Monday, December 25, 2017

December Update 2017

Dear praying friends and family,

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord"- Luke 2:11 NIV

As you hear again the story of the first Christmas and how the Child of God lay in a humble manger, may your heart be filled with gladness and with peace, and may this Christ Child bless you and those you love.

Here are some more updates from the Anlong Veng and the northwest regional church ministries:

As previously mentioned, we had a visiting from Detroit Lakes, Minnesota where they came to minister with us among the Khmer Evangelical Churches (KEC) in the northwest region of Cambodia. This is where we had three leadership seminars at Living Water Church: in Poipet, Srae Nouy village and Psaa Loer church (the last two are both in Siem Reap). In addition to ministering to the KEC churches, the team was very helpful to us with household works inside and around the yards. Up until last month, since moving into this house, we had been facing problems with termites, ants, and many other pests! They were everywhere! But since we did not have an adequate time to unpack our things since moving here and did not have proper places for storage, we kept postponing the unpacking process until last month!  What we finally discovered was horrible! Termites literally destroyed many boxes of our precious books and Bibles! After trying everything we found here, nothing seemed to work.

Khmer bible destroyed by termites.
We asked the visiting team to bring us insecticide chemical from America. Once they arrived, the team began spraying gallons of mixed solution inside and around the house. So far, it has been a few weeks since they left and we have not seen any trace of insect! Praise God! Thank you Community Alliance for sending your pastor and team to Cambodia!

December 1st: On our way from bringing the team back to Siem Reap, we stopped by at Andong Chan village, an outskirt of Siem Reap province where Mr. Kong and his family live. Our plan was to have a worship service at Kong’s house, but once we arrived Kong was not home! We were told then that since four O’clock that morning, Kong had to leave for Maat Klaa floating village as some people were interested in Twai Kloun (giving their lives to Jesus). So instead, we held a worship service at Mr. Raa’s house, a neighbor of Kong. During the service, we had opportunities to hear more of some amazing testimonies from other new believers including a powerful testimony from Mr. Raa, (which we will share at another time). By late afternoon upon arriving into Siem Reap, Kong called to report that he had led three families to the Lord!

Mr. Raa and his family
Children class at Mr. Raa's house
Worship time at Mr. Raa's house (from the left: Raa's wife, Raa, Pastor Dy)

Soeuth and the children class at Toul Prich
Almost every week we would often receive phone calls from Kong and Kean (Kong’s younger brother) and from other believers from surrounding villages to report that more and more people are coming to Christ! God is using both Kong and Kean in a very powerful and effective ways in reaching villagers for Christ. Please pray for overall protection against the enemy’s attacks upon Kong and his entire extended families.

December 9th: The regional quarterly youth rally at Svey Sisophon went very well. Due to conflict with the public school schedule, only 96 young people attended the rally, a much smaller gathering than we normally had.
December 14th: Because of the coming holidays and conflict with travel scheduling, we reluctantly had Jonathan (age 15) to fly alone for the first time from Penang, Malaysia, to Bangkok, Thailand!  Syna flew from Siem Reap, on the same day, to meet up with him at the same airport in Bangkok.  After encountering a few minor problems with the Thai immigration security that caused some delay, Jonathan was able to meet up with Syna at the baggage claim. Phew, what a relief! For personal reasons, Syna and Jonathan spent a few days in Thailand and enjoyed doing some Christmas shopping.

