Monday, December 28, 2020

December Update 2020

Dear Faithful Supporters,

Because Jesus did what He came to do, we have Hope. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! May you experience true Love and Hope and Joy and Peace in the Lord Jesus Christ as you celebrate Christmas.

Due to the on-going government mandate-pandemic restrictions, the plans for Christmas celebrations had been postponed and hanged from a day-to-day and week-to-week basis. Finally, the decision was made by key church leaders of the areas that Christmas this year would be locally celebrated in various smaller village group settings. This means that the key church leaders must make frequent trips to villages, one village at a time, in order to gather and to lead the villagers in these remote celebrations. At this writing, we already had six village celebrations done and still have six more villages to go. On average, the number of participants in each village gathering was about 75 plus people. About 85% of the total attendants celebrated Christmas for the first time this year. Below are few stories/testimonies shared by villagers at these smaller group gatherings…




Former Witchcraft Villagers Celebrated their First Christmas…

After months of hearing about the many wonderful things that God was doing in Pume Thmey village
(for detailed information about the nature of this village, please refer to our August 2020’s update in
“The Captives Set Free”), on the morning of December 24th, we finally visited the village and had
the personal opportunity to meet with some of the amazing and genuine believers of the areas.

Former witchcraft villagers celebrating their first Christmas

Immediately upon our arrival, 80 plus villagers quickly gathered around underneath a stilted house for a
time of worship service led by Po and Lang, two designated leaders assigned to oversee this village. After brief introductions, the villagers joyfully sung their favorite songs, one number after another. All songs were chosen from a traditional Khmer hymnal book. The many favorite selections requested by participants were not the usual traditional Christmas songs sung for the holiday season, but they were chosen because the written words/lyrics of each song gave special meanings to the believers’ new freedom in Christ. Up until early April of 2020, many of these villagers had lived their entire lives under the tight grips and heavy bondages of Satan! But this year, many of the Pume Thmey village people found complete FREEDOM in CHRIST! 

80 plus people celebrated their first Christmas in Pume Thmey village

When Soeuth shared a Christmas- message entitled “The Good News to the Outcasts” found in Luke 2:8-20, the entire audience paid close attention to every word spoken. As they listened, many villagers nodded in agreement to message as they could relate well to the shepherd—the out-casted characters in this biblical story. At the end of the message, opportunities were given to any villager who wanted to testify what God was doing in their lives; and one after another, people willingly shared their stories as below…

Moses-ya: A Baby Recused from the Pond!

Ree, a 37 year old mother of three small children and only a 4-month old Christian from Pume Thmey village, with tears of joy and tears of gratitude falling freely down her cheeks, gave praises to the Lord Jesus for saving her (now 9-month-old) baby girl from drowning! Ree shared that in early October, in an attempts to catch some fish for a family meal, standing by the edge of a nearby pond, Ree was using one arm to secure a bouncing 7-month old baby to her hip while using another arm/hand to hold a fishing pole. Excited and startled by a sudden bite at the end of her fishing line, Ree accidentally dropped her baby girl into a 2-meter (6 feet) deep pond! Not able to swim herself and while gripped by overwhelming fear for her baby’s life, Ree screamed from the top of her lungs shouting, “Preah-yea-sue jo-oy! (Lord Jesus help!) My baby is in the pond!” At her the sound of her frantic screams, a few village men rushed to the site and quickly dove into the murky pond and tried desperately to find the baby. After an “eternity” of many unsuccessful attempts, the terrifying mother finally spotted the baby’s head floating to the water surface. Following the mother’s frantic pointing, one of the men swam to the site, scooped up the limp, unconscious baby, and brought her to the edge of the pond, and then began to resuscitate her back to life! Everyone who witnessed the accident including the men who were in involved in the recusing mission unanimously declared that this baby’s rescue was a miraculous work of the Living God! Nearly three months went by since the accident, Ree is still overwhelmed emotionally every time she picked up her baby girl at how much love God has for her life and for her family’s lives. “I am forever grateful to God for recusing my life and the life of my baby girl! My daughter’s life is my testimony to the whole world that Preah-yea-sue is the One True and the Only God!” Even though the baby has her own given name, since the incident took place, everyone is calling her “Moses-ya”- because Jesus recused her from the pond…

“Someone touched me. And I am healed!”

Also, from Pume Thmey village, Mrs. Nim, a frail widow in her mid 50s who is a very cheerfully pleasant little lady and a devoted mother of six adult children, had been subjected to bleeding and had chronically suffered various kinds of illnesses more than seven years. “I sold many rice fields, cows, and most of my other earthly valuable belongings including my precious heirloom jewelries in order to pay for my many expensive medical costs. “My children took me to see medical doctors across the country, and I even visited many ‘kru Khmer’ (local witch doctors). But no one could help me,” explained Nim to the listening audience with two of her adult children nodding their agreements. 


In early October of 2020 while her village, like many other parts of Cambodia, was completely underwater by the unexpected floods, Nim’s health critically worsened. Fearful for Nim’s life, her adult children carried Nim and waded across the flooded paths, then took her in a rented taxi to the Siem Reap provincial hospital. Hopelessly lying in a hospital bed in an overcrowded and understaffed hospital ward surrounded by many sickly patients, Nim did not hope that she would be properly seen or adequately cared for by medical staffs. Before going to bed one night and while in her darkest moments of hopelessness, Nim whispered a prayer, “Preah-yea-sue, if you are real, please help me." Nim went on to describe her prayer, “I was a new believer. I did not even know how to pray. And I didn’t even know if God would hear my prayers because I was poor and a nobody. That night, while I closed my eyes and tried to sleep, I felt a hand touching my head. And I felt immediate warmth all over my entire body! I opened up my eyes but saw no one." Nim shared that she immediately elbowed and asked her daughter who was lying next to her, “Did you touch my head just now?” When her daughter said “No" Nim insisted that “Someone had touched me. And I am feeling better!” Aware of Nim’s new faith in Jesus, the daughter suggested that maybe God had touched her. Nim agreed and then went on to describe her condition, “It had been almost three months since that night, and I have not seen any more blood! Preah-yea-sue healed me!” Once again, Nim’s adult daughters and many villagers who participated in the Pume Thmey worship service that day nodded their heads in agreement that Jesus had healed Nim!

