Tuesday, November 5, 2019

November Update 2019

Dear Prayer Warriors,

Autumn greetings! For those of you who are living in the four-season North America areas, please enjoy the beautiful fall colors for us. It is rice harvest season for Cambodia. Due to severe drought we had earlier this year, the crops are not as plentiful as expected by the many disappointed farmers. Sadly, our church families in the rural areas suffer greatly as a result. Despite the failed physical crops, God in His faithfulness is encouraging and blessing the young believers who are from the Anlong Veng and Srae Nouy areas with a season of abundant spiritual harvest!

Rice harvest season in Cambodia
Grabbing the Opportunities…

Recently, Soeuth spoke the same message about “Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind” to two different village churches. After explaining Jesus’ words found in John 9:4 “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me," Soeuth challenged the believers with a thought-provoking question: “How can you make someone feel special this week?” During the next few days, church families took this challenge to the next level. Mrs. Noun, age 40, a mother of two school-aged kids, a vibrance young believer from Toul Prich village who sells vegetables for a living, had a golden opportunity to share Christ with two other sellers at a local market! Mr. Savy from the same village church visited sick people at a local referral hospital where he was able to share a message of Hope to some patients. Encouraged by Savy’s message, a middle-aged couple accepted Savy’s invitation to come to church. At the end of the service, this couple prayed to receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior! Still a few other members from the same church continued to carry out this challenge seriously. In a Firm Foundation class recently, we were greatly encouraged to hear new believers earnestly praying for their unbelieving friends and relatives!

Noun (in green top) prayed for unsaved relatives at Toul Prich village
Firm Foundation Classes…

After a season of “in and out” with their Christian walks, the families at Srae Kandal village are back on track, this time with a full determination to resume Firm Foundation class! During a church service recently, there was a precious moment of genuine prayers for confession from the entire congregation! And as Soeuth was about to preach, a believing young mother who was living and working in Thailand called just in time to listen to the message online! We were quite impressed and thankful for modern technology. The connection was working well even in this remote and far away village!

Youth Rallies…

Oct 14-16: Riding in two vehicles, we traveled with 10 other KEC people to join the hill-tribe regional youth conference/rally at Rattanakiri province. During the long road trips to and from, we encountered some mishaps on the way, but God protected us all the way through. 398 people came to participate in this youth event…

Youth rally in Rattanakiki
398 hill tribe people participated in youth rally
Oct. 24: We also participated in another youth rally in the big city of Phnom Penh where about 80 people participated. Although the number is quite small compared to those youth from the hill-tribe people, this rally was a significant milestone to the people of the city areas. Due to lack of time and interest, young people from the city areas hardly had time for fellowship. This was one of the first large-group gatherings for this region! And we hope and pray that there will be more to come…

Tuesday Classes…

We always look forward to teaching discipleship classes on Tuesday at the Andong Chan and at Srae Nouy villages! People came to class ready to learn and always with eager participation! Due to the lack of/limited education from the students, the lesson content and class discussions were often geared toward oral learning. Recently, in Syna's Christian Family class at Andong Chan where 21 students participated, there were lively discussions in response to the question: “How can one ‘Seeks first the Kingdom and His righteousness’ and trying to live a godly lifestyle in the community while struggling against extreme poverty?” Mr. Kong responded, “I did not have enough money to buy fuel for my motorbike, but we needed to visit for a sick family in a remote place. So, I just trusted God and went. And God allowed someone to pay for the gasoline I needed." Still another lady answered, “My rice fields need to be harvested before the rains come. But coming to class today is important. So, I am trusting that the Lord would hold off the rains for the next few days." And He did! We are amazed everyday at the way God works among these new believers. As believers continued to put their complete trust in the Living God, He is working mightily in their midst stirring hearts and answering their prayers!

Kong’s Passion…

Oct. 29 -Nov. 1: We had an opportunity to host two Alliance film crew members who came to do a follow-up story on Mr. Kong. In one village where they were filming, Kong was supposed to “act” evangelism outreach for the sake of filming. But Kong, being passionate about evangelism by nature, grabbed the opportunity in a genuine and sincere way. His true passion was revealed whenever opportunities allowed for him to share Christ with others. Instead of acting, Kong boldly shared the Good News of Jesus to the many onlooking villagers. As a result, three people prayed to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior!

Kong sitting by his old motorbike leading a prayer service before class
Poipet Class…

It is always a joy every time we visited our dear friends in Poipet! In our recent visit, 34 people came to participate in a lively class discussion. It was encouraging to hear that recently the 8 Alliance churches in Poipet came together for a joined baptismal celebration where 38 people were baptized! Under Pastor Chean’s leadership, the Living Water Alliance church is doing well. And by the grace of God, the other seven smaller groups are also thriving.

