Dear Friends and Family,
Happy New Year! We had no idea that January had just vanished from this year’s calendar! It has been a very busy few months so far, and the roller coaster ride is just getting warmed up. But before it gets out of hand, here are some events/stories of what took place since December…
On January 2, Soeuth preached and officiated at a wedding at Phume Prey Village, the first Christian wedding ever performed in this village! In addition to many Christian guests, family members, non-believing villagers and relatives (from both sides of the family) were invited to see what a Christian wedding looked like. Altogether, more than 500 people attended! The most well attended village wedding we had ever seen! And since the young couple chose to honor God by not serving any alcoholic drinks spoke volume (about their trust in God) to the curious guests. And not only that, they were able to save a lot of money from those extra alcoholic expenses! This was highly and frequently commented by many observing yet curious non-believers!
January 12, we took a trip to Phnom Penh for Field Leadership Team (FLT) meeting and Leadership Matter Course (LMC) where Syna remained there until January 30, while Soeuth joined the National KEC youth committee meeting in PHN for a few days and then returned to Poipet for villages classes in the northwest region. We were grateful to God, this year, for allowing Hout Heng (Poipet), Sann Sokong (Svey), and Ngoun Chamroeun (Phnom Penh), three of the KEC emerging leaders to be full- time participants in the very intense 12 full- days of Leadership Matter Course! Because of the language difficulty and their limited educational background, the course was extremely difficult for them, but by the grace of God, these three emerging leaders did it exceptionally well!
February 5, we were on the road again, back to Phnom Penh for yet another wedding. The wedding was on Feb. 6th, this time it was for the elder son of, Rev. and Mrs. Sok Sophon, the Khmer Evangelical Church (KEC)’s president! As expected for city weddings, this was well attended. Khmer weddings are typically very expensive and often it creates such a tremendous burden on the family. Aware of the needs, the invited guests would give gifts in cash in order to help cover for some of the cost. But at this wedding, however, the giving was exceptionally generous! After all the expenses were added up paid for, the young couple still had some extra money to start their new life together! And because this event was very important and special to the KEC president, many KEC church representatives from across the country came to show their love and support to the family!
Sunday February 7, Soeuth spoke at a village church in
Kampong Cham province, about an hour drive from the capital city. Immediately after church service, Soeuth was also asked by local church leaders to baptize 15 new believers in the Mekong River! Upon their initial request, Soeuth was a bit hesitant. But after hearing that these newly Christians were already being disciple by local church leaders, he was more than willing to honor the request.
February 9, we continued on with our long road trips, this time to Rattanakiri Province, about 9 hours drive from Phnom Penh City, arriving into Sam Trock village late in the evening, where we stayed two nights in a typical wooden stilted house of a Jaria church leader, with no electricity and indoor plumbing. Immediately upon our arrival into the village, many tribal church families came to greet us warmly. Some of them chose to stay overnight and chatted with us in order to “give us company." The next day, a total of 35 local youth leaders from across the province came for an all-day workshop seminar on how to lead/teach/create inductive Bible studies. The workshop was intense, but it is our hope and prayer that this was a helpful tool for the leaders. During the workshop, these leaders showed great hunger and a strong desire to learn more of God’s word in order to help their church grow! And after learning more about their daily struggles and hardships and about long difficult road trips they all had to make in order to attend the seminar, all our aches, pains and complaints concerning long road trips from the previous day was NOTHING compared to what these guys had endured! We’d gained a new perspective concerning long road trips…
February 11, we’d continued on with the journey to yet another rural area at Kratie Province for the same purpose. But since the workshop session would not begin until the afternoon of the next day, we decided to get a good night rest in a local guesthouse, about half way through our next destination. As we were about to heave the guesthouse on February 12, we’d learned about Jonathan’s accident (see details below) at Dalat school, in Malaysia! At this time, we were exactly 20 hours drive away from Poipet and did not have our passports with us. Sensing that there was nothing much we could do (couldn’t leave the country without passports) we continued on as planned while keeping constant dialogues through phone calls with the Dalat’s school nurse and dorm parents… When we gathered the group to begin the workshop at Snoul village, a total of 65 local KEC youth leaders from Kratie, Mondulkiri, and Kampong Cham provinces attended!
As soon as the workshop was completed, around noon time of February 13, we left right away and headed for Siem Reap Province, arriving there at 9 pm. After staying overnight in Siem Reap, we moved on and arrived into Poipet at 12:30 pm on Valentine’s Day, just enough time for Soeuth to rest a bit and get ready for the sport committees’ meeting at 2 pm! With all that happening during the last few days, we were completely exhausted physically, spiritually, and emotionally. But as soon as we arrived into the ground of Living Water Church, “we were home again” as the church families from all age groups came rushing to greet us! For the past few days, they had all been waiting and praying for and wanted to hear about the latest news concerning Jonathan. It was at this very moment that our spirit was immediately lifted and we felt greatly encouraged at their love and concern for our injured son…
JONATHAN: According to the school nurse, Friday Feb. 12, during PE period at around 11:30 am, Jonathan was accidentally hit by a baseball bat on his nose and right cheek! Some bleeding was seen from his nose and some swelling on his nose and right cheek. Jon was rushed to a local hospital where he was seen by an ENT doctor. An X-ray confirmed that the nasal bone was fractured and will need surgery to repair it. It is our prayer that the swelling would go down soon so that Jonathan could have this needed surgery when Syna is there. Syna already has ticket to fly to Penang, this Wednesday, where she will be with Jon before and, hopefully, during and after the surgery.
Meanwhile, we’ve been blessed to receive countless emails/ phone calls from friends and family who care deeply for our son. We are just grateful to God that Jon’s eye was spared! Please continue to pray for Jonathan. Stuffs happened. And things could have been worse. But God is still good. And HE is in control of all things.
In His loving care,
Soeuth & Syna