Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December Update (Part 2)

Dear Friends,

We want to let you know that the quarterly northwest regional youth rally on December 10 was a big success!  Though only 129 youth registered and paid for the meal, 190 people (and more) showed up!  Thanks to the devoted and hard working youth committees, all things went smoothly as could be.  Young people from three provinces came to join the festive celebrations. This was the first Christmas gathering for many of the people who came! Everyone seemed to have a great time, and everyone participated well.  And the singing was so joyous and LOUD that the musicians (especially the drummer) could hardly hear the beats! Many groups of talented kids took turns to perform their favorite songs and/ or choreography dances!  There were given opportunities for testimonies and sharing.  All giving praises to the Lord Jesus, the ONE who is the true reason for this celebration!

During the time of message Soeuth challenged the youth with many questions relating to the meaning of Christmas. “What would you do for Christmas?  What would you give back to Christ?”  Many stood up to give their appropriate reasons, including Thong, a newly convert. 

Thong, aged 24, is one of the key strikers for the division I soccer team for the Living Water Church. Over the summer, Thong, one of the soccer players from the community kids, has been coming to play soccer at the church ground.  Usually, gambling is very common in Cambodia.  There is an underline saying that goes like this, “If no bet, no sweat”.  In other words, people gamble for everything, especially during any sport events.  At first, Thong, being one of well know

best players, came to the church ground looking for such an opportunity.  Yet, as Thong observed, there was something totally different at the Living Water soccer games!  The games were exciting!  There were many great players from each competing team.  Yet, no one was betting!  “Odd!  What a waste of time” grumbled Thong.  Instead, the losing team members were doing the 10 push- ups for every goal made by the opposite team!  Thong also noticed that the language used by the players was different, too!  There was hardly any cursing or foul language heard!  From time to time when a player “accidentally” shouted a cursed word, then the game suddenly stopped!  Nobody played.  After a few moments of awkward silent, a guilty person stepped forward, apologized to the other players, stoop down, did the 5 push-ups in front of the groups, only then could the games be resumed!  “Such strange behaviors!” commented Thong.  But this fascinated him very much!  He liked it, in fact.  The warm welcome from the other players the fellowship after the games intrigued him.  
Even from the very beginning, Thong felt included and acceptance. This and many other reasons kept compelling Thong to come and to play at the church ground.   His curiosity to these “strange” activities led Thong to ask many questions.  Eventually, on Sunday morning, during a Sunday Bible study class, July 28, 2013, Thong gave his life to follow the Lord Jesus!  Since then, Thong has been very faithful coming to church regularly.  His new and exciting life caused him to constantly singing praises to God, non-stop!  Thong is often seen to participate in every church event.  Even with his off-key voice,
Thong is not ashamed to join the worship team on Sunday services!  Thong is currently studying a Living Water class with one of church leaders.  So, at the recent youth event, when challenged by the question, “What would you give back to Christ?” without any hesitant, standing up in front of nearly 200 people, Thong boldly declared, “I commit to give my life to serve Jesus Christ for the rest o my life!”  Please keep Thong and many other new believers in your prayers as they are taking “baby steps” trotting this new ground of being followers of Jesus Christ.

Another new believer who will participate in the Christmas event, first time in her life, is a young lady of 20 years old named Da Nat.  Because of her new, reversed role of being the “bread winner” for the family, and with her other responsibilities of caring for the family needs, Da Nat was sad that she could not join the recent youth event.  But she is excited about the coming joined Christmas event at the Living Water church on December 25!  Da Nat is working hard saving up money so she and her mother, Lena, and two younger sisters could afford a taxi ride from Malay to Poipet!

Da Nat was a typical care-free young lady who had high hopes and dreams of finding a good husband and a good future.  She is the oldest of three daughters belonging to Lena. As a good and responsible daughter, Da Nat was always careful to listen and obey her mother in every way she could.  Though Da Nat had helped earning some money from various side jobs to help caring for the family needs, the role for feeding the family was always belonged to her mother.  All of these had changed suddenly, however, on the morning of June 1, 2013, when her step father took an ax and brutally attacked Da Nat, her mother, Lena, and her younger sister (please refer to Lena’s story for details).  Like a flash of light, all her hopes and dreams instantly shattered right before her eyes!  Her beautiful oval face was suddenly replaced by a huge scar on her left cheek, and two missing front teeth now took the place her once beautiful smiles…  By the grace of God that all three victims miraculously survived!  (Lena who had suffered the most had to undergo many reconstruction surgeries on her head and eye)...

Before this tragic incident took, Lena, with the help of her three daughters, ran a small saloon shop at the corner of their small grass hut, where she did nails, hairs, and make-ups for interested costumers.  The small meager payments she received from customers were barely enough to put food on the table (mat) feeding the girls and while keeping the girls in public school.  Nevertheless, Lena was thankful for the shop.  However, now that Lena has one good eye remained and with poor eye sight along with other constant medical issues, Lena could no long carry on this responsibility.  The reversed role 
of being the bread winner now suddenly falls on Da Nat, the oldest girl of the family!

