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