Praises, dates, and events needing your prayers…
  1. On December 11 at 9:32 pm, we received a wonderful news that our second grandchild, granddaughter this time, Maya Joy Lao, had safely arrived into the world to the waiting arms of her proud parents, Justin and Katie, and to her adorable big brother, Jesse. Since Maya’s birth, we received and treasured the countless pictures and short videos thoughtfully made and sent to us by her parents. We look forward to and long to meet Maya, and to hugs both precious grandchildren, Lord willing, by early July 2021. 

  2. December 19: two young single mothers prayed to receive Jesus shortly after attending the Christmas celebration at the Toul Prich Village. These two ladies and some few other new believers are being trained and prepared for the baptism which take place sometimes in January.
  3. Dec. 24, after a worship service at Pume Thmey, 28 people came forward to rededicate their lives to Jesus. Please pray against spiritual oppositions and on-going spiritual attacks for these dear new believers as they must remain living in the village while trying to shine the Light of Jesus to the dark community. Many people from this village, including the new believers’ own relatives and neighbors, still worship demons and witches of the area. These young believers whose spiritual journey is less than 9 months old (there are about 40 of them) are being spiritually cared for and taught in the Word at a weekly basis by two designated leaders, Po and Lang. (Both Lang and Po enrolled in our weekly leadership and discipleship classes at Srae Nouy). 
    28 people came forward to rededicate their lives to Jesus

  4. Dec. 26: We had a “small” Christmas (the first Christmas in this village) gathering in La-veah village where 86 people participated. The service was held under the shades of fruit trees where people seated on a plastic taupe. At the end of message, 16 new believers took turns to share the amazing and powerful testimonies of what God was doing in their lives. Their stories included two incidents where young believers prayed to cast out demons/evil spirits from their relatives, many stories about miraculous healings, stories of God’s miraculous interventions, and stories of protections from motorbike accidents, and also a miraculous recuse from snake bites! These were stories of inspired and powerful testimonies which declared to the unbelieving community that the God we service is ALIVE and ACTIVE. 
    86 people participated, first time, in a Christmas service at La-veah village

  5. Because of the leaders are still busy leading small Christmas gatherings at various village groups, the plans for locally baptismal services are being held/postponed to be done, one place after another throughout the month of January. Please pray these new believers would remained faithful with their decision to follow Christ and to get baptize.
  6. The 7 students from Soeuth’s Pentcheude class and the 9 students the TEE Book 3 classes had successfully completed the courses! The same groups of students will move on to enroll in the next higher course levels accordingly.
  7. At this writing, Syna's Firm Foundation class (9 students) in Toul Prich Village also successfully completed the 68- week course! We will have a graduation party in January...
182 families received chicken eggs, thanks to a generous donor

102 people got baptized on December 28!

 
Baptism celebration

Please share with us what God is doing in your life. We would love to pray with and for you as you have been to us. As always, we are grateful to God for you on-going prayers and support. Thank you for your partnership in the Anlong Veng and the overall Cambodian ministries. We appreciate you!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Soeuth & Syna

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

November Update 2020

Dear Praying Friend and Family,

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever… Psalm: 107:1

It had been a very hectic and emotional season for us as many church families for whom we care for so deeply are struggling trying to make ends meet as the results of the on-going Covid 19 pandemic and recent floods. Even in a season of confusion and uncertainty, many of the church families found reasons to celebrate God’s goodness as recently shared by various individuals in stories below…

“Jesus, the most valuable gift of all”

During a recent “prayers & share” time at one of our weekly classes at Andong Chan village, Mr. Kong shared about an opportunity where he led a family to receive Jesus. Kong was traveling home from Srae Nouy Alliance church when his old motorbike suddenly broke down in an isolated location. Having no way to contact anyone for help, Kong pondered in his heart and what God had in plan as he walked his bike along the road. After 30 minutes of tiredly walking in the extreme heat, Kong was excited to see a small village nearby the highway. At the village, Kong not only found a kind and pleasant mechanic who was willing to repair his bike, God also gave Kong an amazing opportunity to share the Gospel to a group of receptive people! By the time the bike was fixed, Kong led a family 8 people to the Lord where the head of that family was a former Buddhist priest! And when it was time to settle the price the older gentleman said, “No need to pay us for the service. You have brought us the most valuable gift-- the amazing gift of Jesus Christ! Thank you!”

The First Christian Funeral in the Village

Due to severely damaged roads resulted from the October flood, a weekly discipleship class at Rohaal village was postponed for a while. However, after learning about a tragic death of a new believer recently, 32 church people braved their ways on motorbikes across the potholes and muddy paths to join the funeral and to encourage the surviving relatives. Uncle Poev, an elderly man, went Home to be with Jesus, was the only believer in his family; he and 22 other villagers had prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior during the Covid crisis. Because Uncle Poev’s adult children were not yet believers, they organized a religious Buddhist funeral where some monks and priests participated and involved. But at the sight of many Christians showing up, the family and the priests willingly urged us to lead a Christian funeral in honor of Uncle Poev’s faith. Upon the family’s persistent requests and with their permission, we asked them to remove any articles related to religious worship items and prayed to dedicate the entire event to a Christian service. After a time of worship, being “prepared in season and out of season," Soeuth pulled out his ready note and delivered an evangelistic funeral message to the waiting audience where about 80 plus people participated including a village leader and some prominent men of the areas. After the service, the family and friends came to thank the Christian visitors for their extraordinary love and support. Amazed by their loving actions, Poev’s oldest son said, “You hardly knew my father or my family. But you all came! And you gave us tremendous love and support. Thank you!” Even today, more than three weeks later, the Rohaal villagers still talk about Uncle Poev’s unusual funeral—the first Christian funeral in the village! 

