Friday, August 31, 2018

August Update 2018

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

Greetings! It is monsoon season here. That means it rains hard every day. Praise God that we do not have floods like we had last year. Still, heavy rains make traveling to village ministries very challenging.

In July, we shared about many exciting stories how God was working among new believers. Here are a few more stories…

Raa & His Request
On July 23rd, during a weekly class in Andoung Chan village, Raa shared a prayer request for provision. His old beat-up 1992 Pajero truck was in need of two new tires. Raa and his family have some cows (see Raa’s story in May update) as a family investment, but did not want to sell the cows to buy the new tires. So, he presented his need to the class as a prayer request. Two days later while watching his cows along National Highway 6 (one of the main highways between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap), Raa and his young son discovered two brand new tires (still with plastic wraps and price tags on them) safely hidden among tall grass alongside the highway! They suspected that the tires must have fell off from a fast traveling taxi without anyone noticing. Raa looked around to see if anyone came to claim the missing items, but he saw no one! Toward evening time, Raa and his son took their cows home, but paid special attention to the specific landmark and location where the tires were hidden. For the next two days, Raa and his young son came back to the same spot, AND the tires were still there! At this, they concluded that it must be an answer to Raa’s prayer. Tires were a perfect fit for his truck! A week later during class, Raa excitedly shared his good news. When asked how he will use his truck after this miraculous provision, Raa quickly responded that he will drive his truck to pick up people to church. Keeping his words, every Sunday morning, Raa left his house early and drove slowly along the roads in his village inviting everybody and anybody he met to come to church. Every week, in addition to his family of 7 members, Raa was bringing two or three other people along. Last Sunday, Raa brought a truck load of people (13 people cramped tightly into one truck) to join the Srae Nouy Alliance church! Raa is very grateful for God’s provision. As a result, he is being a good steward to God with his earthly procession.

Baby Kesiah 
A few weeks ago after a church service at Srae Kandal village, Soeuth was asked to dedicate a baby girl to the Lord. When asked for the baby’s name, the young mother was embarrassed and confessed that she had always wanted to give her baby a biblical name, but could not think of one. She pleaded us to give her little girl a Bible name.

Soeuth prayed to dedicate baby Kesiah
After a few moments, we named the little girl Kesiah and told the family that her name can be found in the Book of Job chapter 42. We challenged the entire family to read and learn more about Job’s life… Even while holding her, however, we sensed that something was not right with Kesiah. She appeared pale and lethargic. We encouraged the family to take Kesiah to the Siem Reap Children Hospital and provided for them some traveling and food expenses. Because we were needed elsewhere in addition to some personal reasons where we had to leave the country, all our weekly village ministries/classes were postponed for the next two weeks. This past Sunday (August 19) upon returning to Srae Kandal, we were sad to learn that Baby Kesiah went Home to be with Jesus! When asked about what happened, family and church members took turns to relate to us Kesiah’s story…

It seemed that everyone was very pleased with Kesiah’s given name! So inspired by this beautiful name that the baby’s grandfather and father actually took the challenge personally and began reading the whole book of Job! But the news from the children hospital devastated the entire family. Baby Kesiah had suffered severe heart defects that eventually claimed her life on August 10th. Since every member of the Srae Kandal Alliance church was a very new and young believer, and since they could not reach us by phone, they phoned Pastor Dy from Srae Nouy village and asked for help. Pastor Dy then gathered a number of other Alliance church families from other villages, and altogether about 50 people came to attend the first Christian funeral in Srae Kandal village! During the funeral service, Pastor Dy challenged those who attended the service that death does not discriminate ages, social statuses, or genders. Because of sin, death is unavoidable, but Jesus promises hope and eternal life after physical death. Pastor Dy also challenged the family that if they want to see Kesiah again, they must believe in Jesus Christ. At this, Kesiah’s grandfather, Mr. Reth (who before the funeral was attending church off and on), recommitted his life to Jesus! And Kesiah’s father and three other family members also prayed to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior! As a result, this past Sunday, a total 25 adult and about 15 children attended the church service! That was more than double the average weekly attendants! During a recent Wednesday Firm Foundation class, the attendees were triple the amount!

Church attendants at Srae Kandal were double this past Sunday!

