October 16, 2016
We had another wonderful weekend. So many things happened this weekend that we wish we could report, but for the sake of brevity I will only attempt to share a small glimpse of what God is doing here in Cambodia and Southeast Asia.
Today was our first week to have a small group specifically for the Deaf. We are told that there are around 85,000 Deaf in Cambodia. Only about 2% of them actually have any access to education of any type including learning how to speak Deaf Sign Language. The Deaf are considered to be an unreached people group here in Cambodia and we are thrilled that God is opening the door to reach them with the gospel.
The video below lets you learn a little more about what is happening here at Pacific Baptist of Phnom Penh with the Deaf ministry.
Please continue to pray for the Deaf Ministry as well as Miss Grace and her workers who labor to see these folks come to the Lord. So many of the Deaf work very long hours and often only have one or two days off the entire month. It is difficult for the workers to connect up with them in order to share the gospel but we are so happy to see the doors that are being opened. PRAY THAT THERE WILL BE A KHMER MAN FROM WITHIN OUR CHURCH WHO WILL BE BURDENED FOR THE DEAF, BE WILLING TO COMMIT TO LEARN SIGN LANGUAGE, AND BE ABLE AND WILLING TO HELP LEAD THIS YOUNG MINISTRY ALONG SIDE OF MISS GRACE.
The folks in the Deaf class had a great time playing this game. It is my guess that they don’t have many occasions in their life when they can have fun like this in a safe environment. Obviously the teaching of God’s Word is the most important aspect of our time each week in the small group. However, the game time helps to create an environment that is conducive to reaching out to those who are not yet saved. When I asked them if they would like for me to post the video on our Facebook page they all responded that they would like that. I am hoping that they will forward the video to their Deaf friends who currently know nothing about the Lord. The Deaf here are very interested in videos and I think that over time we can be creative in the way we plant seeds through the use of video technology.
Every Saturday morning at 8:00 we have a brief meeting at the church before going out and making visits in the community. I don’t usually get the chance to attend the meeting due to the fact that my group normally leaves at 6:30 on Saturday mornings to go soul-winning in a village that is about 30 minutes from the city. We have to leave at that time in order to not get stuck in traffic for an hour. Yesterday Debbie and I were able to be in the meeting because we took a break from going to that village and made visits in Phnnom Penh instead. All together we had around 50-60 folks out making visits and soul-winning yesterday here in Phnom Penh and Psa Tricht. It’s difficult for some of the mothers with very young children to be able to participate which means we may need to begin having a Saturday morning nursery.
During my short devotional challenge at the Faithfulness Rally I encouraged everyone to keep their eyes open for folks who used to be a prospect but who have fallen away. Wouldn’t you know it – a few minutes later Debbie and I ran into BunSeang and Srey Iam on the street where they were walking close to the home we were visiting. They used to attend our church a little over a year ago, then problems in their family caused them to move away. They both profess to have accepted Christ. There seems to be little, if any, evidence that Srey Iam is saved but BunSeang seems to have a soft heart for the Lord. He told me that he has really missed being in church and desired to return but was too embarrassed because he was gone for so long and had returned to the world. (That normally happens when folks get out of church.) He told me that he has no peace because he has been away from God (That also happens when someone is saved but not living in obedience to the Lord.) He promised me that they would be in church Sunday morning. They were not able to make it to the morning service due to their work schedule but they did attend this evening for our Married Couple’s small group. PLEASE PRAY THAT THEY WILL BE FAITHFUL TO KEEP COMING TO CHURCH AND THAT IF THEY ARE NOT TRULY SAVED THEY WILL TURN FROM WHATEVER THEY ARE TRUSTING AND TRUST CHRIST.
It was a blessing to have Somalin and Somalen in the service this morning. They were reached through another church in another Province but have moved to Phnom Penh to further their education. Their pastor has recommended that they become a part of our church. Bro. Bounna and Thy are reaching out to them and helping them to feel at home here at Pacific Baptist. I’m sure that our church is a bit different than what they are accustomed to. There are actually two other young ladies from their church in that Province who were in our Singles small group this evening as well. PRAY THAT THESE YOUNG LADIES WILL FEEL COMFORTABLE HERE AT THE CHURCH, GET INVOLVED IN ONE OF THE MINISTRIES, AND BECOME A PART OF REACHING OTHERS FOR CHRIST.
Nary is 12 years old and she accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour this weekend. She is the neighbor of Navy, a lady Debbie and I were blessed to reach with the gospel a few months ago. Navy has been bringing her to church for the past several weeks. Bro. Vannak took the initiative to witness to her and lead her to Christ. Nary has a very difficult life. Words could not adequately describe the environment in which she lives. I’m confident that the only people who actually care about this young lady and her well-being are the folks here at the church. Thank God for Navy and her willingness to reach out to this young girl. She is so young and vulnerable to so much of the danger and darkness that surrounds her. The likelihood that she will live a healthy life much past her teen years is slim unless there are changes made. Thank the Lord that she is now God’s child and He never forsakes His own. Today was her first time to sing with the children. She had memorized the words and was very excited to be able to join the group. You can see her singing in the video below. She is in the front row, second from the left. PRAY THAT NARY WILL GET PLUGGED INTO THE YOUNG GROUP AND THAT THE TEEN GIRLS HERE AT PACIFIC BAPTIST WILL TAKE HER UNDER THEIR WINGS AND HELP MODEL THE CHRISTIAN LIFE FOR HER.
Yesterday was the third week of training for our nursery workers. Most of these teen girls were reached with the gospel as children. Some of them come from backgrounds similar to that of Nary and would be living a much different life than they are now had someone here at the church not taken a personal interest in their lives and sought to win them to Christ. These are great girls and they all have such potential to live lives that are significant. I’m thankful for the time and effort Debbie and Thy put into training these girls to more effectively serve in the nursery. These girls all have such good attitudes for the Lord and for His work!
Srey Nak is one of our newly trained nursery workers. She was reached through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry and is now 16 years old. Today was our first time to have a separate class for 2-3 year old children. I was obviously not in the class to witness her teaching for the first time, but Michelle gave us the report that Srey Nak did a fantastic job of keeping the children’s attention and following the schedule that Debbie had laid out for her. Good job Srey Nak! I would seriously doubt that there are more than one or two, if any, other churches here in Phnom Penh that have an actual Bible class for 2-3 year old children. It is not something that would ever occur to most parents who live in this country. In many churches children this age run up and down the aisles during the adult service IF they even make it to church. Most of the time they would be left at home. It’s a blessing that we have the chance to invest into the lives of the youngest among us. I often teach the parents (and those who are still single but who will one day become a parent) that it is not the church’s responsibility to teach their children. The church should simply help to reinforce truths that are being taught in the home by the parents! I’m thankful that a number of our families are understanding this and taking their role as a Christian parent seriously. PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR TEEN GIRLS WHO WILL BE TEACHING THIS NEW CLASS ON A ROTATING SCHEDULE.
We had a great time in our Phnom Penh married couples small group this evening. Almost every person present this evening had already invested the entire day serving in the ministry in one way or another. We are so blessed to see the faithfulness of the national believers and their willingness to follow and be led. These are a great group of folks and it is a blessing to see them growing in the Lord. This evening I taught from Judges 2:10 on the topic of “A generation who knew not the Lord.” We discovered that the reason they didn’t know the Lord could be traced back to the fact that the spiritual leaders and the parents had failed to obey God’s commands. The spiritual leaders were to teach the people the difference between the “holy” and the “profane.” The parents, in particular the fathers, were to teach their children God’s Word in the home. When Pastors and Parents become sidetracked by less important things in life, the next generation always pays the price.
One ought not to wonder why American citizens are faced with the choices they are faced with in our elections this year. Psalm 11:3 says If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? America was founded on a firm foundation but for many years the foundation has been eroding while much of the church slept and in some cases was complicit with the erosion. Some of the nonsense that is going on right now and being publicized in international media is being used by the enemy to cause confusion among those who are lost here in this part of the world. THERE IS AN ALMOST UNIVERSAL ASSUMPTION HERE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA THAT ALL AMERICANS ARE CHRISTIANS. Many do not understand that the United States does not have a national religion. You can imagine the type of questions that are raised here when filth, debauchery, and corruption is exposed and publicly rationalized away by pragmatic and apologetic professing Christians. It places us, as Americans, in a difficult position as we try to deal with non-believers and teach them of God’s grace, mercy, holiness, forgiveness, and the power of the gospel to change lives while at the same time witnessing the events that are taking place in “Christian America.” Just a little something to think about…
Now – back to something a little more encouraging…Our married couples had a fun time playing this game tonight. I’ve included the video for their benefit as several of them will enjoy seeing themselves laughing and enjoying fellowship.
We had 21 singles in our Phnom Penh Singles small group this evening. There were at least five young adults that I can think of who were absent this evening. Bro. Bounna and Thy are doing a great job shepherding this group. If we could ever get everyone to come at the same time we would have real problems fitting them into the room. I’m looking forward to the day when, very soon, this group will have to change locations!
We had 35 teens in the teen service this evening. Bro. Adrian is doing a great job leading this group. The vast majority of these teens were in church and serving in various ministries throughout the day from early this morning all the way through this evening. They are definitely tired by the time Sunday evening rolls around. I give them a lot of credit for showing up with great attitudes and smiles!
Without a doubt, the key to reaching a nation with the gospel is found in reaching and discipling nationals to reach their own people with the gospel. By God’s grace we are seeing this happen here at Pacific Baptist. We take seriously the task of the Great Commission and are not content to simply “win” a sinner to Christ. We realize that Christ is not honored by simply filling up a building with a crowd. He desires and has commanded that we train the new convert to know Him and obey His Word. It was a blessing for me to be able to go soul-winning with Bro. Sinath this past week as he went to go witness to a prospect about 30 minutes from the church. Sinath and so many other national believers are such an encouragement to our family and to our team. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR OUR NATIONAL BELIEVERS TO BE FAITHFUL TO LEAD THEIR OWN FAMILIES FOR THE LORD WHILE AT THE SAME TIME OBEYING THE GREAT COMMISSION.
We continue to be blessed by what God is doing in Stung MeanChey. As you know, our folks have been reaching out to Stung MeanChey for awhile now. We began holding public services there a couple of months ago. Today there was standing room only in the Adult / Teen service! Bro. Man and his workers are doing a great job while serving in a very challenging part of town.
This past Thursday evening was our first time to hold an evening mid-week service in Stung MeanChey. Here, the men are gathering together to pray before the service. This picture would have never been possible had the gospel not changed the lives of these men. Culturally speaking, this group should not even exist – There are Khmer and Cham, old and young, middle class and the very poor, all meeting together in love and unity. This is only possible because of the love of Christ that has shined into their hearts! (2 Corinthians 4:6)
I had the privilege to preach for our first evening mid-week service. It was a blessing to have 26 folks from Stung MeanChey in attendance. This is not including my family and three other folks from Phnom Penh who tagged along. There were 18 adults, 2 teens, and 6 children who joined the service. There were other adults from Stung MeanChey who desired to attend but were prevented from doing so due to their work and school schedules. The electric had been off in that entire part of town since 2:00 and we were actually sitting in the dark in this picture using only candles. When the men met to pray before the service, they prayed that the electric would come on – – It did – – Three minutes before I got up to preach! PRAY THAT THIS MID-WEEK SERVICE WILL BE JUST ANOTHER TOOL TO HELP GROUND THE NEW BELIEVERS IN STUNG MEANCHEY.
