Upon returning to Poipet, Cambodia, with an intentional effort to reach the youth for Christ, we initiated a soccer ministry on a rented property where we lived. Many kids from around the community came to play every late afternoon. Makara, aged 16 then, was among the many youth who came to play soccer. Even with the intensity and excitement of the soccer match, Makara, unlike most of his peers, was always the first to leave the soccer field. After a few weeks of seeing him leave early, we began to ask around about who this young man was. We learned that Makara was a third child of five children and was from a poor family with a single mother. His father was out of his life since he was seven years old. His mother and two older siblings went to find work in Thailand in order to survive. When his mother was caught breaking the laws of being an illegal immigrant, she was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison. Since age 13, Makara was left to care of his two younger siblings in Poipet, while receiving monthly financial support from his older siblings.
As a restless teenager living in the spiritual darkness of the city of Poipet, without any parental supervising, Makara was often prone to wander. Although he was attending school, cutting classes was among his many bad habits. He was involved with gangsters and experienced drugs and alcohol among other things. In his village and school, Makara saw the dangerous paths where many of his friends were heading, and he did not wish to end up like them! But no matter how many times he vowed to be a good person or how hard he had tried to stay away from trouble, constant daily peer pressures caused Makara to fall repeatedly into the same vicious cycles of being “clean” for a few days, and then back to his old ugly habits. Hopeless and out of desperation, Makara stumbled into an Alliance church service one Sunday of February 2009. “I felt as though some strong unseen force was pulling me! Whatever it was, I felt compelled to walk into the church building!” Makara recalled his first encounter with Christ. Being new to the church service and naturally inquisitive in nature, Makara sat still and tried to pay close attention to what was going on: “That’s when God made Himself known to me!”
Recalling a sermon that he had heard on that Sunday morning, “Pastor Soeuth said that only Jesus can change a person’s way of life." Immediately, this news offered an invitation to Makara's longing heart. He began to pray, “Pheah Yea-sue (Lord Jesus), if you are real then help me! If you are able as the pastor said you are, change me! And if you can use me for whatever way you wish, show me! I am tired of being on my own man. I need your help."
Though the transformation in Makara was a long process, we saw the tremendous changes that God did and is still doing in his life! During our missionary services in Poipet, Makara had enrolled and studied in many discipleship and leadership training classes with us. When confronted with challenged circumstances about life, financial struggles, or inner struggles of temptations, Makara was not afraid to ask even hard questions! Numerous times, when pressured by unbelieving family to turn back to their old religion, Makara remained faithful to the one true God.
On March 2016, Makara became one of the five newly elected committee members for the Poipet sport ministry. Makara has a deep passion to serve God in sport ministry in an effort to reach kids for Christ. Of the five committee members, Makara could truly relate and understand well of the type of trouble kids are going through. Makara’s life verse is Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." When asked about the significance of this verse he said, “I am eternally grateful to God for rescuing me from trouble. But I think God has another plan in mind when He kept me alive in all those years when I was on my own. He wants me to help other kids who are walking in the same destructive paths as I once did." Please pray for Makara and Sopheak as they continue ministering to soccer kids. The young couple is expecting their first baby in December 2016.
Family: We appreciate your prayers and support concerning our children. This year, we rejoice having Jonathan stay home with us as he attends the local public school. But we miss not having Justin with us and are anxious for his return coming home from college in December during winter break.
Praises and prayer requests:
- We were blessed to attend the Metro District conference, October 17th-19th. It was such a rich time for us to just receive solid theological messages related to the conference theme THRIVE.
- We were thankful for safe trips, thus far, as we are in the full swing of fall mission conference tours, mostly throughout the Metro District areas.
- Please continue to pray for the rest of tour year that we would represent God well as we share with the supporting churches and tell the stories of the lives He has touched.
- Please remember to our KEC brothers and sisters throughout Cambodia that they would remain steadfast in their spiritual journey even without the presence of missionaries. Pray that they would keep their eyes only on Jesus, the Provider of all their needs.
Please share with us what God is doing in your life. Thank you for partnering with the Poipet and Cambodia ministries. Lost people still matter to God and He wants them found. We appreciate prayers and financial support to the Great Commission Fund!
Soeuth & Syna