December 16th: Tired and weary after all-day ministering in a village, Soeuth was shocked to see unpleasant surprises awaiting him at home; a drunken man was walking around our yards talking nonsense! What do you do in a situation like this? His initial response was to call local police for help, but the man’s mother kept on pleading, “My son has been in situations like this too many times already. No matter what we tried, nothing worked. No one can free him from this bondage, except Preah Yea-sue (the Lord Jesus)!” So, after talking on the phone with Pastor Dy and at his request, Soeuth reluctantly agreed to drive the drunken man and his 65-year old widowed mother to Srae Nouy village, about 86 kilometers away.  Soeuth was praying that during the hour-and-half road trip , the man would not behave violently and interfere with his driving. After arriving at Srae Nouy, Pastor Dy said, “Just leave him here. We know what to do." Since we already had other plans in Anlong Veng, Soeuth returned home. Late in the afternoon on the next day, we received news that Pastor Dy and some church leaders had gathered around the man singing hymns and worship songs to Jesus. This was followed by hours of prayers for deliverance and casting out demons from the man! As the result, that man, called Naat, is now a new believer in Christ! He prayed to receive Christ immediately afterward! A few days later, Naat returned to our house, but this time he was walking and talking like a normal person! He came by to thank us for not turning him away. Both mother and son expressed deep gratitude toward Jesus. The mother went on to say, “Just like the story I read recently in the Bible where Jesus cast out demons and He drove out the devils and sent them all into pigs (Matthews 8:28-34), those evil spirits that tormented my son all these years came out of him! And they (evil spirits) all went into a cat!” Before leaving, Naat asked if he could have some Christian tracts to read. We gave him both a Khmer Bible and a hymnal book with specific instructions on where to begin Scriptural reading and how to pray…  Looking back, we thank God for keeping us from calling the police. Had we done so, Naat would lose the opportunity of knowing and receiving Christ as his Lord and Savior. Naat was invited to come to church this Sunday and also to join the Christmas celebrations at Srae Nouy (Dec. 27th) and at Toul Prich Village (Dec. 29th).  For Naat, his mother and younger sister, Pesey,  along with many other new believers in the Anlong Veng areas, this will be their first Christmas celebration ever!

A background story:  In October, we shared with you a personal need to find workers/ helpers who are willing to live on the same property as we do so they could watch the place while we were away doing ministries in distant villages. On November, through referral by local church leaders, we hired Pesey (Naat's younger sister) a young single mother, age 25 with an 11 month-old baby boy. Pesey, in addition to her widowed mother, agreed to try out for a few months.

Pesey with her mother and son.
Pesey's mom reading a Christian tract, while watching her grandson.
To our relief, the family arrived on November 8th. But even with good living arrangements, quality living conditions, a handsome monthly allowance including reasonable workloads, this family decided to leave Anlong Veng in a few weeks! They left due to their many other family and personal needs. They are willing to stay on, however, until we find another person/ family to take their place, hopefully by the end of January.  Pesey and her mother both received Christ in May where Syna has been teaching them in new believer discipleship class. 

It will be sad to see them go. And so once again, we are back to the process of searching for yet another house helper…

Last week at Toul Prich village as we were about to end a literacy class, a respectful middle aged man walked to the house where the class was being held.

Literacy class at Toul Prich

Politely the man greeted us, “Jum-reap sure" and then said, “Thank you for coming to my village every day to teach the children and my grandchildren how to read.”  Being new to the area, we had no idea who this man was, so we simply said, “min- ay- te” (you’re welcome). As we continued chatting with him a bit longer, we learned that he is a village leader! The church families had already invited him along with all the men from Toul Prich to join the Christmas celebration on December 29th. Also last week in Toul Prich, when asking one of the kids if his mother was still playing cards/ gambling, one believing lady shouted, “We hardly ever seen any person gambling any more since you prayed! But the men are still drinking.” She then added, “So, we must continue praying for the men to stop drinking." We agreed. We still don’t know what God as in store for the people in Toul Prich village. So far, still only women and children are coming to church.
And since the harvest season for rice and other crops are still in progress, there were fewer people who showed up for church. Sometimes it can be discouraging to not know what else to do or how much more we could be effective for this village. However, God, in His caring mercy and His great love for the lost souls of the people in Toul Prich village, keeps on encouraging us by allowing a village leader to suddenly and unexpectedly show up. This is God’s way of reminding us to “…not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

Thanks to your generous financial support toward our Work Special account, and with the help from villagers, we were able to fill up dirt on the property, add concrete, lay foundations, add walls, windows and doors to the adult church building for the Toul Prich village.
The children place was recently erected with only roofs on. The concrete and cement are yet to be added toward the children's building center. Our main goal was to have a roof over the children center so we would not have to worry for when the raining season comes. One step at a time. That is all we could do and hope for.

Villager workers adding walls and doors to Toul Prick adult church
Working progress of church buildings in Toul Prich Vilalge
Children center building at Toul Prich
Adult children building at Toul Prich
This coming January, we will have a young lady from California, who is taking a gap year from college so she could come and help us do ministries in Toul Prich village for two months. She will be working closely with children and youth teaching English and doing sports ministry. Please continue praying that God would send us Khmer speaking helpers/ workers to help teaching new believer and Bible based literacy classes.

