Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December Update 2015

Dear Friends and Family,

Warm Christmas greetings!  As you celebrate the birth of our Lord this Christmas, may you experience the true meaning for the season.

The KEC churches all over Cambodia are in full swing with Christmas activities! For the northwest region, Soeuth has been invited to preach at village churches, and so far, he spoke at 5 villages out of 8, only three more Christmas events to go for this year.  Not too bad compares to what we had last year…  As we visited distant villages, we intentionally invited some young people to come along with us in order for learning opportunities as well as for a chance to visit new places.  Though the visit was an all- day event, and the ride was not pleasant, young people would always excitedly look for such opportunity! And every time we go to villages, we would always have a truck load full of kids coming along!  Upon each return home, the kids would often share their excited experiences of adventures to their friends and relatives. Last week, one young boy, Gideon, aged 12, was in tears as he passionately shared with his family about a recent visit. “Mom, their church building is much smaller than our house!  And the people there don’t have anything much”.  He paused to wipe away some tears from his eyes and then continued, “But they love God so much.  They walked a very long way just to come to church!  We live next door to the church building, yet some of us don’t even bother to go to church!”

As church people are encouraged to invite their unbelieving friends and relatives to the Christmas celebration, at Kampeing Poy Village last week, a young man, Phillip, and another youth had invited their high school friends to the celebration; 22 of their friends came!  These young people took half of the church seats!  At first we thought that these young people would not be staying throughout the entire service since they were not yet believers; and some church leaders even had half- expected that somewhere along the service that these young people would begin to leave. But all 22 of them stayed and paid close attention to every word spoken!  Soeuth had prepared an evangelistic message based on Luke 1:26-38, where he’d challenged the listeners to put aside their weariness, heavy burdens, and other life struggles, but to come willingly and accept the free gift of eternal life that the Son of God has for each of them, because in spite of all our struggles or what we are going through, “Nothing is impossible with God”.  At the end of that service, all of these young visitors stayed long enough to ask us some very insightful questions. We have reasons to believe that these young people had clearly heard the Gospel!  Now it is up to God to work in their hearts.  Please pray that the seed planned would be begin to sprout at God’s timing.

December 10 was an exciting day for the Peayope (northwest) regional youth ministry!  The Poipet/Malay kids had waited with much anticipation.  On the 9th of December, as the numbers of those who registered were reported, we‘d expected that about 140 kids would be traveling from Poipet/Malay to Svey Sisophon, (the place where would have the rally).  But on early morning of the traveling day, a total of 186 people showed up in front of our house!  Where to find the extra vehicles for these many kids at such a short notice?  At the last minutes, however, God provided! A young man from Living water who had not planned to go but was just happened to come by our house for such an early morning visit!  And he was driving his new truck!  And when seeing the need, he willingly decided to give up one day of business (from selling coffee) in order to help drive the kids to the rally!  One problem solved.  Now, we just needed to find another truck or van!  Praise God, again, for answering prayer; we called the van company, and they were able to send us another van immediately!  Finally, we had a total of 7 pick-up trucks and 2 vans to load up all 186 people from Poipet/ Malay to join other youth at the rally! 

At the rally in Svey Sisophon, since there were too many people (a grand total of 296 people attended this rally), not enough chairs or space, everyone sat on tiled floor!  Music and the entire worship service, all were led by young people!  Soeuth spoke a message from Luke 2:8-20 (and comparing with Matthew 25), entitled: The Touch the Untouchable.  Soeuth asked the young people to identify who are some of the “untouchable” people in their community?  The list included those of the poor, the street kids from along Thailand-Cambodia border or at local markets, the beggars, the homeless, the massage girls, and or the prostitutes, the prisoners, and so many other groups.  And when challenged, “Who would be willing to go out and share the message of hope to these “untouchable” people?” many youth had raised their hands…  Following the message, there was time for skits, testimonies, and special songs with choreographies from various groups.  Many of these youth used their gifts and talents well as each group took turns to demonstrate/ perform their presentations in the “KEC Youth Got Talents”.

The KEC youth not only got gifts/talents, but they also got great hearts!  In order to help make it sustainable for this on-going youth ministry to continue existing, we’d tried to use minimal fund as much as possible. At each rally, though poor as they already are, we’d encouraged the youth to be responsible for their own traveling expenses (each youth from Poipet was required to pay a small amount, about $1.25 each for traveling expense) and to pack their own meal.  For this event, the youth committees provided only the services, facilities, and drinking water.  And at each rally, we often took a special offering and received small amount of cash to help pay for any extra expenses.  But at this particular rally, however, the offering collected was over $100.00!  Nearly twice the amount normally collected!

Family:  We are excited to have Jonathan with us for the Christmas season.  With lots of prayers and with God’s help, Jonathan, aged 13, grade 7th, has made it successfully for yet another semester!  We rejoice at what God is doing in Jon’s life.  Justin, aged 19 and second year in Crown College, will be staying with friends in Minnesota for the winter break.

Please remember the following dates and events in your prayers…

n  Dec. 22, Monthly classes in Phume Prey Village.  An all-day event with three Bible classes, one class after the other, following by a baking class.  We are expecting about 12 ladies will come for a baking lesson.  And on that same evening at 7-9 pm, Syna will teach a class on Paul’s Life and Letter. Pray for strength and energy for such a long day.

n  Dec. 25, Christmas service at Living Water Church.  This will be the first Christmas every for many new believers.  Church families are encouraged to invited their unbelieving friends and relatives for the service.  Pray that God would touch hearts. Rev. Jeff Williams, our team mate from Phnom Penh, will give the message.

n  Dec. 31, annual youth Christmas/ New Year’s Eve party at our house.  Usually we had about 60-80 young people attended every year.  And the same amount is expected for this year.  Pray for opportunity to share the Gospel with unbelievers.

n  Jan. 2, Soeuth will preach and officiate a wedding at Phume Prey village. This will be the first Christian wedding in this village!  The girl’s parents and relatives are not yet believers but willing for her to get married the Christian way!  Pray for outreach opportunities.

n  Next regional youth committee meeting in Battambang province (Jan. 7th) for the northwest region. And the next National youth committee meeting, Jan. 9th in Phnom Penh.

n  Jan. 13th -14th is our next Field Team Leadership (FLT) meeting in Phnom Penh.

n  Jan. 14th -30th, Syna will attend the Leadership matter Course (LMC) also in Phnom Penh.

n  Jan. 12th - 15th, Soeuth will take Jonathan back to Dalat School.

n  Jan. 27th -29th, KEC National Women retreat in Siem Reap Province, the committees are expecting about 600+ KEC women will be there.

n  Feb. 17-26, visiting team from Crossroad Alliance from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, will come to Poipet.

Thank you so much for you faithful and continual prayers and support!  Your sacrificial giving the Alliance Great commission Fund enables us to continue serving in this part of the world, sharing the message of HOPE and the Gospel of LOVE to Lost people, because matters so much to God.  Please share with us what God is doing in your life. Have a blessed and merry Christmas!  Jesus is the reason for the season!

In Him,

Soeuth and Syna Lao