Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April Update 2016

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the land of the tropics!  Happy Khmer New Year!  We trust you are well and are enjoying the COOL beautiful spring weather for those of you from the State sides.  Cambodia is at the peak of a very HOT season! The average daily temperature is between 104-106 degrees!  Last week, it was 113 degrees!

There were so many things happened these past few weeks that if this letter does not send out to you soon, those news would become “old news."  So here is the latest updates for the Poipet ministries ordering from the most recent and onward…

Saturday, March 19: 
We had our first membership seminar at Living Water church!

Leadership village class

 Though the seminar was for Living Water church families, other KEC church leaders from the surround areas were also invited.  Altogether, about 80 people attended!  The English version seminars were led by Pastor Joel Arndt with the help of translation from the Laos.  On hearing about this, other KEC church leaders made repeated requests that same courses be taught at their regions as well

Saturday, March 26: 
The Poipet Alliance churches had a friendly soccer tournament at Living Water Church!  There were 8 soccer teams in all, ages from U13 to U16.  The Malay kids took first place!

Girls team playing
Soccer girls praying
Soccer kids getting ready for competition

As of present, this soccer ministry is focusing mainly on church kids or on those who come to play through the connection of a local KEC church.  We rejoice at the newly established 5 members for the sport committees, all are representatives from various KEC church throughout the Poipet areas!  The committees see significant values in reaching kids for Christ through soccer ministry.  Please pray for the committees as they meet monthly to plan ahead for the upcoming monthly competitions.

EASTER Sunday, March 27: 

Soeuth leading five people to the Lord on Easter Day

the Poipet KEC church had an outdoor- joined service at the Living Water Church under 2 newly made tents and on a newly built FUTSAL soccer field!  About 250 plus attended!  Pastor Joel Arndt (and his wife, Becca) of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, were our visiting guests and speaker.  This was the first Easter service for many new believers! At the end of the service 5 people gave their lives to Christ!
Joel & Soeuth giving a message
Saturday, April 2: 
As mentioned in previous update that there was a wedding at Living Water Church.

Having been faithfully committed to their relationship and patiently waited for 5 years, Timon and Sokhary finally became husband and wife!  Their marriage was a beautiful testimony for all other young people in town!  No matter the temptations or how great the struggles in life, this young newly wedded young couple chose to honor God by remaining pure until their wedding day!  Timon, the youngest of 6 kids and an orphan since aged 16, had struggled a great deal and sometimes had many questions of doubt of whether or not he could find enough money for his own wedding.  Sokhary, on the other hands, being the youngest of 5 kids and the only believer in the family, had endured many persecutions from her own mother and older siblings! From both sides of the families and on many occasions, the family members had pressured this couple into married the Buddhist way! But they decided to save up enough money and paid for their own Christian wedding WITHOUT any family support!  It was true that this couple did not have any support from their own family, but they had a BIGGER Church FAMILY!  More than 200 Christian people came to their wedding! And the giving was very generous!  After all the cost was added up and paid for, they even had some money left extra to start their life together!

Sunday April 3: 
After spending a week of spring break at home, our son, Jonathan flew back to Penang Malaysia for his last quarter of grade 7th year at Dalat International School.  His nose was healing nicely and was looking more like normal again! Since we could not be with him on the actual date, we celebrated his 14th birthday early in Poipet. Just this past week, we learned from his dorm parents, that the Jackson Dorm family gave him a big birthday surprise at his favorite restaurant in Penang, the Nandos!  Thank you for all your prayers and support for our children!

APRIL 6-9: 
An annual National KEC youth conference/ camp too place at Kampong Cham Province where Alliance young people from all over Cambodia attended!  Although only 572 officially registered and paid for the conference fees, 650 plus people ate at each meal and attended the worship services!