Triple the amount of people attended the Srae Kandal discipleship class!
Normally, our students and those who came to weekly church services were mostly women, but since Kesiah’s funeral, there were more men than women! We even noticed a spark of transformation beginning to take root in Kesiah’s grandfather’s life…  Kesiah had lived on earth for only 30 days, but God had used her short life very powerfully and effectively for His kingdom. Her death brings truth to the words found in John 12:24, “… unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

Srae Nouy’s Fame
God is doing something AMAZING at Srae Nouy (KEC) Alliance church! Every Monday during a prayer & sharing time at Andoung Chan village (where Pastor Dy studies Pentateude class with Soeuth), we kept hearing stories of miraculous healings and how people were prayed for and the demons casted out. Through our frequent visits to the Srae Nouy church during weekday times, we had opportunities to hear testimonies and talk to those who were healed or freed from evil spirits!  So much word about these miracles and wonders are being spread among the community of unbelievers that curious people began to “drop by & see."  As a result, Pastor Dy shared that “More than 70 people attended the church service last Sunday!” The attendance was double!

Among those who attended the church were six adult females (ages 21-78 years old, all related) who are new friends and neighbors of Mr. Raa (as mentioned earlier).

At the home of Mr. Raa's six new friends

Raa (in blue shirt) took us to visit the home of his neighbors, the six ladies who went to church with him
For generations, all the females of this family had been suffering severe curses and bondages by evil spirits. The grandmother used to practice black magic and had made a living as a fortune teller. Although she no longer does those things, she and the entire family still suffered from chronic headaches, slurred speech, and many unexplained pains in body parts. Among the four younger ladies, one is mute while another constantly laughs and talks nonsense. All six ladies had some kinds of various visible and non-visible symptoms… During the recent Sunday church service when it was time to pray for healing, the two older ladies (mother-daughter) went forward to ask for prayer. The church leaders came forward to lay hands on and pray for them. The entire service witnessed the healing touch of God! The grandmother suffered chronic pains (over 30 years) in her left arm to a point where she had to keep it bent to avoid pains. But after prayer, she was able to straighten her arm! Her daughter (aged 59, also a mother of four adult daughters) had chronic headache for “All my entire life!” saying “No medicine can help me!” But after prayer, her headache was no more! Pastor Dy thought that during prayer time, “At least two evil spirits came out of her!” because as the church continued praying, “She passed out twice! And then she woke up smiling and completely freed!”

The field is ripe…  Please don’t get bored from reading as we keep repeating phrases like “God is doing something amazing…” and “God is at work!” We cannot say it enough that it is a JOY to serve God in Anlong Veng! We are experiencing the abundant season of harvesting souls! As stories of healings and miracles continue to spread, curious (not-yet-believing) friends and neighbors are flooded into village churches every week in every village just to “check it out." As a result, the numbers of those who attended Sunday churches or classes were double or triple! Not just the women (as we normally had), but some men started to come to church and classes as well! Some of these curious people dropped by and then left, but many came and stayed for the entire service! As we progressed with weekly discipleship classes, our students are coming to classes with expectation and anticipation to hear God’s words! They come prepared with homework completed and assigned Bible verses memorized. Many come ready and with lists of questions related to their spiritual journeys.  Everyone seemed to look forward for opportunity to share or “show & tell” with the class what God was doing in their lives. The bumpy roads to each village ministries are long and treacherous, but joy and excitement always awaits us upon every arrival. If we have the extra time and extra helping hands, we could easily start two or three new classes in each village! People are asking for new classes, but we could only do so much with just the two of us. Because of distant location and other needed ministries, we could only commit to one-all-day classes per village. Therefore, please continue to bring to the throne and ask the LORD of harvest to send us workers…

Heng & Moum

Heng and Moum and children visiting Anlong Veng ministries
This past week, August 18-22, we had the joy of hosting our dear friends, Heng and Moum and their two little girls at our house. We had known Moum and Heng for many years while serving in Poipet.  Because of economic reasons Moum, as a teenage girl, came to look for jobs in Poipet. Seeing the condition of her life and where she was “working," we invited Moum to live with us where she became like a daughter to us for nine years. Heng also came to Poipet in 2006 for similar reasons.  Both Heng and Moum had studied with us in discipleship and leadership classes. Both became a gifted preacher (Heng) and Sunday school teacher (Moum). When the young couple met and decided to get marry, Soeuth officiated their wedding and then dedicated their two babies a few years afterward. Currently, Heng enrolls full time in a four-year program Bible school in Phnom Penh, and Moum works part-time as a staff at Alliance Antioch Bible Training Center. The young couple is praying for and seeking directions what plans God has for them for the next two years, after Heng completes his studies. While visiting us these past few days, we showed them some of the ministry sites around Anlong Veng areas. Please keep Heng and Moum in your prayers.