During the long recovery periods and with her mother constantly returning to the hospital, Da Nat was able to reflect on the miracles that God allowed in her life.  At their moments of difficult times, she was able to see the Love of Jesus pouring to her family through the loving care and responsiveness of the Body of believers.  And every week when the Bible study often took place at their house, Da Nat was able to hear the word of God being taught in the class.  As the result Da Nat was encouraged to study God’s Word with her family and on her own.  So upon Soeuth’s invitation, Da Nat committed her life to Christ on Monday, October 21, 2013.  Since then, Da Nat has been one of the regular attendees at the Malay house church weekly Bible study class. 

As the new role of caring for her family now falls on her, Da Nat is taking full responsibility of running the saloon shop where she earns small amount of money to help feed the family.  When asked what her future plans for life would be, Da Nat could only think for “one day at a time”.  Her immediate goal is for a chance to attend a beauty school in order to improve her skills in cosmetic and hair stylist.   And she will have that chance when January comes.  Starting in January will move to Poipet to live with us for a while in order to train in such a skill at one of the saloon shops here.

Please continue to pray for the many Christmas programs that are yet to be done throughout the remaining days of December.  Pray that each of these celebrations would truly bring honor to Christ and not just following the programs.  

This morning , we received words that Synath Tol, (Syna’s older brother), after over two years of struggling against cancer, finally went HOME to be with the Lord at the age of 50.  Synath, a devoted follower of Jesus, had served as a pastor with the Cambodian Evangelical Church  (CEC) in Tacoma, WA, for many years.  Synath is survived by his wife, Soupha, and three teenagers, ages 19, 16, and 13.  Please pray for the family during this difficult time.
We wish you and Blessed and Merry Christmas. 
He is the reason for this season,
Syna and Soeuth Lao


Friday, December 6, 2013

December 2013 Update

 Dear Friends,

WOW, it is December already!  We are very behind with our newsletter! Thank you for your patience.  
Throughout the months of September and October and early November, Poipet and most parts of Cambodia were filled with heavy rains and flood waters!  The flood destroyed many roads making it very challenged to travel.  As the results, many roads to distant house churches were impassable!  Though the members of each house church remained faithful with their weekly meetings, the assigned leaders from the Living Water (mother church) were not able to visit and offer any encouragement.  Praise God, now that it is dryer in most places we are just beginning to resume those visits again.  The tragic part, however, is that, even though it is now the beginning of harvest season, there is hardly any crop for the harvest!  Most of the rice fields or plantation crops were badly destroyed by the October flood!  As the results, we already anticipated that many of the church members would soon go to Thailand to look for ways to earn money.  This is a testing time for most new believers. Pray that they would remain faithful to the Christian walks no matter where they end up…
A number of significant events took place since our last letter to you.
1. October 1-7, we were thankful for a great a chance to visit and speak at a church mission conference at Detroit Lakes, MN, where we spoke about mission emphasis to all age groups!  Our prayer is that lives would continue to be impacted by what we’d shared about God’s works in Cambodia.  It was quite an experience moving from a tropical land of hot and humid 97 degrees Fahrenheit to a cool windy day of 53 degrees!  We were grateful for kind friends who graciously lent us their winter jackets to use for that whole week! At the same time, we were extremely grateful to thoughtful friends and colleagues who were willing to take turns caring for Jonathan during our absence.  Kandi Lay had the hardest and most challenged job of all taking over the “day shift” overseeing Jonathan’s home school works; on the other hand, Kate Manske, the Poipet team’s newest and additional team mate, took a more enjoyable job during the “night shift”.

2. Soeuth has been busy traveling to the capital city (PHN) and to other provinces for meetings and regional conference concerning the youth ministry.
3. The Living Water church was blessed to have a visiting team from the New York City helping with youth ministry, Oc. 19-27.  The team of two had fun times painting cartoon characters on the Sunday school rooms’ walls, and they also were a great help with the English classes.  The youth enjoyed spending time with and learning some dance moves from the team!

4. Soeuth was thankful for an opportunity to cheer for and watch Justin play at 7 Nation Soccer Cup at Chaing Mai, Thailand.  Go Dalat!!!

5. Our family had a great visit with Justin at Penang, Malaysia, October 30-November 6.  While at Dalat, Jonathan had a positive experience of shadowing a student for a day.  At the end of that day, Jon did a placement test for entering Dalat International School this coming January 2014.

6. In November, Soeuth officiated and preached at two weddings; and two more weddings remain for the month of December, in addition the many Christmas programs that we are expected to attend, coming up really soon...

7. At 2 am on November 17, Mrs. Chanrate, one of the key women leaders for Northwest region from Siem Reap Province had a massive stroke.  Unfortunately, the news of her condition did not reach to our medical team until 48 hours after the incident!  And with the lack of proper medical facilities in Cambodia, there is nothing much can be done to help… Although she is able to make use of her right extremities and is able to regain her speech, Mrs.  Chantrate remains left-side paralyzed.  This tragic incident is a big shock the to the family, and it also brought a great lost for the Cambodian KEC women ministry.  Please pray for Pastor Nhan (her husband) and the family as they adjust to this change.  Mrs. Chantrate and Pastor Nhan along with their 9 children have been faithfully and heavily involved in the various ministries of the Khmer Evangelical Church (KEC).

