Monday, May 28, 2018

May (End) Update 2018

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

Because you have prayed, here is what took place…

As mentioned in our previous update, immediately after the Field Leadership Team (FLT) meeting, Syna participated as one of the translators for the Inter-generation Leadership Conference in Phnom Penh with a conference theme called Multiplying Disciples and Churches. Altogether, 223 KEC representatives attended the two- day conference and participated in three workshop classes taught by a visiting team from City Light Alliance church from Omaha, Nebraska.

Syna with Poipet KEC members at Phnom Penh conference

Intergenerational Leadership Conference

223 KEC representatives participated in the Phnom Penh leadership conference
Syna translating at the Intergenerational Leadership Conference
Every workshop session was well attended. The KEC leaders express great appreciation for new insights on how to help their church grow. Immediately after the conference, Syna took a taxi to Siem Reap and then another taxi to Anlong Veng to get things ready for the motorbike mission trip…

Northwest regional annual motorbike mission trip
Initially, since we did not get any clear response from the youth leaders, we thought perhaps 20-25 other people would participate in this motorbike mission trip. Because of this we told the hosting villagers to prepare food for such amount of people. However, at around 4:00 pm on the appointed date, 64 people with all their motorbikes and gears showed up in front of our house! Quickly, we sent word to the hosting families to get more food ready. In addition to the 64 visitors (from Poipet, Bontey Meanchey and from Siem Reap), we also brought some young people from Anlong Veng to join us. Because of bad roads and traveling with such a big group, by the time we arrived into the hosting village it was late in the evening. Everyone was hungry and tired but very excited about the trip. The Srae Kandal Alliance church families worked together so well and had generously and very graciously prepared abundant of food: a four- course meal for the hungry bunch! Shortly after a time of fellowship, enjoyment with plenty of delicious meals, and with the help of a small portable generator, we showed the Jesus Film to the villagers. Many neighbors and friends from the areas came to watch. Originally, we had in plan to show just one movie, but the villagers kept asking, “Do you have any more movies to show us?” We did. That night, we showed a total of four Christian films of various titles. Even then, some villagers insisted on staying up all night just to chat with the visitors! Although no one from the areas had come forward to receive Christ in that first evening service, after three days and two nights of visiting and spending at various places, we led four people to the Lord!

Of course, it would not be our normal tradition for the northwest regional annual KEC mission trip if it was not accompanied by thunderstorms, accidents, and some other minor inconveniences:

- The first day on our way to Srae Kandal village, we had to stop a few times because of heavy rainstorms with flashing lightings causing broken tree branches to block off muddy roads. This caused a few delays with our traveling.

- Some motorbike drivers encountered accidents along the way where their bikes had flat tires or minor mechanical problems.

- We thank the Lord, however, that two young men were miraculously spared from major accident. If an accident did happen, it would have been a fatal one. Their story: Upon suspecting that something was wrong with their bike, the two young men immediately and wisely pulled over and parked their old raggedy motorbike in a borrowed shelter of a house in a nearby village. They then called us for help. Then, we sent out two other drivers with their bikes to pick up the two boys. The next morning, we drove back to the place where the boys had left the bike and were very surprised to see the condition of the bike! Upon lifting it up onto our truck, the bike snapped into two pieces! Everyone was amazed how God kept these two young men from major harm. Even unbelieving speculators of the area were amazed at this miracle.

The main body of a bike broken in half
The guys tied the broken bike onto our truck
- On the way to another location, Sanchey Village, our third targeting village, we parked all four
vehicles on the road side with Syna because the roads were so bad. An older woman volunteered to wait while those on motorbikes continued on as planned. Upon returning to the main road from Sanchey village, two vehicles had flat tires while another car suffered major mechanical problems. It had to be towed away and repaired at a nearby garage.

In order to participate on this mission trip, everyone was required and encouraged to contribute  a small financial fee in order to help pay for the cost of food and for other expenses at the hosting villages. In addition to the required fees, the visiting group decided to take two offerings for the building constructions of two shelters (for two different villages) for children Sunday classes. It was amazing to see the generosity among the participants in response to the needs of their neighbors. Those who had the means gave sacrificially from their own personal savings to help pay for the extra- unplanned expenses for the broken vehicles.

