Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August Update (part 2) 2015

August update continues
Dear Friends,
Some amazing things happened this past Sunday among the church families in Poipet, and we want to share them with you as well.

Event #1: Immediately after a weekly pot-lock Sunday lunch with the church families at Living Water Church, Soeuth headed straight to the sport room where he has been meeting with the soccer kids for the past couple weeks.  It all began a few weeks ago when one of the soccer kids (U14) who happened to be playfully holding a 1- year old baby girl named “Alpha”. Curiously he asked, “What does the word Alpha mean?”  Soeuth, who happened to be standing nearby, took the opportunity to explain the meaning of the word to him while a number of other soccer kids, standing nearby, heard the same explanation!  Soeuth went on boasting that, “Oh, there are many other amazing words in the Bible--all describing the natures and the characters of God!” And he listed a few names of God to them. Then one kid shouted, “That is so cool!  I want to know more about these words.”  And others joined in, “Yeah, we want to know about these cool words, too!” Sensing a given opportunity, Soeuth immediately invited the kids if they would be willing to meet with him, on a regular basis, right after lunch, so they can learn more about God and about these amazing “cool words”.  And they all screamed, “Yessss!” So, yesterday was the third time that these community soccer kids met with Soeuth.  During the meeting Soeuth asked, “Since God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, then what is happening in between?”  To Soeuth’s amazement, Gideon, who usually is a very shy and quiet boy, aged 12, began to slowly standing up and quietly yet profoundly explained, “We are living in the time between the Alpha and the Omega.  One day, God will come to take us to heaven.”  “That’s right!” Soeuth told him, while the others nodded in agreement. Soeuth went onto explain further that, we are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God.  Because the wages of sin is death, we will all die and deserve hell as punishment.  But God, because of His great love for the world, does not want anybody to perish eternally, so He’d made a salvation plan for us through Jesus Christ. But this same God, who is the Alpha and the Omega, is also a Judge.  And all of us will have to give an account to God one day.  And only He will decide who can enter heaven or not”.  Soeuth continued, “So, how can we be accepted into heaven? Can good deeds or being a good person is enough to allow us to enter heaven?” A few reluctantly nodded “yes”, but many of them were quietly in deep thinking.  After a few seconds passed by, Soeuth repeated the same question. Then all of them shouted as in one great voice, “The only way to heaven is through believing in Jesus!”  “Then, do you believe in Jesus?” Soeuth shouted back. “Yesssss!” screamed the class. “Do you want to invite Jesus into our hearts and have this assurance of a guaranteed passage for entering heaven?” Soeuth added. “Yesssssss!” they all shouted.  As the result, 16 soccer kids, from one U14 team, all accepted Jesus into their lives that day!  It was an exciting experience to watch as the soccer kids rushed out of that sport room cheerfully singing, “I am going to heaven!”

Event #2:  Shortly after the kids got saved, Lydia (a woman leader from Living Water Church) led a group of church ladies to visit and pray sick people in a nearby referral government hospital, as the ladies had often done in the past.  About an hour later, I got this urgent call from Lydia, “Naak Kru (teacher), there are some people here who wanted to Thwai Kloun (give themselves to Jesus)! Can you come and lead them to the Lord?  We don’t know how to do it? Can you come?”  Since I (Syna) was in the middle of teaching a class, I assured Lydia (on the phone) that she could do it herself and gave her some suggestions on how to ask questions.  She reluctantly agreed. That afternoon, the women group returned to the church group grinning from ear to ear!  All at once the ladies shouted their exciting experiences, “We led four people to the Lord!  And two of them were willing to cut off their own spirit strings! And we were so afraid.  But we kept on praying and asking Jesus to help us.  And it was our first time ever of leading people to the Lord!”