34 people participated in the recent Poipet leadership class
The Field is Ripe for the Harvest…

As believers were inspired and encouraged to live out and share the Good News to their friends and relatives, more people are coming to church every week! Some have prayed to received Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! Through the faithful efforts of evangelism from Godly servants like Pastor Dy (from Srae Nouy), Mr. Kong (from Andong Chan), the newly convert—Samuit (from Srae Nouy), Noun (from Toul Prich), and from many other faithful servants from other villages-- overall in the past two and half months, 72 people prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!

Field is ripe for harvest but the workers are few
Soeuth led a family of five to receive Christ at a floating village

Other requests, dates & events needing your prayers…
  1. As we previously shared about the need to purchase a piece of land for the Anlong Veng Ministry Center, please be in prayer for this need. We are praying for the right location that will  strategically meet the needs for the community. If you are interested in supporting this project, please send your donation to the C&MA Office at 8595 Explorer Drive, Colorado Springs, CO 80920, please designate it to Anlong Veng Ministry Center. You can also give online at https://www.cmalliance.org/give. Please designate your gift to "Anlong Veng Ministry Center" with account number: 1-47200-46-64-01030. 
  2. Please pray for the new believers to remain strong in their walks with God in the midst of persecutions. 
  3. As Sumuit (Srae Nouy) is being used mightily to draw many other drunken men to Christ, he is facing tremendous spiritual warfare. Pray for overall protection for him and for other believers.
  4. Nov. 23: Next Poipet leadership class.
  5. Pray for the Christmas celebrations coming up in December as Alliance churches are busy planning events and activities. In the business of planning events, may we all remember the true meaning for the season.
  6. Nov. 28- Dec. 2: We will be speaking with and sharing about Cambodian ministries at Alliance International Church in Hong Kong.
  7. Dec. 3-11: Syna will attend the Global Leadership Conference in Malaga, Spain.
  8. Dec. 20: Our son, Jonathan will come home  from Dalat school for winter break.
Thank you for so much for your on-going partnership with the Anlong Veng and Cambodian ministries.  We appreciate your prayers and financial support. Please share with us what God is doing in your areas.

Blessings,
Soeuth & Syna

Saturday, October 5, 2019

October Update 2019

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

Greetings! We trust that all is well with you. During the entire month of September, local Khmer (Cambodian) people were celebrating Pchum Ben, a religious holiday centered around ancestor and family worship. This was one of the testing times for new believers as they were being pressured by family to go back to their old ways of life. Sadly, a few young Christians had turned back, but praise God for many new believers who are still standing strong and firmly committed in their new faith to follow the One True and Living God! And MANY new and exciting developments including some sad news took place since our last update. Below are just a few of these events…

Youth Rally…

Sept 7th: Despite the many washed up, terrible roads because of too much rain, the recent regional quarterly youth rally went well. Riding in three vehicles, we brought along 38 young people from Anlong Veng and more from five other villages around Srae Nouy to join the rally. Pastor Chean from Living Water Alliance church (from Poipet) did an excellent job delivering an encouraging message to the young people challenging them to live godly characters in their communities. Altogether, 114 young people traveling from five different provinces participated in a joyful youth rally Svey Sisophon!

Damaged roads resulting from too much rains
114 people participated at a recently KEC youth rally
 A New Established Alliance House Church...

New believers from Popel village (about an hour drive north of Srae Nouy Church) have been crying out for help since early June requesting the need to establish a church gathering in their community.  While their request was legitimate and the need was obvious, we had no one available to go out to help this group of vibrant believers. While patiently waiting for church leaders to make a decision, this group of eager believers was willing to travel over an hour distance riding in a “mechanical cow” open trailer going over bumpy and red-dirt dusty paths to join the weekly church service at Srae Nouy Alliance church. To get ready for church day, the families would wake up at 4 am to prepare a meal for the long journey to church. Every week, about 20 people came to church consistently both young and old. Finally, on September 11th, their persistent request was honored. With Pastor Dy’s arrangements, we joined the first church service at Popel village. Five of us were riding in our truck traveling from Srae Nouy to Popel. Upon arrival, the generous host families (28 of them) received us warmly with seasonal fruits and soft drinks. Soeuth spoke an encouraging message from Matthew Luke 13:22-30, “The Narrow Door." They all paid closed attention to every word spoken! Those who could read and write took careful notes of the message they heard! It appeared that everyone of them was so genuinely hungry for the Word! At the end of the service as we were about to say goodbye, a middle- aged lady shouted, “Wait! Don’t go yet. We have food prepared for you!” And they brought out a three-course meal for everyone to enjoy. As of Sunday afternoon, September 15th, the Popel Alliance house church held their first Sunday church service with a young couple from Srae Nouy (through Pastor Dy’s arrangements) as their key leaders. Some of the potential church leaders from this village already enrolled in a new study discipleship class at Srae Nouy...

