March 16, 2011
It was a blessing to have a supporting pastor visit us this past week. Pastor Pechardo was sent out by our home church several years ago to start a church in northern California. As a church-planter he understands the struggles and the blessings of starting a work from the ground up. Our new church here in Phnom Penh was blessed not only to hear him preach but also to hear the report of how God is blessing the new church in Daly City, California. This was our first time to have an outsider preach to the church and we feel like our people received him very well. We have included a picture of Pastor Pechardo for the benefit of those of you who know him.
It has been a blessing to see the new believers growing in their knowledge and obedience to the Lord. We are seeing several of the new Christians taking important steps of obedience in their walk with the Lord. This past week one of our ladies led a 17 year old girl to the Lord. In order to help them become more proficient at finding verses in the Bible, we often have a Bible Sword drill during the Sunday evening service. This always brings a lot of excitement during the service as we break into five teams and the winning team always receives a small prize. Some of them are getting so fast at finding the verses that it is even difficult for our own children to beat them. Joshua was happy this past Sunday night as he finally beat them!
Please continue to pray for the salvation of Sopheap. As you know, she is the wife of one of our very faithful men. She is evidently under conviction regarding her need of salvation. The thing that seems to be holding her back is the fact that she knows the community will turn on her once she accepts Christ as her Saviour. She has already seen this happen to her husband. She is having a hard time realizing that she is going to have to turn her back on much of her culture. This past week I taught from Proverbs 29:25 which states, “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the Lord shall be safe.” Right now it seems like she is counting the cost. This is much better than someone making a shallow and false profession of faith with no intention of turning “… to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” 1 Thessalonians 1:9. On a daily basis the Buddhist monks stand in front of Sinath’s home just feet from where he is working as a self-employed tailor and they wait for him to give them an offering. Every day he ignores them and continues on with his work of sewing as though they were not even there. He was a bit amused this past week to actually have one of the monks curse him. It was a blessing yesterday to look out my office window as the monks walked past Sopheap and to see her totally ignore them as well. I believe she will be saved soon. Please pray to she will put her trust in the Lord and stop fearing her culture.
Please pray for a situation that has arisen with some of our believers. It seems that a group from America has attached themselves to one of our young men and offered him a big salary if he will leave us and go with them. He belongs to an ethnic minority group here that has very few true Christians. The salary they are offering him is easily four times what anyone should expect to make here in this country. Unfortunately it seems as though this young man has been drawn away by his apparent love of materialism. The worst part is that he is putting pressure on his family members to leave and go with him. As of now the members of his family are confronting him with the Truth of God’s Word and it has made him so angry that he is threatening to throw them all out of the house because they are choosing to follow God rather than follow him. We know that this situation has been brought about by the devil to try and frustrate what God wants to do among the Cham people. It is unfortunate that now that group is going to the village and bringing their watered-down version of the “gospel.” It is bringing a lot of confusion to those with whom we have been working. On one hand they see that the doctrine this group is trying to teach them is very different from the Bible and what we and another Baptist church has taught them. On the other hand this group is bringing lots of money with them. I am meeting with four of these young men for several hours each week and helping them to understand exactly why we believe what we believe. They have stated unequivocally that they are not going to be deceived by false doctrine or false practice and they have no intention of joining with the one who is trying to pull them away. Pray that they will have the strength of their conviction to not compromise and that the one who has left us to go with this baptismal-regeneration group will be brought to repentance by whatever means necessary before he can do much damage.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason
March 3, 2011
We are thankful to report that Sinath’s wife, Sopheap, has begun to attend the services. She is not yet willing to be saved but her heart appears to be softening. Two weeks ago their 16 year old daughter, SreyNik, made a profession of faith. She has been studying with Miss Eng for the past several weeks and finally came to acknowledge her need of salvation. Two weeks ago Sinath finally got the courage to begin taking part in our Saturday soul-winning and visitation ministry. This past Sunday evening, during testimony time, he shared about the blessing of being able to learn how to win others to the Lord. Please continue to pray for Sopheap to be saved.
While passing out tracts this past month I had the opportunity to meet Chenda. He is 26 years old, a university graduate and currently works for the Ministry of Education (Department of Education). His responsibility is to travel to different government schools and collect money. Several years ago he worked for a very large “christian” organization here in Cambodia. During the three years that he worked for them he said he had heard some Bible stories taught but to his recollection he had never heard the plan of salvation. A couple of years ago be decided that he wanted to go to church but he did not know where to go. So he began visiting different high profile “churches.” He visited one very popular “church” here in Phnom Penh and told them that he wanted to know more about God. They took him to meet the pastor. According to Chenda the pastor sat down and merely showed him the weekly schedule of events that were sponsored by their group. Then he proceeded to offer him a salary if he would be willing to help promote their ministry. Even as an unsaved man he saw how shallow and counterfeit that ministry was and he never returned. For some time now he has been highly suspect of anyone who purported to be a Christian, assuming that all groups were alike. He told me that he has wanted to go to church but he did not know who he could trust. It seems like he is clicking with us and thankfully he came to the services last week and stayed afterward to share lunch with our family. This past week he came to meet with me for several hours and had many questions about why we do things the way we do. (IE: we don’t focus on big buildings, don’t give away money to come to church, don’t pay salaries to our members who go out soul-winning, don’t use English classes as bait to draw people to church, etc…) Please pray that Chenda will keep coming and that we will be able to lead him the Christ very soon.