New Classes
August 5th, at their request, we started a new discipleship class called Living Water at Srae Nouy KEC church where 16 school age children and some youth enrolled in this class. Soeuth is co-teaching this class with Phearum and Srey, youth and children workers of that church.

Soeuth co-teaches a new discipleship class at Srae Nouy village


Phearum & Srey Poev learning how to teach Living Water Discipleship and Literacy classes at Srae Nouy village
It is our goal that in the near future, Phearum and Srey Poev will be the main teachers for these classes once feeling comfortable with their teaching ability. Also, Syna is working with Srey Poev on how to teach literacy class. Sadly, last month, after years of trying, this couple lost their baby through ectopic pregnancy! Not able to have children of their own, this precious young couple are devoting themselves to work with children and youth ministries.

Family News
August 6-10, we went to Bangkok for annual routine medical and dental check-ups. All is well, praise God! Jonathan is back at Dalat International School for his 10th grade year. We appreciate your prayers for Jonathan as he transitions back into school routines while adjusting to a new set of dorm parents and some new dorm siblings…  Justin and Katie are doing well working as registered nurses (still in orientation stage) in Minneapolis, MN. And by early March 2019, we will welcome, Lord willing, our FIRST grandchild!

Please PRAY for… all the village classes as believers learn God’s word,. Pray for spiritual protection against the scheme of the enemy and for safe traveling when we visit and do village ministries…

Thank you so much for all your prayer and financial support to the Alliance GCF which enables us to continue serving our great King in this part of the world.  Thank you for your partnership in the Cambodian mission field.  Please share with us what God is doing in your life…

Blessings,
Soeuth & Syna

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

July Update (Part 2) 2018

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

Although we just sent you a July update, there were other exciting stories that needed to be included as well but not enough space to write then.  Here are a few more stories that took place recently…

Sarom And His Radio
With only some help for fuel cost and other travel expenses, Mr. Sarom, a resident of Andong Chan village, drives his raggedy old motorbike to Ksaach Ampel village (around 12 km from his village) three times a week. Mr. Sarom does all this to teach 40 plus children how to read! Being a passionate lover of Jesus Christ, Sarom always shares his faith with anyone he meets, especially the children. To support his ministry, we often supplied him with coloring papers, crayons, other classroom supplies, in addition to some small toys and soccer balls.

Sarom teaching children at Ksaach Ampel village
Rain or shine, Sarom commits to going to Ksaach Ampel to teach children literacy classes. He always brings along his small MP3 radio device so the children could listen to Bible stories. Every day children returned home and reported to their parents what they learned. They often told their parents about exciting Bible stories they heard from Sarom’s small radio! With only fractions of the bible stories retold by the children, some parents became interested and started to show up at Sarom’s literacy class, not to learn literacy, but to hear the whole Bible stories!

The actual discounted price sold at the Alliance Literature book store is $11.50 for each radio (about two days earning for a local labor worker). But even with this lower rate, most poor families could not afford it. We often considered giving them away for free (and we had done so many times already), but this practice might be a more harmful type of “helping.” Instead, we encouraged the interested families to save up their money and make a weekly “down payment” at as low as $0.25 or $0.50 per week to add up to a total amount of 200,000 riels (about $5.00 US dollars) for each radio. With this reduced price, Sarom already “sold” more than 30 radios to interested parents at Ksaach Ampel Village! This week Sarom ordered 20 more radios! Thanks to the available money in our Work Special account (which some of you are our regularly and generously financial supporters), we can apply the same reduced rate for every interest buyer in every village we visit. It is a joy to hear that even people who live in the most remote and isolated places are having opportunities to learn about God through listening to Bible stories played from these radios!

Sarom in plain white sitting with Pastor Dy at Israel Nouy village

Marb From Maat Khlaa

Marb and Syna inside a floating house at Mart Klara village
Her name, Marb, means ‘chubby’. Marb (in her early fifties) is a resident of Maat Khlaa floating village, is a young believer who loves God dearly. She is among the many frequent callers who call us with questions about her faith in Christ (we encourage young believers to call us for any question related to their faith). In addition to her excitement and her genuine love for God, Marb has such a joyful and bubble personality! In her weekly phone calls, she always reports about exciting news on what God is doing in her own life, her family’s life, and the lives of the villagers around her.

She already bought two radios: “One for me and one for my husband!” In addition to radios, Marb often requests for extra pairs of reading glasses because, “I kept dropping them in the water!” Living on a cracked bamboo floor inside a floating house, one could easily lose small precious items, if not carefully kept. Syna can testify to this fact because she had also lost a pair of her most needed reading glasses during our last visit to Maat Khlaa! Recently, Marb and eight other believers braved their ways across the great Tonle Sap Lake, riding for three hours on an open-motor boat to join the funeral service at Kampong Klang village!

