Thursday, September 5, 2019

September Update 2019

Dear praying friends and family,

It is the rainy season here in Cambodia and the roads to village ministries are at their worse. BUT no matter how bad the roads may be, church people still find ways to attend Sunday church services and weekly classes! 


Anlong Veng bridge is covered by flood waters
High water in Anlong Veng due to much rains
From our weekly gatherings, we often hear about so many AMAZING things that were happening among church ministries. These wonderful stories, if not carefully written down as each story came, would soon be ignored or forgotten. So, brace yourself for a lengthier newsletter this month…


Monday Classes…



No matter how tired we were, even after a very long exhausting weekend full of church activities, we always look forward to Monday discipleship classes at Andong Chan village. Although occasionally we would have visitors joining to participate in class discussions, there is on average about 20 people from five different villages coming together for weekly classes. After a joined worship service followed by a rich time of “Share & Prayer," Soeuth took Pastor Dy aside to study in Pentateuch Book 1 under the shade of a nearby mango tree, while Syna was teaching the remaining group on Christian Family inside of Mr. Kong’s humble grass hut. Of the 19 students in Syna’ class, only 5 of them were able to read and write, while the rest of the class learned orally. Because of different levels of understanding, this class is taught at a slower pace. The focus is not to finish the course in a timely manner but for students to understand the content well and apply what they learned to daily practical life. As as result, students were inspired to encourage and hold each other accountable with their daily Christian walks. Every week they often came to class with stories ready to share. Below are some of the stories we heard from our most recent gathering…


New Lives Being Added to Ksach Ampel Alliance House…

In our August update you read that “Martha” had accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Mrs. Rate, a member of Ksach Ampel Alliance house who also opens her home for weekly fellowships, recently reported, “Martha is having such a tremendous joy with her faith in Christ!” Rate added, “She seemed to have such an increasing hope and an unexplainable sense of peace in JESUS that she couldn’t stop sharing the Good News with everyone she met!” As a result five more people from the same village accepted Jesus, just from watching the changes in Martha’s life!


Rate (red shirt) excitedly shared about Martha's transformation
Chea’s Miraculous Healing… 

Hearing about the new believers being added to this small group of young believers, Kong from Andong Chan village along with his wife made a trip to visit and encourage the believers in Ksach Ampel Village. While there, they learned that Mr. Chea, a 44-year old sickly man was helplessly lying in bed with unexplainable tiredness causing total weakness in his body. He was not able get up for four days and also could not eat any food or drink any fluids for those four days! He was often suffering with night time sweats and fevers. When asked why his family did not take him to the hospital his family replied, “We don’t have any money and no motorbike to go to the hospital.” Kong responded, “We don’t have any money either, but we have Jesus. The Lord Jesus will show us a way to get you help. Come, we can take you to the hospital." Anxious to get better, with some help Chea eagerly climbed onto Kong’s raggedy old bike sitting in the middle between Kong (who was the driver) and Kong’s wife. Because of difficult roads with muddy and bumpy paths and constant twists and turns along the way, Kong quickly borrowed a Krama (a local favorite checkered scarf) from an observing neighbor and tied it tightly between his waist to Chea’s waist. Kong sensed Chea, who was too weak to support himself, could easily fall off the bike. Then, the three traveling companions holding on tight to each other, braved their ways across 27 kilometers distance between Ksach Ampel and Srae Nouy… Once arrived at Srae Nouy, Kong suggested that they should swing by the Srae Nouy Alliance Church first hoping for prayer support from other believers before heading out to the hospital. At the church, Pastor Dy along with some church families welcomed the weary travelers to a sitting bench and began laying hands over and praying for Chea. Next, Kong and his wife took Chea to Srae Nouy referral hospital. At the hospital, a medical staff quickly administered vital signs and took blood samples from Chea’s arm. But after a few hours of waiting, all the test results came back NORMAL! There was no evident of dengue fever or of malaria as the family had suspected.  One medical staff kindly explained that, “Except for your verbal complaints, we don’t have any clinical evident to prove that you are sick. Looks to me, whatever you had before, is now completely healed.” At this remark, Chea, Kong, and Kong’s wife were completely astonished. Hearing the reports from the doctor Kong shouted, “It was the Lord Jesus who healed you! So, what you got to say for yourself?” With a trembling voice Chea responded, “I believe! I want Jesus in my life." With that, after returning to Srae Nouy church Kong led Chea in the sinner’s prayer…

A few days later back in Ksach Ampel as Chea was getting himself ready, his wife and two school aged children asked, “Where are you going?” Chea responded, “I am going to worship Preah Yea-sue (Jesus)." His wife then asked, “What! You’re going church, alone! What about us? We saw what Jesus did to you, how HE healed you and all. Don’t just get saved by yourself. We want to believe in Jesus, too." And they all went to “church” where Kong and his wife took charge of the service. After the church service, Chea’s wife and two small children prayed to receive Jesus… 


Chea in brown shirt sitting next to Mr. Kong (who played the drum)
For the past few weeks, a total of 11 new people from Ksach Ampel have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior! As of Sunday August 24, this group of 20 plus vibrant young believers began meeting regularly for Sunday worship services with Kong as the key leader, while Srey Pov and Pearum, a young couple from Srae Nouy Alliance Church, go to teach new believer discipleship class on Wednesdays...