Kanha and Phalley joyfully cooked soup in the kitchen just off of the auditorium for the folks to enjoy after the service. They are both godly young wives who were reached with the gospel through Pacific Baptist Church. They were both married here in the church and are both now expecting their first baby. Their testimony for the Lord and their support in the ministry definitely make it possible for their husbands, Man and Kosal, to effectively lead this new ministry! They are a gift to their husbands and a gift to our church! PLEASE PRAY FOR KANHA AND PHALLEY TO HAVE GOD’S PROTECTION OVER THEIR PREGNANCIES.
It was a real blessing for us to be able to spend some time with Bro. West and Bro. Kerin yesterday as they visited us here in Cambodia. They have both been a real encouragement to my home church and pastor. Bro. West has been used by God to help save our home church thousands of dollars as they are building a new building. He has a ministry that mobilizes men from around the country to donate their construction skills to local churches. I’ve often heard Pastor Esposito mention, not just from the pulpit but also directly to me, what a blessing Bro. West has been. It was a pleasure for us to be able to show him just a small glimpse of what God is doing here in Cambodia! We were refreshed by their spirits and their desire to see the lost reached with the gospel.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
October 9, 2016
We had a wonderful day today here in Cambodia. It started out a bit slow here in Phnom Penh and I was wondering if everyone had moved or something. However, the auditorium filled up about twenty minutes after the service started. I think all the rain and sickness here in Cambodia has everyone just a bit under the weather. Once we got going the service picked up momentum and we had a wonderful time.
We have been reaching out to Heng for the past several weeks. We met him just last month. While I was in a “creative access” country recently I kept in touch with him through phone calls and we are working hard to win his heart. He works six days a week from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. Sunday is his only day off and that makes it a bit difficult to find the time to meet with him for any extended period of time. We don’t normally invite the lost to attend church when they have not had any background with Christianity as it is always better to present the gospel to them in their homes. I know that he was totally lost today during the service and likely a bit uncomfortable. He said that he will return next Sunday with his wife, Mara, and their three children. We have made plans to go out to eat together after the service. PLEASE PRAY THAT HENG AND MARA WILL UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND BE SAVED.
We have been reaching out to 24 year old Pheaktra for the past year. He works at a local coffee shop that we frequent on our date night. This past week we had the opportunity to meet with him for an extended period of time because he had no customers. He planned to be in the service this morning but he got lost and returned back home after he could not reach us on the cell phone. (It came as a shock to him that my cell phone would be turned off while I am preaching 🙂 ) I returned his call after the morning service and helped him find our place. He joined our family for lunch today and, again, I had the opportunity to witness to him. He told me that the reason he is interested in the gospel is because of the example he has seen in our lives while we are on our date night and in his coffee shop. He said that he has never seen married people who are happy and he desires to have that kind of happiness in his life. You never know who is watching you and what they perceive about your life. PLEASE PRAY THAT PHEAKTRA WILL UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND RESPOND TO THE WORKING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HIS HEART.
This evening we heard reports from three of our outreach ministries. SreyMohm shared about the progress of the work in Stung MeanChey as well as her gratitude to God for allowing her family to have a part in the work of the Lord.
Jason gave us an update on the outreach in Ta Skov Village. It is definitely a blessing for us to see him faithfully involved in that ministry each week. Brother Taiwan, the national man in charge of the Ta Skov Village outreach, has asked Jason to preach there in the village every other week. It sure would be nice if Debbie and I would have the opportunity to hear him one of these days.
Brother Bounna gave us a report on the work in Psa Tricht Village. He noted that the nationals who are leading that work are growing in their ability to lead their own people. He told us that even though there were a number of folks sick and not at the church today the auditorium there was full!
Yesterday a few of the ladies gathered together for a baby shower for Phalley. Phalley and her husband, Kosal, were married here at the church this past year and are both very faithfully involved in the ministry. Kosal works as an English professor at one of the premier English schools here in Phnom Penh and Phalley is a homemaker. They both serve together in the new Stung MeanChey outreach as well as other areas where they are needed. This evening Kosal preached for our Sunday evening service here in Phnom Penh. We are thankful for this young couple. Their lives are about to change with the birth of their soon-to-arrive baby girl! PLEASE PRAY FOR PHALLEY’S SAFETY AS SHE GIVES BIRTH AT THE END OF THIS MONTH.
We rejoiced to have the opportunity to celebrate Tara’s graduation a couple of weeks ago. He graduated with his Master’s Degree. Tara teaches undergraduate classes at his university and we were also happy to have the opportunity to meet a few of his students who were graduating at the same time. He presently teaches a combined total of around 900 students each week. Tara and SreyMohm have been saved just over a year now and are a wonderful testimony of the power of God to change lives. Debbie has the opportunity to teach their youngest daughter, Srey Roth, the piano. Both Tara and SreyMohm are helping to serve in the new outreach in Stung MeanChey and are a blessing to the folks there in that ministry. PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS FAMILY AS THEY CONTINUE TO GROW IN THE LORD. The devil would love to try and cause them to stumble as there are a lot of people watching their example.
There has been A LOT of sickness going around here in Cambodia. Even as I write this update we have two of our members’ babies in the hospital. One has dengue fever and the other one has been having seizures and a high fever. Several of the adults are quite sick right now as well. Michelle (in the blue shirt) has been here in Cambodia serving for the past 5 months. Eating the wrong food finally caught up with her! She had the opportunity here in this picture to experience what it is like to be in the hospital here in Cambodia! Even though she is having serious stomach cramps in this picture she still has a smile on her face. It’s a pleasure to serve along side Michelle and many others here who, despite facing difficulties, continue to smile and go on for the Lord. PRAY FOR MICHELLE TO FULLY RECOVER. Sometimes foodborne illness here can drag on for a long time. She made it to church this morning but stayed home this evening as she was not feeling well.
In our last update we asked you to pray for Ta Lote and his salvation. I’ve been back to see him a couple of times since that update. It seems that he is coming to understand what it means to be be saved and he is rejecting it. He told me that there is no way that he can give up his god and accept Jesus Christ. It is not likely that he will be willing to spend much more time talking with me. I plan to try and drop in on him from time to time. This is particularly sad due to the fact that he plainly told me that his god (idols) has never helped him and constantly demands that he make sacrifices and do good works in order to gain merit for his “next life.” The issues for him is that he feels he can not turn his back on what he has believed for his entire life. It is sad to see him continue to live without God and without hope. (Ephesians 2:12)
Please continue to pray for the Stung MeanChey outreach. Beginning a new ministry is always a slow process and requires a lot of time and effort. Brother Man and his wife, Kanha, as well as Brother Kosal and his wife, Phalley, are going a wonderful job of loving their own people and investing in their lives. The Children’s Ministry and Adult class is going well and continues to be led by the nationals.
We are beginning two ministries in Stung MeanChey beginning this week. This coming Thursday we will begin having an evening mid-week service. The Stung MeanChey national leaders will only speak in this service once a month. The other weeks we will have various leaders from our other churches in Phnom Penh and Psa Tricht. This will give the Stung MeanChey folks an opportunity to be influenced by a broader group of leaders. It will also help our national leaders who are not part of the Stung MeanChey outreach to have a part in that ministry. Debbie and I will have the opportunity to go teach for the first service this coming Thursday. Additionally, Bro. Man and Kosal are beginning a new teen service in Stung MeanChey this coming Sunday at 11:00 a.m. We have a good group of teens who have been reached through the Stung MeanChey ministry and this new service will help disciple them. It is likely that a couple of our Phnom Penh teens will join with that service in order to help the newer believers grow. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE NEW MID-WEEK SERVICE FOR ADULTS AND THE NEW TEEN SERVICE TO BE EFFECTIVE TOOLS TO HELP GROUND NEW BELIEVERS IN THE LORD.
This coming Sunday afternoon we are planning to begin a new small group especially for the deaf. We took this picture last year when we had a special day and had a large group of deaf who attended. The majority of these folks do not attend church but will visit on occasion. Miss Grace (in the green dress) has been working with the deaf now for over a year and has won several in this group to the Lord. She feels that beginning this new group will help us to see more deaf won to Christ as well as see those who are saved get grounded. There are a couple of cults here that are targeting the deaf and causing a lot of confusion to some of them. We plan to start the group in our home and run it just like we run our Sunday evening small groups. Lord willing it will prove to be an effective tool to reach this unreached people group here in Cambodia. It is my understanding that there are around 85,000 deaf in Cambodia. We have been told that only about 2% of them have access to learning Cambodian Sign Language. Imagine the impact that our church could have in the deaf community if just a handful of these folks were to be saved and discipled to walk with God and reach their own people. Though I will be the one teaching in the small group, Miss Grace is really the one who is working with them day in and day out. PLEASE PRAY THAT GRACE AND MYSELF WILL HAVE WISDOM AS WE BEGIN THIS NEW GROUP.
One of the most important ministries in the church is the nursery and some of the most valuable workers in the church are the ladies who serve in that ministry! We are so thankful to have about 30 different ladies and teen girls who serve in our nurseries. Their task is not an easy one. So many of the toddlers who come to church with their parents or siblings come from homes where there is virtually no structure and definitely no Biblical discipline. This makes the nursery workers job even more of a challenge as we strive to have the nursery run decently and in order. Most of our faithful parents, especially those who are a part of our married couple’s small group, are growing in their understanding of Biblical parenting and are making great strides with their young children.
In order to help the nursery ministry become more effective Debbie has begun training and recruiting new workers. This past week she held training for several young teen girls who will begin teaching the 2-3 year old class on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings. We hope to begin the new class for 2-3 year old children starting this next Sunday. This new expansion will afford a great opportunity for these young ladies to learn how to work with children. It will also be great training for when they become mothers themselves.
Winning and discipling nationals is the most important task of a missionary. A country will only be reached with the gospel as the nationals are reached and see their responsibility to personally obey Christ’s command to GO WITH THE GOSPEL, BAPTIZE NEW BELIEVERS, and MAKE DISCIPLES. One of the joys of serving with fellow team members in the ministry is the opportunity to have a broad sphere of influence and to have it in more than just one location. This past week we had the opportunity to serve in a “creative access” country here in Southeast Asia as we filled in for the missionary while they are in the States for a short time. It was a joy to see what God is allowing our team there in that country to accomplish for His glory.
I had the opportunity to teach and preach 10 different times. It was a blessing to see the hunger of these young believers to know the Word of God. The young man in the red shirt translated for me and did a good job.
This young man is a star athlete and has won 4 national gold medals in his particular sport. He is a new believer but desires to be faithful to the Lord. The director of his school recently told the other students that if any of them listened to him talk about Jesus or dared to even visit the church then they would be expelled from the school. Furthermore, he told this young man that if even one more student in the school became a Christian then he would be expelled. There are presently only 2 Christians in the entire school. I seriously doubt that the school would actually expel him due to the fact that he is rated number one in the entire country in his particular sport. However, you can see the pressure and persecution that so many of these folks live with when they become a Christian. It was a blessing to see him smiling while sharing his testimony of his desire to live for the Lord! PLEASE HELP PRAY FOR PERSECUTED BELIEVERS HERE IN SOUTHEAST ASIA WHO ARE TAKING A STAND FOR THE LORD.