A new Alliance house church started at Popet village
Two New Classes Started…

Since early August to the end of September, at least 35 people (from four different, but nearby villages) prayed to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior! In response to the needs, we added two new classes at Srae Nouy church. With everyone in agreement, and to protect our rest/ Sabbath day, the regular Monday classes are now switched to Tuesday. As often practiced at Andong Chan village, after a 9 am joined worship service followed by a time for “Share & Prayer” requests, we broke into two classes: Soeuth teaching Pentateuch level 1 while Syna taught Christian Family. And because Srae Nouy is only 30 kilometers away, we agreed to teach two more afternoon classes on the same day to a new group of students as Srae Nouy: Soeuth teaching Theological Education by Extension (TEE) to five potential emerging leaders while Syna taught Abundant Life class for new believers. Few students from Syna's class can read or write. But some of them were willing to sit through the entire classroom hours (through oral learning style) while staying engaged and participating in class discussions as much as possible. Pray that these students learn well and would be able to retain information and apply the lesson to their lives and pass on what they learned to others.

9 students enrolled in Abundant Life class at Srae Nouy church
Soeuth teaching a new TEE class at Srae Nouy
Funerals…

On Sept 11th, we received a sad new that one of our dear friends, Mrs. Nehm Youla, aged 60, a widow and a devoted mother of four young adult children, from Poipet, a faithful disciple and a humble servant of Jesus Christ, went Home suddenly to be with her Maker. Since our early days while serving in Poipet (since July 2003), Youla was our faithful student 16 years! She loved to study and then taught others God’s words. She was a not famous lady but a very poor yet very kind and generous and humble lady. At her funeral, more than three hundred people from around the country attended! Everyone who came to her funeral spoke highly of the amazing impacts she had on each of their lives. Since it had rained hard the night before and early morning before burial time (Poipet roads are famous for their black sticky clay like dirt), we thought not too many people would be willing to risk their way to the burial site. As it turned out, more than 200 people showed up at the site. It was a powerful testimony to believers as well as to local unbelievers watching the long funeral procession lovingly paraded by friends and family riding on 18 vehicles and 50 plus motorbikes! It was the biggest Christian funeral we had ever attended in all our 24 years of serving in Cambodia! Youla loved her God and loved His people so dearly, and God honored her on her going Home party…

Soeuth spoke at Youla's funeral
We arrived late on Saturday night from Poipet, a very exhausting trip, but had to get ready for two Sunday village churches. As we were waking up on early Sunday morning, Pastor Dy from Srae Nouy called to report that another funeral took place, this one at the remote village of Ksach Ampel! And “It needs to be done today!” An elderly man Laa, aged 72 years old had suffered from multiple chronic illnesses. After learning he had been laying helplessly in bed sick for very long time, Kong from Andong Chan village along with local believers from Ksach Ampel had made frequents visits to his house to pray for and to encourage the poor family. Through Kong’s passionate sharing about the One True God, Laa prayed to receive Jesus into his heart, just one week before Laa went home. Because of distant location and with the challenges of tropical weather, the funeral plans had to be done immediately. Being that “Uncle Laa” had genuinely and sincerely believed in Jesus, his two adult children, though not yet believers but through Pastor Dy and Kong’s encouragement, were willing to have the funeral done in a Christian way. It was the first Christian funeral in this village!

First Christian funeral service at Ksach Ampel
About 80 believers from seven different villages came to pay respect to Uncle Laa and to support his surviving family. Please pray for Laa’s family and for the believers in Ksach Ampel village. This house church just came together recently to start a church service in their community and already they experienced some challenges and difficulties as part of the Christian calling. And being that this time of the year (Pchum Ben holiday) is one of the testing times for new believers in Christ, pray that these newly Christians would remain faithful to the One True God…

More than 200 people showed up at poor a widow's funeral
9 Drunken Men Found Complete Freedom in Christ…

In our last update we shared (briefly) about Samuit, a drunken man, who found completely freedom in Christ.  Here is a short version of Samuit’s incredible and amazing journey…