8. Soeuth, the only non-medical member, enjoys working with the medical team at the C&MA office, on Wednesdays, as a spiritual role, where the team provides loving cares and comfort to the patients seeking medical advice.  We are grateful to God for our professional medical team and “Dr. Soeuth” along with a number Christian Khmer staffs.  As the results, words of praises are being heard in villages by those who came to the clinic where, not only did they receive medical helps, but they also encountered Christ’s love in actions.
Below are something new and/ or coming events that we would appreciate your prayers…

1. Our entire Poipet team will travel to Phnom Penh as a convoy on Dec. 4-7 for team meeting and fellowship with other International workers there.  Pay for safe traveling to and from.

2. The youth ministry for Peaop Region (northwest) will have a Christmas event, a day of youth rally, on December 10th, at the Living Water Church, Poipet.  We are anticipating that at least 200 youth will come being that it is national a holiday.  Pray for safe traveling for those coming from Battambang and Siem Reap Provines and from other distant villages.

3. Pray for the Monday night Spiritual Leadership class meeting at our house where a total of 22 students come every week to study.  Many of the students are key leaders or elders from their church.

4. The KEC churches already scheduled for their many Christmas programs.  Many new believers will be celebrating their first Christmas this year. And a number of family members will be invited to join the celebration.  Pray the message of Christmas will be well received.  Pray for open hearts of those who come.

5. The Poipet churches will have the joined baptismal service at the end of December.  Many new believers are attending classes/ small groups to study and prepare themselves for this event. Pray that these new believers will sway from their decision to follow Christ.

6. Our older son, Justin, will come home from Dalat School for a long Christmas break, Dec. 19- Jan. 14.  Pray that we will have some quality family times even in the midst of business.  Then, on January 14, Jonathan will join his brother at the school.  Syna will accompany the boys back to school, and she plans to stay there for sometimes until Jonathan settles down at a new place.  Please pray for smooth transition and adjustment for all of us…

Please share with us about what God is doing in your life.  We would love to pray for you.  Thank you for being such a blessing to us through your prayers and financial support to the Great Commission Fund.   Youth faithful and sacrificial giving to the support of the CGF enables us to keep on serving here, bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ into this dark part of the world.  Thank you for living the call together.   Have blessed and Merry Christmas!  He is the reason for this season!

In Him,
Soeuth and Syna Lao
with Justin and Jonathan

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

August 13th Update

Dear Friends,
Greetings in the Lord!  We trust that you are doing well and enjoy the summer.
We are in the midst of the monsoon season, and there have been some heavy rains every day!  The rain waters caused damages to the many dirt roads throughout the Poipet areas.  With no sewage or any drainage system available, we are surrounded by flood waters.   The prolonged floods and contaminate waters raise significant concerns for potential health problems such as dengue fever, typhoid, and others.   This is also the time when unwanted visitors (snakes and other creepy crawly pests) often appear.  While moderate rains are blessings to the rice farmers, for the plantation farmers who live along the Malay areas, however, their growing crops are being greatly destroyed by too much rain waters.
You have been praying with us for some of the events that took place in July and early August, and we want to share with you some updates.  The International workers had our annual Filed Forum at Kampong Sorm Province, July 9-15.   What a great week we had, fellowshipping with each other, hearing from one another about what God is doing in their lives and ministries!  The guest speaker brought nourishment to our thirsty souls!
After the FF, we’d rushed home to Poipet to welcome a visiting team, Grace Faith Church, July 19-29, right from the heart of New York City!  The team brought some goodies for the Poipet children ministry, some used laptops for the computer class at Living Water Church, and a brand new Ninja blender for Syna!  We appreciate the visiting team for helping to teach English and computer classes.  The youth appreciate the friendly relationship they’d established with the team.  Thank you, Grace Faith Church, for investing your commitment and devotion and resources with the Poipet ministries.

Very early in the morning of August 12, we’d loaded up three trucks full (two trucks from LWC and one from MMF) of young people (58 people) and headed to Thmar Koul, Battambang Province, for the 20th National Annual KEC youth conference.  This was the most anticipated event for the entire KEC National youth!  Though we only had 517 youth registered and paid for the conference fees, more than 550 people showed up at every meal time!  It was a bit challenged for the youth committees trying to accommodate all the lodging and other needs for such many people.  Throughout the conference, we’d encountered a number of emergencies including some medical issues.  But only God knew this before hand, and He took care of all the details before we even arrived!  Just it happened that we had three nurses were available at the conference to take care for all the medical needs!   On the second day, 3 of the 8 members of the National Youth Committees had to leave the conference early due to

