Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August Update 2016

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

Just wanted to update you of what took place with the Poipet church- planting ministries.
Earlier in the spring, there were some concerns among the Poipet Khmer Evangelic Church (KEC) leaders as to what would become of the distant location- village- house churches after the missionaries leave town.  Because of the lack of personnel, the leaders had decided to “let go” of the smaller village churches for a season, but to focus on those of more “mature” and “stronger” ones…

Lately, however, the church leaders were convicted by these promised words found in 2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness: He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

As a result, one church leader from the Living Water church, Mr. Hout Soheng, in agreement with his wife, Moum, answered the Call to reach lost people for God’s kingdom.  This young couple with two small girls decided to face the weekly treacherous motorbike trips (68 kilometers each way) to do ministries in one of the remote places in the northwest part of Cambodia.

Heng with his two girls on the motorbike
To do this, the family would need to spend a night at Beong Beng Village of the Malay District.  While spending two days in Beong Beng, the young couple took turns to teach discipleship classes, lead a preaching club for potential leaders, and have children ministry for community kids and youth ministry of the areas.

Heng, Moum, and their two girls

Because Heng and Moum are willing to invest their time in the Malay District, God stirred the hearts of potential leaders from the areas, “And they are coming every week to study in preaching club."  Heng said, “A total of 17 leaders from the Malay District are having fun studying in the preaching Club!”  Before this class began, there were few small groups of believers scattered all over the Malay District, some are from the Alliance churches and a few others are from other denominations. But because these leaders had no former training, their Sunday messages or any form of Christian education were stale and “boring” putting their congregation/students to sleep.   Now, with the help from preaching class the leaders as Heng observed, “Began to show passion and added fire to their messages!”

As with other church leaders who answering the call into a specific ministry while facing daily hardship and struggle in life, Heng also had many moments of doubt asking himself if “it's all worth it?” and  “am I crazy as to risk my family safety by traveling to such a distant location?”  Heng is fully aware that to accept this ministry in Malay, he would lose two full days of any potential earning (from a labor job) for supporting his young family… But Heng also knows that “Our Heavenly Father knows” what his family needs…  As the result, in response to Heng’s weekly commitment and aware of his family’s needs, at the end of each class, the students take a collection/offering to help cover for Heng’s cost of fuel and food.  Some students even brought in a few kilograms of rice or some kinds of gifts from their village to support “Kru- Yoerng” (our teacher).  To Heng, “Seeing the joy and excitement and watching a new sense of passion sparked in these leaders as they shared their stories, gives him much encouragement! And “Now, I know. It's all worth it.”

Please pray for Heng and Moum and their two little girls for safety on long road trips, for open doors in ministry opportunities and for continual JOY in the journey of answering the Call of the Malay ministries…

In May’ update, we shared with you about physical and spiritual needs for the people in Sraa Aem Village at Preah Viheas Province.  Many of the young people who participated on the motorbike mission trip before also witnessed such needs.

Sraa Aem Village
 In response, the KEC church leaders of the northwest region have been praying and seeking for ways to help impact the lives of these 300 plus soldiers and their families.  After weeks of praying, researching, and planning the Northwest regional leaders appointed four committee members to oversee the Sraa Aem Village project.  The new committee, led by Rev. Bo Samoeun of Svey Sisophon Alliance church, took a three-day trip, August 8-10, in a rented taxi to initiate an Agriculture Project in Sraa Aem village.  The committee brought with them selections of chickens and vegetable seeds.

Agriculture Porject

Upon arrival, Mr. “V”, the 1-star Military General (see May’s update) of that village was so excited and so grateful to the committee for coming to help his people that he and his wife had graciously welcomed and hosted the visitors warmly.  Not only that, Mr. V provided for all meals for the fours visitors and for the 25 ladies (military wives of the village) who were participants of the agriculture project! The committee spent two days to teach and cover all the lesson plans including the step-by-step and hands-on practice lessons on how to raise chickens and to raise home grown vegetables.  Because of distant location, the committee will commit to do a follow-up visit every three month, but they are willing to answer any question or concern through phone calls…  Please pray for wisdom and discernment and directions as the church leaders of the northwest region are responding to the needs of the people in Sraa Aem Village in Words and deeds.
More Praises and Prayer Requests:

- Justin passed a road test and has a New York Driver License! No car yet, just a license.  He is back at Crown College for early soccer practice.  Classes begin on Sept. 18th. He is a junior in the nursing program.  Pray for a good year for Justin.

- We had a great time participating in the Cambodian District conference in Florida where Soeuth a chance to share with the Cambodian men and Syna with ladies.  Also attending HAMS in Colorado Springs was a great learning experience for us.

- Jonathan, our younger son will be in 8th grade at the Nyack public school.  Please pray for a good year for Jon.  School starts on September 6th, (scary for the parents more than for the student!)

- In between conferences in this busy summer, we’d managed to visit and reconnect with Syna’s two younger brothers and their families: One family live in Chester VA, and another in Massapequa, NY.  Please pray for Syna’s brother, “V”, not yet a believer, who is going through a dark time right now.  Syna is making every effort to reach out to him. Pray that V’s heart would be responsive to God during this difficult time.

- August 21-25, we will head to visit Washington, PA, to visit supporting friends and church families of the areas.  Pray for safe trip and good reunion with friends there.

- Fall mission tour will officially begin on the first week of September.  We will be visiting and speaking among Alliance churches of the Metropolitan District, with a few exceptions to Long Beach, CA (Sept.9-19) and to Detroit Lakes, MN (Oct.1-7). Pray that we will be used mightily by God as we go about reconnecting with church families, sharing and telling stories of what God has done and continue doing in the growing ministries of Cambodian mission field.  Pray that lives would be stirred and touched and be responsive to the Call that God has for each of listeners.

As always, the ministries in Poipet, Cambodia, would not be possible if without God empowering and if without your faithful prayers and financial support to the Great Commission Fund.  Thank you for being true partners in the growing Cambodian mission field and ministries in the effort to bring
Lost People into God’s Kingdom.

With a grateful heart,
Soeuth & Syna Lao