I had the opportunity to teach these students Monday-Thursday in for 3-4 hours each morning. I taught on the topic of “Bible Study Methods” as well as “Spiritual Leadership.” It’s always refreshing to teach young people who have to make a special effort to be in class. Each of these young adults face serious persecution for their faith every time they engage in public ministry yet they are beginning to really get a vision of what God wants to do in and through their lives in their own country. The lady who translated for me during these classes has spent time in jail for publicly sharing her faith in Jesus Christ yet she remains a joyful servant of the Lord.
These four young men are from another ministry of like faith in the area and joined in our Bible Institute training each morning. Their pastor, though still a young adult man, has been arrested in the past because of his faith and for gathering folks together for church. It was a joy to have them join together with us.
The young folks who were in class each morning have a lot of potential to reach their own people if they will remain faithful and obedient to the Lord. I’m looking forward to discussing further with our team there in the “creative access” country about further ways that we can help them to develop their members who feel called to full-time Christian service.
Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason had the opportunity to interact with the students who study English in the English school that is run by our team mates. It gave the students the chance to speak with native English speakers from America as well as be asked questions in English. Most of the students in the school are not saved. After one of the sessions one of the national leaders actually had the opportunity to present the plan of salvation.
While in that country we had the opportunity to visit with a national preacher and his wife who live way out in the country. We were told that this man often rides his bike from province to province sharing the gospel and preaching in churches. We were touched by the poverty of his family and by his dedication to the Lord’s work. Sadly, it does seem that he and other national leaders are lacking in so much of the training that is available in the west when it comes to knowing how to effectively and Biblically lead the family and the church. Those of us from the west often take for granted the many conferences, books, mp3 sermons, and other resources that are available to us any time we want them. So many folks in much of the world have access to none of those tools.
While there we were able to do some premarital counseling with this young couple. Our hearts really go out to them as they have never really seen how a family is supposed to interact. I think they will likely face a very difficult marriage and family life. It is our hope that they will allow some of the leaders there to influence them. PRAY FOR THIS YOUNG COUPLE AS THEY DO NOT HAVE A CLEAR TESTIMONY OF SALVATION.
It was a joy to be able to visit a village ministry that our team has started about 90 minutes outside of the city. In order to get there we had to cross over the river on a ferry. That was not as fun as it sounds. 🙂
The young man who started and is leading this village ministry is doing a great job. Though he is only 21 years old he has a real burden to see his home village know the Lord. He started this outreach 5 months ago and they are running about 35 folks. As he continues to walk with the Lord and grow in his ability to interact with people, I believe that God will use him in a great way. It was a joy to watch the young people sit for nearly three hours as they sang and listened to the Word of God taught.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
September 18, 2016
You can click on the video below to get an update from this weekend along with a sampling of some of the special music in the Khmer language.
We had a wonderful service here in Phnom Penh this Sunday morning. It’s always a blessing to have the opportunity to meet together in the Lord’s house and see folks from different walks of life fellowship together in Christian love and unity. We are always thankful for the safety God grants to those who travel to get to church as well as for the safety we enjoy while everyone is here on the property.
Thank the Lord for 12 folks who followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism. Here in Southeast Asia it is common for the persecution to begin once a believer takes the step of baptism. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE FOLKS WHO WERE BAPTIZED TO BE FAITHFUL IN THEIR WALK WITH THE LORD AND IN THEIR TESTIMONY AMONG THEIR LOST FAMILY MEMBERS.
These folks sang a song reminding us that the Lord is returning and that is is important for everyone to be ready. We are blessed by their faithfulness to the Lord. Several of the folks in this group have experienced in the past, or are at the present time experiencing great persecution because of their faith in Jesus Christ. Nearly everyone in this picture was saved out of Islam. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE FOLKS IN PSA TRICHT VILLAGE TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD.
Bro. Vong, Bro. Sinath, and Bro. Chhay are doing a great job working with the folks from PreyBang village. In recent days there has been a group of Koreans pursuing our members who live in this village and a couple of villages nearby. They use their normal method of trying to “buy” converts to their group by offering the nationals gifts and finances in order to join with them. Some fringe folks were lured away for a short time but once they actually attended that “church” they discovered there was no substance to their message and no true love for the Lord. They discovered that they were merely being used for the purposes of that group. Groups like that are somewhat common here in this part of the world. Thankfully they don’t normally speak the language and have to hire translators (that tells the thinking national a lot right there when someone does not care about them enough to even bother to learn the language and culture). I don’t think anyone in this picture was part of that group. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR BRO. SINATH AND THE FOLKS IN PREYBANG VILLAGE.
This group of children did a fantastic job of singing a song entitled “Sunday is Here!” The song talks about the joy that believers experience when they gather together on the Lord’s day in the Lord’s house. Mrs. Has and Susanna Esposito are doing a great job working with these children. It is a blessing to be a part of church that places value upon children. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE CHILDREN WHO ARE A PART OF THE CHURCH HERE IN PHNOM PENH.
Our English ensemble sang the song “We Choose the Fear of the Lord” based on Proverbs 9:10 which says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” This group invested a lot of time learning this song and I believe the Lord was glorified through their singing. Every one of the young people in this group not only go to school full-time but they are also very involved in ministry here at the church. Some of them teach in the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. Some of them travel each week several hours to minister in villages outside of Phnom Penh. Mrs. Board is doing a great job leading and developing this group.
These folks are part of our newest outreach in Stung MeanChey. Ten of those in this picture are new believers who have been saved only a few months. We are blessed to see how God is working in Stung MeanChey through this ministry outreach. It is a difficult area in which to minister due to the pervasive poverty and the saturation of NGO groups and various “churches.” PLEASE REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR BRO. MAN AND HIS WIFE, KAHNA, AS WELL AS BRO. KOSAL AND HIS WIFE, PHALLEY, AS THEY INVEST THEIR LIVES IN THIS NEW OUTREACH.
This was Phary’s first time to attend a service here in Phnom Penh. Her son, Phanya, was saved and baptized a few months ago. She accepted Christ within the past few weeks and has been studying with Bro. Sinath and the folks in PreyBang village. Phary has six children and it is my understanding that her husband was recently laid off of his construction job. Her life is a difficult one. It was good to see her in church this morning with a smile. PRAY FOR PHARY AND THE MANY OTHER LADIES IN OUR CHURCH WHO HAVE UNBELIEVING HUSBANDS.
Ra and his wife, SreyPich, shared a testimony during the service of how they came to Christ and the changes that have taken place since coming to know the Lord. They were both saved out of Islam and continue to live in a village that is entirely Muslim. Ra works as an electronics repairman but is really thinking about what God would have for his future. PRAY FOR THIS YOUNG COUPLE AS THEY PURSUE GOD’S WILL FOR THEIR LIVES.
Ta Sakrut shared his testimony of salvation this morning. I gave him a 5 minute allotment to share whatever God placed on his heart – 19 minutes later he was done sharing! 🙂 Things tend to go that way sometimes. I can truly say that his testimony was the highlight of our service. As a retired University professor he is not only eloquent in his speaking but he has a real gift to know how to connect with people. He is in his 70’s, retired, and not in the best of health, but is full of the joy of the Lord! He has been saved for less than 5 months. In his testimony he gave some details of his search for truth and for God over these many years. He was reached through door-to-door soul-winning as Bro. Man and other nationals took the time over several weeks to help him see his need of salvation. He shared that once he came to the belief that Jesus is God and the only way to have his sins forgiven was to trust the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, he then took all of his idols, amulets, and other occultic items and destroyed them. His children all think he is crazy but he said he will never return to idols and the devil. He challenged each of us to be zealous in our witness to the lost. As he grows in his understanding of the Word of God and his walk with the Lord, I would love to have him write some booklets in Khmer dealing with various aspects of faith and practice. PLEASE PRAY THAT HE WILL HAVE THE NECESSARY HEALTH TO BE ABLE TO HELP US PUT INTO WRITING SOME MATERIALS IN KHMER THAT WILL HELP DISCIPLE AND STRENGTHEN THE FAITH OF CAMBODIAN BELIEVERS FOR GENERATIONS TO COME.
Those of you who speak Khmer may want to listen to Ta Sakrut’s testimony on the video below. Due to the noise taking place Sunday morning next to our church there are a few times when it is hard to hear him, but for the most part his voice is clear. Keep in mind that he has only been saved for a little over 4 months and is still growing in his understanding of the Word of God. That being said, it is amazing to hear him talking about things that none of us have ever taught him – It must be that he has a special Teacher from above! 🙂
Both is a senior this year and studies in a private school here in Phnom Penh. Lord willing, I will begin meeting with him one-on-one this Wednesday afternoon. He was won to Christ through the example of his English professor and he has been faithful to as many church services as possible. He has a lot of restrictions and is unable to be a part of much of what goes on here at the church due to the fact that his family does not know Christ. PRAY THAT GOD WILL BLESS OUR WEEKLY TIME OF DISCIPLESHIP AND THAT BOTH WILL TAKE A STRONG STAND FOR THE LORD IN HIS OWN FAMILY.
We met Saroeun and his wife, Chanthy, Saturday morning while making visits in their village. Saroeun used to attend some type of church several years ago for about 6 months but has no understanding of salvation. We were able to spend quite a bit of time showing him some verses that we hope will cause him to take the Lord seriously. Chanthy was kind to us but point blank told us that she has no interest in knowing anything about Jesus Christ. However, she laid on the hammock and listened as I spoke to her husband. I hope to meet with Sarouen very soon. PRAY THAT SAROEUN AND CHANTHY WILL COME TO SEE THEIR NEED OF SALVATION AND BE SAVED.
We were also able to meet 87 year old Ta Lote and his wife, Yey Bo. He was very receptive to everything we taught him. After spending perhaps 30-40 minutes talking to him, the rest of our team (Bro. Sinath, Jeremy, and Ra) met up with us and were able to help talk to them as well. Sunday afternoon I brought them an MP3 player with teaching to help awaken him to his need of salvation. He admitted to me that after many many years of following his religion and trying to earn merit – he has ultimately been left with no hope. He certainly has no expectation of ever making it to Heaven. I hope to return to his house again Tuesday morning. PRAY THAT THIS ELDERLY COUPLE WILL HAVE THE ABILITY TO UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL AND A HEART TO RECEIVE IT AS TRUTH.
This week 7 new mp3 players were distributed to different families. Two of the units went to new believers and were loaded with preaching to help them in their walk with the Lord. Five of the units went to non-believers with whom the nationals are presently working. The teaching on those units will be useful in helping to awaken them to their guilt before God and their need for a personal Saviour. Wednesday morning we will be swapping SD memory cards with 10 other families who are already saved and faithfully serving the Lord. These cards will be loaded with new preaching that they have not yet heard. We want to thank those who have given to help provide mp3 players, Bibles, and other materials for the benefit of the lost and the newly saved. PLEASE PRAY THAT THE 5 UNITS THAT WENT TO THE LOST WILL BE USED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT TO BRING ABOUT CONVICTION IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO LISTEN TO THE PREACHING AND TEACHING.