A Drunken Man Found Freedom in Christ…

Everyone was singing, clapping, and praising to Jesus at the news being shared about Ksach Ampel. Pastor Dy from Srae Nouy Alliance church excitedly reported, “For the last 2-3 weeks, we have a total 25 new people who came to the Lord at Srae Nouy!” He then added, “The last two weeks in a row, we had the church FULL of new believers and their families that there was no room left for the other church people!” Pastor Dy went on to explain that recently Samuit, a 43- year-old drunken- wife-beating man (also known as the “king” of the addicts), after more than 20 years of heavily drinking, had finally found freedom in Christ! As a result, God is using Samuit in a mighty way to draw other drunken men to Christ. (Stay tune: More information about Samuits’ story will be shared in our new update).


Poipet Leadership Classes…

Every time we go to Poipet, we often plan to arrive by 4:30 pm on a Friday afternoon so we could have a time of fellowship with the believers and then be able to join the small group of weekly prayer meeting. To avoid paying for an expensive hotel price (but more so for the rich fellowship time with other believers) we choose to sleep in mosquito-netted hammocks on the ground. Knowing that we were coming, young families often packed up tents and hammocks and other sleeping gear to join us at the church. Usually the young mothers (with their babies) and other ladies joined Syna in deep conversations about children, life, marriage, and ministries while the young husbands and other men flocked around Soeuth with similar, yet countless questions. These young people, though loving God dearly and faithfully involved in various church ministries often struggled in how to deal with on-going issues related to marriage and ministries being first generation Christians. The conversations were in depth and sometimes at a personal level that if not carefully guarded (especially the men) could go on and on with their lively discussions until 1 or 2 O’clock in the morning! Syna was often the one to call it quits so people could get some sleep and be ready for the morning class… In our last Poipet meeting, 32 people (representatives from seven difference Alliance house churches of the areas) came to participate in the monthly leadership class!


32 people showed up at Poipet monthly leadership class
Toul Krous Village Kid Activities…

It is summer break for the rural school aged children and the kids are restless with in-activities. As of August 12, whenever we have “free time” in the afternoons, we would set up appointments and drive to pick up some kids from Toul Prich Village to join a bigger group of kids at Toul Krous village (these two villages locate a few kilometers apart). We are grateful to the generosity of a former Khmer Rouge- soldier couple in their late 60’s from Toul Krous village, who opened their house for the kids to meet at their spacious yards! This kind gentle couple, though not yet believers, seeing the importance of allowing kids opportunities to learn and grow, willingly permitted the usage of their house for kid meetings. We thank God for such a tremendous provision and blessing. Pray that the couple would one day open their hearts to receive Christ.


Soeuth teaching English to kids at Toul Krous village
At the appointed time, Soeuth led all the kids in short Bible stories followed by “English” lessons.  After each class, Soeuth took the older kids to warm up to get ready for boys -vs- girls soccer games, while Syna kept the little ones entertained and occupied with coloring pages, reading books, plastic animal toys, and jump ropes. At the end of the day, each child received animal crackers and gummy vitamins for snack. On the average, about 35-40 plus kids participated in each of these afternoon events, and they always ask, “When can we meet again?” Even with our already busy weekly schedules, we continue to carry on these extra afternoon kid activities with the hope to hand it over, eventually, to whoever the helper that God will send our way. Most of these kids, who are always full of energies and very eager to learn about God and His character, come from very horrific and harsh backgrounds and from broken families. They are often pressured to work in fields to do heavy household chores beyond what is appropriate for their age. Some of them quit school prematurely due to family needs. Being with us these few precious afternoons a week, they were given a rare opportunity just to be kids again…


Soeuth led the kids in prayer before starting English class

Soeuth got the kids warmed up for the soccer match
A Helper is on the Way…

August 31-Sept. 4: We were blessed to host Aide Rose, a Filipino missionary lady from Batthambang, visiting village ministries around Along Veng areas. As she shadowed us two times already (in May and in August), God has confirmed in her heart that Anlong Veng is the place where she should be serving Him next. Aide Rose will return to her team and join the team annual conference in mid October. Once finalized, she is hoping to move to Anlong Veng by early November! Meanwhile, we are on the search to look for suitable housing that fit her budget. We are SUPER EXCITED that God has finally sent someone to help us!


Aide Rose in black top visiting Toul Krous village where she will be teaching kids
Dates and events needing your prayers…

  1. Next regional quarterly youth rally for the northwest region is set for Sept 7 at Svey Sisophon.
  2. Next Poipet class is Sept. 21.
  3. Pray for the believers in Srae Kandal. Due to rains and other life issues, Wednesday Firm Foundation class is being postponed for a while. Pray that the believers would remain steadfast with their Christian walks in the midst of life difficulties.Pray against the enemy schemes. From personal and past experiences, often when things are going well in church related ministries, the enemy often attack those who are closest and dearest to our heart—our children and family.
  4. Pray for overall safety and protection for our weekly traveling to church ministries.