personal matters.  We were quite concerned on how to manage such a large crowd with already shortage of personals, but the youth were exceptionally obedient and well behaved!
More issues also arose from local authorities.  The conference theme was, “Do Not Conform Any Longer to the Pattern of This W
orld”, (Romans 12:2).  Due to a recent and still unresolved Cambodian National election, however, and the fact that a large number of Christian youth traveling across the country to the conference in BTB, local authorities from every province gave our youth leaders such a hard time.  They’d questioned the leaders about the motives and purposes of the conference, and they even asked for copies and explanations of the agendas of the entire conference!  In fact, a few local authorities were seen sitting on sites at the conference, observed every message spoken and activities involved during the seminar and preaching times.  And about 120 youth from the northeastern provinces were stopped and questioned by local authorities on the morning of their departure for the conference!  But after many explanations, agreements made, more permission slips signed and thumb
printed, these youth were allowed to travel to the conference, causing a 6- hour delay!   And just a few days before the conference started, we had planned to print 300 T-shirts using words from the conference theme, but local authorities in Siem Reap Province would not allow such words to be printed!  BUT they’d agreed, however, with these words “Be Holy, because I Am Holy” (1 Peter 1:16) to be printed on the T-shirts instead.  We were able to keep, praise God, the original theme in mind for the already prepared  seminars and messages.  God was in control the whole time! Then, we had to deal with the issues of heavy rains and power shortage.  During the first two nights just when the evening services were about to begin, heavy rain drops began to pound on the tinned roofs of the conference center creating such loud and thunderous roars.  BUT just seconds before the main speaker was about to go up, the rains stopped!  Everyone was able to hear the messages loud and clear.
Heavy rains made such a mess on sidewalks and playground areas.  With the exception to soccer and valley ball tournaments, the youth were mostly confined to indoor activities throughout the entire conference.  Once again, we were concerned that the youth might become restless because of being trapped indoor, but they seemed to enjoy and entertain themselves well, participating in and with various games of ultimate Frisbee, hacky sacks, goofy golf, indoor basketball and others.
Going to the conference, we had brought along 3 trophies and many first and second place awards for entire KEC National youth.  At the end of the conference, however, the youth from Poipet took two trophies and most of the first place awards home!  The teams from the cities and from other provinces were not used to playing soccer in the mud!
We had to leave the conference immediately after the evening service, August 14, and drove to Poipet arriving home at midnight.  Justin had to catch a 1:50 pm flight of August 15, from Bangkok, Thailand, to Penang, Malaysia!  We were very concerned because of the long waiting lines at the emigration buildings crossing the borders.  After 4 hours of taxi ride, and by the time we’d made it to airport and checked in, Justin had only 30 minutes before departure!  After dropping
him off at the airport and a few hours of waiting, we’d received words from the dorm parents that Justin had safely arrived in Penang!   Praise God!  We’d stayed a few extra days longer at the Alliance Guest Home (AGH) just for rest and relaxation.  After a long hectic week in Poipet, it was refreshing to our spirits to be able to sit down and enjoy a beautiful English speaking church service at the Evangelical church of Bangkok!  We came home to Poipet that Sunday afternoon to begin another year of home school with Jonathan, grade 6…
Updates on Lena:  Since June and July, Lena had two more surgeries concerning her left eye.  She is doing better now, physically.  She is still emotionally shaken by what happened to her and the girls.  No news of the missing husband yet.  Words get around that his family wants Lena and the girls out of the land so they could sell it for large sum of money.  Lena and the girls have no other place to go.  Please pray that God would work justice on their behalf.  Lena’s oldest daughter, Daa Naet, however, is taking charge of keeping the family together by make food products to sell at local a market.  We admire her ambition and support her in every aspect we can.  From time to time, we’d switched the weekly Bible study to Lena’s place/ house.  Pray that God would use this place as a way for shining the light of Jesus to this dark part of community.  Pray that God would completely transform this place into a community of outreach ministry for the Malay village.
As of May this year, Soeuth has been traveling to Battambang Province about 3 hour- drive each, twice a month, to teach a leadership course to 26 leaders from that area.  Beginning the first week of September, Soeuth will travel to Pley Bey (about 2 hour-drive) pass Malay areas, twice a month,to teach TEE class.
We rejoice that so far, two members (Thong and Lee) of the Division 1 representing Living Water Soccer team have accepted the Lord Jesus as their Lord and Savior!  The Living Water church has a fantastic on-going ministry reaching out to community kids through sport ministry and teaching English and computer class as a means for evangelism out reach.  Every day, an average of 30-40 kids come to hang out at the church ground participating in various sport activities and attending classes.  It is a great opportunity to reach kids for Christ as well as keeping them away from drugs and crimes and other bad stuff.
Please pray for the following events:
-Pray for safe traveling and protection for Soeuth as he goes out often to distant place every week to teach.
-The Copeland family arrives on August 29 at 10 am in Siem Reap Int. airport, Cambodia.
-Sunday -School teachers training seminar, Living Water Church, August 31.
-Bontey Meanchey Province quarterly women gathering- Living Water, Poipet, Sept. 7
- National Youth Committee meeting, at PHN, Sept. 12-14. The committees will discuss about the next youth conference, April 2014, and about the plan to initiate Bible quizzing program beginning with the northwest region.
-Poipet Leadership meeting, Living Water, Poipet, Sept. 16
-Evangelism Explosion Seminar (EE), Living Water, Poipet, Sept. 24
-Pray for Syna’s TEE students (9 of them) to complete the course well.  They are in week 7 of Book 6.
-Pray for clear vision and directions for the key church leaders of the Poipet ministries.  Pray for revival among the church leaders and their families.  Pray for unity.  The church leaders have been made aware that the mission is phasing out of Poipet beginning year 2015.  Pray for a sense of ownership from the church leaders and as well from the church families.
Please share with us what God is doing in your life.  We would love to be a blessing to you through prayers as you have been to us.  As always, we are grateful to you, our partners in ministries, through your endless prayers and financial support.  Your generous giving the Great Commission Fund is what keeps us serving here among the Khmer People bringing the Good News of Jesus into dark place such as Poipet.  We appreciate you!  May you and your family be richly blessed.
Because He Lives,
Soeuth and Syna Lao