Dates and events needing your prayers:

1. Continue praying for the Christmas celebrations that are still going on all over Cambodia. We have four more to go. Pray for receptive hearts of those who will be attending for the first time. Many not-yet believing friends and relatives including prominent community leaders are invited to join this special celebration.

2. After the Christmas season is over (the last one is on Jan. 2), we will take a family vacation to spend time with Jonathan.

3. Jan. 9th to 13th, Syna will accompany Jonathan and another MK back to Dalat.

4. Jan. 13th: Bimonthly leadership classes resumed at Living Water church in Poipet.

5. Jan. 15th to 16th: Seiha from Siem Reap will resume music lessons to youth in Toul Prich.

6. Jan. 19th to 20th: Meeting with the Thai C&MA pastor with regard to Toul Prich ministry. Pray that we will discuss ministry matters with truth and in love. We will need an English-Thai speaking translator to help communicate in this meeting.

Please share with us what God is doing.  As always, we are very grateful to God for your financial support toward the Great Commission Fund (GCF) which enables us to keep on serving God in this side of the world sharing the message of Hope to lost people in Cambodia. Thank you for being our partner in the Cambodian ministries.
Until we write again, wishing you a blessed Christmas and very happy New Year.

Merry Christmas,

Soeuth & Syna

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

November Update 2017

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” Matthew 9:37-38

A young mother harvesting her crops
It is harvesting time in Cambodia and many villagers are busy harvesting and collecting their crops.  As the result, Syna’s afternoon literacy classes at Toul Prich village were postponed for the time being. However, the children having nothing much to do were very restless. Every helping hand is needed at the rice paddies. The responsibilities, which fall into the hands of the older siblings include, cooking, taking care of the house, and caring for little children.
Older sibling taking care of younger siblings while parents are harvesting
 It is very common to walk through a village at this time of year and find only small kids (as young as eight or nine years old) taking care of their little brothers or sisters. Thus, the risk for potential dangers or accidents is high.

Thanks to your generous financial support toward our Work Special account, we have some funds available for adding the foundation and walls to the adult church building. We will soon begin the building construction for the children center at Toul Prich village. With the help of visiting team San Francisco Chinese Alliance church (SFCAC) along with some local volunteer workers from the church families, the ground of the church site was leveled up with dirt. The rocks, gravels, and cement were added to the foundation of the adult church building.It will be a while before the construction is completed. Meanwhile, it is a bit of a challenge finding good locations with adequate shade for worship service and for children Sunday school classes.

November 5th, I (Syna) traveled in a public bus to the capital city. Although the bus company sold 32 out of the 40 seats to passengers from Anlongveng, the driver, in an attempt to earn extra money, kept picking up more and more passengers along the way. By the time we were close to Phnom Penh there were about 60+ passengers in total! Being cramped in a bus full of people along with their sacks, bags, and suitcases of goods it felt very unsafe. People were actually sitting on little plastic chairs in the middle isle of the bus! There was nothing I could do and there was no other way, but to remain in the bus for the entire trip to Phnom Penh. On top of that, the bus kept breaking down... four times!  We left Anlongveng at 6:50 am, but did not get to Phnom Penh until 8:30 pm! Some passengers had bad cases of motion sickness while few others were coughing and sneezing madly. As the result, I caught a nasty cold.
Passengers inside the public transportation
It was quite an experience! BUT even as I didn’t enjoy the long road trip, I embraced the many opportunities to share the good news of Jesus Christ with other passengers, taxi , and bus drivers!

Thanks to your prayers, the November 9th youth rally went really well! Thirty young people from the Kui tribal village (one of the minor ethnic groups in Preah Vihear province) came! After arriving at Sra Em, we learned that 30 other Kui kids could not come due to lack of transportation. A total of 76 youth from five different local Alliance churches of the northwest region attended the rally! Mr. Heng Sambo, one of the Khmer Evangelical Church (KEC) leaders from Preah Vihear province gave an evangelistic message. After the morning service, we had relay games, group activities, and a fellowship of meals for all to enjoy! Although the altar call was offered, no one came forward, but the majority of the youth requested to have more frequent rallies in the near future.

Youth rally at Sra Em
On November 11th, the bimonthly leadership classes at Living Water Church in Poipet went very well. Despite of a heavy rain the night before and more rain that morning, 32 leaders from five different KEC churches of that region came! Although the trips to Poipet twice a month are very long and tiring, we often feel refreshed and encouraged by the hunger of the students eagerly waiting to study God’s words.

