Monday, June 13, 2016

June Update 2016

Dear Friends,

We look forward to be on American soil soon and to see some of you again! Yes, we’d left Cambodia at around midnight of June 12 and are now waiting (12 hours) in Korea for our connecting flight to Seattle, WA.  But YOU have been praying for the ministries in Poipet, Cambodia, and there were so many things happened lately that we must to share the news with you as the results of your faithful prayers…

Monday, May 23rd: Soeuth concluded his nightly leadership class with the KEC church leaders from around Poipet. It was a bitter-sweet moment for us.  Being with this same nightly class for the past 12 years, we felt a strong connection with each of the students.  Most of them had left their home towns from many different parts of Cambodia and came to live in Poipet since they were in late their teens and in early 20’s.  Throughout the course of time, we got to watch how they grew physically and spiritually, to walk with and stand alongside them in their up and down times, to offer advice and to do pre-marital counseling when they’d met and married their spouses, and later on to dedicate their babies to the Lord…

Missionaries giving farewell advice.
Now, most of them are young adults married and with kids of their own, loving and walking faithfully with God and passionately serving Him in various part of ministries, and becoming strong godly spiritual leaders of their regional locations where 8 KEC churches of the C&MA and over 600 believers are locating all over Poipet.  We cannot thank God enough for such rich opportunity for allowing us to be part of HIS kingdom movement in Poipet. And we THANK YOU, dear Prayer Warriors and Partners in ministry, for your faithfulness and on-going supports and encouragement…

Farewell celebration for the parting missionaries.
May 24th: The Peoyop (northwest) District had an election, in Svey Sisophon , for the new regional KEC youth committees where five representatives/ leaders were chosen to lead the youth ministry of the areas, and  Mr. Hout Soheng of Living Water Church became a district youth leaders…  Later on that same evening, Syna also concluded her Tuesday night leadership class in Paul’s Life & Letters, book 2.  And the same bitter-sweet feelings as mentioned above were also shared…  Beginning July 5th, Mr. Hout Soheng of Living Water Church will take over in teaching this same class to book 3 level and beyond…

Syna with a Tuesday night leadership class.

May 30th: Having no more nightly classes to teach for a change, Soeuth & I went out for a nice dinner and celebrated our 24th anniversary!  We took time to reflect of the many ups & downs times of our own, to look back to the beautiful life and journey that God has graciously allowed us to walk through, and to look forward to the future, to the next chapter, even to the more adventures and excitements that HE already has in place for us…

June 1st: While Syna went to Malaysia to be with Jonathan, Soeuth and some youth leaders went to Phnom Penh for regional youth rally for the areas.  Comparing to the Peoyop regional youth rally, this was a much smaller one, only about 60 youth attended.  BUT it was an excite youth event since it was FIRST time for everything! This was the first joined youth meeting in over a year!  It was the first time that the city youth had Bible quizzing!  To help them getting started, we brought along some young people from the Peoyop District to show them how to study and prepare for the quizzing. Although for this first time quizzing there was only three teams to compete, other youth groups who saw how it was done got really excited and agreed that it is also a DO-ABLE even for them! And it was the first that the city kids were willing to come to a youth event on their own personal expenses in traveling and for meal!  And they even had their first offering for this meeting!  This got the regional youth leaders of the areas very excited! Seeing how it can be done, now the leaders could easily plan and schedule for the next youth event without having to worry about raising money for running any youth activity…  For a very long time, there were almost non-existent or was hardly any activity going on for the youth ministry in this region, and this had caused great concerns for the National Church Committees (NCC) and for the mission...  Praise God, after this meeting, the Nearadey regional youth leaders found encouragement that there is still HOPE for the city youth.  Please join us in prayers for this regional youth ministry.