“You must share Jesus with us, too”

Mrs. Chanty, Pastor Dy’s wife from Srae Nouy church, also shared about an incident that she encountered at the Srae Nouy central market recently. Although few families of O Rum Jake village had heard the gospel of Jesus through Christian friends from Srae Nouy since early September, with on-going Covid restrictions and then the sudden arrival of unusual floods, in addition to the short of extra helping hands, those who were designated to lead a weekly small group at this village slowly abandoned their responsibility altogether… While recently buying food at a local wet market, Chanty was asked loudly by a strange lady, “Are you one of the Jesus people from around here?” “Yes," Chanty answered and then went on to share that she was the pastor’s wife from Srae Nouy Alliance Church. Realized that she had finally found what she was looking for, the stranger could not contain her excitement, she just grabbed Chanty by the hands and then began to dance around in the market with everyone looking at them and then shouted even louder saying, “Oh, I have been searching for your people for so long! I am so excited that I’ve found you at last! Please, come quickly to my village! Come and tell us about Preah Yea-sue! Don’t just keep Jesus all to yourselves! You must share Jesus with us, too!” Embarrassed by the unexpected incident, Chanty reluctantly promised the lady that she would report this request to the church. After learning about the need, Pastor Dy organized a new team of teachers, with Po (Pastor Dy’s oldest adult son) as the rink leader, to lead and to teach the new believers in O Rum Jake village. Upon arrival on an appointed time, Po and some church people from Srae Nouy were utterly amazed to see so many people, about 40 plus of them, were already waiting with much anticipation, including a village leader! The villagers were so excited about the resuming of weekly Bible studies that they all agreed, “We have 9 different houses lined up and ready to use as a place to meet. You just decide which house is the best location, then we can meet in that house. Only that you must come to teach us about Jesus!” Po and other leaders are currently preparing the villagers for the joint baptism on New Year’s Eve…

In addition to above events, here are additional praises and prayer requests…

  1. Early morning on Nov. 13 as we were about to leave for a Poipet leadership class, Heng, our Khmer national ministry partner, call to report that Moum, his wife went into premature labor. Although Moum’s mother planned to arrive at the end of November to offer her assistance to the family, all previous plans had to change immediately and accordingly as the baby came 3 weeks early. Soeuth called to cancel the Poipet class then drove the couple to Siem Reap hospital (a 2- hour drive each way) while Syna took care of three little girls (two belonged to Heng and Moum and a neighboring little girl whose mother was in the Siem Reap hospital for a similar reason). At the end of the day, Heng called to report that beautiful healthy baby girl, Hout Seriya, was born at 7pm on the same day at 2.8 kilograms.
    Heng and Moum with daughter # 3

    Poipet leadership class

    Syna took care of three girls (two belonged to Heng and Moum and a neighboring little girl)

  2. After a few cancellations and postponements due to unexpected emergencies, the Toul Prich monthly youth fellowship was finally held on Nov. 19 at Heng and Moum’s new house where 36 school aged kids and 12 adults participated in relay games and soccer. The village ladies prepared traditional dish called Num Krouk.
    Youth fellowship in Toul Prich

  3. Thanks to the generous donation that some of you contributed, we were able to do another round of food distribution to 47 needy families from the floating villages. 
    Bags of rice for distribution at floating villages


    A worship service at a floating village before food distribution


  4. Nov. 21: Soeuth officiated the first Christian wedding at Popel Village where about 100 plus people participated. It was a simple but the most God-honoring wedding that we had ever participated and attended in a while.  Even though about 40% of the participants were not yet professed believers, everyone paid closed attention to the entire ceremony! 
  5. Nov. 28: Soeuth spoke a message to Christian family and marriage seminar in Svey  Sisophonto 28 married couples.
  6. Church people are excited and already prepared for the many Christmas celebrations throughout the entire month of December.  The Srae Nouy Alliance church will hold a joined Christmas event and a joined baptism on December 31. Many people in our region will participate their first Christmas this year. Pray for receptive hearts and for opportunities to share Jesus with those who will come.
  7. Because of the uncertainty of the on-going pandemic, our son, Jonathan, will not be coming home for the holidays. He will still be staying in the dorm with other dorm children during the 4- week winter break. Many other dorm children, fearing that they may not allow re-entry, choose to remain in the dorm. Please for Dalat staff and students who will not be able to spend the holiday with families.

At this writing which took place by the ocean shore, we were taking a mini-vacation to enjoy the calm ocean at Kep Province. With the on-going pandemic still in place, there was hardly any foreign tourist in town! In some location, we had to the whole beach to ourselves! So grateful for this rest and relaxation time…   

Enjoyed some R&R time in Kep province

Thank you for your on-going prayers and support. We appreciate you. Please share with us what God is doing in your life.

With a grateful heart,

Soeuth & Syna

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

October Update 2020 (part 2)

 Dear Praying Friend and Family,

After almost four weeks of constant rains, it is a joy to finally see sunny days again. THANK YOU for fervently prayed for the recent rains & floods in Cambodia. Earlier this week during our weekly village discipleship classes, many of our students shared some powerful and encouraging testimonies on how they had selflessly responded individually to the flood incidents…

What Would Jesus Do?

Mr. Kong, a vibrant believer and gifted, effective evangelist from Andong Chan village, shared about a difficult decision he had to make recently and about an opportunity to share the Good News with new believers as a result. Since early July, Kong and a few Christian men from his village faithfully traveled 17 kilometers distance on their motorbikes every Sunday afternoon to teach and disciple new believers in O Rum Jake village (this village was one of the 8 house churches planted during Covid restrictions). Last Sunday (Oct 18), because the flood water was approaching at a rapid speed toward his village, Kong was faced with a difficult decision: to stay home and prepare for the coming flood or to go and teach young believers in O Rum Jake (a daughter church of Andong Chan village). Wrestling with this tough decision, Kong asked himself loudly, “What would Jesus do if He was in my situation?” At that critical moment, upon reflecting on a Bible verse that he had memorized recently, “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthews 25:36-37), Kong knew immediately that God would keep his home and his family safe from flood. Then, he reluctantly left and went to visit the new believers. “And it was the right decision” Kong shared. Anxious about the flood, the new believers in this village were deeply concerned and wondering if anyone was coming to help them. “All the houses in that village were surrounded by flood waters” Kong added, “They thought that we had abandoned them." Kong showing up at such a crucial time had brought so much encouragement to the young believers, that after the worship service, “6 more people prayed to received Preah yea-sue!” While Kong was ministering to the believers in O Rum Jake, he quietly begged God to protect his family from flood. He did. Upon returned home, Kong discovered that while he was away, the flood water quickly passed through his entire village affecting many of the neighbors’ houses, but the ground where his home located was completely dry!