Bimonthly leadership class in Poipet
Sunday, November 12th, we took the SFCAC team to visit Srae Kandal village in Odar Meanchey province, one of the new church sites that we recently discovered. It was also planted by Mr. Kong.  Mrs. Sean (Mr. Kong’s younger sister) and her husband, Mr. Raa, are among the leaders of this group. Although the new believers came together and had fellowship twice every Sunday, they did not fully understand what a church service was all about. The believers came at the appointed time to sing some selected songs. The few who can read took turns reading passages of the Bible out loud, gave tithes, and prayed. At the end, they all went back to their homes. The same order of practices was observed twice every Sunday at 7:30 am and 2:00 pm. Since the majority of the believers are illiterate, we are praying that God would raise potential leaders from the local areas to help teaching literacy classes.

On November 15th, we were on our way to Siem Reap province.We took the visiting team to an Alliance house church at Ondong Chan village in Siem Reap province where Mr. Kong lives. We also visited Ksaach Ampel village a bit further than Kong’s village. This Alliance house church was also recently planted by Mr. Kong! As we visit these newly planted Alliance house churches, we were overwhelmed by the tremendous needs in of each of these new sites! Mr. Kong continues to passionately and boldly sharing about Jesus to every person he meets! Those who received Christ through Kong’s sharing, also began sharing their new faith to others. As a result, the number of new believers were increasing every week! Most of them are very NEW in their faith and need to be discipled. The Holy Spirit is moving powerfully among the new believers in these remote villages. As local farmers are harvesting their crops, we are going through a season of spiritual harvesting as well, but with only few workers! PLEASE PRAY that God would provide extra helping hands to Anlongveng soon!

On November 16th, we returned to Mart Klaa floating village Alliance house church where Mr. Kean (Kong’s younger brother) is the church leader of the areas. Knowing that we were coming, the believers had waited for us with great anticipation!

Road to the shore on the way to Maat Klaa floating village

Boat ride to Maat Klaa floating house church
Upon our arrival, one sweet little auntie burst out with tears of joy as she was overwhelmed by the sheer excitement of having visitors saying, “I had waited for so long to see you!” Another dear lady, who is just a few-month-old Christian said, “I am wearing my best (traditional Khmer) outfits for this special occasion!” After a time of fellowship and meal, Mr. Kean quickly led the service in songs and praises.

Syna with an auntie at Maat Klaa

Kean (in red) leading a worship service
While Soeuth translated the message for a visiting pastor from English to Khmer for the adults, I kept the little children occupied in a cramped corner of a tiny floating house church with coloring papers, nail polish, balloons, and candies!

Children class inside a floating house

Kids displaying their art work in the floating house
Shortly after the service, Mr. Kean took us to yet another floating village where a group of new believers were meeting every week for worship.
Church families at Mart Klaa

Mr. Kean's floating house/church viewed from the boat
Believe it or not, this floating Alliance house church was planted by Mr. Kean. It is also the daughter-church of Mart Klaa floating church! As his older brother, Mr. Kong, is passionate about sharing the Good News to everybody he meets or talks to on the phone. Moreover, Mr. Kean, a well- respected person and local police for Mart Klaa floating village, spent most of his efforts witnessing for Christ to every local authority figure he met. Being a former Buddhist priest for many years Mr. Kean now spends a great deal of time and effort speaking of Christ with interested local authorities including village leaders, local police, Buddhist monks and priests! As the result, more new believers were being added to the floating house churches every week! It is such an exciting time for ministry opportunities. Once again, the pressing reality is the same: we need workers to help disciple these new believers.

Last week, during a discussion in an Abundant Life class at Toul Prich village, Soeuth asked the students if they remember the dates when they first said “yes” to Jesus. Immediately, three teenage boys (aged 14- 16) shouted in agreement that they got serious with Jesus about two months ago! When asked how or why it was so all three boys said, “Although we've been coming to church on and off for a few years already, we didn’t know much about Him. After we studied God's word in the Living Water book, we invited Jesus into our hearts!”

Workers laying the foundations of Toul Prich church

Children class and adult church service at Toul Prich (building under construction)
So, THANK YOU for praying for the people in Toul Prich. While the adult remain staled and uninterested, we are seeing small fruits from among the little children and teenagers of that village.

