Thursday, November 6, 2014

November Update

Dear Praying Friend and Family,

Greetings!  As the Thanksgiving holiday (for Americans) is approaching, it is our prayer that you would find many reasons to be thankful for this year. Going with the holiday theme, I want to share with you a story of a beautiful lady who has been very dear to my heart…

“Then the King said…, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’.”  (Matthew 25: 34-36)  

The passage has been a daily theme for Chhee, a believer from Poipet. She peddles her old bicycle along the paths and bumpy roads, moving from village to village, with a basketful of market fresh goods. In Chhee’s portable market, she sells fish, chicken, and other food items, for a living.  At age 33, married and a mother of four small kids, Chhee is an active member of the Living Water Church.  Every morning, she crosses the border to Thailand to buy food goods from the border market and then returns to sell them in local villages in Poipet.  On a good day, she makes about $5.00 to $7.00 of profits, enough earning to feed her family of 8 per day.  However, her “good day,” depends heavily on what her customers were willing to pay for the items they buy.  Many would give her the money up front in exchange for the items purchased; some of her customers, however, asked if they could buy them on credits; but very often, these people ended up moving away, or they just simply could not pay back, so Chhee never got paid as the result.  Also, lately with heavy rains, her sell was not always good.  But no matter how the day turns out to be, cheerfully and with a heart of gratitude, Chhee would often thank God for her daily provisions, always expressing “Aark-une Preah Aarng” (thank you, Lord)…  Chhee’s customers are the same: poor villagers who live far away and are often too poor or too sick to make regular trips to local markets.  As she bicycles around selling her goods every day, Chhee has many opportunities to tell her customers about the Good News of Jesus.  She often prayed for those who are sick, visited those who are lonely, listened to their sad stories, encouraged and invited them to come to church…  Chhee, having a very low self-esteem, does not consider herself pretty enough, good enough, or smart enough to do anything right.  In June 2005, however, through medical interventions and encouragements from church families, Chhee and her husband, Daa, accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior!  (Chhee, her mother, and her two older kids got baptized on June 28!)  Remembering what Christ has done for her and for family, Chhee is always passionate about sharing Jesus with others!  She is quite an evangelist!  Every chance she had, Chhee was always pointing people to Jesus.  As the result, many have come to church and received Christ as their Lord and Savior, all because of Chhee’s ministry…

 Like many Cambodian women of her generation, especially those from poor families, Chhee had never been to school. She had never learned how to read.  We’ve been encouraged her to study in adult literacy class.  And she has been trying!  For the past few years, she had gone through a total of six different teachers!  Every one of them, with good intention, all wanted to teach Chhee how to read.  BUT, at every attempt, after a few weeks of trying, both teacher and student simply quit.  “I just can’t teach Chhee how to read!”, as they all seemed to say…  Since March of this year, however, Chhee has been sitting beside me, three afternoons a week, learning how to read.  And the journey has been both, a joy and a challenge.  If given the opportunity to be seen by a professional or being tested, I think Chhee would qualify as having at least one or more learning disabilities.  But no matter the difficulties, through constant encouragements, along with her own determinations, conviction, and persevering, Chhee is learning how to read by memorization!  And she is encouraged to the idea that she is able to “read” and write up to lesson #33 this week! (This Bible-based adult literacy program has a total of 80 lessons).  This is a tremendous milestone for such a special someone as Chhee!  It is my constant prayer for Chhee, as her “reading” is improved, that she would truly see and accept herself worth, her true identity, and her value in Christ.  Will you join me in praying for Chhee?

We are very GRATEFUL to all of you for praying for our family, especially for or children!  It has been a bitter-sweet journey for us, this year, having our children going away to school, one in Minnesota and one in Malaysia, while we are here in Cambodia!  But GOD has been very gracious to us!  Justin is doing really well in his first semester at Crown College, and Jonathan is having a very successful semester at Dalat International School!  Both of our children are surrounded by loving and caring people who are always there for each of them in time of needs.  GOD, our Jehovah-Jireh, has been faithful in providing every detail of our kids’ needs, even when they are away from home!  THANK YOU!

As shared in our last writing that, Soeuth and I went to the central New York district, Sept. 9- Oct. 16, speaking among Alliance churches of the areas.  We had a great visit there, meeting new friends, and reconnecting with former ones.  We are THANKFUL to GOD for allowing us the opportunity to share with the greater Alliance family about what HE is doing in Cambodia! Throughout the entire trip, it has been a very interesting observation to see that, within the Alliance family, if you sit and chat with someone long enough, you would bounce to meet someone who knows you from the past, or someone who knows someone else of your connecting circle.  That’s exactly what happened to us during this trip to the Central New York!  We met a number of Soeuth’s former classmates from the “good old days” at Nyack College!  And we were very encouraged to learn that many of them are serving God in full-time ministries!  Way to go, Nyack!

It was such a hectic time, back in August, we were so busy getting all the last minute things done before departing for America, that we did not get a chance to tell you of the ministry events and prayer requested shared…

On August 29 was our first Bible quizzing match for the KEC youth ministry, since June 2002!  We had a total of 8 teams from only two provinces!  All of them were first time quizzers; and they did amazingly well!  Inspired by all the excitements that took place, other young people are being encouraged to take on the challenge!  Now, many more teams, from other provinces, are being trained for the next quiz meet, December 10, at Living Water Church, Poipet!  The youth committees, who are mostly volunteers, are also being encouraged as the products of their hard works are being used.  Our challenges, however, are to try to get more questions written and ready for the future meets, and to find more workers to help.  There are so many works to be done, but only few workers are available.  Please pray that God would send us more workers to this ready and harvesting field…
September 8 was our latest youth rally for the northwest region KEC youth.  Wanting to strengthen the weaker churches, we relocated the meeting place to Beong Beng Village, in Malay District.  Because of the new site and isolated place, we did not think that many would show up.  Yet the youth committees were quite surprised as a total of 137 young people showed up!  Since the surround fields were not safe enough for the youth to go exploring, we decided to stay in door for all day activities!  The small church building was packed with people!  Seeing all the excitement of that meeting, other adults from the areas decided to join the group as well.  Even a 78 year- old grandmother was found among the group!  When it was sharing time, many of them took turns to tell about what God is doing in their lives!  But this grandmother told about the healing miracle that God had on her life!  Everyone sat still and paid special attention to ever she spoke!  At the end of the day, everyone agreed, that was the best youth rally we had so far.  PRAISE GOD!  Please be in prayer for the next youth rally which is scheduled for the morning part of December 10, at Living Water Church.

December is approaching FAST!  And the KEC church leaders are planning for the coming Christmas events in each of their local villages.  For the churches in Poipet, we‘ll three main events:  Living Water Church (Dec. 25), Santepheap Church (Dec. 26), and Ondong Thmar Meas (Dec. 27).  The remaining smaller house churches will all join the Living Water Church on Christmas Day!  Church families are encouraged to bring their unbelieving friends and relative to join each of the services.

Please pray that God would touch hearts as people are coming to these events.

We are THANKFUL for you continual support in partnership with the Poipet ministries!  Your faithful and generous giving to the Great Commission Fund (GCF) is what kept us serving here, making a difference in people lives, shining the Light of Jesus in this dark place, pointing Lost People to Christ…

Thanksgiving Day is coming, what you are thankful for this year?
With a grateful heart,
Soeuth & Syna