We cannot thank you enough for your on-going prayers and support. Thank you for partnering with us in the Anlong Veng and the overall Cambodian ministries. Please share with us what God is doing in your part of the world.

Blessings,

Soeuth & Syna Lao

Saturday, August 17, 2019

August Update 2019


Dear Praying Friend and Family,

Greetings! We trust that you are well.

So many wonderful and exciting things happened since we last wrote you. Obviously, we cannot possibly share everything in detail. Here are a few short versions of the recent events…

Field Forum…

July 3-8: Our International Workers had an amazing Field Forum in Siem Reap where guest speaker, Rev. Bruce Konold from Eagan Hill Alliance church did an excellent job leading us in Spiritual Warfare topics. When we dug deeper into studying about the Enemy’s tactics and schemes, a few of our team members encountered spiritual attacks that week! Praise God that we are on the WINNING side.

Syna’s Traveling…

Lao Family

July 7: Because of timing, Syna left Field Forum a day early to begin her long flights to a meeting in Colorado Springs. Based on past personal experiences, whenever Syna would travel alone she would often encounter extra challenges that stretched beyond the boundaries of her comfort zone. This time, with long delays between five connecting flights and one cancellation, it took her 63 hours traveling from Siem Reap to Colorado Springs for just a two-day meeting! But the trip was well worth it; shortly after the business meeting, Syna had the joy and pleasure of visiting and holding our precious grandson, Jesse, in Minnesota! Soeuth and Jonathan came to join the rest of the family where we had 10 precious days together.

Four Lao guys

Short Term Team…


Children VBS at Trapang Krasang Village

July 25-August 4: Shortly after our arrival to Cambodia, we hosted a visiting team of several people from New York City! The team leader and his two elders did well in leading leadership seminars at Living Water Church in Poipet and at Srae Nouy village, based on requested topics: Person’s after God’s own heart, Person of God’s Word, and Person of qualities and characters. In both places, the lessons from these seminars were well received by eager participants! The team also did children VBS at three different villages. Thank you, Grace Chinese Alliance church, for sending your pastor and team to Cambodia!

Leadership seminars at Srae Nouy Village
                                                                   Floating Village…

Soeuth led a family of four to receive Christ at a floating village

August 3: While Syna accompanied Jonathan back to school in Penang, Malaysia, Soeuth took the visiting team to an Alliance house church at Kampong Klang floating villag located at the outskirt of Siem Reap Province. Some church families from Srae Nouy and from Andong Chan villages came to join the group. There was a sweet time of worshiping God and fellowship with the Body of Christ. The people were so hungry for the word of God and had paid closed attention to every word being shared. At the end of the service, Soeuth had the privilege of leading a young family of four to receive Jesus as their Savior!

Regional Annual KEC Women Seminar…

August 10: Syna was invited to give a message to a regional Alliance Women Conference at Svey Sisophon. In accordance with the conference theme, “Lost for the Sake of Gain," Syna spoke a touching and practical message based on 1 Samuel 1:1-20 about “A Mother Who Gave” and challenged the ladies to make commitments to God and to themselves by raising their children/ grandchildren in God’s ways and to prepare them to be future leaders. The majority of the ladies  related to the biblical heroin, Hannah, so much so there was not a dry eye in the room! Given the opportunity, before the appointed date we invited some ladies from the Anlong Veng area  to the conference and 15 ladies went; it was their first time participating in a large gathering. Altogether, 130 women participated in the northwest regional Alliance women conference.

Andong Chan Village Classes…

A lady prayed to received Christ at Andong Chang Village

After a few weeks of postponing, the discipleship classes in Andong Chan resumed on August 12. Everyone was super excited about coming to class! During “prayer and share” time, everyone had stories to share. Pastor Dy from Srae Nouy excitedly shared that eight people recently invited Jesus as Saviors! “All week long, people just walked to church and asked to receive Jesus!” Dy went on to explain that: “Because church families are living out their Christian characters at homes and at work places, outside people are taking notice of the changes in the lives of believers.” During weekly class discussions, we intentionally emphasized the importance of sharing and living out the Good News in the community. As a result, it is becoming a new trend among the believers: “How many other people can I share about Jesus with this week?”

New Life in Ksach Ampel…

"Martha" prayed to receive Christ at Ksach Ampel

It has been a long and constant cry from a small group of believers in Ksach Ampel (meaning “field of parched dusty sand”) village asking for help, but because there was a lack of time and personnel, their requests kept on being postponed. Recently, the believers from Andong Chan pleaded with us to consider sending someone to help start a small group in remote and isolated village. This past week, a group of believers from four other nearby villages joyfully traveled on bumpy, sandy paths riding in two vehicles and seven motorbikes to visit the believers at Ksach Ampel. Soeuth shared a message of Hope based on Ezekiel 37:1-14 and encouraged the young believers of the areas that even when it may seem like they are being abandoned, God is not forgetting them. In comparison to the biblical story, “The Valley of Dry Bones,” God can still bring life to this dry-parched sandy land of Ksach Ampel village. As the people intensely listened in to the message, one lady named Martha commented, “I was on my way to the market this morning, but “something” just stopped me in the middle of the road! I had this strange feeling that I must turn around. I did. Then I saw you! I am so glad now I came back. And I want to be part of God’s family too.” As per her request, Syna helped Martha cut off her spirit string, then Soeuth led her in the sinner’s prayer. Martha accepted Jesus as her Savior and is worshiping God with the family of believers in the area. With Pastor Dy overseeing the arrangements, a young couple from Srae Nouy will travel to Ksach Ampel on Wednesday afternoons for Bible studies...