Here are dates and events needing prayers:

November 24-December 5th: a visiting team from Detroit Lakes, MN
November 25th: Bimonthly leadership classes in Poipet
December 2nd: Leadership workshop/ seminar at Psaa Leur church in Siem Reap
December 9th: Quarterly regional youth rally at Svey Sisophon, Bontey Meanchey province.
December 15th: Jonathan comes home for winter break. Yay!!!!

The Khmer evangelical churches (KEC) are very busy with Christmas activities. Already, Soeuth accepted seven invitations to preach at various Christmas programs in the northwest region. Pray for strength and safe traveling. This will be the first Christmas celebration ever for many new believers who will attend the service. Pray for openness and receptive hearts.

Please share with us what God is doing. As always, we are very grateful to God for your loving and faithful prayers and your generous financial support to the Great Commission Fund which enables us to continue serving Christ among the Khmer people in the northwest region of Cambodia.


Soeuth & Syna

Friday, November 3, 2017

October (End) Update 2017

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

“Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” Matthew 19:14

Lately, more and more little children of Toul Prich village have been coming to the wooden house where Syna teaches the Bible-based literacy class. Although these loud, playing, and screaming kids were often a great distraction to the class, these little ones keep on coming every day with great expectation and anticipation to hear more of the Bible stories. Then after each class, the kids wait to receive candies as a reward for good behavior. Last week, a young father, who is not yet a believer, came to the house to let us know how appreciative he was for teaching his child how to read! A few other parents also expressed similar gratitude. We are seeing fruits on how God is using this Bible-based literacy program to reach out to women and children of Toul Prich village!

Nine students, who completed Book 1 of Literacy class.

These people came to Toul Prich Church for a morning service
After each class session and during story telling time, I (Syna) have been sharing/ discussing about our Emmanuel, the God who lives in us. I always encourage students to talk with and to relate to God in a personal way. As the result, last Sunday service during a testimony time, a young mother, Sokha, shouted “God heard me and answered my prayers!” She shared when her husband one night came home late and was drunk cursing loudly and making commotions around the house.

Sokha and her baby in a hammock.
Since her four little children were sleeping beside her, Sokha could not go out and meet his demands. In desperation she pleaded, “Preah Yea- sue (Lord, Jesus), if you are indeed living in me as my teacher had told me, then please do something about my husband. He is waking up my children and my neighbors!”  After a few minutes of quietness, her husband gently asked, “Do you have something to eat? I am hungry.”  Sokha was so amazed by his sudden change in behavior and tone of voice  that she also told the group, “It’s been a long time since he had said any kind words to me.”

Shortly after this, feeling inspired by Sokha’s courageous testimony, another lady, Nouv, a young mother of three small kids, also shared how God answered her prayers. One day, as Nouv and her kids were coming home from the rice paddies and they could not find the key to go into the house. It was also raining outside! She and the children looked everywhere, but didn't find the key. In desperation, she was about to break the door with an ax; but her seven- year-old son interrupted, “Mom, do you remember what teacher Syna said about Preah Yea-sue?” Feeling convicted, Nouv and her three children began to kneel in front of their house in prayers asking Jesus to show them where the key was. “After we all said ‘amen’, I found the key on the ground right in front of me!” Nouv was very excited as she shared how she found her missing key and then added, “It is true!  Preah Yea-sue answers prayers!”

On October 25th, after many long weeks of endurance and perseverance, we celebrated the completion of the first Living Water class at Toul Prich Alliance church where a total eight (8) believers successfully completed the five week Living Water new believer discipleship course!

Students graduating from Living Water, who are now moving on to Abundant Life class.
On the same day, the nine students from a Bible-based literacy class also completed the first of the three books! Syna baked banana muffins and shared with all the students and their families!

The baking class at Sra Em village on Oct. 10 was a big hit! Nine ladies and two men came to learn how to bake. One lady drove from her home on a raggedly old motorbike with her 4 year old son riding behind her for two hours! Another man came all the way from Kampong Thom province (about 180 kilometers away)! Every participant took great pride in learning the art of baking using local products. Throughout the following week after that class, we kept hearing one report after another from participants that the selling of their Noum- jake (banana muffins) was going really well.  Everyone gave praises to Jesus.

Baking class at Sra Em village.

Also on October 10 while the baking class was going on, we received sad news of the passing of, Mrs. Chan Rate, our dear friend. She was a loving mother of nine children and a devoted wife of Pastor Buth Nhan (the Peoyope northwest regional director). Syna was able to attend funeral service that evening before she flew to Malaysia to pick up Jonathan, while Soeuth stayed for the rest of the three-day funeral services.