June 4th: Due to conflicts in time schedule, the missionary farewell party was moved to this date at Living Water Church.  Again it was an emotional time for all of us.  Our beloved Field Director and friend, Rev. David Manfred, bravely took the night bus from Phnom Penh to join the fellowship where he gave an eloquent message based on 2 Kings 2:1-15 reminded how God was and is and will continue to be at work in and around Poipet and beyond...  And as Elijah, the prophet of the Old Testament, after being taken by God to heaven, had left behind his cloak for Elisha to carry on the ministries, Dave challenged and encouraged us, the leaving missionaries, to leave behind Kramas (Cambodian- checkered scarves) as ‘cloaks” to those godly leaders who will stay behind to continue with and carrying on the Poipet ministries… It was beautiful tearful and yet joyful moment…

KEC church leaders received Kramas ”cloaks”from leaving missionaries
June 5th: The Poipet sport ministry had another friendly soccer tournament at Living Water Church where 9 teams of U13 met and competed!  Among these teams, there were 4 girl teams!!!! Over all about 150+ kids from around Poipet came to play and to cheer for the soccer tournament!  It is an exciting time to see how God used the sport ministry to reach kids for His Kingdom!  The other day, after long hours of soccer practice, Pastor Chean of Living Water Church was not in a hurry to go home yet but stayed around at church ground “just to chat with the kids”.  After a few quiet moments, some kids asked if Pastor Chean would share with them his testimony, his life journey, on how he came to know the Lord.  So, Pastor Chean shared that he was raised pretty much in similar conditions as many of these kids are now going through: Many of them come from a broken family; some have never seen their parents but are growing up and living with aging grandparents or with extended relative members; and many of them have alcoholic and abusive fathers or are from poor families where these youth, though young as they are, had to drop out of school for various reasons or personal needs…  So when Pastor Chean took time to share his story, there were genuine tears rolling down their little cheeks as a realization that finally there is someone who understands what they are going through! Pastor Chean, then, went on to share that there is HOPE and LOVE that can be found in Jesus Christ!  He told them that Jesus is the True FATHER in whom they can trust and that HE would never leave them or abandon them or abuse them as their earthly fathers would.  As the result, 11 soccer kids gave their lives to Jesus that evening!  Soccer is a one of the tools that God uses to build His kingdom. It (soccer) is like a magnet attracting and drawing kids to the church field! Every late afternoon, there are at least 20-30 walking or bicycling to the church yards looking  for opportunity to play soccer or other games or just hanging around at the church’s playground.  These kids are coming to the church yards searching and seeking and hunger for something bigger and greater than what they have at their homes… Please pray for the five sport committee members to have clear vision in reaching kids for Christ through this ministry.

Soccer kids prayed before tournament.

Sunday June 12th: Soeuth preached his last message at Living Water (LW) Church.  During the farewell celebration last week, a few smaller distant KEC house churches could not come to join the fellowship. So this week, they’d asked the leaders to LW if they could come to join the morning service.  And they came by the truck loads of them!  This year, the LW has been doing series messages through the Books of Acts.  And since it is our last service in Poipet, Soeuth prepared a farewell message based on Acts. 20:17-38 encouraging to walking faithfully in God no matter the circumstances by keeping their eyes only on Jesus…  The church families and visitors stayed for a joyful fellowship of potluck meal afterward…   It is hard to leave friends behind, but at the same time, it is also encouraging to see what they have become.

Soccer kids came to farewell party
Village kids came to say goodbye
Church family came to say goodbye
 It is our prayers that many of them will remain steadfast in their walk with God even after we leave.

Please join us in prayer with this…

Please pray:

- For a smooth transitions and adjustments for the KEC churches in Poipet.  This is the first time in 13 years, that this region is without a missionary behind. These young KEC churches have been encouraged to “stepping out of the boat” into the deep water and are now “walking by faith” on their own.  Pray that they would keep their eyes on Jesus, and only on Jesus.

- Pray for smooth transitions of our parts.  We look forward to have both of our children under one roof again, even for just the summer break.

- Pray for Jonathan’s school this coming year.  We are not sure where God is leading, but at this point in time we plan on having him attending the Nyack public school for his 8th grade year.  Please pray for good friends and for godly and understanding teachers.

We look forward to see some of you again soon.  I will be a while yet before you hear from us.  Have a blessed and safe and cool summer time.

Soeuth & Syna