Marb, in striped blouse, traveled 3 hours on a motor-boat from Maat Khlaa floating village to join a recent funeral service.
                                                                 Seng’s Story… (Toul Prich Village)

Seng (in her early forties) is a young believer living in Toul Prich village. Although Seng has been coming to church on and off for the past six years, she was not growing spiritually. One reason for her lack of spiritual growth was because she could not read and had not been trained in God’s words. Another reason was that, like every “Christian” in her village, Seng (back then) only showed up at church every time visitors (from across the Thai border) came hoping to receive some hand-me-down gifts.
Seng (giving a peace sign with her hand) and Seingly at Toul Prich village
Shortly after we came to Anlong Veng, we made three trips a week to Toul Prich for literacy classes, discipleship classes, and for Sunday church services, but lately most people stopped coming to classes.  Only children and a few adults showed up at Sunday church. It was discouraging and we were wondering what to do with this village.

However, this past week, three adult ladies and some 20 plus children came to church! While Syna worked with the children, Soeuth began the “church” service with the three ladies. During a share & prayer time, one young mother, Seingly (in her early twenties) said that she wanted to give her life to Jesus! When asked why, this is what she told us…

Children ministry Toul Prich village

Toul Prich kids riding in our pick-up truck

Syna and the Toul Prich children ministry
“I have been watching Seng for a long time. She and her husband seem at peace with one another. Seng is always smiling and kind to everyone in my village. She and her family would always listen to Bible stories together every night. Sometimes, I came by their house to listen to the stories as well.  But I didn’t want to be a burden to them. I really liked what I saw in Seng’s life. I want what she had as well. Seng sometimes encouraged me to talk to Jesus, especially when I was feeling sad or afraid, but I didn’t know how. Seng kept asking me to come to church with her and that is why I came today… because I want what Seng has…”

Seng reading her Bible at the Lao's house
Since fall 2017, Seng has been studying a Bible-based adult literacy class with Syna. She has recently completed the 80 lesson course and is reading very well on her own! While being discipled by Syna, Seng often had many questions for her. Recently, Seng,  Seingly, and another young girl were studying in Syna’s Living Water Course for new believers…

At a crucial time when we were so discouraged and anticipating what to do about the Toul Prich ministry, God, in his great love for the people there, gave us another glimpse of hope. He assured us that all hope is not lost at Toul Prich. For the sake of the little children and for these few seekers, we will continue with Toul Prich ministries.

Every Monday, we go to Andong Chan village for weekly classes. Syna teaches an Abundant Life class- 14 students and Soeuth a Pentateuch class (3 students). In our weekly discipleship classes recently, Pastor Dy from Srae Nouy came to Soeuth’s Pentateuch class feeling stiff and severe back pains.  During a joined prayer & share time, Soeuth anointed him with oil and we prayed for Pastor Dy’s back. Immediately afterward, Pastor Dy was able to bend down and touch his own toes! Those in attendance, about 25 of us, all testified to this healing event!

Discipleship class at Andong Chan village
It is such an exciting time for church ministries in Anlong Veng! It is a joy to work closely with new and young believers! Through their sincere, basic faith and fervently prayers, we are seeing evidences of how God answers prayers!

Prayer requests:

Please pray that God would send workers to help us with the Anlong Veng growing ministries. The harvest is so plentiful here but there are only a few workers. Please pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send us extra helping hands.

Please pray for new/young believers to remain faithful in their walk with Christ even in the midst of testing time. Because of their professed faith, many of the church families are going through hard time of persecution.

As always, we are grateful to God for you and your faithful prayers and financial support to our Work Special account (which allows us to purchase radios and other Christian literatures) and to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) which enables us to keep serving God here in this part of the world.  THANK YOU for partnering with us with the Cambodia ministries.

Blessings,
Seouth & Syna Lao




Friday, July 20, 2018

July Update (Part 1) 2018

Dear Praying Friends and Family!

This month marked one-year anniversary since we arrived and began church ministries in Anlong Veng areas. It is an exciting time for church ministries as many new believers show a great desire to study God’s words! The best part is that these young believers apply every lesson learned to their daily lives!  As a result, we are seeing the hands of God stirring hearts and transforming lives. So much has happened recently related to church ministries that we are not sure what to include and what to leave out. Here are some of the key events that took place recently...