We will be leaving in a few days to go teach and preach in a “creative access nation” where our team has planted a new church. We plan to be gone for about 10 days during which time we will have the opportunity to teach on Christian leadership as well as teach the entire book of Philippians. PLEASE PRAY FOR SAFETY WHILE SERVING IN THAT COUNTRY AS WELL AS FOR THE WORD OF GOD TO BEAR FRUIT THAT REMAINS IN THE LIVES OF THE NATIONAL BELIEVERS WE WILL BE DISCIPLING.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
August 14, 2016
This week we are posting a video rather than a written update. There is so much going on here and it’s difficult to keep up with it all at times. Thank you for continuing to pray for the work that God is doing here.
This video will introduce you to a few new folks as well as give you an update on the new work started in Stung MeanChey!
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
August 8, 2016
Our Phnom Penh service opened on Sunday morning with the ladies group singing the hymn “Burdens are Lifted at Calvary.” Thank the Lord for the freedom that is available in Christ because of Calvary. We are grateful for the part that you are playing in helping to provide spiritual freedom to the people of Southeast Asia.
Our services went very well this weekend. It is always an amazing and humbling thing for us to see so many folks not just come to church every Sunday but also give their entire day to the Lord. We are planning to have a worker’s fellowship soon for all of those who volunteer to serve the Lord in the various ministries God has entrusted to us, but we are realizing that it is going to be a difficult thing to do due to the large number of folks who are involved. We will likely have to split the workers up into two or three different groups. As full as the schedule is, that might be a real challenge.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world…these things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.” Titus 2:11, 12, 15
Sunday morning I spoke on the dangers that the simple person faces as well as the solution to stop being simple and become wise. The message was very direct and pointed especially at the parents who were in the congregation. We have to, on purpose, warn and direct many of the parents in the way of the Lord. Biblical parenting is virtually unheard of here in this country even among the majority of those who claim to be Christian. The message confronted and challenged several aspects of the Cambodian culture and I wasn’t entirely confident that it would be well received. In a loving way at the close of the morning message I reminded our church that no one is making them attend our church and that there are other options in Phnom Penh, and if they didn’t like to have direct preaching they could certainly find a church that would tell them what they wanted to hear. I’ve never said something like that to our folks but it seemed appropriate due to the issues that I had addressed in the message. It was a blessing on Sunday evening to see the church packed once again with smiling faces and to hear several share testimonies of their gratitude to the Lord for saving them and allowing them to be a part of a church family that works hard to help the next generation succeed for the Lord. During our couples small group on Sunday evening one of the wives thanked the Lord that they are not left to try and parent their children alone. They feel like they have a team (the church) that is helping them to guide their children. That was a blessing for us to hear.
It is always a blessing to see the young children of our faithful families being taught the Word of God as well as how to serve the Lord. Debbie and Sue worked with these children over the past couple of weeks to teach them the song “One Way God Said to Get to Heaven.” They sang for us Sunday morning and did a good job!
Lord willing we will be splitting the baby nursery from the toddlers (2-3 year olds) in September. We have so many ladies who are expecting babies that if we don’t get a handle on the younger kids soon we will be in serious trouble. It will bring a whole new dimension to the nursery as well as provide new opportunities for our young ladies to learn how to teach children.
There are so many fresh and challenging testimonies that we could share with you of the faithfulness of the folks here in Cambodia but we will only share four of them with you in this update.
SreyTouch was saved several months ago and has been very faithful despite facing persecution from her husband and extended family. It’s been such a blessing to see her joyful spirit and smile as she always jumps right in and serves anywhere she is able and needed. During our couples small group last night she shared how that her husband and family members are putting serious pressure on her to leave our church. They would be totally fine with her going to a number of other churches where there is little, if any, preaching but they don’t like the fact that she is learning the Word of God and applying it in her daily life. She constantly faces opposition from her husband when she tries to bring her children to church, although they love it every time they come. Her family is trying every method possible to get her to quit church and “quit” being a Christian. This past week they even went so far as to hire a witch doctor to place a spell on her to cause her to quit. Who knows, they probably placed a spell on all of us as well. Despite all that she faces at home she remains joyful and burdened for her family to be saved. PLEASE PRAY FOR SREYTOUCH TO BE PROTECTED AND FAITHFUL TO THE LORD AS SHE SEEKS TO LET HER LIGHT SHINE IN THE DARKNESS OF HER OWN FAMILY.
We led Navy to Christ a couple of months ago and she has been growing in the Lord ever since. Each Monday morning Debbie and I meet with her and teach her the basic steps of walking with the Lord. This morning she shared with us of an incident that happened to her yesterday after the morning service as she and her two children were walking back home through the neighborhood. It’s a well known fact that Navy’s family is very poor. Her husband leaves for work every morning at about 5:30 and walks about 30 minutes while pushing his ice cream cart to a specific location where he remains until around 6:00 in the evening when he pushes the cart back home. At that point he spends the next 4 hours making ice cream to sell the next day. If he takes a day off it is likely the family won’t eat the next day. It’s been encouraging to see the ladies in the church, of their own initiative, take clothing to Navy for herself and her children.
As she walked home from church she walked past a new business that had just opened. The business owners had just performed a Buddhist ritual that involves sacrificing a chicken on an altar to the ancestral spirits. (The altar looked similar to the one pictured above.) Seeing Navy and knowing that she is poor, they offered to give her the chicken so that her children could eat it for lunch. Navy boldly told them that she is a Christian and that she will not knowingly eat food that is offered to idols and kindly declined their offer. Without a doubt the chicken would have cost more money than she would even dream of spending on a single meal. Turning down the chicken meant returning home and eating whatever food they could scrounge up but it certainly would not be equivalent to a chicken dinner. As Navy shared this incident with us this morning she said, “No one ever taught me not to eat that chicken but God told me in my heart that He didn’t want me to be involved with anything that relates to the devil and false religion. That’s why I told them I would not accept it.” Wow! May we all have hearts as sensitive as Navy’s. PRAY FOR NAVY AS SHE SEEKS TO BE A GOOD TESTIMONY TO HER LOST HUSBAND, SOK.
Tara and SreyMohm were saved several months ago and have been growing spiritual by leaps and bounds. Each Tuesday afternoon I meet with them and answer questions they have about the Bible as well as teach them from our church discipleship curriculum for new believers. Tara is a university professor and is bold in his witness on the job. This past week he had the opportunity to sit down with Rithy, a fellow professor, and discuss his faith in Jesus Christ. Rithy had many questions; some of which Tara was able to answer and some which he could not yet answer. It was a blessing to hear Tara tell me how he used things he learned from my message last Sunday to confront Rithy with his need of salvation. Thank God for Tara and SreyMohm’s bold testimony and their servant spirit. PLEASE PRAY FOR TARA TO HAVE WISDOM AS HE CONTINUES TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO REACH OUT TO RITHY WITH THE GOSPEL.
Sane is a faithful young adult man. He and his entire family were reached with the gospel about four years ago. Every Sunday and Thursday he drives a Tuk Tuk to pick folks up from Chumga Village and take them to the Psa Tricht Church. After the Sunday morning service in Psa Tricht he and another national man, Chhay, drive 71 kilomoters one-way to the church in Prey Bang Village in order to lead the Children’s Ministry there. Then they return back to Psa Tricht in time for the evening service. Recently Sane and Chhay have become burdened for all the families that they pass along the road as they travel 71 kilometers to Prey Bang. They have decided that rather than taking a short nap between the Psa Tricht service and the time they leave for Prey Bang, they will leave early in order to spend 20-30 minutes going door-to-door handing out tracts to the several hundred homes along the road. I preached at the Psa Tricht Church last Sunday and took this picture of Sane as he cheerfully changed the tire that went flat just before they arrived to the church. He didn’t get done changing it until the service was nearly half over. Thank God for faithful young adults who are willing to invest in the lives of others. PRAY FOR GOD’S CONTINUED DIRECTION IN SANE’S LIFE.
Soveat is a friend of one of the new Christians here in Phnom Penh. Yesterday was her second time to attend our church and she listened intently to the testimonies and preaching. Saturday evening Kanha spent about 2 hours answering some of the many questions that she has about the Bible and about the gospel. As a Chinese-Cambodian her family is deeply steeped in Buddhism and ancestral worship but as a young adult she realizes that she has to make her own choice. It would seem that God is really dealing with her heart and that she is close to being saved. PLEASE PRAY FOR KANHA AND OTHERS TO HAVE WISDOM AND COMPASSION AS THEY CONTINUE TO PATIENTLY LEAD SOVEAT TO THE LORD.
Saroeun recently graduated from university with a degree in Computer Technology. He is friends with Oudom, one of the single young adult men in our Phnom Penh Church. Yesterday was his first time to visit our church. After the service he requested to meet with me and told me that he has been to several churches in the past but has never seen anything quite like what he saw and experienced during the service that morning. He told me that he had never heard the type of preaching that we have here and that it really spoke to his heart. He is not clear on salvation and has asked to meet with we to further discuss what it means to be saved. We have an appointment to meet together this coming Saturday morning at 11:30. PRAY THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL BE AT WORK IN SAROEUN’S HEART AND THAT HE WILL GAIN THE ASSURANCE OF HIS SALVATION. LIKEWISE, PLEASE PRAY THAT WE WILL BE ABLE TO CONNECT WITH HIM AND SEE HIM BECOME A FAITHFUL MEMBER OF THE CHURCH FAMILY.
Every Saturday morning we will normally have around 50-60 folks who break up into groups and go out soul-winning in Phnom Penh and in the villages around Psa Tricht. My group leaves at 6:40 and includes myself, Debbie, Jeremy, and two or three of our national men. For the past several weeks we have been traveling to a particular village that is located about 40 minutes from Phnom Penh. Ra, the young man in white, has had the opportunity to witness to Wang and SokLang on several occasions now and this week he brought me to meet them. We tag-teamed together as we presented the plan of salvation to this couple. Wang finally expressed that he believed everything we were teaching him. However, when I asked him if he was ready to turn from his idols to the living God, he said that he was not ready to stop sacrificing to his ancestors. It is clear that he understands the gospel and knows that he can’t be a child of God while continuing to place his trust in the spirits. PRAY THAT WANG AND SOKLANG WILL WELCOME US INTO THEIR HOME ONCE AGAIN AND THAT THEY WILL STOP RESISTING THE CONVICTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THEIR HEARTS AND BE SAVED.
Sovann and Sina are the parents of Veasna, one of our very faithful 18-year-old young men here in Phnom Penh. Veasna was reached with the gospel through our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry about 5 years ago and today faithfully serves in several ministries in the church including preaching several times a week in various children’s outreaches. Sovann and Sina were saved this past year through the faithful testimony of Veasna. Their work schedules are very tight and they have very little, if any, free time. They work 7 days a week from early morning until into the evening. Since starting our Sunday evening small groups Sovann has made it a priority to become a part of our married couples group. We were so excited to see him bring Sina with him last night. I’m not sure what has changed to make it so that she didn’t have to work but she looked like she was having a great time. When our group was over Sovann told me that she will be back again next week. During the time when we share blessings he told our group that he was so happy that his wife could join the group. He told us all that even though she has never been able to attend church because of her job she faithfully listens to the MP3 preaching that we have provided for her. PRAY THAT SOVANN AND SINA WILL BE ABLE TO HAVE THE TIME TO GET MORE PLUGGED INTO THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH FAMILY.