Those who had participated in this mission trip had eagerly expressed, “I will never forget this mission trip, ever!” or “I learned so much from this trip!” or “It’s the most memorable trip I ever had.” Among the visiting group, four older ladies from Svey Sisophon decided to join the mission trip saying, “Why let all the young people have all the fun. We want to be part of this trip too."  They were such adventurous and funny ladies! With their many years of life experience, these dear grannies offered many godly wisdoms and advice to the youngsters. And of course we let these dearly matured ladies ride in the cars. Altogether, we had 78 people participate in this mission trip with ages ranging from 1 to 81 years old riding on 22 motorbikes and four cars visiting a total of six village-house churches.

Mission Trip: Worship service at Sanchey village

Mission Trip: People praying for the land where the worship place is to be built at Andoung Chan village
Mission Trip: Young people participating in worship service at Srae Kandal viallage

May 18-24 was a whirlwind of long road trips around the northwest regions where many church leaders participated in leadership seminars in Tek Cho village, Poipet, and Srae Nouy village. Our two friends (husband-wife team) from New York City, also experienced Bible teachers, came to teach leadership workshop classes on topics like: Faith, Doubt, Disappointment, and How to Defend Our Faith/Apologetic. Those who participated in the seminars expressed gratitude to God for opportunity to learn God’s Word and to grow deeper in their faith.

Leadership training at Tek Cho village
Leadership seminar at Poipet

May 20: The Sunday church service at Srae Kandal brought great excitements to the church families as a prodigal son had finally returned home. Yuoun (age 22), currently a young husband and newly proud father, was a long-time rebellious son of Mrs. Heng and Mr. Tuon. However, he finally came to his senses and returned home to his family. His story: After a serious accident which resulted in multiple body injuries, Tuon realized that because of his mother’s persistent prayers, God kept him alive and well! That day, with an approval of his parents, Tuon’s young wife decided to dedicate their baby girl, their first born to the Lord.

A baby dedication at Srae Kandal Village
Realizing that his parents, his three younger siblings, his wife, and now even his baby girl--- all belonging to God’s family, Tuon did not want to be left behind. He wished to be part of this great family as well. With his mother's invitation, Tuon agreed to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior with Soeuth leading him in the sinner prayer. There was great rejoicing among the church families as Tuon sincerely prayed to receive Jesus into his heart.

Soeuth leading Tuon in the sinners prayer at Srae Kandal village
So once again dear prayer warriors, thank you so much for praying. God heard your prayers and He is working, moving, and stirring the hearts of His children. Thank you for partnering with us in the Cambodian ministries. Please share with us what God is doing in your life.

With a grateful heart,
Soeuth & Syna

P.S. In case you don’t hear from us for a while, please know that we will be enjoying every precious moment with our children, because both sons and a brand new daughter-in-law are coming to visit us soon…

Monday, May 14, 2018

May Update 2018

Dear praying friends and family,

Greetings! We trust you are doing well.

It’s proven to be a busier schedule for us these next few weeks, so we want to update you on what took place recently before things get piled up…

We had a wonderful time visiting Japan! Our hosts, Soeuth’s niece and her Japanese husband, went extra miles and beyond in their efforts to host us. Having them as our own personal tour guides and interpreters, we were able to visit some exotic places within a few hour drive to each place from Tokyo. We had opportunities to taste some yummy, yet interesting food and to experience some of the local and cultural stuff…

Enjoying Japanese food with our hosts

Visiting tea farm
Beautiful flowers displayed in the park 
Enjoying shopping in Japan
Shortly after returning to Cambodia, we joined the Poipet CAMA staff retreat in Sihanoukville at the beach. It was a very long road trip (14 hour drive each way), but it was worth every effort after seeing all the excitements written on their faces. Some of the staff members had never seen the ocean before!

CAMA Staff Retreat
2 Timothy says, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” These past few weeks as we returned and resumed our village classes, we learned a number of heartaches that some church families had encountered, and some of these other hard issues/ challenges are still taking place…

1. On April 30 at Andoung Chan village, Mr. Kong’s daughter suffered a few deep cuts and bruises on her body as a result of a severe domestic violence from the hands of her unbelieving husband!  She was immediately taken to a local clinic and was treated there. Sadly, her two young children (aged 4 and 2) witnessed the entire event. The husband left the house and got away without any charge…

2. A few days later during an evening family worship time while Mr. Kong was leading a devotion, an angry drunken man, Kong’s unbelieving’s brother-in-law, came by carrying a big machete pointing to and threatening Kong saying, “I will cut off your head, if you continue to poison my family with this foreign God of yours."  Seeing the severity of the situation, the man’s wife (Kong’s younger sister) and her two small children reluctantly left the worship place at her husband’s demands.