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 2013 Update

Dear All,
Just want to send you a quick update before we take off to Field Forum.  On June 21-22, the KEC northwest region had their quarterly women retreat in Siem Reap Province where 132 ladies attended.  Syna spoke a message based on the book of Judges, chapter 4, challenging the women to Be Light and Be Strong in their communities, even as they are living in midst of male-dominant culture.  Many women who attended the conference came from many different walks of life: many of them are poor families struggled to raise their families as single parents; some have unbelieving, passive, unfaith, alcoholic, and or abusive spouses.   At the end of the conference, many ladies were determined to live a life as Strong Women just like their heroine, Deborah!
Every woman was moved when the story of Lena was shared.  So strong was their feeling for their hurting sisters, Lena (and woman with needs), that the love offering was immediately collected!  They collected $150.00!  This amount may not seem much to the people living in the West, but among the poor people in Cambodia, it is about two- month salary for an average income!   The money was split in halves to help the two ladies.
When we presented the money to Lena, she cried and wished she could be at the conference as well.  During the week we were in Siem Reap, Lena had some complications with the incision of her left eye.  We’d arranged to send her back to Emergency Hospital where the doctor looked at the wound and changed her prescription.
The women spent sometimes in prayers for their many hurting sisters, including Mrs. Moum who is still in jail.  Mrs. Moum continues faithfully to serve God through prison- children ministry outreach.  Twice a month, a volunteer team from local C&MA church in Svey Sisophon continues to minister to children of inmates, in the Sisophon Prison, through child evangelism, literacy and health lessons.  Mrs. Moum is the main contact person for this ministry.  Because of her good behaviors, Mrs. Moum is allowed special privilege to work in the arts & crafts room where she was able to crochet handbags and book covers, and her goods were sent to be sold among the church people such as at the women retreat at Siem Reap.  
Prayer requests:
- Please continue to pray for Lena and her girls, and for Mrs. Moum.
- Pray for the coming C&MA Field Forum, July 9-14, at Kampong Sorm Province.  Our guest speaker is Rev. Sunder Krishnan, Senior Pastor at Rexdale Alliance Church, Toronto, Canada.
- Pray National KEC Youth Conference, August 12-15, at Thmar Koul Center, in Battambang Province.  We are expecting about 600 youth will attend the conference.
- Pray for a united spirit among the National youth committees.  Pray that these youth leaders would see clear vision for the youth ministry.