“God’s word is like a fire burning in my heart”

Sofia, aged 27, a 9-month old Christian, a single mother of two small children from Andong Chan village, was grateful to God for the precious 20 kilograms of rice and some other dry good foods that she had received from a rice distribution at church last week. Although Sofia and her children were poor, she was often noticed by people around her to share generously what she had with other people. Recently, when her village was affected by flood, observing neighbors noticed how she continued to share what she had with others as usual even with flood water and all. As one neighbor described, “As the water was getting higher, Sofia was balancing her toddler son by her hip with one hand and holding a bag of food with another hand then waded through the flooded water to visit a neighbor." When asked why she was so kind to everyone, Sofia responded, “God has been so good to me. The least I could do is to share what He gave me with others." Sofia was often described by her observing friends and neighbors as being bold and courageous in sharing her Christian belief with everyone she met. When asked about her belief in Jesus, Sofia often responded, “The word of God is like a fire burning in my heart. I cannot help but sharing with other people about what God has done in my life."

An observing neighbor shared with an entire class about Sofia's faith...

Even with Rains & Floods Church Attendance Was Full! 

Pastor Dy from Srae Nouy Alliance church, a humble servant of God and trusted national ministry partner, recalled many moments of concerns when church families were constantly calling him to ask for prayers and for help because of floods and the damaged crops. In response to the needs, we and some key church leaders immediately organized an emergency food distribution for the affected families—about 130 families in Srae Nouy and around Anlong Veng regions were among the grateful recipients. Pastor Dy excitedly shared in a weekly class recently, “Every year during a rainy season, the attendance was often low because people did not want to get wet coming to church. But this year, even with heavy flood and rains and all, the church attendance was full or double in every village church!” Last week, while the flood water was over a meter deep, determined to attend a church service no matter what, some young people from Pume Thmey village found creative ways to attend a house church (which was built on stilts). A young boy sat himself securely in a large cooking pot, then using a bamboo stick to row himself to church! Some other youth built themselves a raft from banana plants to float across the flooded water. Still some other youth and adults swam to church! Many of them joyfully worshipped God in drenched dripping wet clothes!

Church attendance doubled even high flood

In addition to above needs please pray also for…

  1. While the flood water had slowly receded in some locations resulting muddy paths, in some other places, there remained contaminated and polluted stagnated waters. We are preparing and anticipating for the worse to come, include mosquito transmitted related diseases and other serious diseases related to contaminated waters. 
    Flood in Poipet

  2. With poor and/or damaged crops at harvest times resulting from the flood, we anticipate shortages of food supplies in addition to the inflation of the food price, especially rice!
  3. Last week, the worst fear for many people had been confirmed as some villagers spotted snakes and crocodiles swimming in flooded water where families with small children reside! Apparently, some people had kept private crocodile farms in their back yards. With a sudden overflow of unexpected flood, the crocodiles got loose into the heavy flood waters! At the site of the deadly animals, some village men worked quickly together and caught two fully grown adult sized crocodiles! Please pray for the safety for all.  
    Villagers in  caught two crocodiles from flood water where families with small children reside!

  4. Pray for wisdom and discernment as we minister to the overwhelming needs: what to do, when or where or who to help, how to help…
  5. Pray for new believers who live in remote places where the roads/ paths to their locations are still impassible due to flood. This maybe a testing time for their new faith.
  6. Even surrounded by deep levels of flood water, some families were afraid to move away from their flooded homes for fear of unwanted thieves. Even in the most difficult time as this, some evil people took opportunity to take advantage of the poor. Many flooded homes had been looted and their meager valuables or some cost domestic animals had been stolen. To avoid such troubles, families made shelters on drier grounds nearby and even on national highways, so they could keep an eye of their property. 

    People made shelters on national highway

    Flood families made shelters on National highway.

  7. With no place to go and while schools are still closing, village kids were restless with nothing to do. Every Sunday, the Toul Prich village kids waited with much anticipation for Syna to arrive so they can hear and learn Bible stories followed by coloring pages. Last week, 32 kids showed up for Sunday school! It was a challenge to keep these active kids occupied and entertained while dealing with muddy and wet play areas. Please for these precious little ones to truly know God. Many of them who are from broken families. The kids have been consistently coming to church every week even though their parents are not yet believers. 
    Syna kept 32 kids entertained/occupied while Soeuth led adult church service

    Toul Prich kid's ministry

  8. Continue praying also for Vanna and Srey Nouch as they are still grieving for the deceased children. 
  9. Please continue praying also for our son, Jonathan, to finish high school well.
  10. Pray for the hundreds of thousands of school aged kids of Cambodia, especially for those kids who are from extremely poor families in the rural regions. Although there are some online schools offered for all students, for those kids who are impoverished villagers, there was no way they could participate in these online school systems…
  11. After more than seven months of postponing classes due to Covid pandemic, we will resume Poipet leadership class beginning Oct. 30-31
  12. Due to the unexpected floods in many provinces including the capital city, all previous traveling plans related to youth ministry had been cancelled but is now rescheduled to November 6.

Thank you for your on-going prayer and support. If God put in your heart to financially supporting the Cambodian flood victims in any way, please let us know. Your on-going generous financial support toward the overall Alliance Mission enables us to remain serving in Cambodia bringing the message of Hope in Jesus to lost people and to meet the need of devastated flood victims in such a time as this. THANK YOU!

Soeuth & Syna

Monday, October 12, 2020

October Update 2020

 Dear Praying Friend and Family,

Autumn greetings to those of you who are in North America. We trust you are well.