Each week during our couples small group we teach a lesson dealing with the family and the responsibilities that we have as outlined in the Word of God. Virtually everything I teach is new to the members of our group due to the fact that they have not been saved that long nor did any of them grow up in a Christian family. Last night we dealt with the role that a father and a mother each play and how that role uniquely relates to their son and to their daughter. So many of the people in our group have been serving in various ministries throughout the day and they are often very tired by Sunday evening. We always try to create an environment that is uplifting as well as inspiring even though the message is often quite serious and sometimes difficult for them to receive.
The husbands competed against the wives last night in this game – unfortunately the husbands lost, but as you can see in the video, everyone had a great time!
Since Ta Son passed away in Elephant Den Village a couple of months ago we’ve had a challenging time trying to get his fellow villagers to talk to us. Because of their superstition many in the village believe that he died because he stopped offering sacrifices to the spirits who control the village. Slowly we’ve seen the children in the village begin to open up to us once again. We were happy to have 14 children attend the outreach yesterday. Ra and Jeremy taught the children while Debbie and I met with our one remaining adult, Sakhan. It was great to have these three young ladies with us yesterday. They saw our Tuk Tuk arrive in the village and walked over to see who we were and what we were doing. Come to find out, they used to attend our Children’s Ministry in Prak Pnou Village two years ago but have now moved to Elephant Den Village. They seemed to be very happy to have the chance to once again be a part of our group. We hope they will continue to attend.
As we met with Bro. Sakhan, I asked him a bit about his childhood. He told me that the only religion in his village other than Buddhism and demon worship was Catholicism. When asked if he had ever heard the gospel he emphatically responded by saying, “No. Never!” Thankfully Sakhan’s house is now being used to teach the gospel to any children who are willing to listen! Those of you who speak Khmer can hear him respond to my question in the video below. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE OUTREACH TO ELEPHANT DEN VILLAGE.
The cults and false religions are everywhere here in Cambodia. It is a regular thing to see them riding their bikes or walking through the neighborhood. In order to draw a group of people whom they can teach, their tactics often include targeting new converts from churches like ours. We’ve seen them do this more and more in recent days here in Phnom Penh as well as in some of our village ministries. Sadly, they are even targeting some of the deaf folks in our church who are newly saved but not yet really grounded in their faith. Yesterday one of our deaf young ladies asked me about the literature one of the groups had given her. When she found out what they believed she quickly told me that she didn’t want their book any more and asked me to get rid of it for her. PRAY THAT GOD WILL PLACE A HEDGE OF PROTECTION AROUND OUR NEW FOLKS WHILE THEY ARE BEING DISCIPLED IN THE WORD OF GOD.
We’ve had a Children’s Ministry outreach to Stung MeanChey now for a few months and it has been going well. Bro. Man is doing a fantastic job of leading workers from the Phnom Penh church every Sunday afternoon as they teach the children. For the past two weeks we have had about 100 children each Sunday afternoon at this outreach.
When we made the conscious decision to begin sending workers into Stung MeanChey we always believed that God would one day open the door to not just have an outreach to children but to have a vital outreach to the tens of thousands of teens and adults who live in that district. For some time workers have regularly sought to reach teens and adults in this area and we have seen several folks come to Christ and continue to grow.
About a month ago we made the decision to step out and begin a small group specifically targeting teens and adults in Stung MeanChey. Without going into all the details, the decision was made to have Man and his wife, Kahna, as well as Kosal and his wife, Phalley, move into a rented property in Stung MeanChey and begin a small group that would meet each Sunday afternoon. Man and Kosal, as well as the Phnom Penh church, have rented a building with a one year commitment and with the goal of seeing this group become a church.
We cast the vision to the church to help purchase chairs and a few basic items to help us get this new group started and announced that we would be taking a special offering. We have been simply amazed to see the response from the national believers. No doubt some of them really sacrificed in order to be able to participate in this offering. The money in this picture was given by an older lady in the church who has no income of her own. She depends on her children to sustain her. I know for a fact that this past week she was counting her money to see if she could afford to go to a doctor or not after coming down with a bad stomach flu. The folks gave more than we could have ever imagined and for that we give God thanks. We are blessed by their desire to have a part in the Lord’s work.
No one knows for sure how many folks were in this first public service. Because of the fact that I’m in Elephant Den Village on Sunday afternoons I was not able to attend our first service. However, there was somewhere between 30 and 43 teens and adults from Stung MeanChey in attendance. This does not include a number of workers from Phnom Penh who are helping to get this new work started. Nor does it include any of the 100 children and workers who gathered a short distance away for our children’s outreach.
I believe that with God’s blessing and through following an already proven method of church-planting, we will see this new work take off. I think there is a very good chance that most of the 30-43 folks will continue to attend due to the fact that for a couple of months the workers have already been teaching them in smaller groups.
I believe that this work will become a church within the next year or so. This could never happen without God’s blessing and without the countless hours that our national folks have invested in soul-winning and discipling new believers. The entire country of Cambodia is in great need of many more gospel-preaching churches. We have been told that there are 8,500 villages in Cambodia without any church or gospel witness whatsoever. While there are numerous churches in Phnom Penh, it would be safe to say that many of them are not gospel preaching. Most would be a convoluted mixture of baptismal regeneration, charismatic nonsense, “come to church and we will teach you English for free and even pay you a monthly stipend to attend”, etc… Many of the churches that faithfully teach a pure doctrine (especially as it relates to salvation) tend to be very small and lacking in vision and leadership. There is definitely a need to see more churches planted in the city that are aggressive in evangelism, have the leadership necessary to effectively equip new believers, and that have a vision for this part of the world. By God’s grace we hope to see the Stung MeanChey group become one of those churches! PLEASE REMEMBER TO PRAY FOR MAN AND KOSAL AS THEY LEAD THIS NEW WORK.
In two weeks we hope to begin a new men’s group on Saturday evening for the four men in the white shirts. Each of these men have been saved over the past couple of months and are relatively the same age. They all come from different backgrounds and have different life experiences. One of these men lived in Vietnam for many years and in addition to speaking Khmer speaks Vietnamese very well. One of them is a retired University professor who taught the Khmer language for many years. One of them is a professional Tailor who used to work with Bro. Sinath (in the blue shirt) 20 years ago. The amazing thing is that they are all now brothers in the Lord. PRAY THAT THIS NEW MEN’S GROUP WILL BE HELPFUL IN DISCIPLING THESE MEN.
This past week, like nearly every week over the past year, we prepared MP3 messages and lessons to give to those who are newly saved or who are close to getting saved. There are certain frustrations with buying the MP3 players in Cambodia as they tend to not last as long as if we were able to purchase them in the States but the benefits far outweigh the liabilities. It’s always a blessing when one of our new believers brings me their SD card and asks if we can please load new preaching onto it for them.
We are looking forward to picking up these tracts from the printer this Wednesday. The first tract, “Do You Know God?”, is a reprint of a tract I wrote in the past with a new cover and some minor changes on the inside. We have seen a good response to it in the past. The tract in the middle, “After You Leave This Earth,” is a brand new tract that was written by Bro. Vannak. I believe it will be very effective. He told me that he felt led to write this tract after completing an assignment dealing with reincarnation in Bible Institute this past term. The tract on the right, “What If,” was written by Bro. Has and is a reprint with a new cover and minor changes made on the inside. It poses several questions that are intended to awaken the readers’ conscience in regard to eternity and the consequences of dying without Christ. Lord willing these 30,000 new tracts will result in not just seeds being planted but in souls being saved. PLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL USE THESE TRACTS IN A MIGHTY WAY IN THE MANY VILLAGES WHERE WE HOPE TO USE THEM.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
July 26, 2016
We had another wonderful weekend despite the funeral march for a slain outspoken political analyst that involved tens of thousands of people across town. There were rumors that there would be turbulence in the city but our side of town was “business as usual.”
During our Sunday evening service we heard ministry updates from six of our ministry leaders. It was good for us all to have the opportunity to hear the blessings as well as to hear of the challenges that we are experiencing in each respective outreach. We heard reports on the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry, Stung MeanChey, Prek Pnou Village, Elephant Den Village, Ta Skov Village, and Prey Bang Village.
We’ve seen two new “christian” groups intrude into our church in Prey Bang Village over the past several weeks. They have been making contact with our members and trying to pull them away to themselves. This is not an uncommon practice. These are groups that had no prior interaction with the people in this village until they saw that there was a church being built. I believe we had perhaps one adult who went to visit one of their gatherings. They returned back to our church the next week expressing regret that they had been lured away with the promises of material gifts. It is my understanding that both of these groups are promising our people food and money if they will join with them. Sadly, about 30 of the children from our Children’s Ministry in Dol Village (right next to Prey Bang Village) were enticed to join with one of these groups by a group of fake Christians who have been handing out bread and rice in the village for several weeks now. It is my guess that many of these children were forced by their unsaved parents to attend that group on Sunday due to their desire for material goods. It is a fairly common thing here in Cambodia for NGO groups and fake missionaries to provide salaries for people to attend their churches. PLEASE CONTINUE TO PRAY FOR THE VARIOUS MINISTRY OUTREACHES OF PACIFIC BAPTIST CHURCH AND FOR OUR LEADERS TO HAVE WISDOM AS WE SEEK TO PROPERLY GUIDE.
It was a blessing to have 24 year old Lomdap in the service Sunday morning as well as Sunday evening. Bro. Bounna has been working with him off and on for a long time trying to lead him to Christ. Sunday morning after the service he approached Kosal (on the left) and told him that he came to understand his need of salvation during the service and he that he wanted to be saved. Kosal had the opportunity to lead him to Christ. PRAY THAT LOMDAP WILL BE FAITHFUL TO OBEY THE LORD.
It is always a blessing when folks are saved here on the mission field but it is a particular blessing when they are led to the Lord by national believers who have come to Christ themselves here at the church. This past week in addition to Lomdap there were several folks who were led to Christ by nationals. Bro. Hem (left side) and Bro. Man have been witnessing to these two ladies for awhile now. Several days ago they both turned from idols to the living God! Hem was able to lead them to salvation right in their home. I don’t remember these two ladies names. This week Hem and another worker will begin meeting with these ladies and teaching them from our discipleship lessons for new believers. PRAY THAT THESE TWO LADIES WILL BE FAITHFUL TO OBEY GOD’S WORD AND GROW IN THE LORD.