Soeuth and Syna Lao

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 2013 Update

Dear Friends,

There have been too many dramatic incidents happening around here during the months of May and June that we hardly know where to begin…  Lately, a number of our youth and church people were involved in various traffic accidents.  Though traffic accidents are unavoidable and are happening everywhere, the issues have become an area of concern and the source of frustration when the “laws of justice” seemed to favor strongly with those who are rich and those with connections…  As for the medical system, it seemed that intravenous fluid (IV) treatment is the # 1 cure for all sicknesses!  And a local saying still rings true to many of the poor families for medical practices that, “No money, no mercy”…  During a time of great challenges, we often wonder about the facts, why do the wicked seemed to always getting away with things, while the righteous are suffering, being mistreated, overlooked, and oppressed? 
Many of you have been following about and praying for the horrible situations that have been happening, on June 1, 2013, to Lena and her daughters, members of the Malay house church, where Lena and two daughters were axed, numerous times, on their heads, by Lena’s own husband!  (Read detailed information below).   By the grace of God, their lives were miraculo
usly spared!  Though the physical wounds are slowly healing, leaving permanent scars on their bodies as reminders of that unforgettable and most dreadful night, the deeper wounds (the emotional and the spiritual wounds), however, are still raw and continue to bring about haunting nightmares…  Of course nothing like this escapes God’s knowing.   And our God always has a habit of bringing something beautiful out of ashes.  At this point we don’t really know what HIS plans are for Lena and her daughters, but something beautiful did come out of this tragic event…
When the news about Lena reached the believers all over Cambodia, Christian people began to shout their prayers to God, to the Great Physician of all, and He heard their cries of prayers!  As the results, even in the midst of injustice and the whole system of corruption, God’s mercies still rule.  He sent us help!  Through the kindness of godly and concerned people (both the Christians and the not-yet Christians), men and women, from Malay, Poipet, and Sisophon areas, voluntarily took turns to spend a few hours, a day, or a night, at the hospital beds, to help care for Lena and the girls’ basic needs.  The Christian people took collections and prayed continuously for her.  And those who stayed with Lena read portions of the Bible out loud to her!   Lena and her daughters’ tragic stories were broadcasted, numerous times, in the Cambodian National radio and television stations!  And because of this broadcast, many people flooded into the hospital settings, just to see the victims and hoped to hear their stories.  And this was where these Khmer people got to see Christ’s love in actions through the responsiveness His children!  Even the hospital staff were amazed that there were so many visitors for just three patients!  Even not-yet Christians who came to visit were amazed and awed at how such loving kindness and concern the Christian people were showing to Lena’s situation!  Even Lena’s own brother, Saat, a not-yet believer, has just admitted, to Soeuth, that he will consider his decision of faith…
Our family enjoyed having Justin home for the summer break, (June 6- August 15).  With Lena’s situations along with many other unavoidable interruptions, we are a bit delayed with home school.  But we hope to have Jonathan finished school by June 20th, so he could enjoy a summer break with his big brother…  Syna is grateful for a wonderful opportunity to attend a Leadership Matter Course (LMC) in Phnom Penh, April 21-May 4.  While Syna was away, Soeuth took over the household affairs including home school and the ministries in Poipet.  It was an interesting two -week experience for the Lao family!  
On May 16-25, we’d enjoy a visiting team led by our dear friend, Jim Newman, from Washington Alliance Church (WAC), Western PA.  The team brought us some wonderful goodies including 3 quizzing machines for the KEC youth ministry and Jonathan’s home school books for the coming year!  The Living Water is blessed to have a new basketball court and ceiling fans for all the rooms downstairs!  Thank you WAC team!
June 8-9, the Division 1 Living Water Soccer team, had a finals match where our team came in second place.  We are proud of our players.  Justin was excited to be part of the team during his final competition, using his goalie skills.
As you remember to continue praying for Lena, please pray also for the events below…
-June 18, Poipet’s children Sunday school teachers’ retreat in Siem Reap
-June 21-22, Regional Women seminar, Siem Reap Province.
-June 29, Poipet monthly youth gathering meet at Living Water Church.
-July 9-15, C&MA missionary annual Field Forum meeting at Sihanoukville Province.
-July 20, Quarterly Regional youth gathering for the northwest region at Svey Sisophon.
-August 12-14, National KEC Youth Conference at Thmar Koul Center, about 600 youth will attend 
Thank you so much for your continual partnership through your faithful prayers and financial support to the GCF.  Your giving to the GCF enables us to serve God, among the poor and oppressed, shining the light of Jesus to the lost, in this dark part of the world.  Please share with us what God is doing in your lives.  We would love to be your prayer supporters as well.

Because He Lives,
Soeuth and Syna Lao
HP: 855-12-508-713
Skype: soeuthlao

Dear Friends,

June 2
Please pray for Lena and her two daughters (13 and 17) from Malay village!  At 1 am in June 1, Lena and her girls were sound asleep when her husband attempted to murder her with numerous devices.  First he electric socked on her chest where she got severe burn at the sites, next he choked and tried to cut off her tongue with scissors but without success!  Then he took an ax and chopped her on the head numerous times!  When the girls finally awoke from the next room and when they attempted to help their mom, he then took turns on them.  The girls got numerous cut on their heads as well. Finally he took off!  The neighbors heard the commotion and called the police.  That was when they discovered that the husband, being the only ambulance driver from that district, he took off with the ambulance!  So when the police were site, they could not do anything nor could they get the patients to the local referral hospital there.  After many attempted phone calls, we were able get another ambulance from Poipet to get them to the provincial hospital in Mokoul Borey, about 6 hours after the incident took place.  All three victims are in critical conditions at a provincial hospital right now.  But because they had no close relatives and no financial status, we were not even allowed a hospital bed!  When we saw them yesterday on June 2nd, all three were lying on filthy mats on tile floor!  We are trying our best to work with the local medial system, whose medical practices are SO BACKWARD! Very frustrating!  We spent about 6 hours at the hospital yesterday, working hard not to lose our tempers as we'd tried to get someone to check on the patients...  Thanks to the kindness of neighbors and friends, church people are taking turns to stay with the patients and help with their needs, until we are able to contact distant family members...  Please pray.