Rains & Floods…

Cambodia is in the middle of a heavy rainy season. Many parts of the country are under water this week because there is too much rain. Also, we learned from church families this week that the Kampeinh Poy Dam (a dam that was made during the Killing Field regime when thousands of Khmer people were killed as the result) broke out. As a result, the entire Battambang province is completely under water!

Road to Banan

After 40 min. of driving, we returned home because the bridge to Srae Kandal village was under water

In Anlong Veng, many of the dirt roads/paths to our weekly village ministries were mostly damaged and heavily flooded. For the past few weeks, because of heavy floods the Rohaal village weekly village ministry had been postponed for a time. We kept the Rohaal’s church families in touch through frequent phone calls. Please pray that their faith would remain steadfast in this time of isolation. This past Sunday, we had already left the house and were 40 minutes into driving in an attempting to go to Srae Kandal Alliance house church when a call from a church member came saying that the main bridge, the only route into the village, was completely under water! Disappointed but fully aware that God must have some other plans in mind, we reluctantly returned home…

Sanke River in Battambang province was heavily flooded this week

A man from Battambang caught some fish for dinner in his flooded yard!

God is Still at Work, Even in the Darkest Times...

In their darkest moment of grieving, Vanna and Srey Noch (See "Sad News from our last post: a young couple from Popel village recently lost two children in a drowning accident) found reasons to smile again and to celebrate God’s goodness and faithfulness over their lives and ministries. Early in October, after taking some time off from ministries, the grieving couple returned to Kampong Pluk floating village to resume weekly ministry among 6 families of new believers (this Alliance village house church was birthed on August 19th where 23 prayed to receive Jesus at one time). In spite of the couple’s absence, the weekly meetings continued. Young believers there came together faithfully to pray for their beloved leaders (Vanna and Srey Noch). When the couple finally rejoined the meetings Vanna reported recently to his discipleship classmates at Srae Nouy, “The house church was packed with people!” After Vanna took time to thank the people for their prayers, four new people came forward to pray to receive Jesus-- one of them was Vanna’s own brother! Vanna also shared, “I had prayed for my brother’s salvation for so long.  Finally, God opens his eyes to see the truth. When everything around me seemed lost and despair, God was still at work. Even when I did not see any light or feel any hope, God was working."

Pheap’s Meals on Wheels…

Over a period of six weeks, Pheap persevered and patiently practiced riding her motorbike cart over and over again.  She endured and suffered some minor cuts and bruises from accidents where she was often running into trees or falling off along deep trenches beside the roads. But, no matter the difficulties or the hardships, Pheap was determined to perfect her riding skill at any cost in order to begin her new business which the Toul Prich church people lovingly and appropriately nicknamed it as “Pheap’s Meals on Wheels."  Since early October, with her excellent cooking skills, Pheap got up early in the morning to buy food supplies from a local wet market then prepared at least 5 course meals. She also prepared delicious homemade soft drinks made from mung beans, soybeans, and squashes. Every helping hand was needed at home for this daily food preparation, including Pheap’s three-year old daughter, Sarah! 

Pheap's Meals on Wheels

Once the food was cooked, the family carefully loaded up large pots/ containers of prepared food, then Pheap took off with her food cart for a day of selling sometimes with or without little Sarah riding along in the front seat.  Initially when she did not have many customers, instead of making profits as she had desperately hoped for, she was losing more money from her saving. As her fame began to spread slowly among the community, Pheap now gained more customers and earned $5-8.00 in daily profits! No matter how busy she was or how well the selling would be, Pheap always managed to be on time for a weekly Firm Foundation discipleship class where she enjoyed studying with five other believers in Toul Prich village. Recently. Upon request, Syna gave Pheap some Christian tracts to share with her customers. Beside her cooking skills, Pheap is known in the community about her bold and courageous ability to share her Christian faith to everyone she meets. Because Pheap was determined to do what is right before God (please refer to "Pheap’s Conviction" in August update), the Lord Jesus is blessing her business every day. Pheap’s conviction and consistent perseverance is a testimony to her family and community.

Some additional praises and prayer requests for your consideration…

  1. Upon their interests and frequent requests, 4 young girls (ages 12-15) starting learning from Syna early this month on how to teach and lead children Sunday school. Pray for wisdom for Syna and the girls. Pray that they will be able to understand memorized bible stories as they practice the lesson contents with each other. 
    Sunday School Teacher Training class

  2. We asked you to pray for R&K (please refer to "Prayer Answered" in August update) to conceive again. At this writing, K is in her early trimester of pregnancy. Please continue to keep them in prayer. Both are enjoying studying in a weekly Theological Education by Extension (TEE) course with Soeuth.
  3. 9 students who study in Soeuth’s TEE Book 3 are preparing for a mid-term exam on Oct 27th.
  4. Continue praying for Vanna and Srey Nock as they mourn the loss of their children.
  5. Please pray for the construction work project at Heng and Moum’s house which began since early October. Damaged roads make it nearly impossible for the workers to transport heavy construction supplies to the work site. To avoid unwanted potential thieves, all of their household belonging are being stored upstairs in a cramped stilt home. 
    Heng and family standing by the porch of their new home with all their belongings

  6. After 7 months of postponed ministries due to Covid restriction, we plan to resume teaching a leadership class in Poipet monthly ministries starting October 30. 
  7. The original plan was to travel with the National KEC youth committees across the northwestern and central regions of the country, Oct 14-18, to visit and fellowship with youth leaders from the regions. However, due to this week flood we will instead travel to Phnom Penh on Oct. 15-18 to do youth ministries in the city. Even so, many parts of the city are also under water because of too much rains.
  8. Despite these heavy rains we have had that resulted in floods within many parts of Cambodia, the people who live in floating villages still suffered from not enough water for their daily fishery lifestyle! The annual expected water level between early September to end October would be somewhere between 10-12 meters deep of water. But this year, according to a report we received from a church leader at Mart Klaa floating village, this week they had only 1.8 meters of water in the Tonle Sap Lake! People are wondering about strange things that are happening this year including the Covid pandemic and even the unusual reserved cycles of water supplies…
  9. Under normal circumstances, Jonathan would be home for fall break this week, Oct.10-18. Because of Covid, he is staying with kind friends in Penang, Malaysia, while trying to catch up his school works. We appreciate your on-going prayers for our youngest son as he is hoping to finish well with his last year of high school at Dalat. Pray for clear direction as he need to make decision about what next…

Please share with us what God is doing in your part of the world. We are very grateful for your partnership with the Anlong Veng church ministries. Thank you for your prayers and financial support towards Alliance Mission which enables us to keep on serving here bringing the Light and the Hope of Jesus to Lost people in Cambodia and around the world. We are truly blessed by your prayers and support. Thank you!

