Thursday, March 12, 2015

March Update 2015

Dear Friends,

As you are getting ready to celebrate Easter, the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we want to share with you some exciting stories as a testimony and affirmation that our God is Alive!  And He is still at work among His people today!

It has been an area of concern for us in relation to new believers, every time  Khmer or Chinese religious holidays are approaching.  This is often a testing time for new believers, because they are being pressured to return to their old ways of life, to worshiping spirits of their deceased ancestors.  And because of this concern, since the beginning of this year, we have been praying that new believers would remain steadfast with their decision to follow Jesus.  And many of you have joined us in this petition.  As the result, this past month, during a Chinese New Year celebration, we had a number of opportunities to pray for and lead people to  find true salvation in Christ!  A number of those already came to Christ and /or some who are still considering the decision to follow Christ, they all based their decisions to the testimonies and to the daily life styles that some members of Living Water Church chose to practice in order to honor God!

Recently, many church families are being inspired by other believers to take time off from work or from running businesses on Sundays,  to set one day of a week for a day of rest, and in order to worship God.  For some people with steady, reliable and secure jobs, or for those who are working with local NGO's, they could easily live to this decision. But for many poor families, however, this is a huge commitment and a tremendous sacrifice for them.  These poor people earn small daily incomes from working as labor workers across the border, or from selling fish, vegetables, dried fruit snacks, and other goodies.  Each day earning is barely enough for their daily needs.  To take off one whole day of work is a big commitment!  Despite of the facts, however,  some people are willing to trust God with their decisions.  As the results, many are seeing God's blessings upon their lives!

 Those who make a living from selling food items were able to make a double profits on Saturdays! That is twice the amount comparing to that of their regular earnings...  A man and his wife from Living Water Church operate a junkyard business for a living where they collect or buy recycle items and then sell items back to other junkyard companies across the border.  Like all other businesses, there were times for ups and downs, but every so often, this couple would excitedly share about the many blessings God blessed them...  And then there are some other families who own small business shops (selling toys, clothing, hand bags, shoes, and or hair accessories products), but who are willing to close their shops on Sundays; they are also seeing more and more costumers coming to buy goods in their shops on weekdays!  As the results, questions are being raised, and words are being spread in communities and in local markets.  "Why is this shop closed today?", asked a hurried costumer on a very busy Sunday morning. "It is because the owner is a believer of Preah Yea-sue (Jesus)," said an owner of another shop next door.  "They always closed on Sundays", added another. Because of these comments, many curious people begin to wonder about these "Koan Preah Yea-sue" (children of Jesus). As the result, a number of people willingly came by just to "check things out" at church!  Every week at Living Water church, we often saw new faces attending the service. Last week, there were  total of 12 new ones!  It is an exciting time for the Poipet KEC churches!

Chenda, aged 30, a young wife and a mother of three small kids, was among the curious people in Poipet.  She and her husband, Sam-nang, aged32, had heard about the Gospel of Jesus from a visiting friend in early February of this year, and shortly after their meeting, the couple prayed to receive Jesus as their Savior!  But being the only newly believers among the family, they had many questions about life and about their spiritual journey, but had no one to share their concerns with.  And for the past few years, this young couple has been running a successful  phone shop in one of the local markets in Poipet. Recently, however, because of poor decision making, this couple were struggled with severe financial crisis! So much so that Chenda was  having suicidal thoughts!

One day, as she was hopelessly wandering around in a local market, she overheard someone talking loudly about a Christian shop owner named "Lydia"!   Upon hearing the name, Chenda immediately headed straight to Lydia's shop!  After brief introduction and explaining her reasons for the visit, these two ladies, once strangers, now, were joyfully hugging each other like best of friends, while Chenda shed tears of thanksgiving to God for allowing her to meet with other believers in Poipet! That night, in full agreement with her husband, the couple invited us to their house to remove all their shrines, idols, and other spiritual worship items!  Needing support,  we'd included a few other church people to come along.  After a brief moment of singing and praying, relying fully on the authority and power of Jesus Christ, and with the couple leading the way, we tore away and removed all of the worship items, one by one, loaded them into rice sags, and then onto our truck, took them to our house, and had them all burned!  Chenda and Samnang came along with us and stayed up to talk with other believers, until past midnight!  That was two weeks ago...