Srae Kandal Village

A few weeks ago, during a church service Soeuth was preaching about forgiveness. While he was preaching, Mrs. Sok Heng commented, “This is a very hard topic for me. I am not sure if I can do it.”  Soeuth assured her that with God’s help, she will be able to forgive her offenders. So the entire church prayed for Sok Heng. Recently, she reported that she had completely forgiven and even prayed prayers of blessings for her former “enemies!” She and her husband, Mr. Raa, are inviting her “new friends” to come to church!

Sok Heng, in pink blouse, telling her story about forgiving her enemy
Sok Heng excitingly telling her forgiving story at Srae Kandal village
Last week at the same village, Sok Chan, a 12 years old girl in Soeuth’s Firm Foundation class shared about her opportunity to share her faith with neighbors. While helping neighbors plant crops, Sok Chan heard some older ladies were complaining and making cruel remarks toward a small group of Christians in her village. Feeling convicted by the Holy Spirit, Sok Chan boldly shared her reasons for choosing and accepting Jesus as her Lord and Savior! Awestruck and amazed by Sok Chan’s bravery, an elderly lady of the group urged Sok Chan to “Go on, child. Tell me more about this God of yours. I want to hear what you have to say.” Having the support from the oldest of the group, Sok Chan then spoke boldly about the good news of Jesus Christ to all her neighbors!

Since we met Sok Chan almost a year ago, she is known among her friends and family as being very bold and courageous in sharing her faith with other people. Every so often, Sok Chan would ask Syna for extra bibles so she could pass them on to her all friends at school. So far, Syna has given her at least a dozen or more of the New Testament Bibles! Having attended and enjoyed the KEC youth camp (April 6-9) and the regional youth rally (June 18), Sok Chan is saving up her money so she could attend the next youth rally (September 24th) and the next annual youth camp (April 2019).  She is also telling and encouraging her friends to save up money for these youth events.

Sok Chan (in yellow jacket) attending discipleship class in Israel Kanal village
Andong Chan Village

A few months ago, we asked you to pray for the persecutions that Mr. Kong and his family were facing.  As a result, God did something AMAZING! The drunken man, Mr. Moun (please see our May update), who had threaten to cut off Kong’s head is now a brand new child of God! Kong had the privilege of praying for Moun to receive Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior! This is Moun’s conversion story as told by Kong…

Early in June, Mr. Moun needed to plow his fields in preparation for planting rice, but he had no money to rent a tractor nor did he have other plowing supplies to do the job. So, he reluctantly came to Kong hoping to borrow Kong’s “mechanical cow” a big mechanical engine used for pulling plows or pulling a large trailer. Aware of his friend’s needs, Kong readily and willingly lent his precious machine to Moun.  Not only that, Kong took a step further with his generosity. Kong had offered to pay for all the cost of fuel needed and to help plow for Moun’s fields! Kong’s kindness had left such an impression in Moun’s life.  “I could not believe it! How could he be so kind to me?” stated Moun as he later on shared in Syna’ Abundant Life class a few weeks later. “Even after all the evil things I’d said and done to him,” continued Moun, “Bong (meaning brother) Kong was so kind to me! He was treating me as if I was his own brother!”

Since his conversion, Moun is reported by all who know him well as a “new man!” “He’s has changed so much,” added his wife, Martha. Moun used to yell at and beat up his wife and children whenever they joined the weekly fellowship. In early May, before his encounter with Christ, while Martha and the children were listening intensely to the Bible teachings from a small MP3 radio in the privacy of their own home, Moun was so furious with his family that he took the precious audio device and smashed it to pieces! Since his encounter with God, however, Moun is recognized by friends and family as “gentle” and “soft spoken” to his family! Recently, Moun was so remorseful by his past sins and for the harsh ways he had treated his family, he actually went and apologized to both Mr. Kong and to Moun’s own wife, Martha! Last week, Moun even gave his wife some money to buy a new radio so he and the family could listen to Bible stories together!

For the last three weeks in a row, Moun has been sitting in and listening intensely to every discussion in Syna’s Abundant Life class! Recently, during a classroom sharing time, he asked the entire class to pray for healing for his elderly mother! Such a beautiful transformation that God is working in Moun’s life.

Moun, in orange shirt, sitting next to wife and baby in the discipleship class
Discipleship class at Andong Chan village
Srae Nouy Village

Recently in our weekly classes and during a “share & prayer time”, Pastor Dy excited reported that the Srae Nouy KEC Church had witnessed and experienced the amazing healing power that God had displayed among the church families. “This week at church was amazing! I’ve never seen anything like this before in my whole life!” Declared Pastor Dy to the listening group. He continued on saying, “People were weeping and praying and shouting and giving praises to God for miraculous healings!”