A couple of months ago one of our men ran across Koun (white shirt on the right) while they were out soul-winning and learned that he is a tailor. They immediately thought of Bro. Sinath (red shirt) who is also a tailor and brought him to meet Koun thinking it would be their first time to meet. Come to find out that they used to work for the same company, and although they had not had contact with each other for many years, had actually been friends about twenty years ago. Bro. Sinath took a real interest in winning Koun to the Lord and invested many hours teaching him and answering his questions. This past week when Sinath went to follow-up on Koun, Koun told him that he had trusted Christ that week in his home all alone! He was in the service Sunday morning and apparently loved it. He desired to be back on Sunday evening but was under pressure to finish a tailoring order that was due to be picked up very soon. He assured Sinath that he intends to be faithful to church services and looks forward to growing as a Christian! PRAY THAT KOUN WILL BE A GOOD TESTIMONY TO HIS UNSAVED WIFE AND THAT SINATH WILL HAVE WISDOM AS HE BEGINS DISCIPLING HIM IN THE WORD OF GOD.
Vanny gave birth to her baby daughter, SreySour, about two months ago and was back in church Sunday morning. This was her first time back. It often takes mothers here in Cambodia a bit longer to get out of the house and back to church than one might expect. (We are always blessed to see moms back at church within a couple of weeks!) We really hope that Vanny will be able to get plugged into the life of the church family. PRAY FOR HER HUSBAND, SALY, TO BE SAVED. Saly works much of the time, but prior to the baby being born he would attend our Sunday night married couple’s small group. He has been exposed over and over to the gospel and professes to be saved but there does not seem to be any clear evidence of a changed life.
Sunday morning our English small ensemble sang the song, “His Life for Mine.” We were missing a few folks from the group for various reasons but those who were there did a fantastic job. We are so blessed to see how these folks, though English is not the first language for most of them, diligently practice to do their very best each time they sing. As you listen to this song, focus on the words and think about the fact that Jesus gave His life that you might be free from the bondage of sin and death in Hell.
His heart was broken, mine was mended, He became sin, now I am clean.
The cross He carried bore my burden, The nails that held Him set me free.
His life for mine, His life for mine, How could it ever be?
That He would die, God’s Son would die, To save a wretch like me?
What love divine, He gave His life for mine.
His scars of suffering brought me healing, He spilled His blood to fill my soul.
His crown of thorns made me royalty, His sorrow gave me joy untold.
He was despised and rejected, Stripped of His garment, and oppressed,
I am loved and accepted, And I wear a robe of righteousness.
We’ve had a six week competition in our Sunday night married couple’s small group between the husbands and the wives. The wives won! Last night we had the opportunity to take them out for a night on the town. We were missing two or three ladies from our group but it was great for Debbie and I to spend time with those who were able to attend. It’s a blessing to see how folks from different walks of life and different age groups are able to bond together in close friendship because of the unity of the Spirit.
After taking a walk and eating dinner we all dropped by a local mall for them to be able to meet Maly just after she got off work. We led Maly to the Lord several weeks ago but she has not been able to attend a church service as of yet due to her heavy work schedule. She works seven days a week and has random days off every once in awhile. She listens to teaching and preaching on the MP3 player we loaned her but since being saved has greatly desired to be able to meet other Christians. We were so blessed to see our ladies take to her right away. Before long they were holding hands, hugging, and laughing together as though they had been friends for many years! PRAY FOR MALY’S HUSBAND, SREANG, TO BE SAVED.
One of the ladies who was able to attend the ladies night out is Navy. We wrote about Navy in an update back in March. At that time she was counting the cost of what it would mean for her to become the only Christian in her village. She knew that she was a sinner and unable to save herself yet she feared being shunned and persecuted by those around her. You can read that blog posting at this address: https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2016/03/28/march-27-2016/ Thankfully she did get saved and baptized and has been a very faithful witness for the Lord. She recently shared a testimony in front of the whole church. It is a testimony that I have heard her share on several occasions with various people. Her testimony basically goes like this – “Before I was saved I was an idol worshiping drunkard who was mean and angry all the time. I had tried to stop drinking many times but never lasted very long. My addiction was so severe that in order to eat a meal I had to get drunk first. Then Jesus saved me and immediately my desire for idols and alcohol was taken away!” Wow! What a blessing it is to see her learning truths for the very first time and to see her heart to obey the Lord as found in the Word of God. Every time she is at church she is smiling and I rarely escape getting a big hug from her! Thank God for the power of the gospel to change lives!
Each Monday morning Debbie and I disciple Sokath’s mother, Navy, in our home. Yesterday we had crayons and a coloring book waiting for her with the promise that if she did a good job she could have some candy. It may have been only the third or fourth time that she has ever colored in her entire life. She tried her very best and did a great job! Humanly speaking and without Christ this little girl has very little chance of ever living a life of significance. Her family is among the poorest of the poor in our church. Thank God that her mother is now saved and growing as Christian. PRAY FOR HER DAD, SOK, TO BE SAVED. We are trying to coordinate a time to be able to spend time with him. He sells ice cream from a cart at Wat Phnom several miles from here. Each morning he pushes his ice cream cart all the way to the other side of town and then returns back home with the cart in the evening. His heart seems to be tender to the gospel. In fact, since Navy can not read Khmer very well, he often spends time teaching her the memory verse or whatever assignment we give her for discipleship. He is apparently encouraging her to be faithful to church even though he is not yet saved. We hope he will be saved soon.
Sokath did win her candy for doing a good job coloring. She also won a bonus gift of 10,000 riels! ($2.50) I couldn’t resist giving it to her. The smile on her face as she held that money was priceless. 🙂
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
July 4, 2016
We had a great July 4th lunch aboard a boat we were able to rent for a couple of hours. We rarely get to be together as a team, so we were blessed to spend a few hours with our co-laborers who are presently in the country right now!
We had an awesome weekend here in Cambodia! Thank God for a teenager who was saved in our Ta Skov Village outreach. Likewise, a new young adult lady, ALin, raised her hand yesterday during the invitation indicating she wanted to know more about how to be saved. Mrs. Has met with her and began explaining her need of salvation. Apparently she has attended another church for awhile and was surprised because her “church” had never taught her any of the things she heard at our church. She had never heard that she was lost and in need of a personal Saviour. Mrs. Has and others will continue to work with her until, Lord willing, she is saved. PRAY FOR ALIN’S SALVATION.
We had the opportunity to meet Pov and her daughter, SreyOeun, this past week. She lives in a village not far from Elephant Den. We were able to explain the gospel to her for about an hour and have a follow-up appointment with her this Tuesday. She told us that she had attended a church for quite some time but had never heard of her need to be saved. PLEASE PRAY THAT OUR MEETING ON TUESDAY WILL GO WELL AND THAT SHE WILL BEGIN TO UNDERSTAND HER NEED OF SALVATION. It is likely that her neighbors in the village are already giving her a hard time because she spent so much time speaking with us this past week.
THE HABITATIONS OF CRUELTY
I remember many years ago a man saying, “Be kind to everyone because everyone is having a tough time.” Never have those words seemed more apropos than over the past week. As we deal with the folks here in Cambodia we are often aware of some of their background and are better able to understand where they are coming from. Sometimes we have no idea 0f the trials they face and we are tempted, wrongly so, to be less than patient with them. I was saddened and a bit angered over the past few days to learn what some of our folks have been through.
Psalm 74:20 says, “…for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.” Tourists often visit places like where we live and only see what they choose to see or, in some cases, what they are allowed to see. Those of us who live in this part of the world are confronted daily by cruelty that is demonically driven and difficult to understand. Yet, we are told that in the end times men and women will be lovers of themselves. 2 Timothy 3:3 tells us that many will be without natural affection. Often the cruelest of actions take place against young children and are in many cases perpetrated by those who ought to care for them most.
These two young children have been attending our church for the past two months. Their adopted mother recently accepted Jesus Christ as her Saviour and is a growing young Christian. This past week during our weekly discipleship time I inquired as to the history of her two adopted children. The story she told Debbie and I was simply unbelievable. These children are in reality her niece and nephew. They were sold by their biological mother into child slavery in a neighboring country and were forced to work on a pig farm. If their work didn’t meet the standard of their slave master they were beaten and not given food for the entire day. They were sold for $400. She told us that the eventual goal was for these children to grow a bit larger and, at the right time, be sold again for the purposes of selling off their internal organs (cornea, liver, kidney, heart) to wealthy people in this part of the world who were in need of organ transplants. When the lady we are discipling learned of the plight of her niece and nephew she and her husband borrowed money and paid $1,000 to redeem them. They then went through the legal process of adopting them as their own. This was not an easy task seeing that their monthly income is likely less than $100. Our hearts break even now as we think about what these two innocent children have been put through over the course of their young lives. The eldest child recently asked his adopted mother this question – “Mom, why did my real mother sell me? Why didn’t she want me?” Only the grace of God and the love of Christ as demonstrated through his adopted mother and through the church can ever hope to heal all the emotional and spiritual wounds that this young boy has suffered.
The young lady standing next to me is 14 years old. She was saved here and faithfully attends church. We all love her and several of our ladies have over the past year provided her with clothing and some of the basic needs of life. I won’t go into much detail in this post but in recent days her mother arranged for her to begin working in a local establishment of ill repute with the goal of confiscating her salary, meager though it may be. It is my understanding that the arrangements have already been made for a man to purchase her virginity and the money will go directly to her mother. Her mother arranged for the transaction to take place in exchange for $100. This Christian young lady is refusing to have any part in this deal. I have no idea what measures her family is willing to go to in order to get her to comply with their wishes. Sadly, her story is not unique. PLEASE PRAY FOR THIS YOUNG LADY TO BE SAFE AND FOR OUR WORKERS TO KNOW BEST HOW TO HELP HER.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
June 26, 2016
We had an awesome weekend! However, before I tell you about a few of the things that happened, I invite you to watch this short video that we shot on Friday morning this past week. It was our privilege to host Pastor Chris Chadwick and his daughter, Judith, for their missions trip here to Cambodia. In this video he gives his impressions of what he has seen here in Cambodia and in the ministry.
Every six weeks or so we have a special service here in Phnom Penh where we enjoy special music, testimonies, Believer’s Baptism, and lunch together. For many of our people it is the highlight of their month.
We were blessed to have around 300 folks in this service Sunday morning. It’s always a huge blessing when the day is over and everything has gone smoothly. In the video below you can hear one of the opening congregational songs as well as one of our small groups singing during the service.
Immediately following the service we had a time of fellowship. Many of our ladies got up very early Sunday morning to prepare food for the potluck. A special day like this c0uld not happen without many people working together for a common cause. We thank God for the great group of national ladies who have been saved and who desire to be a blessing to others by serving!
The highlight of our Celebration Services is having the opportunity to witness new Christians follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism. Here in Cambodia believers are often not persecuted when they simply make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. However, when they take the step of obedience to publicly identify with the Lord Jesus Christ through water baptism, that is when the persecution begins. In this picture you see our friend, Navy, getting baptized. She has been saved for about a month or so. When she returned home from church several of her neighbors openly mocked her for being baptized. Thank God for the twenty-two new believers who were baptized. PLEASE PRAY FOR THEIR CONTINUED SPIRITUAL GROWTH.
I asked one of our national leaders, San, to preach for our special service. He preached a very good message on Living Faith vs. Dead Faith from the Book of James. The Lord allowed us to lead San to Christ ten years ago and see him trained for ministry. He oversees the Psa Tricht church (two hours from Phnom Penh) as well as the village ministries that take place during the week in various villages surrounding Psa Tricht.
