that are as of yet not evangelized. A few months ago Phoun was saved because of their efforts. He is a faithful member of the Psa Tricht church and several of his family members have subsequently accepted Christ and are living for the Lord. Please pray that his wife, Lon, will be saved.
This past week I was able to meet these three monks. I spent quite awhile with them just talking about life and seeking to win their hearts. While I did not explicitly seek to present the gospel to them, I do believe that a door of friendship was opened. They have invited me to go back and see them again. I hope to go to the Buddhist temple to see them once again this coming Tuesday. Please pray for an appropriate and natural opportunity to specifically discuss eternity with them. The monk on the left side of this picture has been a monk for 21 years. He is supposedly a revered symbol of everything that the village believes. Yet, he told me that at times he is so depressed by the state of affairs in today’s world that he wants to commit suicide. I feel like it is possible to win their hearts to the point that they will readily listen to me when the time comes to explicitly speak with them of Christ – Lord willing that time will come this next week. Obviously if we were to meet a monk on the street we should not and would not refrain from giving him a gospel tract and witnessing to him if he was willing to listen. However, I did not meet these men on the street. I met them in the temple and for the time being will only be able to interact with them in the temple. So in our efforts to win them to the Lord we need to be “wise as serpents and harmless as doves” so as to keep the door of opportunity open. Please pray to that effect.
As we look at just two of the idols among the hundreds that are at their temple, it is obvious to us as Christians why these monks have no hope. The idol on the left is actually from Hinduism. The idol on the right pictures the seven-headed Naga crouched over the top of Buddha. It is believed by those who hold to this religion that the Naga is the “protector” of Buddha. The Bible clearly tells us who the dragon is in Revelation 12:3,9 “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads…And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”
I was able to meet Thy this past Saturday while in a new village with some of our soul-winners. We spent a very long time talking with him and explaining the gospel to him. Saturday was only the second time in his life that he had heard the gospel – the first time was the previous week when folks from our church handed him a tract and witnessed to him. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will remind him of the things we taught him and that he will see his need to be saved before it is too late.
Those of you who speak Khmer may want to click on the video below – It will remind you why it is important to get the gospel to everyone that you possibly can before it is eternally too late!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
February 14, 2016
We had a great service this morning here at PBCPP! I am constantly amazed at God’s goodness in our midst. Acts 15:14 says, “…God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name.” It is evident that He desires to have a people here in Cambodia who worship and glorify His name and He is changing hearts in order to have that happen. One of the objectives of this report is to share with you some of the things that God is doing and to thank you for having a part in the work here in Southeast Asia.
This morning I preached on “Five Reasons Why a Spirit-Filled Christian Should Rejoice.” There are, no doubt, many truths in our life that ought to cause us to have joy, but I highlighted the following five reasons: 1) We are no longer a child of the devil and a servant to sin. 2) We serve a living God Who desires to have fellowship with us. 3) Our names are written down in Heaven and our salvation is secure. 4) Jesus has promised to come again and receive us unto Himself. 5) Jesus has commanded us to rejoice. The response of the congregation to these truths was encouraging. We are serving in a country where most “churches” are either stoic and dead, or dancing in the aisles. Thank God that His church here in Phnom Penh is neither. In the more than 30 years that we’ve been with the Cambodian people, I don’t remember a church service when there were more “amens.” The people truly made it easy to preach to them the Word of God.
As I think of the many folks who have been saved and who are being discipled here in Cambodia, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s admonition in Romans 15:14-15 that says, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.” We see three important truths in these verses that are reflected in the lives of so many of the national believers in the work here. Truly GOD IS THE SOURCE OF THEIR HOPE – they have very little else. THEY ARE ABOUNDING IN HOPE – by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit working in their hearts. THEY ARE ADMONISHING ONE ANOTHER in the things of God – on a daily basis many of our folks are actively discipling their own people as well as leading new folks to Christ.
It is always a blessing to have a full house but there is also a great sense of responsibility. Whenever there are this many people gathered together in one place here in Cambodia there are always distractions but it was a blessing that they were minimal.
Some of the folks from Psa Tricht sang a new song this morning. They did a great job. It was such a blessing to see them learn a song that none of us had ever heard. Debbie was scrambling this morning to learn it on the piano. Thank God for their desire to do their best for the Lord! God is doing an amazing work in the lives of the folks in Psa Tricht. This past week they spearheaded an evangelistic outreach to a new village named TraBang 4. This new village is very large and it appears that it has no gospel witness whatsoever. During our Saturday evening men’s prayer meeting a couple of the men reported that they have found a family in the village that seems to be open to the gospel. PRAY FOR BROTHER SAN AND SOME OF THE NATIONAL BELIEVERS AS THEY SEEK TO SATURATE TRABANG 4 WITH THE GOSPEL.
During the service this morning we enjoyed hearing several testimonies that related directly to the morning message. Sane and his family were saved out of Islam and have truly been radically changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. He shared of the joy and peace that his family now enjoys because of their salvation. He also expressed his gratitude to those who have made it possible for his family to hear the gospel. Not long ago Sane’s father, Ra, was sharing a testimony and spoke of his hatred for me ten years ago as he saw Kosal and myself in his village teaching about Jesus Christ. At that time he was preparing to become an Imam. Though he hated Christians and Christianity he still encouraged his son to go study with us – in hopes that maybe he would learn English or something “useful” from the foreigner. It was truly the power of the gospel that caused Ra, his wife, and his three children to be saved from the power of darkness and to become children of the living God. PRAY FOR SANE, AND OUR OTHER SINGLE ADULT MEN, TO REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE LORD.
Tara and his wife, SreyMohm, shared a testimony based on Colossians 1:12-14 which states, “Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” They spoke of the freedom they now have in Christ because of the power of the Gospel. Thank God for the teen boy here in the church who initially reached out to them and showed the love of Christ at a time in their lives when they were in special need. Tara’s four children are also saved and growing in the Lord. Bro. Bounna and Thy are investing into their lives and the growth is evident. In fact, their adult son, Hout, and their 18 year old son, Narin, followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism this morning. Tara is a university professor and has around 900 students between all of the various classes he teaches each week. He has a desire to let his light shine through his example but also by clearly speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ during his classes. PRAY FOR TARA AND SREYMOHM TO BE FAITHFUL AS THEY GROW IN THEIR CHRISTIAN LIFE. They recently asked me if I would begin meeting with them as a couple each week for a time of discipleship and we are hoping to begin meeting together in March.
Sal and Vorn were led to Christ by Bro. Sinath and the folks who labor in Prey Bang village. They are the first married couple to come to Christ from Pom Doll village. I asked them to share a testimony of what God has done in their lives since being saved. Sal is a spunky little lady who is full of energy and joy! Vorn is more reserved but his love for Christ is evident. What a blessing it was for us to all hear Sal share of the joy her family now experiences because of the love of Jesus Christ and because of the hours and labor invested by the national believers to win her family to Christ. This couple followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism immediately following their testimony this morning. PRAY FOR SAL AND VORN TO CONTINUE TO GROW IN THE LORD AS BRO. SINATH DISCIPLES THEM.
SoiNy followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism this morning. She was led to Christ by another group some time ago but was never Scripturaly baptized. She has been attending our church for a few weeks now and came to the conviction that she ought to be baptized by immersion. She lives in Stung MeanChey district and will likely become a part of that new outreach when it starts. PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO FIND AN ACCEPTABLE LOCATION IN STUNG MEANCHEY THAT WOULD ALLOW US TO START A NEW WORK.
I first wrote about Den last September when he visited church for the first time in his life. (https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2015/09/28/september-28-2015/) After our service that morning I asked him what he thought of the service and this was his response: “My religion is a lot different than what I saw today. I really love what I saw. I understood the preaching and I agree with the things that you said. You know, in my religion, I am never allowed to mix with the rich people. Because I am poor and dark-skinned I am not welcome to eat with them either. However, today I see everyone, rich and poor, enjoying food together.” I asked him what was keeping him from accepting Christ and he responded, “Nothing is keeping me from being saved. I just need to understand it a bit more. I now believe in Jesus 50%.” I encouraged him to accept Christ and assured him that people will be praying for his salvation. I requested that you pray for Den to be saved – I’m thrilled to report that he accepted Christ two weeks ago and followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism this morning! If you faithfully prayed for his salvation you had a part in seeing him saved. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR DEN AND HIS WIFE, POV, AS THEY LIVE FOR THE LORD IN CHUMGA VILLAGE.