Event #3:  Toward the evening hours of the same day, we’d received yet other repeated urgent calls, this time, from a key church leader from Ondong Thmar Meas church, requesting a medical help for an elderly widow who had recently suffered from a stroke.  (This woman, because of her illness, has been a regular patient at the Wednesday clinic).  But the signs and symptoms described by the leaders did not match what was troubling, and we sensed that there was something more than just the sickness itself.  So we’ urged the church leaders to go and pray for her.  They went.  But we did not learn anything more until last night, when the some of the same leaders came to our weekly Monday night class… That Sunday night as the story unfolds, four key church leaders went to pray for the sick woman, but before they prayed, the leaders asked the woman to acknowledge her sins and if she was willing to get rid of the shrine and worship items within and surround her house.  She agreed.  They’d removed all the shrines and tore away all other spiritual worship items from the house. Then the leaders laid hands on the woman, anointed her with oil and praying to the power of the Holy Spirit to heal and cleanse her inside out.  Very early on Monday morning (the next day) the same leader received phone call from the woman family declaring, “My mother is healed!  Jesus healed my mother!  And she is out there walking and singing and praising to Jesus!”

It is an exciting time to be serving God among His people in Cambodia! We have the greatest honor of being in the front- row view witnessing God at work in the lives of the Khmer people!
Please be in prayer for the coming youth event, this Friday, August 28, as regional youth ministries will be having their own regional youth rallies.  For the northwest region, we will have the rally at Svey Sisophon are area.  In addition to the regular church youth, we’d invited 22 boys from U14 soccer teams to participate in the coming youth rally.  This will be their first time in big event like this.  Please for safe traveling for all and good outcome.  Our Field Director, Rev. David Manfred will be the guest speaker for the event.


Soeuth and Syna Lao

Thursday, August 13, 2015

August Update 2015

Dear Friends and Family,

Once again, we send you warm greetings from Poipet!  We trust you all had a great summer.
Lately, there have been too many times already that unexpected circumstances/events conveniently happen.  So before another “surprise” show up, we want to send you our August update…

Recently, while teaching in monthly leadership classes (at Battambang Province and at Teok Cho village) and also at the Poipet weekly leadership class, the church leaders from all three groups gave the same exciting report! In spite of the facts that: we are in the middle of a heavy rainy season, the roads are at their worst, many roads/paths leading to the KEC house churches are impassible, yet in the past few weeks, there was a full house in every church service!

Last Sunday at Ondong Thma Meas Village according to a report from one key church leader that, the church people, not willing to take risks driving through muddy paths, decided to park their bicycles and motorbikes at the main road, while the men rolled up their sleeve pants and the women tugged up their sarong, and they all trotted in the mud heading to the church! A few hours later on the same day, a lady at Living Water Church of the KEC shared, “Rain or shine, I would not dare to miss one day of work at my NGO job.  Otherwise my boss would mark me absent, and he would give me a deduction for my salary.  I need that job.  But Preah Yea-sue (the Lord Jesus) gave me so much more!  Shouldn’t I show greater respect to God by coming to worship Him on Sundays?”

Similar situations took place on Saturday, August 1, when the Poipe KEC women had their quarterly meeting a Maak Hoern village church. Since it was raining hard the day before, we wondered if any people would show up for the meeting.  But the same thing happened. At the appointed time, the ladies, carried their little children and personal belongings, walked in muddy paths about 2 kilometers distant from the main road, and headed to the house church! Upon arrival into the village, the host families gave us buckets of water to wash off our muddy feet! Since there was no church building yet, all 60 of us had to sit on blue and green plastic sheets with only two small trees stood nearby as a shade.  That day, I had prepared a message based on Ephesians 6:10-20, reminding the ladies that to overcome the schemes of the devil, we need to daily put on the “full armor of God."  After the sermon, some leaders warned of a false group that is spreading lies about the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Meing Ree (right)

Suddenly, Meing (auntie) Ree, an elderly widow at the meeting for the first time, shouted, “What group are we in now? Can somebody tell if I am in the right place?”  Some ladies sitting next to her gently told Meing Ree who we are and assured her that she was in the right place.  Meing Ree said, “Then I need to be protected by Preah Yea-sue (Jesus) as well. I want to wear this armor of God, too.” And she did, because immediately after the service, I had the privilege of leading Meing Ree to the Lord!