Heng & Moum…

Heng & Moum and daughters visiting Anlong Veng Ministries

Heng and the soccer kids at Toul Krous Village

Having a summer break from Bible school, Heng and Moum, along with their two little girls (ages 4 & 6), spent a week shadowing us in church ministries around Anlong Veng areas. While here, Heng helped out with children soccer ministries at Toul Prich and Toul Krous villages. The kids LOVE Heng. It is a joy to see this young couple obediently answering the Call to serve and effectively use their gifts in teaching and preaching. Please continue to pray for this couple as they continue to seek and follow God’s will…

Additional dates & events needing your prayers…

-  August 31-Sept 4: Aide Rose, a Filipino team leader from Battambang province, will once again come to shadow us around Anlong Veng ministries. Afterward, her organization will then make a final decision as to which team member(s) would be able to serve in Anlong Veng areas.

-  August 24 is our next Poipet leadership class.

-  Next regional quarterly youth rally is September 7.

Thank you so much for your continual prayers and support. Thank you for your partnership with us in the Anlong Veng and over all Cambodian church ministries. Please share with us what God is doing in your side of the world.

Blessings,
 Soeuth & Syna

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

June Update 2019 (part 2)

Dear Prayer Partners,

Here is an update of what recently took place:

Youth Rally… 

Early morning at the appointed date, we loaded up 30 young people from Anlong Veng areas into two vehicles and traveled 3 hours to a quarterly rally at Svey Sisophon. We were among the few vehicles to arrive first. Then other vehicles with excited young people traveling from four different provinces also arrived safely. During worship time, young people took turns to perform their special songs, some with dances. There were also two young men who shared their life journey testimonies.

Isaiah and Mark bravely shared their testimonies at a recent youth rally
Rev. Bo Samoeun, a passionate youth leader, spoke a powerful and relatable message based on Luke 5:1-11. He challenged the young people to work as a team and grab opportunities while they still can to develop godly characters, attitudes, and intellects. Then he asked, “As Jesus called the first disciples to follow Him, He is also calling some of you in this room to be fisher of men. Who is willing to answer the call? Who is willing to be used by God for His Kingdom advancement?” At this, more than 100 youth raised their hands to answer the call! Altogether, 190 people participated in the rally, and about 40% of them were first timers. Overall, it was one of the best attended and most participated rallies. Many young people were excited about it and could hardly wait for the next one.

Srae Nouy village kids attended rally for the first time
Of the 190 youth participated in a recent rally, 40% of them were first timers!
About 100 youth answered the Call to be fisher of men
A meal of fellowship among friends at the rally.
Jonathan keeping little children entertained while we taught a leadership class in Poipet
A Flat Tire… 

In our previous update, we shared about church families from Anlong Veng areas who attended the leadership seminar in Battambang. Here is a continuation story.

Because of distant locations, Mr. Kong and his family from Andong Chan village along with two other church families had to spend a night at our place before the appointed trip. After the seminar while they were on their way home, Kong’s motorbike had a flat tire and they were in an isolated place. For security reasons, the traveling companions (six adults and four small kids) decided to wait together as a local repair man fixed Kong’s bike. It was late in the evening and the kids were tired and hungry. Seeing the restless kids, one kind lady gave the little ones some dinner, then she asked about who this group of strangers were. Prompted by Holy Spirit, Kong told the kind lady how thankful he was that Preah Yea-sue (Jesus) allowed him to visit Battambang for the first time. When she asked, “Who is Jesus?” Kong took the opportunity to share with her about the Good News! As a result, she and five other family member invited Jesus as their Lord!!! Kong told us that it was God’s plan all along to save this family by allowing him to have a flat tire.

Kong (in long sleeve shirt) with Pastor Dy sharing with us about his recent exciting adventure.
A New Pond...

After many attempts to build a well failed, local church leaders decided to have a pond dug instead.  But because of land erosions, the new pond was not as deep as it was meant to be. Regardless, the church families at Andong Chan village are still thankful for the pond.

Mr. Kong and Soeuth in front of a new pound at Andong Chan village
Share & Prayer… 

At a recent joined discipleship class in Andong Chan village, people shared some amazing stories about how God was protecting them and answering prayers. Three people shared how God protected them from major accidents. Then another new believer, Seng, shouted praises to God for answering her prayer saying, “I can’t believe that the God of the universe would hear my prayers! My family needed water so badly and I prayed to God about it, then He gave us rains!”

Seng, a new believer, prayed for rain and God answered.
As new believers are becoming bold in sharing Christ with neighbors and friends, they also are facing on-going persecutions. Please pray for church families from the remote villages around Anlong Veng for physical protection as well for their faith to remain steadfast in God.