Blessings,

Soeuth & Syna

Saturday, September 26, 2020

September Update 2020

Dear Praying Family and Friend,

There have been so many heartbreaking issues in the church ministries took place recently. Below are some of the events listed in a most recently chronological order...

Finally, Back in Malaysia!

After 7 months away because of Covid restriction, our youngest son, Jonathan, was finally allowed to return into Malaysia, on September 23! After dropping Jonathan and another Dalat student off at the Phnom Penh International airport at 4:30pm of Sept. 22, we waited anxiously for the next 19 hours before the announcement was heard from a dorm parent, “They're through!” Currently, Jonathan is being quarantined for 14 days in a hotel located next door to the school campus while resuming online school for his senior year at Dalat International School. THANK YOU so much for all your prayers for our son!

They're through!

National Youth Committees Mission Trip…

Sept 17-20: we traveled with six other KEC leaders to visit youth ministries in the northeastern region covering 1300 kilometers (800 miles) of ground traveling! Even though it was pouring rained hard every day, the devoted youth leaders of the region braved their ways on motorbikes across the red- dirt muddy and slippery paths to participate in the leadership workshops. It was an eye- opening and great learning experience for the National youth committees…

28 youth leaders participated in an all-day leadership workshop ion Mondulkiri province

Sad News…

Late, in the evening immediately after arrival to Mondulkiri province, we received a shocking news from church families at Srae Nouy: two young children, a boy aged 6 and his sister, aged 3, died on Thursday afternoon of Sept. 17 in a drowning accident! The parents, Vanna (please refer to Vanna’s story mentioned in ‘The Well of the Living Water’ in May part 2 update) and Srey Noch, have been used so powerfully and effectively by God in the planting of two new Alliance house churches during the Covid-19 season (these two new churches were among the 8 new village churches that were established during the Covid restrictions). BUT this month their faith was put to the test. Despite of the down pouring rains and resulting floods along the paths to the burial site, Pastor Dy, our National Cambodian ministry partner, reported that more than 250 church families went to show love and support to the grieving couple. The couple has a 7-year old son, named Yohann. Pray for emotional healing during this grieving time…

Pastor Dy prayed for a grieving family who lose two small children in a drowning accident

More than 250 church people showed their love and support towards a grieving family

Bon Pchum Ben…

During the entire month of September, Khmer people were obligated to observe a local religious holiday, Bon Pchum (sounds like ‘pa-joum’) Ben, where people go to the local temple (each family should go to 7 temples) with the idea of making intercession for relatives who have passed on. Starting at 4 am, every day, the local Buddhist priests and Buddhist monks woke the community up with loudspeakers reminding people to pray to ancestor spirits and to start preparing food for the temple offerings. Although the three- day holiday this year fell on Sept. 16,17, & 18, the required preparations took place since the beginning of the month! This is one the testing times for young and new followers of Jesus Christ as they were being pressured by unbelieving family to return to their old belief.

Attendance doubled in every Alliance village house church during a recent religious holiday

Spiritual Encounters…

During this holiday time, those of us who involve in church ministries saw and had personally experienced frequent spiritual oppositions and spiritual attacks, physically and emotionally, at an alarming rate. At the same time, upon realization and recognition of God’s power being at work, believers found amazing courage to stand firm in their Christian faith. Recently at one of our weekly village ministries, four people shared about their own separate personal experiences at a recent power encounter with the evil spirits. Surprisingly, while confronting or battling with evil forces, all four people (Syna was one of them) found immediate and unusual inner strength when they each quoted apparently from the same Bible verse! Exodus 14:14. “The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm”.

A Motorbike Accident Led 16 People to Jesus!

On Sept. 1st, Lonh (age 66) a church member from Srae Nouy village, had a serious motorbike accident where he was immediately taken to the Siem Reap provincial hospital by an ambulance, about an hour drive away from the accident site. At the hospital, Lonh was admitted with 2 broken ribs, a punctured right lung, a broken upper right arm, 3 broken jaw bones, and few deep cuts on his tongue! A chest tube was immediately inserted with oxygen mask applied, and his jaw bones securely wired. Because of his age and other previous chronic medical conditions, the surgery plans were delayed until his conditions stabilized. Immediately upon hearing of his accident, church people gathered in small groups to fast and pray. So many church families went to visit him that the hospital staffs were amazed, “how could one poor patient have so many visitors every day?” Even with the seriousness of his accident, Lonh experienced no pains at all! During the 18 days in hospital, Lonh took only one does of pain medication! This remarkable incident puzzled even medical staffs and other patients and the patients' families! When asked why he was not in pain, Lonh whispered (the cut tongue affected his ability to speak clearly), “Jesus was with me the whole time and He took away all my pain!” Although Lonh was alone when the accident happened and while the other driver tried to run and hide, some brave eyewitnesses (complete strangers) were willing to testify the incident to the local authorities, where later on, Lonh’s family was able to receive some settlement in cash. Seeing the power of God at work in his life, when opportunities were allowed, Lonh and his wife (Poev) shared the good news of Jesus to nearby patients and their families; together, this godly couple led 16 patients to Jesus! Please pray for a continual divine intervention and for miracle of healing on Lonh’s life. This week (Sept. 24th) after released from hospital, Lonh joined Syna's weekly class at Srae Nouy and testified to the entire class about power of God at work in his life. Lonh is praying that God would restore his ability to speak. Because of the cuts in his tongue, Lonh could only whisper audible words… 