Pastor Dy (front) leads the group towards funeral home
Pastor Dy shared that there was a healing service at church recently where people were coming with their sick so they could be prayed for. Some people were experiencing immediate healing! He also shared about a middle-age lady who had nursed an old grudge against her neighbor for many years. So strong was her bitterness that it had affected her health, causing insomnia and constant headaches. In addition, for some unexplained reasons, her right arm was slowly crippling! However on this particular Sunday (July 15) the lady came forward and confessed her sins! Then, she asked the entire church to pray for strength and courage to forgive her enemies. As she was confessing, she broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. The whole congregation then went forward to lay hands over and prayed for her. As a result, Pastor Dy also said, “She was laughing and giving praises to Preah yea-sue (Jesus)! And she was able to straighten her arm!” Shouted Pastor Dy and then added, “If I did not see it with my own eyes, I would not believe it!”  Those who attended that same church service and witnessed the miraculous event nodded their heads in agreement.

Field Forum

Thank you for all your prayers for the Field Forum that we had with other International Workers in Siem Reap! We all had a great time fellowshipping with and meeting new team mates. It was good to see old friends who recently returned to field after their home assignment years in the USA. We also appreciated hearing the solid messages from our guest speaker, Pastor Bruce Konald from Eagan Hills Alliance, MN.  He challenged us with God’s words based on the Book of Revelations chapters 2-3, which we are still convicted by these messages. We appreciate the Eagan Hills Alliance church for sending their pastor and wife along with six other teammates to help us with our FF week.  Over all, everything went well as it could be. All praise to Jesus!

Sad News

Monday morning of July 16, while teaching our weekly classes at Andong Chan village (where Mr. Kong lives), we received numerous phone calls from church families with some emergencies: Srey Poev, a young wife and a daughter in-law of Pastor Dy (from Sra Nouy village) was rushed to a private clinic in Siem Reap province for complaints of severe abdominal pains. Later, they discovered that she suffered from ectopic pregnancy where immediate emergency surgery was required. After hours of waiting, Srey Poev survived the surgery. Sadly, after a few years of trying this was their first child/pregnancy, but now it is no more. Srey Poev, her husband, Pearum, along with Pastor Dy and his entire family are grieving deeply for the loss.

First Christian Funeral in the Village

Sixty-five years old Auntie Vern, a young believer originally from Mart Khlaa floating village, suffered a massive stroke a few months ago where she was completely paralyzed and bedridden since then. Seeing that her health was not improving, the family took her on a motor boat and kept her in a relative’s house in Kampong Klang floating village. (This village is located closer to the shore of the Tonle Sap Lake). But at 3 pm of July 16, the Lord Jesus took her Home. Immediately after hearing about her death, we tried to get few KEC church families to come and support the grieving family. Because this was the first Christian funeral service, we were hoping and praying that some of the KEC church families would come. On Tuesday morning (July 17), we left the house very early to pick up church families along the ways. 18 other KEC church people traveled with us in a pick-up truck! It was raining hard all the way through!  Those who sat outside were soaked to the core, but there was no other choice. We had to go to that funeral, rain or shine. We did have many concerns, however, as we were driving to Kampong Klang village. Being it was a heavy rainy season, would other people would come at all to this remote village?  If some people come, how would we be able to do a funeral service inside a very tall and shaky house supported by unsteady stilts/ pillars? What if the house collapse while the service is going on? And how would we be to get our vehicle to the village with all these heavy rains?

Upon arriving into the village, we were amazed to see so many other Christians from the northwest region come to show their support to the grieving family! Altogether 62 people attended the funeral!  And God even held off the rains for a four hours! With the help of Christian families, some people took charge of making the coffin while some others borrowed wooden planks from the neighbors and plastic tarps to make shelter for outside service. It was a beautiful testimony for the unbelieving neighbors to see as the Body of Christ working together helping the family in need.

62 church families showed at first Christian funeral in Kampong Klang village

Church families helped lower the coffin from a tall house for outdoor funeral service on dry ground.
People helped carry coffin for funeral service
Curious unbelievers observing from a distant on how Christian funeral is done
Heavy rains at the burial site
Family News

We praise God for Justin (son) and Katie (daughter-in-law), who are now officially registered nurses!  Both had passed the NCLEX exams! While visiting Cambodia in early June, Katie had a job offer in the pediatric ward in the Twin City, MN, where she began working on July 16th. We are praying for a job opening for Justin. We enjoy having Jonathan, our youngest son (aged 16) at home for the summer break. Jon will return to Dalat International School for his 10th grade beginning August 13th. For some of you who take special interest in praying specifically for and loving our children, we are very grateful.