Dates & events needing prayers…
  1. July 3-8: Annual Field Forum for Alliance International Workers in Siem Reap province.
  2. July 7-10, Syna will travel to Colorado Springs for a meeting then will join Soeuth and Jonathan in Minneapolis for family vacation until July 21.
  3. July 26-August 3: A visiting team from Brooklyn Chinese Alliance (NYC) will visit Anlong Veng for children VBS and adult leadership seminars. This will be the team’s first time in Cambodia!
  4. August 4: Syna and Jonathan will travel to Penang; Jonathan will enter 11th grade on August 6.
  5. August 8: Syna will join and speak at northwest regional women seminar at Svey Sisophon.

We appreciate your continual prayers and support.  Thank you for partnering with us in the Anlong Veng church ministries. Please share with us what God is doing in your midst.

Blessings,

Soeuth & Syna

Friday, June 14, 2019

June Update 2019

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

Here is a continuation story as a result of last month’s motorbike mission trip…

Maria’s Incredible Journey…

In one of the new villages, at Alliance house church where we visited during a recent mission trip, we heard of a heart wrenching story from a poor family of new believers. They were desperately searching for their missing daughters. When the girls were just 6 and 9 years old, they were separated from their loved ones while the family was living in Poipet 20 years ago. After giving us detailed information of the girls’ descriptions, this poor family begged us to search for the missing children. We promised that we would do our best to look for the girls. Immediately after getting back from the trip, those participants from Poipet took the search to every orphanage, children center, and every local children NGOs (non-government organizations) in town. After visiting many places and asking many questions, our team found one girl named “Maria” who is now 28 years old!

Maria sitting in the back seat anxiously waiting to meet her family
With the help of modern technology, the Poipet team helped connect Maria to her family. After a few phone calls back and forth, followed by many personal and familial questions, the family was satisfied and confirmed that Maria is one of the missing girls. They wanted to see her immediately! Christian friends offered help and Maria was sent by a taxi to our house in Anlong Veng on May 21st. Early the next morning we took her to reunite with her family. What a tearful and joyful reunion it was! While staying at our place the night before, we learned a bit more about Maria’s incredible journey…

Maria meeting her mother for the first time after 20 years of separation
Immediately after the girls were snatched from their family, a group of evil people sold the girls repeatedly from one brothel to the next during the girls’ first year in Thailand. The girls were abused beyond measure. Every day, they would cry out to an unknown God for help. One day, local authorities busted this evil organization. The girls were rescued and then sent back to Cambodia through the Poipet border where they were placed in a local children's NGO along the border. But year after year, even with many efforts (from this local NGO) in trying to find the girls’ family, no one had come forward to claim them! As time went on the younger girl, being rebellious in nature, became restless and was tired of waiting. She decided to move on with her life. She left the center and moved to live somewhere in Phnom Penh. However, Maria refused to leave Poipet believing “One day, my mother will come back to look for me…” During the years of waiting, Maria was exposed to many Christians who at various times played a significant role in her life.

Although she had heard about the love of God and about countless biblical stories many times before, Maria had sternly erected walls of disappointment and bitterness around her heart and did not allow herself to trust any person…

But God’s timing was perfect! Upon our recent mission trip to Preah Vihear, Maria’s great aunt, who was a new believer, shared about their family's needs. So the Lord God sent us, the mission team, to this far-away remote village at just the right time. As a result, one girl reunited with her family!

Maria's great aunt, a new believer, giving praises to Jesus for saving Maria
Family members meeting Maria for the first time after 20 years of separation
During our recent trip to Poipet, Syna reconnected with Maria and was able to learn some more about her emotional family reunion. After a sweet time of sharing, Syna helped Maria trace back to some dark moments of her life. She also helped her identify certain events and places where the hand of God was with her, even in Maria's darkest moments. Through many prayers and encouragement from Christian friends, Maria was able to forgive those who wronged her. On the afternoon of May 31st, Syna had the privilege of introducing Maria into the family of God! Maria had at last invited Jesus Christ into her heart. She currently joins the Living Water Alliance church in Poipet!


Panha’s Passion… 

Panha, at 17 years old, is very passionate when it comes to sharing her Christian faith! When she was four years old, her rice-Christian mother ("rice-Christian" is someone who only comes to church when in need of prayer, healing, material items, etc) took Panha to a local Alliance church in Poipet hoping to “trick” and take advantage of the “Jesus people." But as time went on, through faithfully attending Sunday schools and Bible-based English classes, Panha learned much about the One true God and became hooked. She is now madly in love with Jesus Christ!