Group picture of the youth camp

Some of those extra people were hired bus/ van drivers who drove the kids to the camp.  Even though these drivers were not yet believers, many of them chose to hang around on campus for three whole days! Many had opportunities to hear God’s Word from well prepared sermons! Some drivers even participated in all 4 four seminar classes! The theme of the conference was based on 1 Timothy 4:12, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." Throughout the conference, there were opportunities for personal testimonies, special songs, and skit performed by various youth groups, all gave similar message related the conference theme!  We encountered some minor issues along the ways as expected for running a camp for a large group as this; but overall, things went as smoothly as can be.
In applying to the conference theme, some young people were exceptionally willing to give extra helping hands to whatever was needed!  For the past two years in a row, Vichet, a former National KEC youth committee, felt call to serve God with the KEC youth by using his gift and talent as being a chef!  As he had done this in the previous youth camp, this year, he also volunteered to cook for a total of 9 meals feeding some 650 plus people!!!  Of course he could not do it all by himself, so he’d recruited 32 young people from Snoul, Kratie province, who were willing to help prepare, serve, and wait at tables during meal times, and the cleaning afterward, so that other campers could enjoy the conference! And they continued serving throughout the entire conference! About 10 young people from various provinces arrived a day early in order to help the National youth committees put things together and ready for the conference! 18 students from the Elim Rural Ministry Training center (RMTC) spent 5 full-days before the conference clearing & cleaning camp ground,  building temporally 5 bathrooms including digging 5 large holes in the ground (a meter deep each) for make-shift outhouses!

To run this conference, the committees depended entirely on the finances received from registrations, and some donations from the Alliance mission and from Cambodian Evangelical Church (CEC) from the United States.  The committees also printed and sold 490 colorful T-shirts for small profits to help with financial needs.  Even with this effort, we still ran short about $1500.00 in US dollars!  BUT overall the KEC youth camp went really well this year because of God’s help, and because He had empowered some AMAZING young people to step up and gave us their extra helping hands!  As the result, this past Sunday, some young people from Living Water gave tearful testimonies of their personal encounters at the youth camp.  It is our prayer that these young KEC “Timothy” would continue to live lives of faithfulness to God and continue to set good examples to other believers in words and conducts…

That is enough news for now.  Here are some dates and event to be prayed for.

- This month, Khmer New Year falls on April 13-15!  Please pray for safety and protection for church families who will be traveling.  We will open our house, April 13-14, to church people and to those who are interested in water fights and traditional games.  The purpose of this event is as a diversion for new believers so that they would not be tempted to go back to their old ways of life, going to the Buddhist temple…

- April 15-17, about 12 of us (KEC youth leaders) will be traveling to Rattanakiri province, again, for a quarterly youth rally and for the FIRST time Bible quizzing for the Jari KEC youth!!!!
- April 23, next National KEC youth committees meeting in Phnom Penh
- April 25, 26: Next monthly classes at Pume Prey village/ at Toek Jo village, Bontey Meanchey province.
- April 30: FIRST time Bible quizzing for the Phnom Penh KEC youth!!!!
- April 30- May 18: Syna Lao and David Manfred will be traveling to America for a SUMMIT meeting at Colorado Springs (May 2-6), then May 6-18, both will be at different places in Minnesota visiting family & friends.
- May 2: Next friendly KEC soccer tournament at Living Water church, Poipet
- May 12-15: Our next annual KEC youth motorbike mission trip to Preah Vihear Province.
- May 21: A wedding a Living Water church.
- May 24: Northwest regional election for the new committee members.
- May 28: A fair-well service for all missionaries leaving Poipet

In between all these events that will take place, we hope to find time and energy to pack up the house and put things into storage in preparation for our departure for America, June 13th.  For those of you who are interested, we will be staying in Nyack for a one-year home assignment.  We will be visiting and speaking at Alliance churches in the Metropolitan District.  Please pray for the upcoming transitions.  Pray for our sons, Justin and Jonathan, but mainly for Jonathan as he will be entering into the Nyack public school for his 8th grade year.  First time in a big public school! Scary! Please pray for kind and understanding teachers and for good friends for Jon.  Justin had just taken an entrance exam, April 9th, into the nursing program at Crown College, awaiting the result…

Thanks again for all your prayers and financial support!!!  Your giving to the GCF enables us to keep on serving in this part of the world, bringing the message of Hope in Jesus Christ to lost people in Cambodia and all over the world.

Soeuth & Syna