After surviving a horrific traffic motorbike accident, Lonh returned to class to testify God's mighty work over his life

A Prayer Dedication of Anlong Veng Ministry Center Land…

August 29th was a day of prayer at the Anlong Veng Ministry Center’s land. Because of Covid restriction, we shared the news to a few church leaders about the event. At the appointed time, more than 100 people showed up! Upon invitations, three local policemen, two public school principals, a villager leader, and few other prominent men of the community came to participate the joyful event! While waiting for the people arrival, Mr. Kong from Andong Chan village took an opportunity to share the Gospel to one of the policemen, "C", the assistant chief of police in Anlong Veng district. At the mention of his name, the policeman (C) whom Kong was speaking to recognized Kong immediately and remembered what a rascal, a scoundrel, and the “troublemaker in town” Kong used to be, five years earlier, before Kong’s encountered with the ONE TRUE GOD. Amazed at the transformation Kong turned out to be and upon hearing what was shared about Jesus, this policeman, C, listened intensely to every word Kong was speaking. Seeing an opportune moment, we immediately gave C a small Gideon New Testament Bible and some literatures. A week later at our weekly class, Kong shared about the many times each day for that entire week that C called him, repeatedly, for questions related to scriptural passages that C was reading! As the Seed had been planted, pray that God continue reveal His truth to C and to other prominent men in the Anlong Veng community…

In addition to above prayer requests, here other dates and events needing prayers…

  1. We praise God that the Cambodian government finally relaxed Covid restrictions allowing church services in the city areas to meet with 30 people or less.
  2. Please continue to pray for church families who are still severely affected by Covid restriction resulting the lost of jobs and lack of incomes while they are trying to look for other options to generate incomes to meet their family needs.
  3. The new disease, Chikungunya, also locally known as “Chick”, continues to plaque people in rural areas. This week, 18 of our church families from Anlong Veng region were being treated and hospitalized at local referral hospitals. Pray for healing and miracle interventions.
  4. Heng and Moum and their two girls moved in on Sept. 13th and now settled in their new home in Toul Prich Village. There are still some construction works need to be added to make the house live-able. The young couple is expecting another baby girl in early December.
  5. Despite the Pchum Ben holiday, the most spiritual testing time of the year for new believers, this past weekends, church attendants were full in every one of the 18 church sites! Pray that 600 plus new believers (who received Christ during Covid restriction) to remain steadfast with their decision to follow the Lord Jesus Christ.
  6. Pray for safe traveling and protections as we drive long distant trips, 2-3 times each week, for village ministries.
  7. October 15-17, we and some National youth committee member will begin another long road trip across the country to visit youth ministries in northwest and central regions of Cambodia. We are very grateful for your ongoing prayers and financial support toward Alliance Ministries. Thank you for your partnership in the Anlong Veng Ministries and in the over Cambodian ministries. Please share with us what God is doing in your area.

Blessings,

Soeuth & Syna

Thursday, August 20, 2020

End of August Update 2020

Dear Praying Family and Friends,

So many AMAZING things happened recently related in the Anlong Veng church ministries that if we left them until next month, they would become old news or even forgotten. For the past few weeks, God has been stirring hearts of believers at an overwhelming rate! Every time we allowed for a “Share & Prayer” time during weekly classes, people jumped at the opportunity to share about what God was doing in their midst. Here are just a few of the highlights…

Tell Us More About Jesus…

Toward the end of July, feeling exhausted physically and emotionally, we made a quick decision to cancel all classes and went out of town for a few days to rest. Knowing that she needed rest as well, we invited along our teammate, Aide Rose fernandez, sent by Star Of Bethlehem organization.  We drove five hours each way to Pusat Province to visit a few interesting sites and had a grand time of rest and relaxation. As we were driving back home on August 3rd, Savy from Toul Prich village called, “You must come to my daughter’s house immediately! She and her husband are ready to receive Jesus tonight!” Weary from a long road trips but excited about the news, we accepted the invitation. Upon arrival at the house, Rottana, Savy’s oldest daughter, had already prepared a three-course meal for us! Having directed us on where to sit, Rottana excitedly exclaimed, “Let’s eat first before the food get cold. We can talk business later”." As we sat down to enjoy a meal, Rattana, with her husband (Kem)’s encouragement, explained their reasons for wanting Jesus in their lives. 

Soeuth leading Rattana and Kem to Jesus

“I have been observing the changes in my father’s life. Before believing in Jesus, a year ago, my father was known in the community as a drunken and quarrel troublesome man. He was not kind to my mother. But now, he is a changed man! And he has such tremendous inner peace and is gentle and so kind to my mother. We want to experience that peace and that love as well. Can you tell us more about Jesus? We want to know Him, too." After Soeuth explained the salvation plan, the couple willingly prayed to Jesus along with their two little girls. At their requests, we helped the young couple to remove three sack full of shrines and worship items while some of their neighbors watched the whole thing! 

Savy removing shrines and worship items at his daughter's house

Before leaving the house, Syna gave the couple New Testament Bibles with instructions on where to begin reading and how to pray. A few days later, Savy called with a report, “They are so in love with Jesus! And they are reading the Bible nonstop!” The couple not only received Jesus into their lives with joy, they are sharing the good news very boldly to many of their neighbors and relatives. Since their conversion, they attended the Toul Prich Firm Foundation Alliance church twice already… The spiritual field is ripe for the harvest. Wish we have more workers to join us soon. If we have an extra helper, we could easily start a Bible study group at their house this week.

Answered Prayers… 

A young married couple, R&K, who study in Soeuth’s weekly TEE class has been praying for a baby of their own. They already had three miscarriages this year. Recently visiting a doctor's office, they were told that K had 3 large cysts in her uterus. Aware of their dire situations, the class prayed earnestly for the couple with anointing oil. A week later, this couple visited the clinic again for more tests to be done. To the doctors’ utterly amazement, no sign of cysts remained! One of the doctors could not believe his eyes and shouted, “What had happened?” The young couple explained, “The Jesus people had prayed for us. And Preah yea-sue (the Lord Jesus) made the cysts go away, that's what happened!” Now, R & K are trusting God for another miracle, that K could conceive again. Please join them in this prayer request.