 Both Chenda and Samnang are still on fire for the Lord!  They reading the Bible non-stop!  Already they read through the entire book of New Testament! Since then, Samnang began to live a changed life!  His mother (not yet believer) took notice of the changes in her son and began to tell all her neighbors about these transformation she is seeing in her own son! Chenda, at the same time, boldly shared the Good News to her parents and to all that that she met coming to her shop, urging and pleading them to make a decision to follow Christ, "Soon!  Please! Before it is too late".  As the result, last night, Chenda's father, Mr. Eng Chou, aged 57, also called and invited us to his house!

He wanted to hear more about this Good News that Chenda was talking so much about!  After Soeuth
shared the salvation message with him, Mr. Chou prayed to received Jesus as his Savior! He even let us cut off the spirit string from around his waist!

We tried to connect with Chenda and Samnang on a daily basis through phone calls offering words of encouragement as well as answering any questions or concerns.  We'd encourage the couple to call us any time.  And they did!  Sometimes we'd received phone calls at one or two O'clock in the morning just because they wanted some explanations or clarifications in certain passages of the Bible they were reading! Every day both Chenda and Samnang would often give us exciting reports about what is happening to their new and changing lives.  This morning on the phone, Chenda told me that the wife of her next door neighbor (who sells shoes) is wanting to come to visit church as well!

 Like other curious people in the market, this neighbor has also been wanting to learn the reason why Chenda and Samnang were closing their shop this past Sunday!  After hearing Chenda's explanation, this neighborly lady expressed a desire to visit church as well...

Other encouraging  testimonies were also shared among the church families: Small hungry children firmly refused to eat choice food because the food has been offered to the evil spirits, "Because that would not be pleasing Jesus!" they told the unbelieving relatives.  While the temptation is great during the festive holiday, one young boy refused drinking alcohol even though it was offered to him for free! Instead, he'd turned around quoting Scripture back to the person who gave him the drink!

 "Do not get drunk on wine, which lead to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit", (Ephesians 5:18). Then, he took his sister's hand, and together they walked away from that Chinese New Year's party...

Clearly we are on a winning side of this spiritual warfare!  As God's children continue to live as witnesses among their community, many people are finding their ways the true Hope and Salvation in Jesus Christ!  But at the same time, the Enemy is  NOT very happy with this idea!  He is trying every tactic and every scheme he could think of on God's children.  Some church families, especially those who were in close contact with Chenda and Samnang during their time of conversion, a number of them reported to have been disturbed by visions or dreams or seeing scary evil images at nights causing them lost of sleep.  But all of them who'd seen images or visions, they all seemed to say the same thing, "As soon as I called out the Name of Jesus, the image just disappeared!" There is truly POWER in the Name of JESUS for those who believe! Please pray for Chenda and Samnang and for other newly believers like them to stand firm with their decision to follow Christ.  Pray for protection for all of God's children, especially those who are in Poipet.

Please pray also for the overall coming events among the KEC church ministries.

-March 24-26, KEC national conference in Phnom Penh.  The heat is extremely HOT these days, daily average temperature is mid to high 90's! The conference will be held under opened tents in areas with no trees for shades using electric fans for air circulation.  Despite of the heat, people are very excited about this national conference, which comes once every two years!

-Pray for safety and protection for those who will be attending the conference.  There will be elections for new National leadership committees during this conference as well.  Please pray for clear directions from God.

- April 1-3, the most excited and most anticipating event for KEC youth ministry is coming to Mondulkiri Province!  The National youth committees are expecting about 500 youth to attend this conference!  Young people from all over Cambodia will be heading to Mondulkiri soon. The trip is quite far, about 13 hours drive, each way, from Poipet!  So far,  a total of 44 people from Poipet are registered for this conference.  And more people from Poipet are also interested, but the already limited- transportation seating is based on first come first serve only!

- Please PRAY for protect for all. The theme for this conference is "Iron Sharpens Iron" from Proverbs. 27:17.

Thank you for your continual prayer support and for you financial support to the Great Commission Fund which enables us to keep serving the Lord in the part of the world. Please share with us what God is doing in your life.

In JESUS name,
Soeuth and Syna Lao