3. On May 1, also at Andoung Chan village, Mr. Raa’s two cows were hit and killed by a truck with a military license plate! By Cambodian law, if the cows cross the roads resulting traffic accident at a certain time of the day, the cows’ owner, if identified at the time of an accident, is responsible to pay for the cost of the vehicle damage. If the owner is not identified, however, the driver has the right to take the dead animals… Understanding the situation and realizing that he has no means to pay for the damage, Mr. Raa quietly hid behind a tree waiting while the driver searched for the cows’ owner.  After some time of questioning local people and not finding the cows’ owner, the angry driver left with one dead cow. Sometime later, Mr. Raa came out from hiding to collect the other dead animal...
Cambodian farmers, not trusting modern banks, invest their saving into buying and raising live stocks such us cows, buffalos, and or pigs. So, Mr. Raa and his family had lost a total of $900.00 worth of saving…

4. Two days after the cows’ incident, during a late evening walk home, Mr. Raa’s 13-year old adopted son, Sokhey, was bitten by a poisonous snake, a viper!  Raa was attending a worship service at Srae Nouy when this happened.  Hearing the news from his wife, Raa and a few other men left the service and rushed home to take Sokhey to the clinics. Since it was late in the night, all local clinics closed!  Panicked, friends and family lifted Sokhey up in prayers throughout the night. Next morning, Sokhey awoke healthy and alive! When asked what took place, Sokhey shared experience that immediately after he felt a sharp pain on his left foot, Sokhey looked down and saw a snake crawling. Next, he took his walking stick and killed the snake.  Then, he knelt down and prayed to God on the same spot asking the Lord Jesus to help. Finally, he walked home carrying a dead snake by one hand and a walking stick in another hand with his foot bleeding from the snake bite. When he reached home, he shared the sad news with his mom… After hearing Sokhey’s story and seeing a dead snake as proof, everyone was amazed. One neighbor surprisingly said, “No one had survived from such a deadly snake before," a few other nodded in agreement. On May 4th when we resumed our weekly class, Mr. Raa came to class with Sokhey sitting next to him, alive and healthy. Everyone praises to Jesus!

Mr. Raa (middle) and his son (right)
This past week, as persistently requested by the church families, Syna taught two baking classes at Srae Kandal and at Andoung Chan villages having nine female participants. The ladies give praises to Jesus for opportunities to learn to bake and to earn small incomes from selling their baked goods.

Baking class at Amdoung Chan village
Events and dates to pray for: 

1. This week May 6-12, Syna is in Phnom Penh attending Field Leadership Team (FLT) meeting and Intergenerational Leadership conference. The conference leads by the visiting team from Citylight church in Omaha, Nebraska. Syna will participate in the English-Khmer translation. Pray for safe traveling for all the participants and visiting team.

2. May 13-16, the northwest regional KEC youth will participate in an annual motorbike mission trips visiting four village Alliance churches in Anlong Veng areas. Pray for safe traveling and opportunities to witness Christ to those who are seeking.

3. This is the final and exam week for our son and his wife, Justin and Katie, at Crown College. Both will graduate from the same nursing program on May 12. Sadly, we will not be there in person, but will try to view this special event through a streamline. The young couple had worked hard and endured four long hard years of studies, and this week is their last! Pray that they will finish well…

4. Please pray for leadership seminars in Tek Choe village (May 18), at Poipet (May 19) and at Srae Nouy village (May 24-25).

5. May 26:  We are so excited that Justin and Katie are coming to Cambodia!  They both will be with us for a day then will fly out to visit Penang, Malaysia. On June 1, all three children (Justin & Katie and Jonathan) will come home!  We are looking forward to this reunion.

6. Due to conflicts in schedule, the National KEC youth committees had moved their quarterly meeting date to June 2 in Phnom Penh instead.

Please share with us what God is doing in your lives. Thank you for partnering with us in the Cambodian ministries through your faithful prayers and generous financial support to the Great Commission Fund. We are very grateful.

Soeuth & Syna