Thursday, February 19, 2015

February Update 2015

Dear  Friends,

Warm greetings from Poipet!  It really is getting warmer here as it's getting closer to the peak of a hot season. A daily average temperature is about mid 90's degree Fahrenheit!

In November, we'd shared with you about Chhee about her evangelism outreach as she sells food items from her bicycle market.  Here is a continuation of her story.  A few months ago, back in October, through Chhee's portable market, the Gospel of Jesus had captured  Srey Daa's heart! Back then, Srey Daa, a poor destitute young widow,  a mother a small girl, pregnant with another, was in a desperate stage of hopelessness.  In July of the same year, Srey Daa's husband was killed in an automobile accident, leaving her pregnant, helplessly wandering around, and struggled to survive in Poipet as she cared for her elderly mother along with her own child!  When Chhee met Srey Daa in October, Chhee had lovingly shared the message of HOPE of Jesus Christ to Srey Daa!  Then, Chhee brought Srey Daa to the Living Water Church and introduced her to the church ladies.  Later on when Srey Daa was having some difficulties with her pregnancy, some church ladies took turns to care for Srey Daa, while some other ladies brought her to the C&MA medical clinic.  Srey Daa was then seen and follow- up cared by our medical International workers.  When the due date arrived, another lady quickly rushed Srey Daa to the Siem Reap children hospital where Baby Daniel was born on

December 13 . Still more church ladies continued taking turns to reach out and cared for this family!  Sadly, Baby Daniel was born with severe birth defects, and he'd suffered many complications with his heart and lungs. After weeks of fighting for his life, Baby Daniel went HOME to be with Jesus on Sunday morning of February 1.  Oh what a heart wrenching experience for the entire church!  And for Srey Daa, what can she do?  She had no money to think of a funeral plan! And this was the first funeral experience for the young church leaders! What should they do? How? Where to begin?  After  brief moments, one man said, "With a few helping hands, I can build a coffin!" Then Chean, one of the leaders, said, "I'll get the funeral message ready". One lady said, "I'll help with flower arrangement". Still another person said, "I'll call some people at the burial site to get the tomb ready". And the list of extra helping started to pour in.  And just like that, the funeral for Baby Daniel was quickly arranged.
At the burial site, many believers spoke meaningful words of condolences and encouragement to Srey Daa. By 6 pm of the same day, Baby Daniel was laid to rest in a beautifully prepared tomb.   Among the 40 plus people who attended the funeral, about half of them were new believers!  They'd not only witnessed their first Christian funeral, but they also saw how the Love of Christ being demonstrated during a time of need! Oh what a beautiful picture to behold as the Body of Christ came alive together!  Srey Daa, with the help of church ladies, resumed life all again.  She is now making a living by selling sour fruit snacks from a pushcart!

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend", Proverbs 27:17.  This is a theme for this year annual Khmer Evangelical Church (KEC) youth conference which will take place on April 1-3.  As the message being shared about the coming youth event, some people already began to apply the meaning of the passage into their daily lives.  Recently, because of a gentle rebuke/correction from a caring friend, a man from Living Water Church has recently confessed his bitterness against the church leaders!  His mind has been poisoned, for so long, as he'd listened to and considered the gossips and slanderous remarks made by other people against the church leaders. So much was his bitterness  against the leaders that it affected his health and the ways he related to others.  Praise God for timing words from his caring friend! This week with fierce conviction, the man began to call each church leaders, one-by-one, confessing all his sins against them!

Culturally, the Khmer people avoid confrontations at all cause, especially with those from leadership positions. Aware of the need, we often  encouraged people, especially to our students, to come freely and talk with and to us if or when we do or say something wrong against them. As the result, a young man from the soccer ministry, after many weeks of hold grudge again Soeuth, had finally and boldly came forward to his share his heart with Soeuth.  He admitted to the fact that, because of his anger, he even tried to intentionally trip or hurt Soeuth during the recent soccer game. When asked to identify the reasons for his anger, the young man could not come up with one reasonable explanation!  Nevertheless, he was very angry with Soeuth. When his friends learned about his bitter feelings, they'd persistently encouraged  him to talk to Soeuth.  And he did!   Now, we still see the young man coming to Living Water Church to play soccer with other youth every so often.  We rejoice at the work of the Holy Spirit for bringing healing and reconciliation.  It is ironic, however, that all these anger, hatred, and bitterness took place OR were discovered during the month when Valentine's Day is worldly celebrated! Please continue to pray that the God of Truth to do His work among the church people.

February 7-13, we had a greatest blessing of being with both of our sons again in Penang, Malaysia! Our oldest, Justin, had returned to his high school, Dalat International School, for a week, as a recruiting representative from Crown College! All his traveling and hotel expenses were paid for by the sending college!  What a tremendously blessing to our family!  We even got to share a room with Justin all week! The timing visit to Dalat was a total surprised to Jonathan! Jon had no clue that this entire family was coming to Dalat!  Sadly, the visit was short but very special! And we are very GRATEFUL to God for allowing us this amazing blessing of being with our sons again. THANK YOU JESUS!!!!

Please remember these dates in your prayers:

- February 18-20, Chinese New Year.  Pray for safety and protection for those who travel to visit family.  Pray for new believers as this is one of the testing time for their decision to follow Christ.  pray that they would remain faithful to God.
- March 5-6, annual prayer retreat, in Phnom Penh, for all the C&MA international workers.               -March 24-26, Khmer Evangelical Church (KEC) conference in Phnom Penh.
-April 1-3, annual KEC youth conference in Mondulkirir Province.

Please share with us what God is doing in your life. We would love to pray for you.  Thank you for your continual support in prayers and financial giving to the great Commission Fund (GCF) which enables us to continue serving God in this part of the world, bringing the message of Hope to the hopelessness and Salvation to the lost.    

Soeuth and Syna Lao