Greetings from Bangkok, Thailand! We hope this newsletter finds you well.
Lots of things happened these past few weeks that we wanted to share with you. But with constantly traveling from one place to the next, with a limited internet access, we kept on delaying our communication to you. So, here is a chronological order of events that took place these few weeks…
Friday June 23rd, as soon as Jonathan got out of school, a friend Nyack drove us to the Newark International airport where our flight was to depart for Minneapolis at 8:00 pm. However, due to severe rainstorms that evening, we were delayed three hours. By the time we arrived into Minneapolis to our host family at Maple Grove, MN, it was after 1:30 am of the next day. On Saturday evening June 24th, we were warmly welcomed by church members from Crossroad Alliance of Brooklyn Park, MN, with a cook-out meal and a great fellowship with former visiting teams to Poipet (these friends had visited us in Poipet in 2015-2016). Following it was a rich time of prayers over us as our church family commissioned us back to Cambodia. We felt so richly blessed by their love and prayer supports. Early Sunday morning, we met and fellowshipped with friends who drove three and a half hours from Rochester, MN, just to have a time of fellowship of meal with us! At Sunday morning church service, we spoke and shared about Cambodian ministries at Crossroad Alliance Church, our last speaking engagement of the year.
Monday afternoon, June 26th, we drove to meet our new host family at Ramsey, MN, where this family kindly let us use their entire house including the kitchen for some Cambodian food preparation for Justin and Katie’s rehearsal dinner. Though we had never met before this day, after a week of fellowship and a lot of laughter, we actually left their house saying goodbye to our new friends.
Saturday July 1was a big day of celebration for us as very proud parents. We welcomed a brand new daughter-in-law, Katherine Jane Lao, into the family. Altogether about 220 close friends and family attended! And God blessed the newly wedded couple with a beautiful gorgeous sunny day. Sadly, due to a few family crises only Syna’s mother and older sister were able to attend the wedding from the Lao side of the family. But a number of our Cambodian mission families came to show their love and support for the young couple. We rejoiced at the godly ceremony and union of our children, Justin and Katie, but it was also a bitter-sweet moment for us because it was also the last time we were going to see them for a while. That Saturday evening when we sent Justin and Katie off to their honeymoon, we also began our departure for Cambodia.
At 4:30 am of Monday (July 3rd) we were standing in front of the check-in counter at Minneapolis airport and shockingly discovered that there were problems with our connecting flights to Cambodia. Panic and confusion began to kick in. Since we could not call anyone for help at this early time of the day. In addition, to avoid missing our 7:00 am flight we had to pay a large sum of unplanned luggage fees. Praise God after arriving into LAX airport, we were able to get through to the travel agent where she was able to smooth out the process of delivering our suitcases all the way through. After 28 hours of traveling, we arrived into Siem Reap International airport at 11:00 pm of July 4th and with all our bags!
As we exited the airport building, we were excitedly greeted by two church leaders from Siem Reap province and two others from Poipet, who came to welcome us back with our pick-up truck. As we began to load up the suitcases into the truck, summer rains also began to pour. Sadly, our friends forgot to bring along a plastic tarp/sheet for the covering. Fortunately, experience taught us to line up all our suitcases with plastic bags when packing, which saved the contents of our bags from being soaking wet. By the time we checked in to the Freedom Hotel, it was 1:30 am of Wednesday July 5th.
|Daniel holding the snake he killed on the time of our arrival|
|Syna, Daa and Channa|
|Street in Anlongveng|
|Our new house|
As we drove around searching for a house, we also learned new discoveries about the community and nature of Anlongveng. It appeared that there were a few other Christian groups that had recently established in the areas. As we drove around town, we saw houses with locked doors with posting signs of mostly independent Christian groups.
Because we were still struggling with jet-lag, (waking up at 1:00am or 2:00am every day), we decided to leave Anlongveng on 5:00 am of Friday, July 7th, and drove four hours back to Poipet. But as soon as the church leaders learned of our arrival back into Poipet, they persistently pleaded with us to have fellowship through a “welcome-home” meal with church families from Alliance churches in Poipet. We said yes. That Friday evening, 58 people came to greet and welcome us back. Happy tears began to fall down as we warmly received love from our friends. Despite our absence for an entire year from missions, their love for God, devotion and commitment remained faithful to the one true God. We give thanks to God for protecting His flock.
|Soeuth sharing at the Living Water Church|
Lastly, from July 9 -14, we traveled from Bangkok to Hua Hin, Thailand, to begin our Field Forum in Spring Field resort, about three hour bus ride away.
As always, we are grateful to God for your prayers and support.
Soeuth & Syna