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