It was a great blessing to have Chea and Ny in the service this morning. We were referred to them by a national pastor in another ministry. They are not yet saved but appear to be very open to the Lord. Debbie and I had the opportunity to visit with them in their home twice this past week. They have a five year old son named Hoit and she is expecting a baby daughter in two months. PRAY FOR CHEA AND NY TO UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND THEIR NEED TO BE SAVED AND TO COME TO CHRIST! This week Bro. and Mrs. Vong are planning to invite them to their home for dinner and fellowship. Mrs. Vong is also expecting a baby daughter in two months so they have something in common…I’ve decided that my wife is not allowed to be part of that expectant mother click. 🙂
Grandma Rum is 83 years old. Bro. Sinath and some of the nationals have been reaching out to her and she professes to believe on Jesus as her Saviour. We are not certain that she truly understands the gospel but since we can not see the heart we can only go by what she says. 2 Corinthians 5:17 states, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” PRAY THAT THERE WILL BE SOME DEFINITE FRUIT IN HER LIFE THAT DEMONSTRATES SHE HAS BECOME A NEW PERSON IN CHRIST.
You can click on the short video clip below to hear one of our opening songs from this morning. It is always a joy to hear the folks sing. I have no doubt that people several blocks away can hear them sing! I’m sure that some of the neighbors get annoyed. Others have perhaps tuned us out. But we hope that even the singing will be used to plant seeds of the gospel in the hearts of those who are open. The songs we sing represent a vast contrast to the music to which the world is accustomed as our songs speak of hope, love, forgiveness, and freedom from the devil. I have heard some neighbors describe the singing as “beautiful.” I’m sure others might offer a difference perspective…
Perhaps the most important time of the week in any church is when they meet together for corporate prayer. Each Saturday afternoon some of our Phnom Penh men meet at the church for prayer. The men in Psa Tricht village also meet for prayer. In addition to men’s prayer we meet together as a church each Wednesday morning at 6:30 for prayer. There is also a short time of prayer during our mid-week service. However, I believe that our church is very weak in the area of prayer and we are working on changing this. This change must take place in the lives of those who lead before it becomes a part of the church as a whole. WOULD YOU PLEASE PRAY THAT AS LEADERS WE WILL BE PEOPLE OF PRAYER AND THAT A CULTURE OF PERSONAL AND CORPORATE PRAYER WILL BE FIRMLY ESTABLISHED IN OUR MINISTRIES HERE IN CAMBODIA.
It was great to see some of the ladies joyfully cutting vegetables up on the roof Saturday evening as they prepared for the Sunday noon meal. Kahna does a fantastic job of rallying a group of ladies around her as they serve the Lord and their church through the ministry of hospitality. I THANK GOD FOR OUR LADIES AND FOR THEIR SPIRIT OF JOYFUL SERVICE FOR THE LORD.
The fruit of the ladies service for the Lord was delicious food and great fellowship after the service! Many ladies woke up at 4:00 a.m. today in order to spend time with the Lord and then to cook food for the church. Kanha and her workers always prepare great food but we would never have enough for the entire church were it not for so many of the ladies preparing food at home as well and bringing it to the church. THANK THE LORD FOR FAITHFUL LADIES IN THE CHURCH WHO COOK, TEACH THE CHILDREN, AND SERVE IN THE NURSERY EACH WEEK!
We also have so many folks who diligently practice for special music each week. I was working down in my office Saturday afternoon and heard our English ensemble rehearsing upstairs. It sounded so beautiful I just had to go upstairs and watch them practice. They are learning the song “Lift Up the Cross.” Lord willing they will sing this song in a couple weeks in English. We also plan to have them sing it in Khmer for Resurrection Day in a couple of months. (Hint for Bro. Kosal – I’ll be asking you to translate it!! 🙂 ) The words of this song are so great – THEY REMIND US THAT IT IS THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST THAT IS TO BE LIFTED UP! Jesus said, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32) Praise the Lord that He was lifted up on the cross to pay the price for our sins. It is our aim to lift up the cross before the lost and dying around us in this dark nation. You can click on the video below to hear a short portion of this song.
After the English ensemble completed their practice time I thanked them for their time and reminded them of how important their English songs are for the church. While many in the service do not understand English, we are teaching them what type of music is appropriate for a Christian. Many of the Khmer churches worldwide are limited to singing only the songs that are in their song book and they’ve been singing the same songs for decades. We remain committed to providing the Khmer church with options of Christ-honoring music that can be greatly used in the churches. I thank God for young men such as Kosal, Man, and Chhay who speak very good English and who are gifted at translating materials for the benefit of their own people. They are a gift to the Cambodian people. We would love to be able to obtain the necessary software and computer interface to be able to score the music that is being translated. It’s not really a necessity for our church to have the written music for these songs because we have musicians who can play without music but many churches don’t have that luxury. If you would like to have a part in purchasing software that would make this happen please get in touch with me.
A few months ago I began going door-to-door in Elephant Den Village (situated about 45 minutes from Phnom Penh). It was a joy to see Ta Son come to Christ. I have written about him in the past. (https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2015/12/23/december-23-2015-2/) This past week I found out that not only is he the oldest member of the village, but that for many years he has been the lay priest responsible for leading the village in Buddhist traditions. God truly led me to “a man of peace” when He directed me to Ta Son. PRAY THAT TA SON WILL GROW IN THE LORD AND IN HIS BURDEN FOR THE LOST ALL AROUND HIM.
Last week as I traveled to the village I prayed that God would lead me to someone who was open to the gospel. I was very excited to arrive to the village and see Ta Son and Sakhan sitting in the middle of the road waiting for me to arrive. Sakhan just moved to Elephant Den Village this past week from a village located about 100 kilometers from Phnom Penh. He became a believer about 20 years ago and, according to his personal testimony, was faithfully serving the Lord for many years until he lost most of his eye site about 3 years ago. He told me that he used to go out soul-winning with his pastor every week and that he really misses being able to reach the lost for Christ. I have been hoping that the door would open for us to be able to start a house-church in Elephant Den and it seems like God may be opening the door for that to happen. Without me even asking him Sakhan told me that I’m free to use his house to start a church if I wanted to! Praise the Lord! PLEASE PRAY THAT WE WILL HAVE CLEAR DIRECTION IN REGARD TO THIS POTENTIAL OPEN DOOR. There is definitely a need to have a church in this location. Elephant Den is located only about 10 minutes from Prak Pnou Village. It would be a blessing to have a church centrally located that could reach out to Elephant Den, Prak Pnou, Law GomBou, and Phnom Brasut Villages. Each of these villages are about 45 minutes from Phnom Penh.
This past week I was able to meet Vanny and Vanna. They both live in Elephant Den Village and have promised to attend our small group once we get it started. They both were apparently involved in some type of church back when they were teenagers but they are not clear on salvation. PRAY THAT VANNY AND VANNA WILL OPEN THEIR HEART TO THE LORD AND BE SAVED.
I had the opportunity to meet with Khith and his wife, Dara this past week for about an hour or so. They both live in Elephant Den Village as well. Dara really seemed to listen to what I had to say and I believe that the Holy Spirit was working in her heart. Khith lived in the United States for about 30 years before returning to Cambodia. He was very friendly as we spoke together about life in America, yet he is confused about salvation. He readily produced a certificate from a Cambodian church in California that certified he was a member. He said he is best friends with the Cambodian pastor. However, he has no idea what salvation is all about. To him, Christianity is just another option from which to choose. He believes that Buddhism is good and Jesus is equally good. This is actually a very common notion in this part of the world. It is in keeping with the tenants of Buddhism to recognize that Jesus was a “good teacher” and a “good moral example.” As I spoke with Khith about what the Bible says in regard to sin, salvation, Heaven, Hell, good works, and the wrath of God, he began to sober up a bit. I could see that he realized his casual approach to Jesus was without Biblical grounds. PRAY THAT KHITH AND DARA WILL COME TO CHRIST. I hope to meet with them again soon if they are willing.
In the next meeting I intend to present to them three options regarding Jesus: JESUS CHRIST IS EITHER A LIAR, A LUNATIC, OR LORD. He claimed to be God – if He is not God then He is a liar. He claimed to be the only Saviour of the world – if He is not the only way to have sins forgiven and get to Heaven then he is a delusional lunatic. By virtue of the claims He made, it is simply impossible for Him to be a mere “good teacher” or “good moral example.”
I’m so happy to see the effort that Sinath and her family make to get to church. They live in Prak Pnou village and Bro. Vong and Bro. Bounna meet with her each Tuesday for discipleship. Each Sunday morning Bro. Hem and Jeremy travel to Prak Pnou to pick them up for church in Phnom Penh. She told me this morning that she is familiar with Elephant Den Village and that if we were able to start a house-church there it would be a great blessing to her family and she would plan to be a part of it. She came to Christ a couple of years ago through the soul-winning efforts of our group that went to Prak Pnou every week.