June 3
After numerous attempts and many phone calls, we finally got Lena and her two daughters out of the provincial hospital, today at around 3 pm, and the patients transferred to and were being seen by doctors at the NGO trauma hospital called Emergency Hospital in Battambang Province.  (The Monkoul Borey Provincial Hospital made us paid $300.00 even there was hardly any nursing care done on the patients!)  BUT the minutes after we'd loaded the patients into our pick-up truck (Lena and her younger daughter inside the truck), heavy rains began to pour down nonstop!  Soeuth had to drive very slowly as one patient (an older daughter) and a relative were sitting, outside, under the cover of a heavy plastic tarp/ sheet, on back of the truck!  With heavy rains, the trip to the Emergency Hospital took more than 2 hours.  But the patients were all doing okay!  The staff at the Emergency were kinder and helpful, compare to those at the provincial hospital staff!  All three patients were immediately rushed into the treatment rooms!  Because it is a full house with all kinds of trauma patients at the Emergency Hospital, they could only have one bed available for Lena.  Lena had lost a lot of blood and she has bleeding from her nose and her left eye. The other two patients, however, the daughters, will be treated as our patients.  We rented a room at the nearby guest house for the sisters and their uncle (Lena's younger brother)... What I forgot to tell you is that Lena also has another daughter named Paula.  She is 4 years old, and this little girl was in the same room when it all happened!  She saw everything that her father had done to her mother and two older sisters!  Though she was not physically harmed, we are very concerned about her emotional being... Thanks for pray for Lena's family.  We'll keep you posted if anything changes.

June 8
After we left Lena and her girls under the care of the medical staffs at the Emergency Hospital on June 4, we went to BKK to pick up Justin who has just returned home (June 6) for the summer break... This afternoon, Saturday June 8, we visited Lena at the hospital again.  Lena was alert and looked much stronger today!  They shaved off her head.  She had 4 large deep wounds where her husband had axed her, but the wounds are now covered nicely with stitches. The guy had pounded on her left eye with the head of an ax where it is now totally damaged.  The doctors had to remove her left eye ball because it was showing sign of infection, and they said that if delayed, it may cause more damage to the remaining eye.  The left eye still has some swelling and some oozing blood drainage from the incision sites. The doctors suggested that when the husband attempted to choke Lena multiple times, he may had caused some damages to her voice box.   And the cut on her tongue is healing beautifully as well.  Though Lena was able to tell us, in great details about everything that had happened to her on that horrible night, 
she talked with much effort and with a very hoarse voice!  She still has a swelling on her throat.  The doctors told her that Lena may need to undergo another surgery, hopefully, to repair her voice box.  Lena still has some oozing sores on her chest, those burn marks that she got when the husband tried to kill her through electric shocked, twice!  Despite of what she had gone through, the first words that came out of her lips when she greeted us was that, "I am going to live".  We told Lena that many Christian families have been praying for her.  And she was very grateful and said, "Thank You” About her girls:  the oldest one, named Daa Naet, had seven stitches on her left cheek, and the swelling is going down tremendously!  She is not considered as a patient at Emergency, but she is there as a family member caring for Lena.  Because of his work in Phnom Penh, Lena's brother had to go back home this morning.  We suggested that he takes 4 year-old Paula to live with his family for a while; since Paula, being a curious child, was always wondering around the hospital, always causing more panics and frights to Lena whenever Paula had disappeared to some places.  The middle girl, Srey Nit, (who also had two nasty cuts on her head, where the wounds are now covering nicely with clean stitches), is being sent to live with another relative, in Phnom Penh, for a while, until Lena is strong enough to care for herself again. As for legal perspectives and justice, we have very little hope that any justice will be done for Lena and her children.  The guy is still missing.  We pray that God will deliver His justice on their behalf.  Thank you for praying for Lena and the family...