Samuit, aged 43, a wife-beating husband and an abusive father to eight small kids, was always drunk. He started to sample beer and rice wine since his late teens. Soon he became known as the “king” of the addicts among the Srae Nouy community. Samuit was not only abusive to his wife and to his children, he was always a “trouble maker” in the community, especially whenever he got drunk, which was almost every day for the past 20 plus years! He was arrested “too many times to count." Sometimes, because the Srae Nouy jail was “always full” of drunken and violent men, there was “no room for one more." It was public knowledge among the Srae Nouy community that Samuit was a scoundrel, a forever drunken trouble maker,  always violent, abusive, and just a pure evil man. That was Samuit before he met the Lord Jesus Christ… In the late Sunday afternoon of August 18, 2019, after a few scary experiences of encountering with the Living God, Samuit finally surrender his right, his drinking habits, and his entire life to Preah-yea-sue! After Pastor Dy from Srae Nouy Alliance gently led Samuit in the sinner prayers, he experienced immediate transformation! Samuit not only stopped drinking, but said “Even the smell of alcohol makes me want to vomit!” Instead of drinking, Samuit was often found listening to the Bible stories from his small precious device, an MP3 bible radio! Since being sober and completely freed from alcoholism, Samuit is being used very powerfully and effectively in reaching out to other drunken men to Christ. As a result, 8 other drunken men prayed to receive Christ and they also experienced complete freedom from any urge or desire to drink! When approaching a friend or a relative and when persuading someone to consider Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, Samuit simply stated, “You knew who I was. And you can see with your own eyes who I am now. What more proof do you need to convince yourself that Preay yea-sue (Jesus) is for real? As a result, many people who had close relationships to Samuit came to church willingly and had prayed to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior! Already, Samuit brought 19 people to the Lord, including his elderly mother, his aunt, his 8 drunken friends, his two adult siblings, three of his own kids, and a few more! Samuit is currently enrolled in Abundant Life class for new believers at Srae Nouy Alliance church. Only the One True and Living God can transform lives!

Samuit, wife, and baby on their old bike with Pastor standing behind
A Special Need…

Although we already had an Approved Special by the C&MA National Office to raise fund for Anlong Veng Ministry Center (1-47200-46-64-01030) before we arrived in Anlong Veng, we purposely have not made it a public request for the following reasons: We wanted to come to meet with people of the areas, to observe first hand where the specific needs are, to scout out for potential ministries, and to explore the land first before making any decision.

As some of you who have been faithfully following our monthly updates, you would have realized that, before coming here, we were not even aware of any existing churches or any Alliance churches in Anlong Veng. But shortly after we settled down by early October 2017 and after we met with Pastor Dy from Srae Nouy Alliance and with Mr. Kong from Andong Chan village, we learned that there were already five existing young Alliance house churches located around Anlong Veng and Srae Nouy areas! The people in these house churches are either related to or have some connections to Mr. Kong. These groups of people, after hearing Kong’s powerful testimony of how God miraculously saved his life, prayed to received Christ as their Lord and Savior! So, for the past two years, we have been intentional in investing our time, energy, efforts, resources, and many prayers to training leaders and teaching discipleship classes ever since. And YOU have been our faithful prayer warrior and ministry partner in this movement. Through these joined efforts, God has been very gracious to stretch our ministry boundaries where we now have a total of 12 Alliance village-house churches scattered around Anlong Veng and Srae Nouy areas! Without a doubt, we firmly believe that God had sent us here at just the right time to join Him where He was already and is still at work stirring hearts and transforming lives for His kingdom purpose. And now, we sensed that God is calling us to the next step, to purchase a piece of property for the Anlong Veng Ministry Center with an Approve Special serial number provided above. Please prayerfully consider joining us in this next movement.  We are looking at a piece of property located between two primary and middle schools between Toul Prich and Toul Krous villages. If God is willing, we hope to secure this piece of land before we return to the States, June 2021, for our furlough/home assignment year.

Toul Krous village kids get warmed up before soccer game

Additional dates and events needing your prayers…

  1. Oct. 5: our next National KEC youth committee meeting in Phnom Penh.
  2. Oct. 12-20: Jonathan coming home for fall break
  3. Oct. 14-17: the KEC youth president and some National youth committees will be traveling with us to a youth rally at Rattanakiri Province
  4. Oct 19: We will join the northwest regional church committees to visit Alliance house churches in Mart Klaa and Kamong Klang floating villages.
  5. Oct. 29-Nov. 1: Alliance film crew to visit Anlong Veng ministries for a follow up story on Mr. Kong
  6. Nov. 1-3: Northwest regional Alliance women to visit Anlong Veng ministries
  7. Next Poipet leadership classes: Nov. 1 and Nov. 23
  8. We are so excited for Aide Rose Fernandez who would, soon, join us in the Anlong Veng ministries.  Please pray for the right-price, right location, and safe housing arrangements for her.
Thank you again for your on-going prayers and support. Please share with us what God is doing in your areas.

Blessings,

Soeuth& Syna Lao

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