Our Sunday evening small groups have been going very well. As was our plan, we are returning to regular Sunday evening services for the next few weeks. At the beginning of March we will once again have the small groups. They are proving to be an effective way to disciple our new believers as well as reach out to those who normally do not come to church.
It has been especially good to see new folks attending the English-speaking small group led by Bro. Esposito. It is not geared primarily toward Cambodians but rather toward those who come from other countries but who speak English. So far we have had people from Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, and Uzbekistan. There have been several unbelievers in this group as well. Lord willing, we will see these folks reached with the gospel and grounded in their faith. There is a need for a solid work to be established in Phnom Penh for English-speaking expats who are working and living in Cambodia. Two of the men who came from Uzbekistan are working in Phnom Penh and intend to move their wives and children here within the next couple of months once they get themselves established. It would be a wonderful thing if God would allow our church to help meet the void that is in these folks’ lives due to the fact that they are far away from home and working in a strange country. PLEASE HELP PRAY THAT GOD WILL GRANT DIRECTION AND WISDOM AS WE SEEK TO REACH ENGLISH-SPEAKING PEOPLE THROUGH OUR SMALL GROUPS.
It has been very difficult to make close connection in recent months with the employees who work at a local coffee shop that we frequent on our Thursday evening date night. As business has increased they no longer have time to talk like they used to. We see these two young ladies on a regular basis and often have short conversations with them but don’t seem to be able to get much past small talk due to their work schedule. This past week they asked to take a picture with us. Tyany is the shift supervisor and Lakena is an employee. The whole crew calls us by name and is always very friendly. PRAY THAT GOD WILL PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR US TO GET CLOSER TO THE EMPLOYEES OF THIS COFFEE SHOP.
We were blessed to be able to attend a conference out of the country a couple of weeks ago. Bro. Bounna and Thy attended as well. A gift from friends in the States made it possible for us to bring along one of our English-speaking national preachers and his wife. The preaching and teaching was very refreshing and just what we needed. We also met up with team members serving in a Creative Access nation and some of their national believers who speak English. In fact, one of them, Jui, (the young man in the red shirt standing on the left hand side of the picture) surrendered his life to full-time Christian ministry during the conference.
One of the highlights of attending the conference was being able to take part in the Sunday church services at one of the local Baptist churches not far from where the conference was held. I had the opportunity to preach in this church a couple of years ago and am familiar with their ministry. I wanted the national couple, in particular, to see what it is like to be in a church here in Asia that has been established for more than 25 years. They were greatly impacted by the services and have said on several occasions that it was their favorite part of the trip. I had the opportunity on Sunday evening to share a testimony of how the young couple came to Christ and that was an encouragement to the congregation.
Another blessing of attending the conference was the opportunity to see our friend Dr. Ron White. He has been a missionary here in Asia for more than 50 years and has been a great encouragement in our lives and ministry. It was encouraging for our team to meet Dr. Ogawa, a national Japanese pastor who has been pastoring for 49 years. He was reached with the gospel more than 50 years ago by Baptist missionaries from the United States. We want to be certain to disciple the new believers in Cambodia so that they will have a solid foundation that will sustain them many years as well.
I shot a couple minutes of video as we landed back in Phnom Penh. You can click on the video below to see what it looks like to fly into the city.
Thank you for praying for baby Annabelle. She is recovering very well from her fall down the stairs. Please remember her parents, Vannak and Samantha, in your prayers. They are both faithful servants of the Lord here in the ministry and we thank God for them.
I would like to remind you to pray for San and Yom as well. San is heading up the work in Psa Tricht Village and is doing a wonderful job. He has grown in the Lord and in his ability to lead his own people over the past several months. Yom is doing a wonderful job of leading the young ladies in the village ministry. The enemy would love to discourage this young couple because they are being used in a mighty way to see their own people come to Christ. Please continue to pray for San’s father, Pheap, to be saved. Pheap is the only member of the immediate family who has not come to Christ.
I will begin meeting with Chhay for some mentoring and discipleship beginning in March. He recently asked if I could teach him more about how to lead his home and how to serve in the ministry. This couple has become very faithful over the past year and it is exciting to watch. Each Sunday Chhay drives over 140 kilometers from his village in Psa Tricht on a motorcycle to preach to the children in the Prey Bang church. He is scheduled to preach to the adult service in Psa Tricht in a couple of weeks and is very nervous about it! Chhay supports his wife and two children by teaching English. We thank God for the character that we see in this young man. Many of you have heard me tell the story of going to the Cham village over ten years ago to meet with a group of young men who were interested in hearing about the gospel. Chhay was one of the young men in that group who eventually got saved. His father, before he died, was a very well known witch doctor in the Muslim community. When his father died about four years ago his mother told him that the “powers” were to be passed down to him. Chhay reminded his mother that he was a child of God and would not be participating in anything dealing with the occult and demon worship. The powers were transferred to his mother and to this day she serves as the witch doctor for several Cham villages. PRAY THAT CHHAY AND KIMLA WILL CONTINUE TO GROW IN THE LORD.
It is very likely that Bro. Man and his wife, Kahna, will head up our new outreach to Stung MeanChey district. We are hoping to get it up and going in March. PRAY FOR MAN TO HAVE WISDOM AND STRENGTH FROM THE LORD TO LEAD THIS NEW OUTREACH THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO EVENTUALLY OUTGROW THE WORK IN PHNOM PENH.
Hem and Beh continue to faithfully serve the Lord in various areas. Last month Hem asked me if I would be willing to begin meeting with them both on a regular basis to teach them more of the Bible as well as how to have a Christian family. It is always a blessing to invest time and energy in the lives of those whom you know will use it for the Lord and to help reach others. PRAY FOR HEM AND BEH TO CONTINUE TO REMAIN FAITHFUL AND THAT GOD WILL USE THIS TIME OF DISCIPLESHIP IN THEIR LIVES TO BEAR MUCH FRUIT IN THE YEARS TO COME.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave , Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
January 28, 2016
We had a very busy but wonderful weekend. It seems that there is never a dull moment here in Cambodia. Thank you for keeping our family, our co-laborers, and the ministry as a whole in your thoughts and prayers. It is always nice to have the opportunity to communicate with you via email and Instagram. If you are on Instagram and would like to follow the ministry you can find us at DAVE.BOARD – the account is private but you can send a request and we will add you to our friends list.
My home church pastor, Dr. Joe Esposito, used to say that it was one of his dreams to see young people be reached through the church, grow up in the church, faithfully serve the Lord through the ministries of the church, and one day get married in the church. Over the past 28 years since he started Pacific Baptist Church of Long Beach there have been scores of young people do just that!
One of the couples that were reached as young people in Long Beach is Sara and Neaty Vong. Debbie and I go way back with them to their pre-teen years as God allowed us to have a part in reaching their families for the Lord. It was a blessing to be a part of their wedding almost 12 years ago in Long Beach and now, five children later (and one on the way), they are serving the Lord here in Cambodia. It is a great joy to serve alongside the Vong family. Bro. and Mrs. Vong bring so many strengths to our team. Pray for Bro. Vong over the next few weeks as he will be carrying extra responsibilities in the work here in Phnom Penh as well as in some of our outlying works in the Provinces.
Like Pastor Esposito we have a dream of seeing young people reached with the gospel here in Cambodia and serving the Lord with their lives. Kosal was the first Cham person that we ever met here in Cambodia. After he came to Christ he was greatly used by God to help us gain contact with the Cham people as a whole. What a blessing it is to still be serving alongside of him all these years later. You will notice in the next picture that over the next 10 years Joshua kept growing – Kosal…not so much. 🙂
It was a wonderful blessing to officiate at Kosal’s wedding this past Saturday here at Pacific Baptist Church of Phnom Penh. He married a beautiful and godly young lady, Phalley, who was reached for the Lord through the ministry as well. They just returned from their Honeymoon last night and it was a blessing to see them in our mid-week service, right back in their spot, and with huge smiles. PRAY FOR KOSAL AND PHALLEY TO CONTINUE TO BE A FAITHFUL TESTIMONY TO LOST FAMILY MEMBERS.