Her fierce love for God is evident in her daily life and in her godly characters, which she regularly demonstrates both at school and at home. Panha soon became a magnet to her friends attracting her peers to Christ. At the same time, she also became a target for persecution within her community. Even her own mother persecutes her. Despite the on-going hardships, Panha continues to boldly and courageously share her Christian belief with everyone, even with her classmates and teachers! Last month, it was Panha’s first time to participate in the annual motorbike mission trip and she loved it! During our recent visit to Poipet, Panha brought a friend named Sarita who joined the monthly leadership class. At the end of the day, Sarita decided to invite Jesus into her heart. At their request, Soeuth had the honor of explaining God’s salvation plan and prayed for Sarita. It was really Panha’s godly characters that played a major role in motivating and influencing Sarita to pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Soeuth explained God's salvation plan to Sarita with Panha sitting between them

Leadership Seminar…

On June 8, we took 20 church people from Anlong Veng areas, riding in two vehicles to participate in a regional church leadership seminar in Battambang province. For many who went with us, this was their first time ever to visit Battambang and to participate in a big Christian event! With that, it was a joy to see and hear so many “Oh” and “Ahh” reactions from each of them! Soeuth spoke about “Hidden Sins” based on Joshua chapter 7 and challenged the leaders to evaluate and identify any dark and secret sins in their lives. There were opportunities, in small groups, for some leaders to identify and confess their sins.

About 100 people participated in the recent leadership seminar
Heng…

As of early May, we have had the privilege of introducing a godly young man, Hout Soheng (Heng), to some of the Alliance village churches in Anlong Veng areas. During our years of missionary service in Poipet, we had the privilege of knowing and discipling Heng, coaching and mentoring him into leadership ministries.

Heng visiting in a church service at Srae Kandal village
From what we know of him, Heng is a sharp and gifted spiritual leader. Being well versed in the Word, Heng is also a good Bible teacher and expository preacher. He and his wife with two small girls are currently living in Phnom Penh where Heng studies in his third year of Bible school. It is our hope and prayer that upon graduation, Heng and his family will join us in the Anlong Veng church ministries, hopefully by August 2020. Until then, Heng continues taking a night bus from Phnom Penh to Anlong Veng bimonthly for weekend church ministries.

New Development…

Recently, some church families from Srae Kandal village found labor works at a remote rubber plantation. At night time, when the believers came together for a family devotion, other plantation workers began to eavesdrop. They then sat down to join the worship group! This went on night after night since early May! Because some of these other workers (not yet believers) showed interest in learning about God, the Christian workers were asking if we could go there and help them! We plan to visit this group of plantation workers eventually. Meanwhile, we supplied the believers with extra Bibles, hymnal books, and other Christian tracts including MP3 radios with an audio Bible and Christian teachings. PRAY that these young believers would be bold in witnessing to other workers and that they would be protected. PRAY for openness and receptivity from those curious on-lookers, for the opportunity for us to visit this site soon, and that God would send us help. We consider it an honor and a great privilege to be working closely with new believers discipling them into maturity with Christ. Their child-like prayers and complete trust in the Savior is an on-going inspiration. They are so hungry and thirsty for spiritual food. But we could only do so much with just the two of us. Please continue praying to the Lord of the Harvest to send us more workers soon…

Dates and events in need of your prayers…
  1. Some villagers are crying out for clean water. We tried getting a well built in some areas, but the workers could not reach the water level. Our next option is to dig a pond, but this is a bit more expensive than drilling a well. The local church leaders are working closely with regional church leaders in obtaining permission from local authorities as well as raising additional funds. Pray that all plans will go smoother.
  2. Thanks to the generous gifts from Sawyer Filters (from Ohio), many families in Anlong Veng are blessed to have their own water filter in each home!
  3. We enjoyed having the Filipino ladies stay with us to shadow around Anlong Veng church ministries. God has touched their hearts greatly! One lady, a team leader, will return in August for further observation/searching. Please pray for clear directions as they seek to follow His will in ministry.
  4. Next northwest regional youth rally is on June 18 at Svey Sisophon.
  5. Next Poipet leadership class is June 21-22.
  6. National youth committee’s quarterly meeting in Phnom Penh is June 29.
  7. International Workers’ annual Field Forum is on July 3-8 in Siem Reap province.
  8. July 8-21: We will go to Minnesota to meet a new family member, Jesse Dominik Lao!
Thank you so much for your partnership in the Anlong Veng and the Cambodian ministries. Your prayers and financial support to the Alliance keeps us serving in Cambodia, bringing the Light and Hope of Jesus into dark places. We are grateful for your support. Please share with us what God is doing in your lives!

God is on the move!

Syna & Soeuth Lao

Thursday, May 23, 2019

May Update 2019 (part 2)

Dear Praying Friends and Family

Greetings!  Early in the month, we shared some requests with you, and here is how God answered your prayers…

Rains

The farmers are very excited that the rainy season is finally here! But it rained hard every day! Heavy rains bring challenges for us to do weekly village ministries. In some locations, we had to cross 3-5 wooden bridges to get to our final destination. This week, we almost did not make it to our discipleship class at Srae Kandal village as one bridge had some missing planks.

Typical bridges on the roads to our weekly village classes

Soeuth detoured off the main road due to broken bridges
Visitors

We enjoyed having the three Filipina ladies staying with us. They are shadowing us to every village around Anlong Veng area with hopes of seeking future ministry opportunities. In addition to these dear ladies, we also have two other young ladies staying with us until early June. Having raised two sons of our own, Syna was used to having a house full of boys, but these few weeks Soeuth is out- numbered by 6 gals to 1 guy!