We met Teven a couple of weeks ago while passing out tracts and I was able to have a brief conversation with her in her home. A few days later Brother Keo was out making a visit in the area and gave her a tract as well. Teven has been studying with the Jehovah Witnesses but was not fully indoctrinated with their teachings. We were able to take the Khmer Bible that the JW’s had given her and place it side-by-side with the Khmer version of the New World Translation (translation made from counterfeit Greek manuscripts). I think it shook her faith in the JW’s teachings when she was able to see obvious contradictions. Brother Keo has been able to get close to Teven as well as her neighbor and has spent hours with them helping to explain to them the Gospel. After the service this past Sunday morning she approached Brother Keo and told him that she wanted to accept Christ as her personal Saviour. Praise the Lord! Please pray for Teven to grow as well as to have the courage to refuse to spend any more time with false teachers when they come to her home.
Please pray for a new family that we are trying to reach. Mr. Narith (48) and his wife, Nary (31), and five children have been studying with the Mormons for several months ago. Two weeks ago I met them while passing out tracts door-to-door. Debbie and I have been able to spend time with them and they seem to respond to our friendship. Last week I spent 3 hours trying to show Narith that the Jesus or Mormonism is quite obviously not the Jesus of the Bible. The Mormons have conveniently chosen not to teach him aspects of the Mormon religion that they think he would have a hard time believing. He has been under the mistaking notion that he has trusted the Jesus of the Bible and is on his way to Heaven. It was sad to hear their 8 year old son tell me that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers… I am certain that the Mormons know of our visits and are likely focusing even more on this family. Please pray that God will give us favor with Narith and Narin and that the door will remain open to influence them.
This Saturday we will have workers teaching in two different Muslim villages. This past week there were two Muslim adults who made professions of faith in one of the villages. One of the young men said that there are others who may be close to getting saved. Please pray for the safety of our workers as they are doing the Lord’s work in places that are virtually impossible for us to go.
Please pray for the following adults that Bro. Keo and I are still seeking to reach: Chan, Sopheak, Saroeun, Sochee, Narith, SreyPeou, Phearak, Samphors, Mr. Hok and his wife.
Once one leaves the United States and moves to a third world country they are immediately confronted by just how addicted to possessions the average American is. Tonight Debbie and I were looking in the closet and we began a conversation about clothes. I noticed two new blouses that she had purchased on clearance before leaving the United States but has never worn. She told me that she does not wear them because she feels too badly and chooses instead to wear some of her clothes that are more than 10 years old. Even though they are 10 years old they are still much nicer than the clothes of most of the people whom we are reaching. You see most of the people we work with would not think of spending more than twenty-five to fifty cents on a shirt. If they had a closet, and most of them don’t, their closet would not be filled to over-flowing with clothes like most of ours are who live in America. Most of us in America have become accustomed to buying much more than we actually need. As Americans most of us would not dream of wearing clothes until they wear out. We give them to places like Good Will and run off to the mall to replenish our wardrobe. The clothes that are rejected by Good Will and other second-hand stores often are shipped to places like Cambodia and the people gladly wear them. (On a side note – It was a bit comical last week to see the lady who sells fruit at the open air market where we shop each morning wearing a Pizza Hut employee shirt that she purchased for about twelve cents at the side of the road.) Materialism and a Temporal Value system is alive and well here in Cambodia just like it is in America but the truth is that many of our new believers seem to be very happy and content with their lives. One example is that of Sinath and his family. His family of 5 (soon to be 6) live and work in a room that is smaller than the average master bed room of most American homes. Yet I have never heard him complain once about wishing he had a bigger place in which to live. Another example is of Maldy and his wife, Sitha, and their two children who, for three months, have faithfully attended every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and Saturday soul-winning since the first day of the church. They walk nearly two miles one way each time they come to the church. On Sundays that is 8 miles. Not only do they walk but they also have to carry their 3 year old daughter who has downs syndrome. Never one time has Maldy complained to me about walking so far to come to church.
For those who are seeking to discern the times it would appear that we are witnessing the downward spiral of western civilization. Could it be that God is trying to get the attention of believers in America? (Deuteronomy 8:10-20) How content would you and I be if we lived under some of the circumstances that the majority of the world lives under? How far would you and I be willing to walk carrying a 30 pound baby in order to go to church? Indeed we all have much to learn from our brethren here in the third world about learning to be content with such things as we have been given.
Because of God’s grace,
Dave, Debbie, Joshua, Jeremy, and Jason