Phalley’s parents were both saved through the ministry here as well. Their testimony of searching for the true God is truly a remarkable one! For more than a decade Hem was possessed with demons and would often become violent and a danger to his family and society as a whole. While under the control of Satan, he committed crimes that caused not just his village to fear him, but all the surrounding villages as well. Som sold their land and possessions in an attempt to find witch doctors and other occultic practitioners who could provide them with relief from the destructive power of darkness that pervaded their daily lives. All of her efforts were to no avail and simply left them broke and hopeless. Two years ago she heard that some of her own people had become Christians and were experiencing joy in their lives. This intrigued her but, at the same time, she was confused – she had never heard of a Cham (Muslim) person abandoning Islam and turning to Jesus Christ. She made it her point to travel from the Province where she was living to the village where the Christians were located. She had to find out for herself what Jesus Christ was all about.
I wrote extensively about her testimony of coming to Christ and the persecution that followed in a post a couple of years ago. (If you would like to read about her story you can email me. The post is password protected and not available to the general public.)
After Som came to Christ she endured a lot of persecution from her husband and fellow villagers. However, she refused to turn her back on Christ. I recall one time, in particular, that a group of us met her in a secret location not far from her village in order to encourage her to go forward for Christ. In turn, she encouraged us with her boldness and unwavering resolve to, by God’s grace, live for Him. She said, “Pastor, I can not turn my back on Jesus now. If I do, my family will never be saved. I must endure the persecution so that my family can see that Jesus is real.” Her testimony DID result in her husband coming to Christ as well as her two adult children. During the wedding ceremony Phalley shared a personal testimony of her salvation and credited her desire to be saved by the fact that she saw so much change take place in her parents lives after they were saved. It was such a blessing for us all to witness the joy that Som and Hem had during the wedding of their daughter! PLEASE PRAY FOR HEM AND SOM TO CONTINUE TO BE USED BY GOD AS A TESTIMONY OF HIS POWER TO FORGIVE SIN, CHANGE LIVES, AND GIVE HOPE.
There were a number of unsaved family members who attended, not just the reception at the restaurant, but the actual wedding at the church. It is somewhat rare in this country to have Muslims attend a Christian event that is held in a church. Two of the unsaved family members are pictured here with Kosal and Phalley. After the wedding was over I asked these two ladies what they thought about what they had experienced. With big smiles they told me that they really enjoyed the wedding and that Christians are not “like everyone said they are.” We then discussed some of the differences that they noted between the weddings they had attended in the past and Kosal’s wedding. They noted that a Christian wedding seems to be very joyful and that the challenge given during the wedding was much different from what they had experienced in the past. They were amazed that we didn’t instruct the young couple to work hard and make a lot of money. Instead, Bro. Esposito and myself reminded each of them of their responsibility before God to love the Lord and love each other. Both Kosal and Phalley shared their salvation testimony during the ceremony. We also had a special time when they both publicly showed honor to their parents. There were not many dry eyes left after that portion of the service. PRAY THAT THIS WEDDING WAS USED TO PLANT THE SEED OF THE GOSPEL AND THAT PEOPLE WILL BE SAVED AS A DIRECT RESULT.
One of the highlights of the wedding was having Kosal’s father attend. Those of you who have been privy to the events that transpired in the ministry a couple of years of ago know what a miracle it was to have him agree to attend. We believe that God is softening his heart to the gospel. He resigned his position as Village Chief a couple of months ago. This is something that his adult children have been praying for and we believe that he is one step closer to accepting Christ. PLEASE PRAY FOR PHEAP TO BE SAVED VERY SOON!
Those of you who speak Khmer might get a kick out of watching this short clip from the reception at the restaurant. Kosal wrote a special song to Phalley and sang it in front of everyone. In the video you can only see a few of the 160 or so folks who attended the wedding reception. It was good for the unsaved in the audience to see that Christians can have a good time without drinking and dancing. I know that their reception was a great testimony to the lost.
Help us pray about a new ministry that we hope to start within the next several weeks. For nearly two years our workers have been going to StungMeanChey, an industrial district of Phnom Penh. We have a number of children who attend the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry each week who live in this district. There are also a few adults who have been saved and who attend Sunday morning services. Soi Ny lives in StungMeanChey and professes to be saved, although we are not certain that she really understands the gospel but she definitely has a soft heart and is open to learning. There are other adults who have made professions of faith but who, for various reasons, do not attend church. The only spiritual accountability they receive is when the workers make their weekly follow-up visits at their home. StungMeanChey is a heavily populated part of town that is literally overrun with NGO groups (non-governmental aid groups) and churches of various stripes. Yet, we have not been able to find an established group in that part of town whose faith and practice is reflective of the New Testament church. Thus, in order to have a long-term impact in the lives of those who are being reached in that part of town, as well as to reach countless new folks, it would seem incumbent upon us to start a new church in StungMeanChey. Lord willing, the nationals from the Phnom Penh church will lead this new outreach and the missionaries will only operate in an advisory capacity. Soi Ny is just one of several folks who would stop attending church in Phnom Penh and who would become a part of this new work. The thing that is holding us up at this point is finding a suitable location where we can gather a group of people. PLEASE HELP US PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO FIND A LOCATION THAT WILL FACILITATE PERHAPS 100 PEOPLE OR SO. We plan to keep you updated on the progress of this new work in the weeks to come.
Our Sunday evening small groups are going very well. It has been a blessing to see several new folks attending church on Sunday evenings because of these groups. This past weekend we had a Russian young lady named Anya attend the English-speaking group. Anya has been working in Phnom Penh for awhile and is saved but it is my understanding that she is not a part of a good church. Likewise, there are several Khmer young adults, several deaf folks, and a young married couple who have been attending the groups as well. PRAY THAT GOD WILL CONTINUE TO USE THESE GROUPS TO STRENGTHEN THE BELIEVERS IN OUR CHURCH AS WELL AS TO REACH THOSE WHO ARE PRESENTLY LOST WITH THE GOSPEL.
In our married couples class this past week we were reminded that we need to seek after Godly wisdom as intently as we would seek after money. To illustrate this truth we had a scavenger hunt. We were missing three couples (two had sick children and one was out of town on their Honeymoon) but the couples who were present had a great time! They were required to hold hands during the entire hunt and had three minutes to find as many hidden stickers as they could. The top three couples won prizes. I have included a short excerpt of the game below – I know that they will want to see themselves!
We have known Sambath for a little over a year now but just met his wife, SreyMohm, a couple of weeks ago. They both have a work schedule that gives them very little free time. On the weekends Sambath is attending school in hopes that he can obtain his TESOL certificate and be certified to teach English. If he is able to get a job teaching in an English school he will hopefully have a much better schedule that will enable us to get closer to his family. We continue to maintain contact with them both as much as possible. PLEASE PRAY THAT THEIR HEARTS WILL REMAIN OPEN TO THE LORD AND TO US AND THAT THE DOOR WILL OPEN FOR US TO REACH THEM WITH THE GOSPEL.
I am very encouraged by the spiritual momentum that Oudom seems to have at this time. It seems that God is working in his heart and giving him a true desire to be more than a nominal believer. In a few days he will be taking a two-day test with the hopes that he will be admitted into medical school. Our weekly discipleship time will have to change as his schedule will likely be quite hectic for the foreseeable future. In addition to going to medical school he will continue to fulfill his responsibilities in the military. He holds the rank of Lieutenant. Oudom very excitedly shared some good news with me two weeks ago. He told me that his father had recently gathered the family together and told them that they will not be sacrificing to the ancestors or to the spirits this coming Chinese New Year. (Chinese New Year is coming up in a couple of weeks. It is a time when Chinese all around the world will offer sacrifices to demons and to the spirits of deceased relatives.) He went on to tell his adult children that very soon there would be no demon sacrifices made on his property whatsoever because he was going to become a “child of Jesus Christ.” If he was serious, and it appears that he was, this is huge! Oudom and his mother, Somally, have been trying to live out their faith in the home and it seems that their testimony is having an effect upon the whole family, especially upon his father. Oudom shared with me obvious changes that are taking place in his dad’s life that indicate his heart is being softened. Oudom’s father is a two-star General with 3,000 troops under his direct command. He is not known as a man who would say one thing and then do another. So we are very hopeful that God is indeed working in his heart. Three weeks ago I had occasion to speak with him for awhile at his home. While our time together was informal, I did have the opportunity to plant the seed of the gospel once again. I told him that God loves him and desires for him to turn to Him and be saved. Furthermore, if he died without being saved he would face the wrath of God. He responded by saying, “As a young man I fought the Khmer Rouge. I lived through war and wrath. I’m a soldier and I’m accustomed to violence. I already know about the wrath of God and I’m not worried.” I immediately responded by saying, “Yes, you lived through the wrath and violence of the Khmer Rouge. It lasted under 4 years and God allowed you to survive. However, the wrath of God will be eternal and it will be too late to repent once you have died and gone to Hell.” After exchanging a few more words with him I left his house and returned to Phnom Penh, wondering if I had overstepped the bounds of propriety. Apparently it was a few days later that he gathered the family together to make known his intentions to become a Christian. PLEASE PRAY THAT MR. PHEAP WILL BE CONVICTED OF HIS NEED OF SALVATION AND THAT HE WILL NOT DELAY IN BEING SAVED.