It is always a blessing to see children desire to be in church! Thank God for the teenage workers who willingly and cheerfully conduct Junior Church for them during the adult service. Mrs. Has and others have done a great job of helping to train our teen girls to serve the Lord.
Perhaps the most overlooked ministry in many churches is the nursery. We are very blessed to have national ladies and teen girls who serve every week on a rotating schedule. I walk through the nursery every once in awhile just to check it out and see how things are going. I can tell you that it’s not always a cakewalk for the workers!
It was a blessing for Phan, Sakhan, and Nigah to all sit together in the service. All three of them are blind. They all love the Lord and love to be at church. Nigah owns a business here in Phnom Penh with around ten employees. Phan and Sakhan are retired. Thank God that there is a church where they feel welcomed and connected with other believers. Phan and his wife, Lon, shared their testimony of salvation during our service and we were all blessed to hear him clearly proclaim his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and his resolution to never return to the darkness from which Jesus saved him! PLEASE PRAY THAT THESE THREE BELIEVERS WILL BE A BOLD WITNESS AND THAT WE WILL SEE OTHER BLIND FOLKS COME TO CHRIST.
NEW ADULTS SAVED THIS PAST WEEK
There were five Cambodian men who were saved this past week throughout our various ministries. I have pictures of four of them.
HokWa and his wife, Ran, were born in Vietnam but they have lived in Cambodia for many years. Several folks have been reaching out to them with the gospel for quite some time now. After listening to preaching on the mp3 player that our church lent to him, HokWa came to understand and believe that Jesus is God and that he is a sinner in need of salvation. He got saved on Saturday and was in church Sunday! Lord willing he will follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism soon. PRAY FOR RAN TO BE SAVED. She came to church with him but she’s not quite convinced of her need of salvation as of yet. She’s a bit of a tough cookie…
Dara’s in-laws received the assurance of their salvation a couple of months ago and are a part of the Psa Tricht church. Since then they have been diligent to bring their adult children to church. Their daughter, ChanLy, was saved a few weeks ago and Dara trusted Christ as his personal Saviour this past week. They were both planning to be baptized this weekend but were unable to attend the service due to sickness. They plan to be baptized soon.
We wrote about SreyGe and Nat in our last blog update (https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2016/06/13/june-9-2016/) and asked you to pray for Nat’s salvation. We are thankful to report that he trusted Christ this past Thursday afternoon! His work schedule prevented him from making it to church in time to be baptized this weekend but we are hoping that his boss will be more flexible with him next time. His wife, SreyGe, was reached through our Children’s Ministry several years ago and we are excited to see them both saved and with a desire to grow!
Mr. Hi’s wife, Nemol, was saved a few weeks ago and was baptized this weekend. Before moving back to Cambodia Mr. Hi lived in the United States for many years ever since he was resettled there as a refugee back in the 1980’s. He regularly attended a Cambodian church in northern California but no one had ever explained to him his need to be saved. Sadly, this is quite typical of many Cambodian churches. Bro. San and several others have been meeting with him and helping him to understand the gospel. He was saved this week and followed the Lord in Believer’s Baptism the first opportunity he was given!
THREE SPECIAL PEOPLE
We would like for you to know Srey Srahs. She was reached with the gospel five years ago through our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry but after getting saved she moved far away and was no longer able to attend church. It seems that her parents may have moved, in part, to get her away from our church. Several weeks ago Bro. Vannak and his wife, Samantha, were able to make contact with her once again. They were very blessed to see that she still had her Bible and would often read it even though she was unable to be at church or have contact with any Christians. She is now 18 years old and has a little more freedom than when she was younger. She now attends every service that she is able to and always has a big smile! PLEASE PRAY THAT SREY SRAHS WILL BE ABLE TO GET “PLUGGED IN” TO THE LIFE OF THE CHURCH FAMILY!
SreyNite is 23 years old and was reached through our Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. Though she lives in a very difficult situation she has done her very best to be at church as much as possible. Several weeks ago she earned a Bible through completing a 100 question lesson on the Book of Mark. Last week, while cooking, the gas can on her stove blew up in her face and left her with very serious burns on her entire face and down one side of her body. Thankfully her eyes don’t seem to have been affected. I went to visit her this past Sunday morning before our service and was encouraged to hear her say that she is not angry at God but she trusts that He knows what is best for her life. PLEASE PRAY THAT SREY NITE WILL EXPERIENCE A TOTAL HEALING WITH MINIMAL OR NO SCARING! Right now she is taking shots everyday to keep down the infection.
Last of all, we want to you meet Ta Sakrut. Mr. Sakrut is a retired Ethics Professor. For many months our Stung MeanChey workers have been reaching out to him with the gospel. He accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour several weeks ago. Almost immediately his adult children began making life difficult for him as a result of his new faith. His story would be too long to share here in this update but we are excited to see what God is doing in his life. I’ve never seen a man of his age here in Cambodia take notes during the preaching as intently as he does! In fact, a couple of weeks ago I observed him writing so much while I was preaching that I was convinced he must be writing down all the things he disagrees with. One of our men, Tara, was sitting next to him during that service. They click well together as Tara is a University Professor as well. Sometime later I asked Tara if he noticed Mr. Sakrut writing stuff down. He said that he did and he was wondering what he was writing also since my entire outline was already printed and there were no “blanks” to fill-in. Tara told me that he kept peeking over to see what he was writing – It seems that he was writing down the illustrations I used during the message as well as additional cross-references that we used because he didn’t want to forget them. Pretty exciting stuff! PRAY FOR TA SAKRUT’S CHILDREN TO SEE THEIR NEED OF SALVATION AND BE SAVED.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
June 9, 2016
We have had a very busy and event-filled past couple of weeks. In an attempt to help keep you as connected to the work as possible, our update this week will have many pictures but we are not going to write as much about each one as we normally would.
TWO OF OUR NEW BELIEVERS ARE NOW IN HEAVEN
Over the past month we have seen two of our men pass away. Thankfully they had both come to faith within the past six months. Thank you for making it possible for them to hear the gospel through your prayers and support.
I began going to Elephant Den Village about six months ago. At the time that we began soul-winning in this village there were no known believers. In fact, Elephant Den seems to be particularly resistant to the gospel. It might be in part due to the fact that nearly every family in the village derives their income through the manufacturing of idols out of wood and stone. Those of you who follow the work here will know that I had the opportunity to meet 82 year old Ta Son and become friends with him. Over time be came to understand the gospel and he placed his faith in Jesus Christ. While there were many things he did not yet understand, he was clear that his hope and faith was in the substitutionary death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Three Sundays ago was the last time we had the opportunity to see him this side of Heaven. He was not feeling well and didn’t feel like walking to the location where the adults meet for Bible study each Sunday so we went and met in his house instead. During that meeting I asked him, once again, if his faith was in Jesus Christ alone or if he simply added Jesus to the animistic beliefs he had believed for the past eight decades. I specifically made reference to the “spirit house” that was situated just about six feet from the front door of his home. He said, “That thing belongs to my children. I have stopped sacrificing to the devil and my faith is in Jesus Christ alone. What is the use in asking the devil for help? That idol is just made of stone. It can’t help me at all.” While I could hear and understand what he said, I still had a bit of doubt as to the veracity of his words.
Two days later he fell seriously ill and was taken to the hospital where he passed away on Thursday evening. There are no other believers in his family of eight children and so they held a Buddhist funeral and cremated the body before we were even notified of his passing. The other man in this photo is Sakhan. He moved to Elephant Den Village a month after Ta Son accepted Christ. The two of them became very close and enjoyed good times of fellowship throughout the week. Sakhan told me that Tuesday morning, just before he fell sick and was taken to the hospital, Ta Son was at his house and they were discussing the Word of God. Ta Son had gone to Sakhan’s house because he needed help to charge his MP3 player that was loaded with preaching. After the player was charged he returned home to listen to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. Hearing Sakhan talk about Ta Son’s love for preaching is one sign that helps us to have confidence that he was truly trusting Jesus as his personal Saviour! But there are two more evidences that we learned this past week.
As I met with several of his adult children who were visiting from distant provinces for his funeral, I asked them if their father had ever spoken to them about Jesus. Their response was, “Yes! Every time our dad visited us over the past few months he would bring his MP3 player and make us all listen to the preaching.” Amen!
Then the third evidence that Ta Son had truly become a son of God is what everyone in the village is now saying – over the past week the villagers have begun to say that the reason Ta Son died was because he turned his back on his altars and on the spirits who had been “protecting” him for the past 82 years. Those who lived right next to him knew him best. Often a missionary or Christian worker in this country can be misled and deceived for numerous reasons. However, Ta Son’s fellow villagers took specific note that he had stopped worshiping the spirits and was now a Christian!
It is obviously a bit tricky now trying to witness in Elephant Den. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE OUTREACH THAT WE HAVE TO TA SON’S CHILDREN. His son, Sarey, and Sarey’s wife are supposed to be at our Phnom Penh church this Sunday. I had the opportunity to witness to him for a long time this past Tuesday and it was evident that he is under conviction that he needs to be saved.
Chea and his wife, Ny, came to Christ here at Pacific Baptist Church a couple of months ago. It was through the godly example of a national pastor and his family that the Holy Spirit began working in their hearts and showing them their need of salvation. Thankfully, they were able to connect with several folks here at the church and they came to faith in Christ and were baptized.
Two weeks ago, quite unexpectedly, Chea passed away. No one was more shocked than his wife, who had given birth to their youngest child just about a week prior. PLEASE PRAY FOR NY AND HER CHILDREN. Life will likely be very difficult for them for quite some time.
THERE HAVE BEEN MANY NEW CONVERTS MADE THIS PAST MONTH
In all the various outreach ministries of our church there have been many folks saved over the past month. We will tell you about three of them.
Five weeks ago Debbie and I had the opportunity to meet Navy. I was able to witness to her for an extended period of time in front of her home the first day we met her. She was receptive to a friendship with us but did not see her need for a personal Saviour. This is typical of many folks here who are hesitant to admit that they are a sinner.
We invited her to come for Friend Day four weeks ago and she came. That was the beginning of God really working in her heart. She has attended every Sunday morning service since. This past Sunday evening she attended our couples small group and seemed to really enjoy it. We set an appointment to meet with her in our home on Monday morning at 8:30 to again witness to her. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit used the Word of God to bring about conviction in her heart and after about two hours she placed her faith in Christ! She is planning to get baptized on the 26th of this month. Lord willing, Debbie and I will begin meeting with her each Monday morning from 9:00-10:00 for discipleship. PRAY THAT NAVY WILL GET PLUGGED INTO THE DAY-IN DAY-OUT LIFE OF THE CHURCH!
We met Maly about a year ago and have on several occasions sought to present the gospel to her. It is very difficult to find a time to meet with her when she is not working. She works at the modern mall across town and so many times we would meet her on our weekly date night. About two months ago we let her borrow an MP3 player that we loaded with evangelistic teaching and preaching. A couple of weeks ago she told us that she and her husband, Sreang, don’t even bother to turn on the television any more. As soon as they get home from work they play the MP3 speaker until they go to bed. Wow!