As frequently requested by very interested young people from Toul Prich, we had our first music class at our house on October 17th, where four young men from the village attended! Seyha, aged 31, youth director for the northwest region, a godly husband, and a loving father of two small children is also a gifted self-taught musician! After learning about the youth’s desire in learning music, Seyha was willing to commute from Siem Reap and spend a night at our place every week so he could teach music lessons to young people from Toul Prich. So far, the young people seem to bond very well with Seyha. Praise God for this timely and divinely provision!

Seyha and the music class.
As previously planned, from October 26-27 we continued traveling with regional church leaders to visit three other new church sites that were recently established after the local people heard about the powerful testimony from Mr. Kong!

Mr. Kong and the little boy, Judah, who were both trapped in the broken cave along with Mr. Kong's wife, who prayed for their rescue.
Mr. Kong is playing the two string Cambodian violin during a church service that was at his house.
Bridges to Mr. Kong's village.

A typical house in Mr. Kong's village.
Mr. Kong's house view from the roadside.

These new sites were all located about 50 minutes to each other and a half hour drive away from Anlongveng! And as shared in our last update, in every one of these new church sites there also live Kong’s relatives! So far, we already met four of Kong’s nine adult siblings! Every one of them seemed to have an exact duplicate of Mr. Kong’s characteristic trades: They all are very passionate for Jesus, very bold, and courageous in sharing the Gospel to those around them. They were very hospitable in opening their humble homes, getting involved in church services, and generous with sharing what little they have with others around them. In every one of these new sites, as soon as we arrived, at least 25 to 30 people all eagerly waited for us with hearts ready to learn God’s words. When there were opportunities given for testimonies, they boldly shared about what God had recently done in their lives: His miraculous healing, protection, and His timely and divinely provisions! Because they are so poor, most are peasant farmers live in shack like homes with holes and leaking roofs, so we had somewhat expected that their prayer requests would be something related to material needs. But in each of these three new sites, their requests were the same: “Please come and teach us God’s Word.”

Believers met Mr. Kong's house church
We count it as a privilege and such a great honor to be in Anlongveng at such a time of this. Hearing numerous and repeated stories about powerful testimonies on how God is consistently at work among His people feels like some of the wonders and miracles we read about in the Book of Acts. The stories from the Bible are being re-enacted, right here, in northwest region of Cambodia! We even got to meet and talk with the people and also visit places where these miraculous events took place!

BUT we are in a very short supply of extra helping hands! We desperately need at least another couple who could work alongside us to teach literacy and discipleship classes. As ministry opportunities increase, we also encounter some personal and ministerial challenges. Recently, the young family that had previously moved from Poipet to live with us has now returned to Poipet! So, in one week, we lost a children-Sunday school teacher, an assistant literacy teacher, and a house guard; and now, we are back to searching for yet another trust worthy house guard. AND just when we had no more Sunday school teachers left, this past Sunday church service, we had a bunch of new people from another village with A LOT of little kids who decided to visit the church for the first time! In addition to our regular attendees, a total of nine other ladies with 28 little kids riding on mechanical trailers all decided to visit Toul Prich Alliance church this past weekend! Quickly, I (Syna) had to come with some creative lessons and ideas for games on the spot! So, with the help of a large spreading plastic tarp as our seating areas underneath a cashew tree, I began to teach the children some songs followed by the story of creation.

Surprisingly the kids quickly learned and were willing to sing the “This is the day” song for the adults…  We know that the God who sent us here will provide all the details of our needs. Please continue to join us in prayers for these needs.

Okay, that is enough news for now.  In addition to list mentioned in our previous newsletter, here are some other dates and events that need prayers:

1. Nov. 5-8, Syna will be traveling to and from Phnom Penh for FLT meeting (Nov.6 &7)
2. Nov. 7, Soeuth goes to Siem Reap to pick up visiting from San Francisco Chinese Alliance Church.  The team will be with us until November 18.
3. Nov. 9, a Cambodian national holiday, we will have a youth rally at Sra Em village for churches from Preah Vihear province, Sra Em, Srae Nouy, Anlongveng, and some youth will come from the newer sites.  This will be the first big youth event that has ever taken place in this region!  So far, we are expecting at least 70 young people will come! Many of these young people are first timers to church gathering.  Pray that hearts will be tendered toward God.
4. Nov.11, bimonthly leadership classes in Poipet.
5. Nov. 18. National KEC youth committees meeting in Phnom Penh.
6. Nov. 24 to Dec. 4th, visiting team from Detroit Lakes, MN.
7. Nov. 25. Leadership classes in Poipet.