One of the greatest blessings of starting a work on the foreign field is seeing the national believers take their responsibility of serving the Lord seriously. As a team we stress the importance of making disciples, not converts. One of the paramount responsibilities of the missionary, and pastors in general, is to equip those who accept Christ to walk with Him, and to do the work of the ministry. We do not view “success” by the numbers of people sitting in the pew – We view success in the ministry by the number of disciples who are living obedient lives and who are equipped and serving. The Apostle Paul set forth the objective rather clearly in 2 Timothy 2:2 where he writes, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” I am constantly amazed at how effective the national believers are at loving and winning their own people to the Lord. PLEASE PRAY THAT WE WILL GROW IN OUR OBEDIENCE AND ABILITY TO MAKE DISCIPLES HERE IN CAMBODIA WHO ARE EQUIPPED TO CARRY OUT THE GREAT COMMISSION BOTH HERE AS WELL AS IN OTHER PLACES AS THE LORD LEADS.
SreyNech just celebrated her 20th Birthday yesterday. She was reached with the gospel as a 14 year old girl here at PBCPP. I’m so thankful for the ladies like Kahna, Joy, and Susanna as well as others, who have invested countless hours in her life. Here we see her teaching a group of children in a village located two hours from Phnom Penh. PRAY THAT, IN GOD’S TIME, HE WILL PROVIDE HER WITH A GODLY HUSBAND SHE CAN SERVE ALONGSIDE.
We are also blessed to see Kam’s desire to serve the Lord. Some of you may recall that Kam was saved out of Islam about four years ago. One day he was forced to flee the village and seek refuge in Phnom Penh. I clearly remember him showing up at the church with all of his earthly possessions placed in two small plastic bags. Though he continues to face much opposition from his lost family, he continues to go on for the Lord. Kam has a rather reserved personality and is not naturally inclined to seek the limelight. Yet, he is willing to stand before this group of young children every week and teach them the Word of God. PLEASE PRAY FOR KAM TO GROW IN HIS WALK WITH THE LORD AND TO CONTINUE TO BE USED BY THE LORD TO BLESS OTHERS.
One of the workers posted these two pictures on Instagram this past week. I was so blessed to see Sinath faithfully discipling a new convert, Mr. Tha. You may recall that Tha was Sinath’s High School Ethics teacher about 30 years ago. Sinath was able to lead him to Christ a few weeks ago.
We are happy to tell you that Vorn accepted Christ this past week. We had asked you to pray for him to be saved in our last post. (Vorn is the man in the black shirt.) Vorn’s wife, Sal, was saved several weeks ago. PLEASE PRAY FOR SINATH AND THE WORKERS IN THIS PARTICULAR VILLAGE MINISTRY AS THEY SEEK TO DISCIPLE THIS YOUNG COUPLE IN THE LORD!
Many of you perhaps heard me tell the story of Yey Long last year when I was in the States and reported in your church on the work here in Cambodia. Yey Long was the former Buddhist nun who accepted Christ. You may recall that when she got saved her family put pressure on her to try and get financial help and food from us in exchange for her “changing religions.” When it became evident to them that we were not that type of a ministry she was given an ultimatum by her adult children: Choose the family and have a place to live, or choose Jesus and be thrown out of the house. You will remember that she told them she would not turn her back on Jesus. She was thrown out of the house. Her story touched many of your hearts and I recall seeing many tears shed in churches around America as I spoke of her love for Jesus Christ. Some of our Vietnamese brothers and sisters in the Lord in the Kansas City area even gave me donations to help provide for some of her physical needs once she was rejected by her children. Those gifts were a great blessing to her and we were able to spread them out over several months.
Yey Long became quite ill this past October and was no longer able to get out of the house. She had two desires – One of them was to have me travel to her village and talk with her. The other was to be able to attend attend church one last time. Thankfully I was able to visit her on October 22nd with Brother Sinath. She was not able to able to make it to church due to her physical condition. She went home to Heaven this past week. Her family prevented our workers from having any contact with her for the days preceding her death. They kept her closed up in the house with lay Buddhists Priests and Monks chanting around the clock. It is a blessing to know that she accepted Christ as her personal Saviour and that there was evident fruit in her life that she had become a child of God.
I have included a short video clip from my visit with her on October 22nd, just three months before she passed away. In this clip Brother Sinath is encouraging her in the Lord and reminding her of the goodness of God in her life and the hope of Heaven. I loosely translated Sinath’s conversation with her for those of you who do not speak Khmer.
Ta Saren lives in StungMeanChey and is in his 80’s. Brother Adrian and his workers have been instrumental in helping to encourage Ta Saren in the Lord. Though he and his wife came to Christ through another ministry, Saren normally attended church with us. On a weekly basis the workers go to his home and read the Word of God to him and encourage him in his walk with Christ.
Tuesday evening I received a text message from Adrian saying that Saren’s wife suddenly died, and seeking counsel about what we should do. (You will see her covered body lying on a mat at the house just two feet from where she died a few hours previously.) Adrian went to be with the family and sought to bring Saren comfort that evening. Saren and one adult granddaughter who is also a Christian desired to have a Christian funeral but the rest of the family insisted on having a traditional Buddhist funeral. Saren and his wife were married for 60 years, and though she was a professing Christian, the rest of the family forced their way and called the monks. A Christian leader from another church in the area was able to hold a short informal Christian service for the benefit of Saren and his granddaughter. Wednesday morning at about 6:30 a few of us went to spend some time with Saren and encourage him in the Lord. Though he was grieving, it was an encouragement to see his unwavering faith in the Lord and his desire to be faithful until the end. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAREN OVER THE NEXT DAYS AS THEY WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT FOR HIM.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
January 10, 2016
Psalm 103:2 “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” As we closed out year 2015 it was encouraging to take time during our final church service of the year and reflect upon God’s blessing in each of our lives. Many of the folks shared testimonies during the service of how God had worked in their hearts over the past twelve months. It was a wonderful way to close out the old year and bring in the new.
I was out visiting a shut-in this past week and ran across this sign that was posted on the alley wall leading to her house. It is an advertisement for a fortuneteller. Sadly, many people in this part of the world are held captive to their superstitions and to the fear that the “god of this world” constantly inflicts upon them. This sign is posted in a part of town that is filled with some of the poorest of the poor here in Phnom Penh. It would almost seem as though that is their targeted client. However, it is not just the poor who fall prey to the deception that their world-view facilitates; many wealthy people here are seeking for peace, wealth, and good health. In doing so they allow each aspect of their lives to be dictated by their daily horoscope. Additionally, they seek the guidance of palm readers, fortune tellers, and witch doctors. I have met many people here who barely make enough money to survive another day but, out of desperation, take the small amount of money they do make and, rather than feeding their children, visit the fortuneteller. The feeling of spiritual desperation and hopelessness is not restricted to any certain social or economic group. Indeed, many of those who the world deems “wealthy” and whom surround us on a daily basis are, in fact, “…without Christ…, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:12) One of the families who was reached with the gospel over the past several months told me of their long search for peace and spiritual freedom from the power of darkness that permeated their lives. When I asked them how much they estimated they had spent on religious ceremonies, counseling, fortune tellers, and witch doctors in order to get the “help” they were seeking their answer was, “We have spent between $80,000 and $90,000 over the past five years.” This particular family has been brought to physical poverty after selling land, possessions, and taking out loans in order to get try and find peace from demonic oppression. Now that they are saved they eagerly and enthusiastically share their testimony of spiritual liberty with anyone who is willing to listen to them!
Our ministry theme for this new year is “We Have Seen a Great Light.” It is based upon Isaiah 9:2 that states, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” Thank you for doing your part to help the Light of the Gospel shine forth in this spiritually dark part of the world. Please continue to pray for our team and the national workers as we strive to go to areas of this country that are in desperate need of the gospel. As you pray, please keep in mind the truth of 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 which states, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
At our last service of 2015 we enjoyed not only hearing many testimonies but also hearing various families get up and sing special music. This next year we are hoping to equip more folks to play instruments and sing so that, as we continue to expand, there will always be those who can help lead in the music ministry.