These ladies are shadowing us around Anlong Veng ministries
Motorbike Missions Trip

Every year in May, we host annual motorbike mission trip for Alliance national youth ministry in the northwest region. The purpose of the mission trip was two-fold: (1) To expose potential emerging church people to see where the needs are in terms of ministry opportunities as well as to raise prayer support and (2) to encourage and support Alliance church families in remote places. Thus, on the appointed date, May 12-15, the visiting team traveled to Alliance village churches in Preah Vihear province, the northern part of Cambodia.

Upon arriving at every village, we held worship services which included short testimonies, a message, and opportunities for prayer requests given to both the visitors as well as testimonies from the hosting villagers. There was an overwhelming need at every place.

Soeuth prayed at a village worship service
In one village, a new believer experienced the most heart-breaking story ever told. At aged 26, Phally, a young mother of a severely disabled 3-year old, was in her third trimester of pregnancy with her second child! Her young husband, in desperate search for ways to make a living, went to cut wood (illegally) along the border of Thailand. He eventually got arrested by Thai soldiers where he is still locked up in prison. In a great time of need, Phally cried out to the Living God for help. God answered her prayers by sending the visiting team to her village. At the end of the trip, we took an offering and collected $150.00 (about a month salary for average people) where the youth leaders presented the gift to Phally! At every village, participants were sharing their faith with villagers. As the results, six people gave their lives to Jesus!

Six villagers received Christ at a recent motorbike mission trip
Because of the rainy season, the youth leaders decided that we should stay in one place for night time lodging during the entire trip including 3 nights and 4 days. We stayed at Sra Em village where adequate water supplies and bathroom facilities were moderately available. Participants set up their camping gear including tents, hammocks, and mosquito nets. Daily morning devotions and evening worship services were conducted by designated youth leaders. At these morning and evening services, opportunities were given for participants to share what they saw and experienced and how they responded to each need. At the last evening service, as participants were sitting around the bon fire taking turns to share what God laid in their hearts, there was not a dry eye in the camp! God had truly stirred the hearts of these participants. Young people were so moved by what they saw and experienced that some had requested to have more trips. Input, suggestions, and recommendations about the trips were also given to the leaders for future trips. On May 15th, the last day of the trip, about 50 of the participants chose to visit one of the ancient temples in that province. We parted companies around 4 pm at Anlong Veng…

Overall, there were 71 visitors traveling from four different provinces in the northwest region who participated in this motorbike mission trip. 35 of them were first timers on a mission trip! All participants rode on 28 motorbike and in three vehicles, covering over 480 kilometers (298 miles) to
visit five villages in Preah Vihear Province.

About 50 of the participants visited one of the ancient temples in Preah Vihear province

Young people participated in motorbike mission trip

71 Alliance believers participated in motorbike trip

71 people participated in a motorbike mission trip
Toul Prich youth participated in mission trip
Date and events needing your prayers…
  1. May 21-25, we will be traveling to Phnom Penh, the capital city, for a Total SDI Assessment conference.
  2. June 1 is our next Poipet leadership class. 
  3. June 6, we look forward to Jonathan coming home for summer break.
  4. June 7-14, we will be in Bangkok for medical/dental checkups as well as some R&R times
  5. June 18 is the next youth rally
  6. Please continue to pray for permission to worship for village churches in Poipet areas.
Thank you for your partnership in the Anlong Veng church ministries. We are grateful for your on-going prayers and support.  Please share with us what God is doing in your midst.

God is on the move!
Soeuth & Syna

Sunday, May 5, 2019

May Update 2019 (part 1)

Dear Friends and Family,

Good Friday Service…  

We had a beautiful Good Friday service at Poipet. Although most people had attended the Living Water Alliance church many years before, to some this was their first Good Friday service! After Soeuth finished giving a message, he asked the congregation a few application questions: “Why are you here tonight? What does Good Friday mean to you?” Although many people bravely stood up to express the importance of Good Friday, one young believer summed it well. Vichay, aged 34, a young believer, a single mother of three small kids, with tears of gratitude flowing down her face while holding lighted candles, stood up and said, “I have ran away from God for many times," she sobbed uncontrollably while continuing,  “I used to come to church off and on, but my desire after worldly possessions sent me to deeper and deeper to the pits of life, again and again. And yet, no matter how evil I was, Jesus kept pursuing me! His love chased after me to the point of giving up His own life. I am here tonight because the Jesus traded my place on Calvary. No matter how deep I fall, Jesus is not giving up on me. This is Good Friday to me."

Good Friday service at Living Water Alliance church
Poipet Class…   

Because of time conflicts, the Poipet leadership class was postponed for a while until recently, where 32 people excitedly attended and eagerly participated in class discussions. As usual, we started the class with simple questions, “What has God been doing in your life?” How have you seen God at work recently?” Then, one after another, believers took turns to share their recent encounters with the living God. While a few students shared about God's protection and provision, many encountered His healing touch in a powerful way as one believer told her story well…

Poipet leadership class
Seung, a devoted young wife and loving mother of 3 active little girls, was lying helplessly in bed trying to fight a sickness. Seung’s husband (Phear), makes a living by selling noodles on wheels.  Every day at 3 o’clock in the morning, the young couple diligently gets up to prepare a huge pot of soup ready for their daily business.