Prayer requests:

Pray for safety and protection for all the people in Cambodia especially at the end of the month, July 29th, as the country will hold a national election day.
Pray for two new believers from Toul Prich village to remain faithful in their walk with God.
Pray that God would raise (or send us) children workers to help with village ministries.
Some of our teammates who recently returned to the field are looking for houses to rent for the next 3-4 four years. Please pray for God’s lead for them to find just the place with the right price and with good and kind landlords!
Pray for Mr. Kong, Mr. Moun and for many other new believers to remain strong and faithful in Lord even in the midst of persecutions. 

Blessings,
Soeuth & Syna Lao


Saturday, June 23, 2018

June 2018 Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Jum Reap Sua!

Thank you for praying for us these past couple weeks. We sensed that God’s presence was at work as He answered prayers. Here is what took place since our last update…

May 26th: With great anticipation, we greeted our son, Justin, and daughter-in-law, Katie, at Siem Reap International airport. Our heart leaped with joy at the first sight of them. After spending one night in Siem Reap, they flew out to Malaysia the next day so Justin could show Katie his old school and dorm. But on June 1st, we joyfully and lovingly embraced all three kids at the Phnom Penh International airport! It was a true pleasure seeing and hugging all the kids at one time! Jonathan who had just finished 9th grade at Dalat International School came home for summer break.

All three kids arrived into Phnom Penh
Welcome to Cambodia Justin and Katie!
Visiting the palace in Phnom Penh
Enjoying our time with Justin and Katie
Because we still had some ministry business to take care of, we remained in Phnom Penh for the next few days. While Soeuth was busy with the youth committee meeting, I took the children sightseeing at different places in the big city. We also visited some of Soeuth’s relatives who live in Phnom Penh where Katie got to meet some family members for the first time.  

Even in the midst of a rainy season, we were able to visit Sihanoukville (the beach) and spend some family time together. Afterward, we headed out to Battambang province, our hometown and Syna’s birthplace, where we introduced Katie to more family members from Soeuth’s side.

Meeting family in Battambang province
We were so glad that Katie was able to meet her many Cambodian family members…

Justin and Jon on Bokor Mt, Kampot province, Cambodia
View Kampot province from Mt Bokor
All the kids with their kramas
May 30th: While the children were still in Malaysia, we celebrated our 26th anniversary in Siem Reap! Even though we requested for just a standard room, the hotel’s manager after learning about our special date from an "unknown source” had arranged our room to look like a suite complete with fresh flower on the bed and in the bathtub! It was very lovely.

Hotel surprise for our anniversary
Visiting Bontey Srey Temple on our anniversary
In addition to meeting family, throughout their two weeks with us, we were able to take Justin, Katie, and Jonathan to visit most areas of our ministries in Anlong Veng to meet some of our dear friends and church families in each of the villages. Although it was a bit risky, we took all three children to visit Mart Klaa Village floating church!

Boat ride to Mart Klaa floating village
Visiting Mart Klaa was one of the highlights of their Cambodia trip… Sadly, our time together was abruptly ended on June 14th as we said goodbyes to Justin and Katie. Even though the visit was short (but sweet), we are very grateful to God for every precious moment with our children. Both Justin and Katie are now back in Minnesota studying hard preparing for the NECLEX exam soon…

Justin and Jon enjoying brotherly time
Our family at Andoung Chan village
It was sad to see so many traffic accidents as we drove around the country. Last month, one church member from Toul Prich Village was in a serious accident where the other driver was killed on the spot. Sad! The young man was not a believer…

Common mode of transportation in Cambodia
Traffic accident
June 15-16: We had a very lively and exciting discussion time in Poipet during our recent bimonthly leadership class. Soeuth started the class by asking a few questions: Have you seen any miracle lately? Where and when have you seen the power of God is at work? Do miracles only happened in Jesus’ days? Then, people began to share their personal experiences and encounters with spiritual warfare. While all the stories shared were great, we were mostly captivated by Cham’s story. At break time, Syna asked Cham to retell his story slowly so she could scribble it down on paper. This is Cham’s story…