Please help us pray about a new ministry outreach that we are hoping to start perhaps as early as February. For some time now some of our workers have been soul-winning and visiting an industrial part of town known as Stung MeanChey. Many of the folks who live there are well below the poverty line as established by the local authorities. Some of them have had unfortunate circumstances throughout their lives that have contributed to their present situation. For others it has been slothfulness and addictions to various sins that has kept them trapped living in less than desirable conditions. It seems that Stung MeanChey is overrun with non-governmental agencies; some are of a religious nature, but not all. Unfortunately some of these N.G.O. groups perpetuate a feeling of entitlement and contribute to the confusion that accompanies a “social gospel.” We have a number of adult contacts who live in the area and who are presently attending our Phnom Penh church off and on. However, most of them are not faithful and none of them attend more than a Sunday morning service. Likewise, we have perhaps 25 or so children who live in the area who would eventually stop coming to the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and be merged into this new work. If these folks are ever going to grow and be faithful to the Lord and a local church the way that they ought, it would seem necessary to have a church closer to their homes. Starting this new ministry will hopefully enable us to more effectively disciple the adult believers as well as free up some space here in Phnom Penh. We are presently looking for a location to meet as well as recruiting national workers who will volunteer to lead this new ministry. Some of our missionaries will play an auxiliary role but, Lord willing, the work will be led by the nationals. I look forward to providing you with new details in the weeks to come as they are available.
We are constantly evaluating the effectiveness of many of the things we do here and make changes when they seem necessary. Of course, one of the main thrusts of the ministry here is not just winning folks to Christ but teaching them God’s Word and equipping them to lead their own people. In order to more effectively disciple our new believers we began having small groups on Sunday evenings. We will do this for 6 weeks at a time. After the 6 weeks are up we will return to “regular” Sunday evening services for a few weeks then return to another 6 weeks of small groups. We are only on our second week but the groups seem to be effective so far. Each of the groups meet here at the church with the exception of the children’s group. It meets across the street in the Vong’s home. At this time we have a children’s group, a teen group, a single’s group, a married couple’s group, and a group for people whose primary language is English. I lead our couple’s group. This past Sunday evening we had 9 couples present. This is an exciting group to lead and I think it has a lot of potential should we determine that we want to continue having small groups in the future. We have already seen the unsaved husband of one of our ladies become a part of the group. Lord willing he will be saved because of the things that he hears and experiences in this group. Pray that we will have wisdom to discern what will be of the most spiritual benefit to these young believers. It is possible that we will split the teen group in the future, as well as start an evangelistic small group.
I first made reference to Ta Son in our post on December 6th. (https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2015/12/06/december-6-2015/) In our post on December 23rd I mentioned that he had accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. (https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2015/12/23/december-23-2015-2/) It has been a blessing to disciple him and see him begin to more clearly understand his new faith. At 80 years old his mind is still sharp. This week as I met with him for discipleship time we discussed various topics. I especially focused on the importance of him being a spiritual light for the Lord right there in his own village. He agreed that his village is filled with darkness and that he is burdened to see his friends saved as well. As we talked about the changes that have taken place in his heart since he has been saved he shared with me a regret. The conversation went something like this, “I regret all the years that I sacrificed chickens to the devil.” (That’s a lot of chickens over the past 80 years!) When I asked him why he regretted sacrificing them he told me, “I regret killing those chickens because I have no idea if they went to Heaven or to Hell after I killed them.” Now, that response might seem strange or perhaps funny but he was as serious as he could be. As a new believer who had only known the deception of the devil and false religion for 80 years he still has a lot to learn about so many things. Imagine coming to find out that virtually everything you have thought was truth your entire life was actually lies…how would you feel? I had the opportunity to share with him two truths that he understood right away: 1) The real reason why he should regret sacrificing the chickens to the devil is because the devil is a liar, is not god, is the enemy of God, and can’t do anything to help us nor does he desire to. He simply wants to hold people captive to fear and vain traditions. His goal is simply to rob God of the glory that is due Him alone and to “steal, kill, and to destroy” the lives of those whom God has created in His own image.” (John 10:10) 2) Chickens do not have eternal souls or spirits. When they are dead – they are dead. Men and women alone are created with a soul and spirit that will dwell forever either in Heaven or in Hell. This was brand new information to him. As I taught him this truth I could see a “light” switch on in his eyes and he got it. He seemed to be very relieved that he was not responsible for possibly sending chickens to hell! 🙂 Please continue to pray for Ta Son’s friends as well as other contacts in Elephant Den Village whom we are trying to reach with the gospel: Bonny (53 year old man), Sarum (lady in her 40s), and Sarin (23 year old man), and the following individuals who are in their 70’s or near to it – Mr. Thy, Mr. Prouen, Mr. Wan, and Mrs. Date.
One of a missionary’s primary responsibilities is to train national men to lead their families and to lead their own people. There is nothing that brings more joy to our hearts than to see national believers who have been saved through the ministry here grow in the Lord and begin to get a burden for their own people. Brother Sinath is one of the men who brings us much joy. For some time now Sinath has traveled to his home village two hours away from Phnom Penh a couple times a week in order to share the gospel with the lost and to disciple the saved. He recently led Sal to Christ after working with her for several weeks. Please pray for Sal as she grows in the Lord. Sinath and his adult daughter, Srey Nech (pictured on the far left) have become very close to this family and have been such a spiritual encouragement to Sal since her salvation. Please pray also for Sal’s husband, Vorn, to be saved. It seems that he is very close but is still hesitating to turn from his idols to the living God. He has told Sinath that he wants to be saved but not yet. It is my guess that he is wanting to watch and see what happens in Sal’s life first. This is a somewhat common response. Pray that Sinath will have wisdom and direction as he seeks to win Vorn to Christ.
Last month while out soul-winning in a village near his home village Sinath ran into one of his former high school teachers, Mr. Tha. Though it was 30 years ago, Mr. Tha remembered Sinath and they were able to strike up a friendship. Sinath gave him some tracts as well as a “Do You Know God?” booklet and asked him to read the materials. When he gave him our tract entitled “One Minute After You Die,” he responded immediately by saying, “This is what I have been wondering – What will happen to me when I die?” That was about three weeks ago. I’m happy to report to you that Mr. Tha trusted Christ with Sinath yesterday afternoon! Please pray that Sinath will have wisdom as he seeks to disciple Mr. Tha.
It was a blessing last night to complete our fourth and final pre-marital counseling session with Kosal and Phalley. Lord willing they will be married here at the church in less than two weeks! It is a great joy to see their desire to live for the Lord and to be used for his honor and glory. Kosal teaches English in one of the top English schools here in Cambodia and is very gifted by the Lord in so many areas. Phalley, though saved less than two years, has shown unusual spiritual desire and fervency. We expect this young couple to be used mightily to see others come to the Lord and discipled. Please pray that their wedding will be honoring to Christ and that their unsaved family members will agree to attend. They will both be sharing their personal testimonies during the wedding ceremony.
Some of you were aware of the accident that happened last week when Annabelle and her walker fell down twelve very hard cement stairs at their home and she landed on her head. We had a couple of very tense hours when we didn’t know for sure if she was going to be okay or if there was serious bleeding on the brain. Though she does have a skull fracture, it appears there will be no lasting damage! Thank you for praying for her and please continue to pray that she will have a total healing!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
December 23, 2015
We had a wonderful but action packed weekend. I think that we are all glad it’s over! So many people worked hard to make the Christmas drama a success this year. Bro. Bounna and his team of workers practiced countless hours to memorize their lines. We did not bring in any folks from the outlying works for this special day. Yet, we had one of our largest Sunday morning crowds that we’ve ever had. I asked one of our national leaders, Bro. Vannak, to preach for the service. God used him to preach a very clear and powerful salvation message. It’s such a blessing to serve alongside so many folks who are willing to be used by the Lord in whatever way necessary.
There were many songs presented throughout the drama. Several of them were translated into Khmer from English and were pretty difficult for the folks to learn. Bro. Kosal did a fantastic job of translating them several months ago and those who sang worked diligently to sing them to the best of their ability.
It was such a blessing to have many first time adult visitors in the morning service. Big days over here tend to be a bit hectic and stressful due to the fact that most first time visitors have never been in a church and don’t know how to “properly” conduct themselves. Thus if we allowed it there would be a lot of talking going on, phones ringing, and people getting up and down and going in and out of the auditorium during the service. That would be typical conduct in their religion at the temple and so they would think it was normal for a church service as well. Thankfully folks were pretty well behaved and we had very few interruptions compared to what we could have had. It was a blessing to have Srey Neang’s mother attend the service in order to see her four daughters participate in the drama. Please pray for her salvation. She represents just one of dozens of parents of our young people who are not saved and have little, if any, interest in spiritual things.
Mrs. Has and the workers did a fantastic job with the children on Sunday. I popped in to see how things were going and was amazed to see about 60 children paying attention and participating in the children’s service.
