Thursday, March 20, 2014

March Update

Dear Friends,

GREETINGS from the land of the tropics!  As some of you receiving this newsletter are experiencing some extreme cold weather, we are going through heat waves with a daily average temperature in the mid 90’s degrees F!  Our upstairs part of the house is unbearable during the day time hours!  Even with continuous running fans in the evening hours, it would only circulate hot airs! Despite of the extreme heat that would normally accompanied March and April, however, we look forward to the best time of the year that is yet to come, the mango season!  For those of you with a sweet tooth and are craving for some juicy mango with sweet and creamy sticky rice for dessert, this is the best time for a visit! And all around our yards, we got about 12 trees full of mangos ready and waiting for you!

LENA: You have been faithfully praying for and financially supporting Lena and her family, and we want to update with you on their situations.  Throughout the month of February, Lena has made a few trips the capitol city, Phnom Penh, to the eye hospital, where she received reconstruction surgery on her left eye.  She will need to make a few more trips for more cosmetic surgeries.   During the recently Poipet quarterly women seminar, Lena was excited to be part of the women group… 

Lena’s oldest daughter, Danaat is enjoying studying at a beauty school.  Danaat is so grateful to God for what HE is doing in her life that she is NOT ASHAMED to tell everyone whom she met about Preah Yeasu (Jesus)!  Every evening meal when we often asked, “How was your day?”  “What did you learn today?” Or, “Who did you meet?”  Danaat was always excited telling us about the many opportunities she often had in sharing the Good News at this school!  On Thursdays evening after class, Danaat often brought home some friends from the school to whom she has been witnessing.  The friends would come and chat with us for a while asking more questions concerning Christianity.  Though no one has made any decision of accepting Christ yet, their strong interests are noticeable.   In respond, we often sent with Danaat some reading booklets and tracts to share with her friends.  Danaat herself is enrolling in a discipleship class on Sunday afternoons.  She is very excited about the upcoming National KEC Youth Conference in Kampong Cham Province, April 2-5.  This will be her first time attending the youth conference!  While Lena was busy traveling to Phnom Penh for her eye’s need, Danaat was also busy visiting a local dental clinic where she had some dental works done on her front teeth.  Instead of hiding and feeling shamed because of her missing teeth, Danaat now smiles with more confidence showing off her beauty white teeth! 

Some of you have been asking about Mrs. Moum.  By agreements of the Cambodian “laws”, her time of captivity should come to completion by May 2014!  We are praying and trusting God to work HIS will on her case.

CLASSES:  Every other week on Tuesdays, we travel to Battambang (BTB) Province to teach all- day classes.  Despite of the fact that it’s a very long and tiring day for us, spending more than 13 hours on road trips and teaching, after hearing what was shared, however, we often feel encouraged at the end of the day. Altogether, we have 26 students from the BTB areas, and many of them are key church leaders.  Since the missionaries exited out of the province , and with the church people constantly moving in and out (in search for jobs), most KEC churches from the areas  began to decrease in numbers, and in some places the church became weaker.  In addition, the leaders from the BTB Province expressed a sense of isolation and lonely, and they persistently asking for a class to start!   In respond to the needs, we began a leadership class in June, and then another class in July 2013. 

Currently we have two classes going on, “Spiritual Leadership” and “How to Preach” at various locations upon request.  This is one of the most exciting classes we have!  The students, mostly farmers, give up one day of work, come to class with great anticipation, all assigned lessons prepared, and with their minds eager to learn and hearts ready to receive!  We often have a rich sharing time when students take turns to tell one another what God is doing in their lives. At the end of the classes, everyone went home feeling encouraged as the result.  Every meeting, students and teachers, alike, packed their own lunches and even brought extra ready to share!  The common expressions that we often heard, “I can’t wait until the next class!” Or “Why can’t we have meetings like this more often?”

On Monday evenings at our house, we also have a leadership class where 22 students attended.  The students come from various backgrounds: some are key leaders from the nearby churches, others are full-time staffs from local NGOs, and some are university students.   Because of their diverse backgrounds, the discussions were always lively.  Currently we are studying the “Spiritual Leadership” class.  Please pray for the students.  Some of them are going through some severe testing times.  Five students from this class have recently lost their jobs (their contracts ended with local NGOs).

Sport Ministry: The Living Water Church was very excited, on February 23rd, when one of their soccer teams (under 16- year old) received First Place for the season!  Because the match took place on a Sunday afternoon (after church), many church families were able to come and cheered for the games!  What made the game so exciting was that, this team was the underdog throughout the entire season!  And although many of the key players are not yet professed Christians, they were willing to be part of the KEC team abiding by all our rules, especially against gambling!  In Cambodia, gambling is a very common practice, especially among athletes!  Having these non- Christian players willing to join the KEC team speaks volumes about the testimony of the church as well as of the KEC team!  Since the championship match, more young people from the Poipet community asked to be part of the KEC teams!  While we are excited about the out-reach ministry for the community kids, we also have great concerns for our youth leaders.   Please PRAY for Joshua, aged 24, who is the head coach for all 8 KEC teams in Poipet.  He is a person of significant influence from among the athletes in Poipet.  Being a Christian and a very good athlete, many young people look to him with respect and admiration.  And a number of youth came to church (and some had already accepted the Lord) because of his influence. At the same times, however, Satan, our arch enemy, also has his eyes on Joshua and other sport leaders!  Pray that when the targets of temptations heading their ways that God would guard their hearts against the evil ones.   Much thanks to many of you who are supports of the sport ministry!

YOUTH MINISTRY:  The most anticipating event for young people is coming on April 2-5, when the Annual National KEC Youth Conference will take place in Kampong Cham Province!  The National youth committees are expecting about 650 youth from all over Cambodia!  Pray for the speakers of seminars and main events.  The fact that we are in the midst of the HOT season (average daily temperature now is in the mid 90’s), we are anticipating some potential problems with electricity and water supplies.  Please pray for the committees as they oversee the entire conference.  Pray for good health and protection for those who will travel from distant places.  Among the 45 + of the KEC youth from Poipet, about 20 guys (from the soccer team) will attend this conference for the first time!  Please be in PRAY for the overall needs and potential problems that may arise.  Pray for safe traveling of all the youth and leaders from around Cambodia.  Many of the young people attending this conference are first timers.  Please pray for receptive hearts.  This year’s theme conference is based on Rev. 3:15, “Lukewarm.  No more!”

Family news:  Justin (aged 17) is busy finishing up his senior year at Dalat.  Lord willing he will attend Crown College, Minnesota, in August 2014.  But before that, Justin will enroll in the Re-entry Seminar for MKs at Biola University, in California, on July 13-25.  Jonathan (will be 12 on April 9th) is still adjusting to the Dalat International School. We praise God for placing some amazing and godly people around Jonathan’s life at the Dalat School!  Please pray for the dorm parents and teachers at the school, who, because of the Call and their great love for the Master, are using their gifts and skills and talents to serve at Dalat School with passion, conviction, commitment, and a devotion to love and care for our children.  This summer will be huge adjustments for our family!  PLEASE PRAY for smooth transitions.

THANK YOU!  We are grateful for your continual support to the GCF which enables us to serve God in this part of the world, bringing lost people into God’s Kingdom.  Please do share with us what God is doing in your life.

Because He Lives,
Soeuth and Syna
with Justin and Jonathan Lao