Sunday, January 19, 2014

January Update

Dear Friends,

WOW!  We made it to another year!  The Christmas season is finally over!  The boys and I (Syna) could only attend 13 Christmas events out of the many invitations we had, but Soeuth went and spoke at most of these places!  At last, no more eating curies, until the next Christmas season...  Over all, we did have a great time visiting the many villages, throughout the northwest region, as the church families came together to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.  In one village, Srae Noi, we had a baptismal service, following the Christmas event!  Even though it was a windy and “cold” day, 32 new believers joyfully waded into a local pond to be baptized by their leaders!    One lady even took her little child into the water with her.  (The child was very clingy to his mother).  It was a beautiful sight to behold.  Please pray for these new believers to continue following the path of being Jesus’ disciples.

The last of our Christmas events was held on January 16, in the Svey Sisophon prison, where Mrs. Moum is still locked up against her will since May of 2011.  Mrs. Moum and the prison ministry volunteer team were able to get permission from the jailer so we could conduct a Christmas event for the inmates there.  All together, the team set up and gave away 121 care packages.  Many of these inmates came from distant places, and because of this and other reasons, some hardly ever get any visitors from their love ones. It was a beautiful testimony of Christ’s Love to these inmates, as the message of Christ’s love was being shared in words and actions.  Special thanks to Mr. Bo Samoeun and his leadership team
who are committed to serve in the prison ministry.  Please continue to pray for the prison ministry and for the children ministry outreach in this prison.  Mrs. Moum’s time of captivity is coming to a completion in May 2014.  She is looking forward to be released as promised by the local authorities.  Pray that nothing would interfere with the plan.
Despite of the overwhelming busyness over the Christmas season, we managed to get away for our family time, Jan. 6-12.  We had our own “Christmas Day” in January.  Upon Justin’s request, we spent most our time traveling around visiting other provinces throughout the southwestern and southeastern parts of Cambodia, exploring new roads, riding ferries, hiking, swimming, and visiting new places.  In the process, we’d encountered a few episodes of unpleasant motion sicknesses including a 24-hour period of food poisoning (Syna).  In spite of the stomach problems, and even though the never-ending “emergency” phone calls (from church people) followed us throughout the entire trips, it was GOOD to get away from Poipet.
The Monday and Tuesday following the trips were spent wrapping up with labeling and mending clothes, packing, and making favorite meals for the boys before they head off to boarding school.  And after 13 hours of traveling, Syna and the boys made it safely to Dalat on Jan. 15.  At the Dalat School, the entire Jackson Dorm kids went the extra mile just to make the welcome special.  School started on Jan 16, and Jonathan had a successful first day.  Thank you for praying for our children.
Having Justin and Jonathan in boarding school, we were not sure how we should cope with and/ or adjust to the “empty nest”.  But God, in His sovereignty, knows our hearts.  As our sons are away boarding school, God gives us two “daughters” to love and care for.   We’ve been enjoying having Da-nat, aged 20, living with us.  She moved into our house on Christmas Day, and she is having a great time studying at a beauty shop in Poipet…  Last week, as we were getting ready for our boys to go to school, another girl, SR, aged 17, was also moving to live with us for a while.  We’d learned of SR’s situations from a friend that she, being away from her mother, was working in a bad place.  So, until things are working with her family, SR will be living with us for a while.  We praise God and Da-nat and SR seemed to connect well with each other.  Please pray that the living arrangement would work out well for the girls.  We are not sure where they are spiritually.  Pray for wisdom and discernment on our parts and we would be good mentors and surrogate parents to them.
We would love to hear about what God is doing in your life.  As always, we appreciate you continual prayers and support.  Your sacrificial giving to the Great Commission Fund enables us to keep on serving in this part of the world touching lives through words and actions showing Christ’s love to those in need.  Thank you for partnering with us.  Lost people matter to God.  He wants them found.
In Him,
Syna and Soeuth, with Justin and Jonathan Lao