Many of the teens have been competing for the past 6 weeks or so in order to qualify to attend our annual teen Christmas fellowship. These are the young people who were able to attend this past Saturday evening. We had a great time of competition and fun. We are so blessed to have young people who love the Lord and love doing right! Please continue to pray for the teens of Pacific Baptist Church to be shining lights for the Lord within their own families.
I began going to Elephant Den Village about 6 weeks ago. This new village is located about 40 minutes from Phnom Penh. As I went door-to-door I was able to meet Ta Son. At 80 years old he is the eldest member of his village. I’ve had the opportunity to teach him for the past several weeks about his need to stop depending upon his “good works” to get to Heaven. From the very beginning it seemed that his heart was tender to the gospel. He asked many good questions but once the gospel was clear to him he really began to pay attention. I am happy to report that he accepted Christ as his personal Saviour this past week! He immediately took me to go meet several of his friends with whom he had been sharing everything that I was teaching him. He desires to see them saved as well. Please pray for Ta Son as he grows in his new faith. Pray as well for his friends to be saved: Mr. Thy, Mr. Prouen, Mr. Wan, Mrs. Date.
It was a true joy to be able to preach at our church in Pra Tricht Village this past week. I am always encouraged to see what God is doing in and through the believers in that village. Beginning in January I plan to start going to Psa Tricht on a regular basis. The main thing that prevents my traveling to this village is the condition that I have with my back and the roads here. Please pray that my back will be stable and not prevent me from going, not just to this village, but several other villages as well. One of our goals for 2016 is to see more national leaders trained and equipped to lead their own people. As the work continues to expand it is imperative that our national men, in particular, are spiritually qualified, willing, and equipped to lead their own people. The church in Psa Tricht has a number of young couples with young children. Lord willing, and at their request, I will begin going there to teach on the family and child-rearing. The believers here were raised in Buddhism and Islam and have very little understanding of what it means to be have a Christian family. It is so important that our missionary families show forth a godly example in their families as our “walk always speaks louder than our talk.”
Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Phnom Brasut Village. It is located about an hour and a half from Phnom Penh. There is a possibility that I will begin going to this village a couple of times a month to do evangelism as well as to help train a national family who lives in that village. If the door of opportunity in this village continues to remain open I will share more details with you in the months to come. In the mean time please pray that we will have wisdom to know how best to help reach the folks in this village and see a church planted that is able to be led from the very beginning by a national man.
We thank you again for your prayers and investment in the work of the Lord here in Southeast Asia. We wish you a very Merry Christmas as you take time to remember the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to this earth for the purpose of dying to pay the price for our sins.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
Here are some video clips from this past Sunday.
December 6, 2015
We’ve been a bit delayed in getting an update out as things have been quite busy here in our part of the world over the past few weeks.
It was a blessing to be able to have another celebration service a couple of weeks ago. It is always a great time of fellowship, encouragement, and challenge as we meet together and hear testimonies and preaching. I was not able to count the folks in this service but someone else counted and told me there were 250 present. We were not able to baptize this particular Sunday due to the fact that our building had no water and we were unable to fill up the baptistery. It is a blessing to know that there were several who came to church prepared to follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism.
We are so thankful for our faithful ladies who joyfully prepared lunch for us to all enjoy. Most of them had to get up around 4:00 a.m. in order to have their time with the Lord, cook, and get to the 8:30 a.m. service on time. Thank you ladies!
It was a blessing to be able to dedicate Chy and KimLa’s daughters, Rebba and Rebeka, to the Lord. Chy has really become more faithful in his walk with the Lord over the past several months and truly desires to lead his family in the way they ought to go. It’s hard to believe that it was over 10 years ago, when he was just a teenager, that I had the privilege of leading him to the Lord! Time certainly does fly! It’s been a blessing to have Bro. Keo’s influence in Chy’s life over the past several months in particular. They travel together to preach in one of the village churches each Sunday and this has really helped Chy to see that God can use him to help teach others. Yesterday Chy and the workers in that particular village ministry taught 73 folks! Pray for Chy and KimLa as they continue to grow in the Lord.
It was wonderful to be able to be a part of Kosal and Phalley’s engagement ceremony here at the church. God allowed me to lead Kosal to the Lord 10 years ago. In fact, he was the first Cham individual that we had the opportunity to meet here in Cambodia and was the first Cham to accept Christ. (We met Cham refugees in the States back in the early 80’s but never saw any of them turn to Christ.) God has used Kosal and his family to be instrumental in seeing many Cham folks saved over the past 4 years or so. An engagement ceremony basically is a time when both families come together in a public setting and express their agreement to the marriage of their children. During the ceremony I gave a very brief challenge to the couple as well as provided each of them an opportunity to share their testimony of salvation. After the ceremony about 60 of us enjoyed eating curry together. The wedding is set for the end of January and will be held here at the church. Lord willing, we will be starting premarital counseling with them tomorrow evening. It is a great joy to see the Lord change lives and to see new families established in the church. Please pray for Kosal and Phalley as they enter this new phase of their lives.
We are so blessed to see the diligence that Grace and Sina have shown in learning Cambodian Sign Language. They are pictured here receiving their graduation certificate from the school that taught them. There are thousands of deaf and hearing impaired here in Cambodia and very few of them have ever had the opportunity to hear the plan of salvation even once. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that of the seven students in this particular class, six of them are Christians whose sole purpose in learning to sign is so that they might lead folks to Christ! The young lady standing next to Grace in the black blouse is a part of New Hope Baptist Church here in Phnom Penh and is a faithful Christian lady. The man on the far right is Missionary Stephen Benefield who has been serving here in Cambodia for many years. The two young ladies standing next to him are two of his daughters. Pray for Grace and Sina here at Pacific Baptist Church as well as the folks at New Hope Baptist and Good News Baptist Church as they seek to win the deaf of Cambodia to Christ.
It was a special blessing to see Alec’s little sister at Children’s Ministry yesterday. Srey Neaht is deaf and attends a premier school for the deaf here in Phnom Penh that is funded personally, according to my understanding, by the Prime Minister. Srey Neaht is not yet saved but seems to be very open to the gospel. I believe this is only her second time to be able to attend church. What a blessing it was to see Miss Grace and Sina translating the children’s service for her. Alec was reached with the gospel through Bro. Adrian and his Tuk Tuk route in Stung MeanChey.
Yesterday Jeremy and I had the opportunity to take Srey Nov home after the morning service and Children’s Ministry. She lives out in Prak Pnou in very difficult circumstances. I am certain that the only time she is showed love and positive attention is on Sundays when she is able to come to church. It was a real blessing yesterday to see her clutching a bag of clothing that someone here at the church gave her as a gift. She held it the entire ride home! It was also a blessing to see her joy when we stopped and bought her a simple can of Coke. Please pray that we will be able to see a work started, once again, in Prak Pnou Village. We have several folks who have made professions of faith and whom myself, Bro. Vong, and Bro. Has go teach each Tuesday but, as of yet, we have not been able to start anything on Sundays. (You may recall that we tried to get a work started there in the past but were forced to close it down nearly a year ago.)
It was a blessing to meet Prohs in our morning service. At the time that this picture was taken, two weeks ago, he was not yet saved and this was the very first time that he had ever been to a Christian church. I am thankful to report to you that he trusted Christ as his Saviour last week! Each Saturday several of the folks from the work in Psa Tricht Village go out soul-winning and they were able to meet him last month. They invited him to come to the celebration service and then continued to follow-up on him. Prohs has been in the military for 26 years and apparently has quite a bit of influence in his village and extended family. Pray for San and Ra, two of our national men, as they disciple Prohs in the things of the Lord. Also pray that he will be a good testimony and will be used by God to see many saved in his village.
Please continue to pray for Elephant Den Village (about a 40 minute drive from the church in Phnom Penh). I began going to this new village last month and have been able to meet several folks who are willing to listen to the gospel. Last week I gave Ta Son an mp3 player loaded with preaching and he promised to listen to it and discuss it with me when I return this Tuesday. At 80 years old his mind is still clear but the devil has blinded his eyes to the truth. I believe that he is truly thinking about his eternal destiny and desires to know the truth. We have had hours of great discussions where I pose different questions to him that challenge what he has believed his entire life. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will work in his heart and that he will come to understand his need to trust Jesus Christ for salvation. I am working with the following individuals in this village as well: Bonny (53 year old man), Sarum (lady in her 40s), and Sarin (23 year old man).