Pheap’s Conviction…

Recently, understanding the full meaning behind a discussion topic on “The Call of Levi” (a biblical story found in Mark 2:13-17) in the Firm Foundation class, Pheap from Toul Prich village was deeply convicted and remorseful of her sins.  Up until this time, one of the ways that Pheap and her husband (who is not yet a believer) had made a living was through giving out micro-loans to poor unsuspected ignorant villagers in the community while charging the villagers with high monthly interest rates! Realizing that what she and her husband did was wrong, Pheap repeatedly pleaded with her husband to stop this business but to look for other ways to generate their family incomes. Furious at Pheap’s sudden and firm decision, her husband threatened to beat up her and even to divorce her! But no matter the threat, Pheap was determined to honor God with her decision. After learning about Pheap’s dire situation, the entire class prayed earnestly for her. Now, her husband not only remains married to her, he seemed to have such high respect for her; he was heard boasting to his unbelieving friends about Pheap’s courageous faith in Jesus and about her integrity. Pheap is asking for prayer for salvation of her husband and her three teenage sons.

Pheap, in orange top with two daughters, praying at a Firm Foundation class.

An Abundant Season of Spiritual Harvest

Because of a strong desire to know God, most of our students who are from poor families have been faithfully taking a day off from their busy farming works in order to attend weekly discipleship classes. But when we called to cancel classes recently, some of them were quite disappointed and began to wonder what to do with their “spare” time. Instead of coming to class at the appointed time, many of them went out to visit and to encourage church families who live in remote villages where Alliance house church exist among the Anlong Veng ministries. Opportunities allowed for them to share the Good News, and collectively, they led 36 people to the Lord in less than two weeks! When we finally resumed classes the week after in Andong Chan and in Srae Nouy villages, attendants were doubled in all four classes! And even with Covid restrictions, Sunday church services in Srae Nouy and in other villagers were packed with new and old believers! 

Syna's Abundant Life class attendants doubled since Covid!

At this writing, 6 families, in another a new village church, prayed to receive Jesus through Pastor Dy and the Srae Nouy group! Although the number keeps changing as the week goes by, at a most recently ministry report that Pastor Dy shared: Between March 15 to August 19, 2020: 636 people (299 youth & adults, 327 kids) prayed to received Jesus, 8 new village house churches planted! All praises to KING JESUS!!! Now, we face another on-going problem—an URGENT NEED for Khmer speaking Bible teachers to come along side us to teach these new believers in the Word.

The 8th new Alliance house church birth on August 19, 2020. 6 families received Jesus!
Between March 15 to August 19, 327 kids prayed to receive Jesus!
Soeuth's TEE class at Andong Chan village

Disciples Are Making Disciples to the 4th and 5th Generation and Beyond...

It gives us a tremendous joy to see young believers (who have less than two years in their faith journeys—most of whom enrolled in our weekly discipleship classes) who are inspired by the Holy Spirit to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to their unbelieving relatives and friends. Many of these new converts are unstoppable! They are very bold and fearless when it comes to sharing Christ with others! Every week, they are leading new converts into the kingdom of God! We can hardly keep up with them! It is such a great privilege to witness disciples of Jesus Christ making more disciples to the 4th, 5th and 6th generations…  

Please pray for the following requests…

1. Please continue praying that Jonathan, our son, will be able to return to his school in Penang, Malaysia, soon. Following government required protocols related to Covid restrictions, Dalat International school had opened its campus to students since August 5th, but for the many students who were out of the country (like Jonathan) during the early Covid, they now have to study online from abroad, which is an extra challenge for us who are deal with poor internet accesses and constant power shortages.

2. Although there were few heavy rains since our last update, the water level is still not high enough for thousands of village people who live in floating villages along the Tonle Sap Lake. Their livelihood depends entirely on the abundance of fresh water for fishery. Some of our church families are severely affected because of this. Please continue praying for rain for the floating villagers.

3. But for us some of us who are on land, we do not need the extra water! Many of the roads to our weekly village ministries have been severely washed up or were damaged due too much rains waters.

One of the detoured roads to Rohaal village was completely flooded.

4. With abundant of and frequent rains, many people have been sick with mosquito transmitted diseases like dengue fever, malaria, and recently a strange viral sickness that plagued local people throughout the entire country. Please refer to this link. So far, at least 15 families from our areas had been hospitalized for this sickness. Please for healing.

5. Please continue praying for spiritual and physical protection for church leaders and praying against on-going spiritual attacks on many of church leaders and their families. Even with just simple and minor issues, suddenly, family members of some key church leaders were strangely at odds with one another causing needless tensions and family conflicts! Pastor Dy and Po and some other leaders have been busy helping to resolve family conflicts. Please for wisdom on these leaders.

6. Like the church leaders of our areas, we too have been experiencing significant attacks emotionally. Soeuth and I have elderly mothers (both of whom love Jesus dearly) who are in need minor nursing care. Recently, due to some family conflicts, Syna’s mother (aged 89 from Tacoma, WA) moved to live with Jenda (Syna’s younger sister). And this week (August 19-21), Soeuth went to Battambang province trying to work things out with his unbelieving siblings in their relationship with mom, aged 80. Pray for wisdom as Syna is trying to gap some family conflicts from a distance while Soeuth is helping his family in the country...  Clearly God is doing amazing works in the Anlong Veng ministries, but Satan is trying to rob our joy…

7. August 29: Some key church families will come together to pray over the Anlong Veng Ministry Center’s property in Toul Prich village, and to pray over the house where Heng’s family will be living.

Please share with us what God is doing in your midst. Thank you for partnering with us in the Anlong Veng Ministries through your prayers and financial support to the Alliance Mission.  We appreciate you!

The Joy of the Lord is still our strength…

Soeuth & Syna