As always, we are very grateful for all your prayers and support.  Let us know what God is doing in your life.


Soeuth & Syna

Thursday, October 12, 2017

October Update 2017

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

As we continue visiting new church sites with key regional church leaders, we are seeing some amazing works that God is doing among His people!

Mr. Kong (on the far right) in Mart Klaa
In the early morning of October 5th, as planned, we took a two-hour boat trip alongside the Tonle Sap Lake to a floating village called Mart Klaa (when translated into English is "Tiger's mouth") in the Siem Reap province, where over 1,000 families live. As of recently in this same village, about 50 Alliance believers are meeting regularly for worship every Sunday! The journey is a bit risky as the seven of us are traveling in a tiny motor boat without any life jackets! But we were so excited about the news that we didn't pause to consider our own safety. During the long boat trip to the village, I (Syna) sat in front of the boat next to Mr. Kong, a 52 year old believer.

 I learned quite a bit about  about Kong's life journey, his many miraculous stories, and his life testimony. I also learned about the story behind the floating-village Alliance house church that we were about to visit. Here is a short version of Kong's story as he shared on the boat...

November of 2015, Kong, not yet a believer, was in a serious accident. He and a small child were working in cave-like charcoal oven when suddenly the cave collapsed! He and a small child were trapped inside. Seeing the entire scene from a short distance away, his wife (who was just a month-old new believer) cried out, "Preah-yea-sue (Lord Jesus), help my husband!" Suddenly, Kong felt strong grips on his shoulders as if someone was pulling him out of the collapsed cave! Once outside, Kong noticed blood dripping and that his right eyeball was hanging outside its socket on his right cheek! At the same time, his little boy was screaming for help from inside the broken cave! Quickly Kong and his wife dug the ground and were able to pull the little boy out to safety. The parents were astonished to learn that even with all that, their little boy was without harm! Noticing more blood was still dripping from Kong's eye, they both realized the seriousness of this accident. Immediately, they rushed Kong to local clinics searching for help. Yet after visiting three clinics, the doctors/staffs could not offer any help. The medical staffs could only stop the bleeding and clean up the outside wounds, but there was nothing they could do to help with his hanging eyeball! Since Kong and his family were poor, they could not afford an expensive trip to visit Siem Reap provincial hospital. So, out of desperation, Kong begged his wife to take him to a nearby Alliance church in Srae Nouy village, a church where she was attending. At the church, believers gathered around Kong day and night, fasting and praying, begging for God's healing upon Kong's life. They also continued nursing his few other wounds and caring for his overall health. A short time later, as the muscles around Kong's eye began to strengthen, his eye began to withdraw to its normal place! "It was miracle!" shouted Kong, "Preah Yea-sue healed my eye!" Amazed by the story, I took a quick look at Kong's eye, but saw no scar at all! In fact, his face and eyes looked as normal as could be! If not for the testimonies of two other eyewitnesses who were also riding in the same boat, I would not be easily convinced.  BUT, they all testified that it happened as told...

Mr. Kong praying
Realizing that God had purposely saved him for a reason, Kong began to travel around visiting all his relatives and extended families in far away places boldly sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with them. He always began his sharing with the miraculous healing that the Lord Jesus had done in his life. The News was so important to Kong that he wanted all his family to know about Jesus. Thus, for the next 15 months after the accident, Kong visited all his relatives, and so far led eight out of his nine siblings to the Lord (including their families!) Also, in every town or village his family lived in, there was also a small group of new believers gathering to worship God! The story as told by Kong on how an Alliance house church in Mart Klaa floating village was established, less than a year ago...

As our little boat was approaching the Mart Klaa floating village, people of all ages excitedly waved at us from inside their floating houses! Arriving at the house church, 22 people and many small children eagerly waited for us. As the little children joyfully cheered, the adults warmly welcomed us into their humble home. This "home" was made of woven bamboo floor over laid on a giant raft built of large barrels tied up together as a foundation of the building.