It was a blessing for our Phnom Penh church to be able to hear Veasna and Sinath preach this past Sunday evening. Their messages were from the heart and were used to help each of us. I’m so thankful for the many national believers who are embracing their responsibility to reach and lead their own people. Please pray for our team as we continue to win and train nationals to reach this country with the gospel. There are over 14,000 villages in Cambodia. The vast majority do not have a strong, gospel preaching church like we are privileged to have here in Phnom Penh. There is much work to do and the only way these villages will be truly reached is as the national believers are equipped and empowered to reach them!
This past week we took up a food offering for the poor. We take up this offering each month that has five Sundays. This time we had enough food to share with 12 families. Please pray that these gifts will be received in the spirit in which they were given and that they will be used to help soften the hearts of those who are so hardened to the gospel.
We were blessed to be able to set aside 5 days to be with the entire team for two days of vacation and three days of training. It was a blessing to get to know each other a little better and to challenge each other to continue in the work that God has called us each to do. We are so grateful for each of these families and their willingness to follow the Lord to difficult places.
We had many sessions Wednesday-Friday that spoke to our hearts and challenged us to make changes in our families and ministry. It has been a blessing to hear the ways God is working in our fellow team members hearts as I have been collecting feed back on the retreat from each team member. We look forward to having future meetings like this as we are able.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
November 12, 2015
It was five years ago this coming weekend that God allowed our family to start Pacific Baptist Church of Phnom Penh. It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years already! We thank God for the part that you have played in helping to reach this part of the world with the gospel. Thank you for standing with our family and team to see the people of Cambodia reached and to see churches established.
As we thought about the first service our minds were brought back to just days before we had our first public service (November 14, 2010) and the prospects that we were trying to reach with the gospel. I clearly remember wondering if anyone would even show up at the first service. Thankfully we did have around 30 nationals who were a part of our first service.
We could write for hours about all the lives that have been changed because of the impact of this young church and her various ministries that are scattered over a 60 kilometer radius. However, I don’t want to sit here that long typing and you don’t want to sit there that long to read it! 🙂 We are just blessed when we consider God’s goodness in our lives and the lives of each individual team member as well as the nationals who have been reached with the gospel.
Sinath’s family was the first complete family that was reached. This picture was taken when we invited them to our home for dinner and dominoes. At that point they were not yet saved but we had been building a relationship with them for around three months. Just before they left our house and returned home I asked them to read the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus from Luke 16. God used the story to begin working in their hearts and awaken them to their need of salvation. Sinath was saved just a couple of weeks after this picture was taken – In fact, it was five years ago today, November 12th, that he trusted Christ. Srey Nech, his 14 year old daughter, was saved a few days later. It took another 5 months or so before Sopheap, his wife, was saved.
We took this picture just after our mid-week service last night. Five years later they are all faithfully serving the Lord. Their 19 year old daughter and 12 year old son, Sothean, are faithful as well. Over the past five years God has blessed them with three more sons – Eden, Phillip, and Jeremiah! It’s been such a blessing to see this family grow into a godly, content, and loving family. Thank you for making it possible for this family to be reached with the gospel!
It was a blessing to hear Keang share a testimony from his heart about his decision to stand for the Lord at school. He is the only believer in his family. His mother recently moved the entire family several hours away back to the village. Keang remained there for a couple of months. There is no church in his village or anywhere near to his village. He desired to return to Phnom Penh so that he would be able to attend church and once again be part of the youth group and serve the Lord. What a blessing it was to have Brother Vannak work out the details with Keang’s mother and travel to the village to transport him back to Phnom Penh. We are thankful for Bro. Adrian who has joyfully allowed Keang to live with him. Adrian is helping to fill the void in Keang’s life of not having a Christian father and it has been a blessing to watch. Please pray for Keang to continue to be faithful to the Lord.
Mrs. Has has been diligently working with the children’s singing group to prepare for their special song this month. You can click on the video below to hear their special they sang this past weekend. The video was shot during their rehearsal before the service.
We also enjoyed an English trio special – I’ve included the video for the benefit of the grandparents! 🙂
It was a blessing to meet Ury this past Sunday morning. He was referred to us by one of our team members in Thailand. He seemed to know all the songs we sang by memory and he smiled the majority of the service as though he was extremely happy to be there. I have an appointment to meet with him this coming Saturday morning where I hope to hear his testimony of salvation. He hope that he will become a part of the church and that we will have the opportunity to serve along side of him. Please pray for Ury to be sensitive to God’s leading in his life. He is originally from a village very near the Vietnam border.
Each Wednesday Brother Sinath and I go soul-winning in Stung Mean Chey district. Last week we met SreyGa and had the opportunity to witness to her for an extended period of time. We left her with materials to read and assured her that we would see her the next week. It was a blessing to be able to visit her again yesterday and see her trust Christ as her personal Saviour! Please pray for her husband, Chetra, to be saved as well. She invited us to stay for lunch and during lunch she told us an interesting story. As a young girl of around 6 years old she remembers the time when her grandmother stopped following the religion that she had faithfully followed for many years. She began doing “strange” things like praying to thank God for her food before she ate. She prayed before she went to bed at night. As a young child who had never been exposed to Christianity, Srey Ga didn’t understand what had happened to her grandmother. She often after her why she stopped offering sacrifices to the spirits and idols, and instead she prayed to some God that she could not see. She didn’t remember getting a clear answer from her grandmother. Then at the age of 15 Srey Ga moved to Phnom Penh to work. Her grandmother would often come and visit her. In the home each night she would request that Srey Ga read the Bible to her because her eyesight was too poor to read the small print. So, as a 15-16 year old girl Srey Ga would read page after page of the Bible out loud to her grandmother. As she read her grandmother would say “Amen” and “that’s the truth” out loud. This really confused Srey Ga and she couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her grandmother. She shared with us that she now understands what her grandmother was so excited about – salvation is a free gift and, though we are sinners deserving of eternal punishment, God sought us and drew us to Himself. We plan to visit her again very soon to give her an MP3 player and a Bible. Circumstances involving her husband may, for the present time, prevent her from attending church. Please help pray about that.
My weekly discipleship time with Oudom is going very well. It has been a blessing to see his spiritual growth and his desire to be faithful to the Lord at work as well as within his family. Pray that we will be able to see a church or perhaps a small group formed in his village very soon that would provide Christian fellowship and accountability. Bro. Has and Bro. Vong have been working on several prospects in Oudom’s village as well and have seen at least one other young man trust Christ. Please pray for a young couple with whom they are working, Bora and Sophea, to be saved.
Each Tuesday morning prior to meeting with folks in Prek Pnou for discipleship we spend time handing out tracts and seeking to meet people. Three weeks ago I began going to a new village where I had never been named Elephant Den Village. I was able to meet a number of folks. Sarin is 23 years old and had never heard the gospel. I was able to spend time with him the first two weeks. Last week as we met I asked him if his parents knew what we were discussing and he responded that they did not. They likely assumed I was teaching him English. He seemed to want to keep it quiet that we were studying about Jesus… However, when I arrived there to meet him this week I was greeted with the sad news that his father had passed away a few days prior. It is sad thing to think that the gospel likely did not reach him in time. Please pray that the passing of his father will not close the door in Sarin’s life but that it will rather cause him to think all the more about the importance of knowing that his sins are forgiven.
Please pray for a couple who lives in Elephant Den Village named Bonny and Saroeun. I was able to meet them in their home this week and give them a tract. Bonny told me that he has never had anyone give him a tract in his entire life but that he was always interested in knowing what Christianity was all about. It often takes a bit of time for folks like him to comprehend and accept the fact that they need a personal Saviour. The gospel is not difficult to understand but it is impossible for them to understand it as long as the devil has control of their lives. 2 Corinthians 4:4 tells us, “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” Please pray that as this couple reads the materials and thinks about the things I taught them the Holy Spirit will awaken them to their need to be saved.
It was a blessing to receive a special gift from friends in Iowa this past month which enabled us to be able to replace our broken keyboard. The weather as well as extreme wear and tear take its toll on electronics over here. We are grateful to God’s people who care about the work here in Cambodia and are willing to do their part to help make a difference!
Debbie and I were blessed to be able to travel to a neighboring country a few days ago and conduct a couple’s retreat. This is just one of the couples who has been reached through the ministry in that country. It was a true blessing to see how the work has grown since the last time that we were there despite the fact that they are situated in a “creative access” country where traditional methods of soul-winning, discipleship, and church-planting are not easily used. It was a blessing to have the opportunity to meet with their college age young people on Thursday evening as well as to speak for their service on Sunday. Please remember to pray for the work that our fellow team members are doing not just here in Cambodia but also in other places here in Southeast Asia.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
P.S. Did you ever see a 300 pound hog on the back of a small moped being taken to the market? Check out the video below and you will see two of them! We shot this video close to our church.