Last week, I had a meaningful conversation with a dear friend, Chhee, a gifted evangelist from Living Water Church.  (Every day, Chhee peddles her old ragged bicycle around towns and sells food goods from “Chhee’s portable market."  Follow Chhee’s story in our November 2014’s blog).  For the past 11 years since I’ve known her, through the passionate sharing of her faith to all her customers, Chhee has brought many people into God’s Kingdom! In spite her many accomplishments, however, on this particular day, Chhee was down hearted and very discouraged to the point of tears saying, “I just could not seem to retain anything I’ve learned!”  Chhee’s one main desire is to be able to read God’s word from her own Bible and to be able to sing some of her favorite songs from the Khmer hymnal book.  Her many learning disabilities, however kept her from accomplish this goal.  But I’d encouraged her to continue learning God’s word by listening to recorded Bible passages in a small portable MP3 radio that I gave her; this radio comes with recorded Khmer hymnal songs as well. Recently, Chhee had an opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ to one of her customers, a Cham lady (one of the Muslim ethnic minority who live in Cambodia).  This Cham lady, after married for more than 7 years but unable to conceive a child, had asked if Chhee was willing to pray for her. Chhee was willing.  As the result, the woman is now 4- month pregnant!  Though this woman secretly gave praises to Jesus for an answering prayer, she is living in fear because of her religious background.  Please pray that God would use Chhee powerfully and mightily to draw this Cham lady to the One True God, in Christ.

A few weeks ago during a Sunday church service, two wonderful surprises took place at Living Water Church!
Surprise #1: For the past few years, a number of church people suffered greatly because to the “fire of gossip” that has been spreading among the church families, resulting two key church ladies in conflict with one another.  Recently, however these two precious women chose to honor God in their lives by reconciling their differences and now became closer friends!  During the service, the two ladies went up to sing a special song as a public declaration that they are FRIENDS!!!
Surprise # 2: Earlier in the summer, two guys from the same soccer team had lost their temper against one another during a soccer match.  Although these guys came to church every week afterward, they were not at eye-to-eye level with one another, until that particular Sunday… Feeling inspired by the ladies, these two young athletic men reluctantly went forward and asked one another for forgiveness!!! And they did it in front of the whole church!  WOW! What a beautiful day that was!

Last month, July 17-28, we had a privilege of hosting a visiting team from Crossroads Alliance, Brooklyn Park, MN.  This team not only came to help us with the English camp but also with preaching and leading two husbands-wives seminars in Teok Cho village and in Poipet!  And the team even financially sponsored Justin’s entire trip so he could be with us for the summer!  Thank you, Crossroads Alliance!

Well, the summer is over for our children.  We were blessed to have some quality time with our kids during the break.  On August 3-8, it was with bitter sweet time that I (Syna) accompanied Jonathan back to Dalat International School where he is enrolled in a boarding school program, in Penang, Malaysia.  Jonathan is now in grade 7.  He seems to have a good beginning so far, familiarizing with school routines and knowing what to expect, meeting all new- male teachers, having a good set of class mates, and being able to stay in the same dorm where he is happily reuniting with his dorm siblings and friends.  We pray that the year continues to give Jon many more positive experiences…

 After spending an entire summer with us, Justin went back to America with the visiting team, on July 28, where he will soon resume his second year at Crown College. We are very thankful to God for taking great care of every detail concerning the needs of our children!  And much thanks to many of you who have been very faithful in praying for and loving our children in so many ways. We are very grateful.

Please remember to pray for dates and events below:

1.August 20-22, regional and National key youth leaders will have a family retreat in Siem Reap Province.
2.August 31- September 4th, representatives from the regional C&MA (International Workers) will visit each individual IW or unit of IWs working in Cambodia.  Pray for safe traveling as well as good meetings with each IWs as well opportunity to learn new insight.
3.August 28- will be our next youth ally for the northwest region in Bontey Meanchey Province.
4.September 5, is the next Field Leadership Team meeting in Siem Reap province

Please share with us what God is doing in your life.  Thank you for your faithful prayers and your continual support to the Great Commission Fund (GCF), which enables us to keep on serving, bringing the Light of Jesus to lost souls in this part of the world.

Soeuth and Syna Lao