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Report

 Dear Friends and Family,

Greetings from the land of the tropics! In the month of January, we enjoyed a few “winter” days when the refreshing cool temperature dropped to the mid 70’s.
But now, near the peak of the HOT season, the average daily temperature is in the high 90’s! First of all, we want to THANK YOU for your patience, faithful prayers, and support for our family and the ministries in Poipet, even when our newsletters to you have not been as frequent as we would like them to be. Many events took place since our last newsletter sent and we want to keep you up to date. In late December to mid January, despite of the business with all the Christmas programs from among the KEC churches, we managed to have a wonderful and fun time spent with our older son, Justin. During his last week of winter break, we spent a restful week of family vacation in Bangkok, where we also get to meet some wonderful new friends who were staying at the Alliance Guest House. During the few weeks of Jan. 4 to Feb. 8, the church families in Poipet encountered a number of scary incidents where a total of 8 school age girls, those that we know of, were being attacked. Some of them were sexually hurt by some evil men, in broad day light, as these girls were bicycling separately to and from school! The police and other local authorities had been immediately notified. Unfortunately, even to this day, there is not even a single report that any of these guys were caught! The girls at church are being cautious of when and where they are traveling. Please continue to lift this situation in your prayers. During the festive weekends of Chinese New Year, Feb. 9-10, there was a report that at least 40 people were killed by traffic accidents and hundreds injured as people went overboard with their wild drinking and reckless driving. Unfortunately, some of the young people from the Poipet church suffered some minor injuries as well. On Feb. 5-8, Soeuth took 6 guys from Poipet to join the KEC men retreat at Rattanakiri Province, about 18 hours drive to the Northeastern part of Cambodia, where 476 men registered! Then, our family went to PHN, on Feb.14-21, to join 1. The dedication of the KEC National Office (Feb. 15) 2. The 90th Anniversary celebration since the Good News of Jesus Christ entered Cambodia the C&MA (Feb. 15-16) and 3. The KEC Conference (Feb. 18-20). During the 90th Anniversary, there were many representatives from different nations and many tribal and people groups from around Cambodia; they all came to join the festive celebrations! There were given opportunities for different people groups to sing and/ or perform their special ethnic songs in tribute to the special occasion. There was also a moment of silent as we took time to reflect and honor those faithful servants of the Lord who had sacrificed their lives for the cause of bringing the Good News into Cambodia. We’d all experienced a taste of
heaven during those two days!
At the KEC Mohasanibaat (Conference), the KEC representatives from all three regions gave reports that, in spites of their ups and downs, God is at work among the 190 KEC Churches! And the KEC is hoping to have 200 churches by the end of 2013! Some of main goals for the upcoming year are to strengthen the ministries of youth, discipleship, and leadership training.We were especially pleased when the conference took time to recognize and honor those who are faithfully investing 
times and efforts teaching and disciple others through various Christian education literatures and TEE books. Among the 22 students who graduated this year, 16 of them were from the P-Noung tribe of Mondulkiri Province! We praised these students as they persevered all the way to the end, devoting themselves to study and observance of the laws of the Lord (Ezra 7:10) though the TEE program, in the Khmer language! As soon as the conference ended, we rushed back to Poipet to resume a few more days of home school. Slowly but surely, our Jonathan, fifth grader- he’ll be 11 on April 9th, is making progress with home school. At the rate where things have been and are going, however, we may end up having a very brief summer break this year, before we’ll head on toward the next school year... Please pray for Jonathan for motivation to study, extra patience, and more grace on the teacher...
Then, on Monday, Feb. 25, (another National holiday for the Khmer students), the
northwest youth came together for their quarterly gathering at Svey Sisophon village. Soeuth gave a message based on Ephesians 4:25-5:2. The youth were then divided into 5 groups. Each group received a large rice bag, a marker, and instructions. As the groups raced outside to gather and collect all the garbage surrounding the church building, the young people were identifying all the “garbage” /sins in their lives that were offending their Savior Lord. At the end of the message, in spite of the extreme heat (it was at least 105 degrees outside), all the young people went into a dry rice field to burn away all 
their collected junk, and to confess their many “garbage” of life to the Lord! It was a beautiful scene watching sinners repent! Please continue to lift the Cambodian youth ministry in your prayers. Pray for wisdom, insight, and clear directions as we oversee the National Youth ministry.
Many of you have been very supportive, financially, toward the fund raising project for our vehicle! Although the money you gave was more than enough, we had been delayed purchasing a truck of our own because we have been ‘car- sitting” and alternatively driving two other trucks. These trucks belong to two other units of international worker who are on home assignment this year. Back in November, however, we had placed an order for a specific truck of our choice, and finally, last month it arrived! Because you believe in the same cause and gave generously toward this project, we now have a reliable vehicle which enables us to effectively serve at distant places and be able to travel to remote villages bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the unreached areas. Thank you for your sacrificial gifts and support toward the vehicle fund and toward the Poipet
ministries! We’ve been enjoying the company of and are grateful to have Stephanie, a godly young lady, a “PK” from upstate New York, who has been staying with us for the past few months. Following college graduation, and at her own expenses, she wished to experience a bit of the “mission life” before heading to further education. So far, she has been following us around to villages, helping out with teaching English at the Living Water Church, home schooling Jonathan, and studying Khmer language. During the intense weeks of January and February, we’d encountered some personal and stressful issues as well. Soeuth had a bad case of root canal, and he resolved it by making 5 additional unplanned round trips to the dental office in Phnom Penh, an 8 -hour drive each way! While Soeuth was busy traveling on road trips visiting dentists and
attending meetings, Syna was busy killing snakes and other unwanted pests around the house in Poipet while trying to home school and dealing with endless interruptions and “drop-by” visitors from the church families, teaching TEE classes, and maintaining the household affair. All of that sometimes with or without the help of a reliable house guard or a house helper! But by the Grace of God, we’ve made to March! Please pray for safe traveling and protection during the upcoming events: March 5-8, Mission prayer retreat, Phnom Penh
March 15- Leadership meeting, Poipet
March 16, Syna with NW region women seminar at Ondong Thmar Meas, Poipet March 16, Soeuth with National Youth Committees, Phnom Penh

March 30, Men Club, Poipet
March 30-
April 7, we’ll spend Justin’s spring break in Thailand
April 9-10, Evangelism Explosion Seminar, Poipet
April 14-15, Soeuth with RCC Youth Seminar, Rattanakiri Province
April 13-15, Khmer New Year
April 20, Discipleship Making Seminar, Poipet
April 21-May 4, Syna attending Leadership Matter Course, Phnom Penh

Please share with us what God is doing in your life! We are grateful for your commitment to support and pray and for the partnership with the Poipet ministries. Your faithful giving to the GCF enables us to serve among the poor Khmer families who are living along the border of Cambodia-Thailand, bringing the Good News of Hope and Salvation through Jesus Christ to the lost souls.

Living the call,
Soeuth & Syna Lao