Meal prepared for the visitors
Interior of the floating house
The house was sheltered by grass roof and grass walls supported by sticks of bamboos as pillars.  Excited by visiting guests, more people began to show up.  BUT as more people kept climbing onto the house, the water underneath us began to seep through the cracked floor, wetting some of the household supplies! Realizing that the house was sinking, Mr. Keang, (the man of the house, Kong's younger brother, also a leader of this small house church), quickly arranged for some of us to sit on the adjacent boats, securely tied to the house, as we'd continued on with our worship gathering...

During the service, we had opportunity to hear more about other believers' testimonies and their prayer requests.

Sharing at the church service
Soeuth gave a short message based on John 15 urging the new believers to continue bearing fruits while remaining in God’s words even as they locate so far away from other Christians... Aware of our timing and of our long trip back, we quickly said our goodbyes, but promised that we would soon return in the near future...

About an hour in on the way back, however, we encountered some mechanical problems! While everyone seemed concerned, Mr. Keang, our most confident and fearless boat driver, pulled out his cellphone and while still in the middle of the lake, began calling his wife for a backup help!

Mr. Keang (second from left) repairing his boat
She and another family member came by a short time later on another boat with some tools.  As we waited for the boat to be fixed, the realization of our present dangers began to hit us. We were floating in a tiny boat with no covering, and we were still in the middle of a great Tonle Sap Lake with no life jackets or any floating devices... and two of the passengers could not swim! Beside Soeuth's pocket knife, we had no other tools and no flashlight! Being still in the middle of monsoon season, a thought occurred: what if the rains had come or even worse, a storm? Despite our many concerns, God was with us. Our Heavenly Father gave us a beautiful breezy day with an overcast sky so we did not have to endure the scorching heat. And as the night time approached, He also provided a beautiful full noon to show us all the way safely to shore...

Although we made it safely to the shore by 8:50 pm, we still had a long drive home. After grabbing something to eat, we parted company: Mr. Kong and another church leader drove an old raggedly motorbike back to Srae Nouy village, still another 85 kilometers away. Mr. Keang and another church leader took that tiny boat and headed back to Mart Klaa floating village, while we and three other church leaders drove to Siem Reap province (still another 40 minute drive away). By the time we dropped off the three guys and checked into a guesthouse in Siem Reap, it was after 11 pm. We're still shocked and amazed that all of this happened in just one day, but we praised God for His amazing protection. We returned home to Anlongveng the morning after...

There are other interesting parts of Kong’s story but not enough time or space to include it here. We are so excited and honored that God has placed us here in Anlongveng, at just the right time, to join Him where He is already at work among His people.

Please continue to pray for dates and events mentioned in our last newsletter, but also add the following dates/events to your prayer list:

Oct. 10
Syna will teach a baking class for some church ladies at Sra Em village in Preah Vihea province. This village consists of more than 300 soldier families whom the Cambodian government had recently placed there for border protection. Sra Em is located far away from any major town or market, and these families cannot possibly live on their husbands' meek incomes. This is why some of the wives were looking for ways to help earn small incomes to help their families. When the idea of learning how to bake banana muffins using local products was introduced, the ladies were very excited and expressed a strong desire to learn. Pray for a good outcome.

Oct 14
We are excited to have Jonathan join us at home soon for his mid-semester fall break! Pray for a good family time. As we continue to carry the Light of Jesus in the dark places of Anlongveng as well as in other surrounding areas of the northwest region, we are fully aware of the Enemy's tactics and schemes. Please join us in prayer for protection of and against the Enemy's attacks over our children and those who are dear to us.

Oct 26 and 27
We will continue traveling with regional key church leaders to visit new church sites of the northwest regions. Pray for discerning heart and eyes to see where God is leading. Our main desire is to join in where God is already at work.

Also, please continue praying for the lives of those in Toul Prich village. Lately, the adults have been showing very little interest and desire to know God. After prayerfully discussing with Daa and Chanaa, the two leaders of the areas, we decided to change the church service to 1:00pm. We also plan to focus /invest on those who truly want to learn. So far, fewer adults, but more youth and small children keep on coming to church rain or shine! Therefore, as you pray for the people in Toul Prich, please pray specifically against the evil spirits of gambling and drinking! Every adult in that village seemed so consumed by these evil activities while leaving their small children to wander around. These small children were often at risk for potential accident.

Thank you as always for your ongoing prayers and support. Please share with us what God is doing in your life. And if God allows, please come and visit us to see what God is doing here.

He is at work!
Soeuth & Syna