Seung and her three daughters

Seung's husband on his way to sell noodles on wheels
But last week, in addition to her chronic joined pains, Seung was plagued with a nasty flu that confined her to be bedridden for three days. She felt helpless watching her husband trying to get things ready as she was too weak to help. In a desperate need to help her family, Seung cried out to God asking for healing through these prayers, “Abba, Father! Your daughter is sick. I need to get better, so I can help my family. I need your healing touch which only You can give. Please help me.” In tears of faith, she began whispering songs of praises to God. She had no voice (due to hoarseness) nor does she have any natural ability to sing, but in her desperate moment of need, she chose to pronounce and articulate each word and claimed every promise spoken in the lyrics of one of her favorite Khmer traditional hymnals, “By Grace Alone." She repeated the song over and over that by the time she finished the seventh rounds, her voice returned! Then, a sudden rush of energy overwhelmed her that she got up and was dancing around and singing praises to God! She kept shouting louder and louder and did not even care that it was still very early in the morning! Her joyful singing was full of volume and excitement that her husband stopped what he was doing but came to look at his dear wife with great astonishment! Seung went on with her story, “I asked God for help. He heard my prayers."  Both Seung and her husband gave praises to God for this miraculous healing…

Ty and Lucy with Khmer kids at one of village ministries
We are blessed to have Tyanne Minyard, a 19-year old young lady from Central Pacific District (CPD) to spend a few months helping us with Anlong Veng ministries through teaching English literacy to village kids and youth. With her cheerful smiles which are often accompanied by a humorous and fun-loving, bubble personality, the local kids really enjoy having. They are always looking forward to their daily English classes with “Teacher Ty."

Although language barrier is a constant challenge for her daily activities, Ty is learning and trying her best to communicate to her students in broken Khmer while the students respond back in their broken English. Every attempt to communicate gives opportunity for laugher and better understanding and appreciation from both parties which eventually lead to a strengthened relationship. Regardless of the difficulties, Ty is responsible for and carries out her tasks well. Ty counts this opportunity as a great learning experience.  We are grateful to have her here with us. Thank you CPD, for supporting and for sending Ty to Cambodia.

First Easter Service at Srae Nouy…  

Because of conflict with Khmer New Year when church families visited their hometowns and could not participate in Easter celebration on the actual date, Pastor Dy requested that the joined Easter service be postponed to April 28 (one week after the actual Easter weekend). The local church leaders unanimously agreed. On the appointed date, nearly 300 believers (186 adults and teens and 108 children) from Srae Nouy and from all 11 other villages in Anlong Veng areas came to participate in this joyful celebration! About 90% of those who attended experienced their first Easter celebration! The church families celebrated the special occasion with a feast of curry and rice noodles.

Nearly 300 people attended the first Easter celebration at Srae Nouy Alliance church!
Family News…

We enjoyed having Syna’s niece, Lucy Tol, spend two weeks with us where she was able to visit different locations of her father’s birthplace as well an opportunity to participate in and enjoy fun and a festive Khmer New Year celebration.

Lucy & Syna visiting Angkor Wat
Recently, on her way to visit family in America, Syna encountered some frightful experiences during her long oversea flights to Minneapolis including 15 hours of layover in Guangzhou, China! In her moments of anxiousness, God allowed opportunities, two separate occasions, where she was able to divert her anxieties into opportunities to comfort two complete strangers! Both young ladies from Europe in their early 20’s, were visiting countries around Asia, but encountered some mishaps along the way where immediate emergency trips where required. In their distressed moments, Syna had opportunities for meaningful conversations with and a chance to pray for both girls!

Finally, the long awaiting moment arrived when Syna was able to hold our precious grandson, Jesse Dominik Lao, who was already 7 weeks old! Upon seeing him for the first time, all the stress and weariness of traveling completely vanished! Thank YOU, Lord, for this precious gift of life…

Syna holding our 7-week old grandson, Jesse Donminik Lao
Justin, Katie, and Jesse Lao
Here are some dates and events needing your intercession prayers…

1. May 11-24, three ladies from the Philippines will be staying with us for a while hoping to learn about ministry opportunities to be involved in the near future. These dear ladies have been working closely with Alliance churches in other part of Cambodia for the past few years, but recently, they feel called to pursue another direction of ministries, and we are hoping and praying that Anlong Veng is that direction!

2. May 12-16: The long awaited and most anticipated event, the annual motorbike mission trip, for the northwest regional Alliance youth ministries is approaching! Everyone is super excited about this trip. We won’t know for sure how many will show up until the last minutes because some people are still undecided due to work schedules and child care issues  among others. Pray for protection from any potential accidents for learning and growing opportunities for all participants.

3. At least four Alliance churches in Poipet areas are having difficulties trying to obtain “permissions worship” from their local authorities. Pray that God would open the ways.

4. Due to severe drought, church families around Anlong Veng areas are facing difficulties finding good water supplies. In some villages, even after few attempts to dig/drill a well in each location, the hired well specialists could not seem to find any source of water underneath. Please pray to the God of the Living Water to direct these specialists to the right spring.

Thank you as always for your faithful prayers and support for the Anlong Veng church ministries. Please share with us what God is doing in your midst.

Blessings,
Soeuth & Syna