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