Last month, while Cham was sitting in the shade of a tree, a very distraught mother was running toward him crying and screaming for help! Her sixteen-year old daughter being manifested by evil spirits was acting inappropriately and violently.
Cham, a church leader from Ang Salaa, telling his miracle story
Sensing that her daughter’s mind was controlled by something else, the concerned mother (who was not a believer) took the daughter to a local Kru Khmer (witch doctor) for help. At the witch doctor’s house while he was chanting and performing his rituals, the demonized girl though very skinny and small in form screamed out in strange voices at the witch doctor cursing and mocking him saying, “You’re not strong enough for me!" The witch doctor then attempted to do a few other rituals; but no matter what he tried, the girl could not be contained. And she began to throw things at him! She also kicked the witch doctor where he toppled over and fell off the bed! Seeing that nothing else could be done, he yelled, “Take her away. Go! Go away all of you! And don’t come back!” The mother then took the girl to the government referral hospital in Poipet where medical staff gave her some sedative medication so she was able to sleep. Shortly afterward upon waking up, the demonized girl began to act violently all over again! But this time it happened in the hospital surrounded by many frightened patients with their families and medical staffs who were all staring at the girl! Then, some of the staff shouted “Take her to Kru Khmer. Kru Khmer will know what to do.” But the mother shouted, “No! We just came from Kru Khmer and he could not do anything to help her.” After a few moments of silence, someone in the same room said, “You should take your daughter to Pouk Yea-sue (meaning-- the Jesus people). They can help her.”  Feeling encouraged by these words, the frantic mother then asked a friend to watch her daughter while she returned to Ang Salaa to get Cham (because of his strong faith in Jesus, Cham is known to everyone in Ang Salaa Village as “Taa yea-sue," meaning-- the Jesus Man). At the mother's persistent requests, Cham reluctantly went along to the hospital where the girl was sleeping. Upon arrival, everyone was curious with great anticipation wondering what will become of Cham when the girl wakes up. Cham quietly began to pray in his heart asking God for strength, courage, and wisdom as he had never done anything like this before! Finally, Cham calmly called out to the girl, “Daughter, wake up. Do you know who I am?” When opening her eyes, she looked straight into his eyes saying, “Yes, I know who you are. You are Pou Cham (Uncle Cham). You believe in Jesus." And Cham responded, “Yes, I believe in Jesus. He is very powerful and stronger than all evil spirits in this world. And He can heal you. Do you want to be well?” She responded, “Yes!” So, Cham prayed with the girl to receive Jesus into her heart while everyone in that hospital room sat quietly watching and listening to the entire conversations feeling amazed at what took place. Since this incident, the girl is well again and has been coming on and off to the Ang Salaa Alliance house church. Her mother has not made any decision to follow Christ yet…

June 18: The regional quarterly youth rally went well! The newly elected Regional Director, Rev.  Nhear Phearum, preached about the story of The Lost Son found in Luke 15:11-32. He challenged the young people to identify themselves as one of the rebellious sons while recognizing that no matter what we've done in our lives due to sinful nature, God is always waiting with open arms and tender mercy to give us a second chance for any prodigal child who truly repents…

178 KEC youth attended the regional quarterly rally at Svey Sisophon

Youth rally at Svey
During the rally, various youth groups performed their special songs with choreographies. All of the songs (chosen by the various youth groups) had the titles or lyrics related to the message! Everyone in the room was amazed by this coincidence…

The night before the rally, due to distant locations, all 28 youth from Anlong Veng areas came to sleep at our house! At 5 in the morning of the appointed date, we loaded everyone into a rented van and into our pick-up truck. Some young people with carsickness had to sit outside the entire trip (a three hour drive to and from). Altogether, we had 178 people attend the rally. Everyone seemed to have a great time. Praise God!

Young people from Anlong Veng traveled with us to the youth rally

Some dates and events needing your prayer:
  1. June 30, Teacher Training Seminar/ Workshop for new Sunday school teachers for the Northwest region will be taking place at Andoung Thma Meas Alliance Church, Poipet.
  2. Our next bimonthly Poipet leadership class is scheduled for June 30.
  3. Earlier in June, a group of 9 new believers at Andoung Chan Alliance had finally completed their first new believer discipleship course called Living Water! It was no easy task for them to study and memorize God’ words since most of them could hardly read or write! But they made it and all did it so well! Next level, Abundant Life class, will begin on June 22!
  4. July 4-9: All Alliance International Workers in Cambodia will attend our annual Field Forum in Siem Reap province. Many of us will be traveling from far away provinces. Please pray for safe traveling for all. Pray that we will be open to receive and hear what God has to say to us.
Please share with us what God is doing in your life. As always, we are grateful to God for your prayers and finally support toward the Great Commission Fund. Thank you for your partnership with us in the effort to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to lost people in Cambodia everywhere around the globe.

Blessings,
Soeuth & Syna