It is very difficult to find her at home because she works seven days a week and has random days off during the month. Yesterday morning I called her and told her that I wanted to go see her during her lunch break. It was then that I found out she had been given the day off work and would be at home all day. I set an appointment to meet her and was able to spend right at two hours explaining the gospel to her. I could see her heart opening up as I explained the pictures that we often use to explain salvation. With tears in her eyes she placed her faith in Jesus Christ. It was special to hear her pray and say something along the lines of this – “Jesus, I no longer want to be the child of the devil. I want to become Your child. Please forgive my sins. I am trusting only in You to take me to Heaven.” PLEASE PRAY FOR MALY TO GROW IN HER NEW FAITH. Because of her work schedule she will not be able to be at church. We are hoping to be able to find a time when we can meet with her and help her go through discipleship. Lord willing, her job schedule could change in the future. In the mean time we will be providing her with materials she can listen to on the MP3 player. PLEASE PRAY FOR HER HUSBAND, SREANG, TO BE SAVED. He works seven days a week as a security guard at the government offices in front of their house. Yesterday he told me that he wants to meet with me and will call me when he has a chance to meet.
Phoeun was saved several months ago and has been a faithful witness to his family. A number of his adult children have come to Christ and are faithful to church, but his wife, Lon, always resisted accepting Christ as her Saviour. We’ve all been praying for her and we asked you all to pray for her as well. Many of us have had the opportunity to witness to her and seek to influence her to be saved. Bro. San and the workers in the Psa Tricht Village church have really invested many hours into this family. A few days ago Lon accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour! Since then she has shown much interest in learning the Word of God as well as attending church. Phoeun was joking around the other day and mentioned to someone that every since Lon has been saved he has to eat dinner late because she spends more time reading her Bible than preparing his meals! PLEASE PRAY FOR LON AS SHE GROWS IN HER NEW FAITH. She plans to follow the Lord in Believer’s Baptism on the 26th.
This past Sunday some of our ladies sang a special song. They have been working hard to get it just right and they did a great job. We are blessed by their commitment to the Lord, to their families, and to the work of the Lord!
THE KEY TO REACHING A NATION IS EQUIPPING AND EMPOWERING MEN TO SERVE
It was such a blessing to see Bro. Kosal preach for the first time for our Sunday evening service a couple of weeks ago. The Lord brought us together in 2006 and we were able to see him trust Christ. Almost immediately he had a burden to see the gospel go into his Muslim village. At that time there were virtually no Cham believers in Cambodia. You can read our prayer letter from September 2006 where we requested prayer for God to open the door for us to get into his village and for his family members to be saved at the following link: https://goodnewsfromafar.com/2006/09/ Over the past several years we have seen virtually every adult member of Kosal’s family and extended family come to Christ. Many of them are faithful witnesses for the Lord and actively involved serving in the ministry. Kosal was married here at Pacific Baptist Church several months ago to a wonderful young lady, Phalley, who was also saved out of Islam. In addition to teaching English at the premier English school in Cambodia, Kosal is a faithful teacher for our Sunday Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry. He is also serving in the new outreach we started two months ago in Stung MeanChey District every Sunday afternoon. Last Sunday the Stung MeanChey outreach had 70 folks! PLEASE PRAY FOR KOSAL AND PHALLEY AS THEY GROW IN THEIR MARRIAGE AND IN THEIR SERVICE FOR THE LORD.
Kosal’s younger brother, Man, is heading up the Stung MeanChey outreach. We thank God for his faithfulness and for the spiritual growth we’ve seen in his life. Man and his wife, Kanha, are good examples not only to the teens in the church but to the adults as well. Bro. Man preached a great message on Discipleship for our Wednesday evening service this past week. Kanha has had some health challenges in recent days and could use your prayers. PLEASE PRAY FOR MAN AND KANHA AS THEY CONTINUE TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD!
It was a true blessing for us to be able to have a dear friend visit us from our home church. God allowed us to lead Vorn and her family to Christ more than 20 years ago. Today her eldest son, Sara, and his family are serving here on the mission field along side of us. This was Vorn’s first time to return to Cambodia since fleeing the Khmer Rouge nearly 40 years ago. She had a great time visiting her brothers and sisters here in Cambodia that she has not seen in all those years. She had many opportunities to witness to her family. No doubt she had a great time visiting her grandchildren as well.
For our family the greatest blessing of having her visit was the influence she was able to have with our church family here. She had the opportunity to publicly share her testimony in our services in four different settings. I heard many comments of how God used her life story to encourage our people to be faithful in spite of persecution. We thank God for her family and look forward to the time when her husband, Sareth, will be able to visit.
I was looking through some of our old prayer letters from years past and found the letter where we asked for prayer that Vorn might be saved – That was January 1994…Thank God for fruit that remains!
REACHING AND EQUIPPING THE NEXT GENERATION
One of the greatest blessings of serving on the mission field is the opportunity to be involved in reaching and equipping the next generation to know and serve the Lord. We recently had a special Sunday night service that was led entirely by the Phnom Penh teens. It was a blessing to see these young people willingly serve through song, testimony, and preaching!
Srey Roeuth and her family have come to Christ in the past several months. She gave a testimony of the power of God to change her family. Not long ago they were in the depths of despair, without God and without hope. One of our teen young men made initial contact with her family and showed them the love of Christ. Bro. and Mrs. Has then were able to get close to them and lead them to Christ. Srey Roeuth’s father, Tara, is a university professor and since being saved, has taken a strong stand for the Lord at work. Her mother, SreyMohm, serves in several of our outreach ministries throughout the week and is a great blessing to be around. As Srey Roeuth shared her testimony she broke down and wept with tears of gratitude for the new family that she has been given in Christ. PLEASE PRAY FOR SREY ROEUTH’S FAMILY TO CONTINUE TO BE FAITHFUL TO THE LORD. Tara has taken a significant financial loss due to his commitment to be a godly man of integrity. We know that God always blesses faithfulness but it is sometimes difficult for new believers to be patient while they are waiting to see how everything will “work together for good.”
We are encouraged in the recent spiritual growth of LyHeang and her older sister, LyHang. They came to Christ this past year and always have a joyful spirit. LyHeang recently completed a booklet on the Gospel of Mark and answered 100 questions in order to earn a Bible from the church. We are very encouraged by her example. PRAY FOR THESE TWO YOUNG LADIES TO CONTINUE TO BE A GOOD EXAMPLE TO THEIR LOST FAMILY AT HOME.
Debbie has several young people who are taking piano lessons and are excelling! Borey and Tina are just two of the young ladies who are using what they have been taught for the glory of God. Borey played for some of the congregational songs and Tina played a special number. Both of these young ladies love the Lord and are faithfully serving Him through the ministries of our church. PRAY FOR BOREY’S FATHER, ROM, TO BE SAVED.
Jason did a great job on a difficult arrangement of a hymn. We are thrilled to see his dedication to practice and his willingness to use his talents for the Lord! He has been playing for the majority of the congregational singing in our Sunday evening teens class each week.
Veasna and Noi were both reached through the Phnom Penh Children’s Ministry several years ago as 11 and 12 year old children. Today they are 18 and 19 year old young men who are faithfully involved in reaching others! They both preached for our Teen night and did a great job! We are blessed to see their commitment and their willingness to always serve wherever they are needed. PRAY FOR NOI’S FAMILY TO COME TO CHRIST.
Believe it or not, the first Krispy Kreme donuts was opened in Phnom Penh several weeks ago. We treated the teens and workers to two donuts each after the service. It was great to see them enjoying this American delicacy. You can see pictures of some of the young people below.
YOUNG PEOPLE TRAINED TO SERVE THE LORD
The key to reaching any nation with the gospel is found in reaching and equipping nationals to reach their own people. Sadly, so many churches on the mission field are being run year after year by the missionary. We thank God for His blessing when it comes to the training of nationals for the work of the ministry. Our primary focus is on reaching and training national men. It matters not how old they are. In fact, one of the great joys that our team shares is seeing young people being saved out of the world and motivated to actively serve the Lord.
In the picture above you see Bro. Vannak leading a Children’s Ministry workers meeting. The Lord allowed us to reach Vannak with the gospel 10 years ago when he was a teenager. Today he and his wife are faithfully serving the Lord in the work of the ministry. Vannak had 31 workers in the meeting – 28 of them were teenagers!
Every Sunday we have services at eight different locations / times. One of the services is held in a village across the river names Ta Skov. A group of around 10 workers travel about an hour and a half one way to this village. One of the national men, Taiwan, heads up this outreach. He recently assigned our son, Jason, to preach every other week. It is a true blessing for us to see a picture of him preaching in the Khmer language. We are thankful that he is allowing God to push him past his “comfort zone” in order to make a difference in the lives of others.
God is truly working in the Psa Tricht church. Bro. San and his wife are doing a wonderful job of leading that outreach. I have the opportunity to preach there one weekend a month and am always amazed to see their zeal and love for the Lord. Over the past several months there have been several new adults come to Christ. Because of the steady growth of this outreach we are now faced with a bit of a challenge with transportation as well as seating in the church auditorium. We are looking at a couple of different options to temporarily alleviate some of the problems related to having “too many people.” (It’s a great problem to have!) The ultimate solution, and the goal we are working towards, is taking about 25 of these folks out of the Psa Tricht church and starting a new outreach near their village. PLEASE HELP US PRAY THAT WE WILL HAVE CLEAR DIRECTION REGARDING THIS FUTURE OPPORTUNITY.
PRAY FOR THE SALVATION OF THESE INDIVIDUALS
PRAY FOR TA IN BUNLA S’UT VILLAGE TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR NAT IN PHNOM PENH TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR ROM IN PHNOM PENH TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR SAREY AND LY IN ELEPHANT DEN VILLAGE TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR JAMES IN ELEPHANT DEN VILLAGE TO BE SAVED.
PRAY FOR SREY MOHM IN ELEPHANT DEN VILLAGE TO BE SAVED.
CHURCH MISSIONS TRIP TO BATTAMBANG
This month we had about 50 folks from the Phnom Penh church participate in our church’s first missions trip. In the months to come I hope to write more about our future plans in Battambang.
It was great for all of us to spend four days together. For many of the folks this was their first time to travel to Battambang. We all had a great time on the bus traveling there and back as well as staying in a hotel and sharing meals together.
We spent one of the days doing fun things like riding the Bamboo train. These train tracks were put down by the Khmer Rouge about 40 years ago and were used to transport workers back and forth. Today it is a tourist attraction. It was a little bumpy but overall the folks had a great time riding it.
The primary intent of this trip was to witness to the family members of several of the families in our church. We split into several teams and went different directions. There are several good contacts that have been made and we hope to see some people come to Christ, in part, as a result of this trip. It was a joy to be able to spend several hours walking through a village with Sinath and his family as we witnessed to those who would give us a hearing.
Battambang Province has around 1,000,000 people. It seems to be saturated with the cults and weak “evangelical churches” of various stripes. It is evident that there is a need for strong soul-winning churches to be planted in this Province. We look forward to sharing with you in the future how our team believes that God would use us to help see this happen. PRAY FOR MORE LABORERS – BOTH NATIONAL AS WELL AS NEW MISSIONARIES FROM ABROAD.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason