Saturday, June 23, 2018

June 2018 Update

Dear Friends and Family,

Jum Reap Sua!

Thank you for praying for us these past couple weeks. We sensed that God’s presence was at work as He answered prayers. Here is what took place since our last update…

May 26th: With great anticipation, we greeted our son, Justin, and daughter-in-law, Katie, at Siem Reap International airport. Our heart leaped with joy at the first sight of them. After spending one night in Siem Reap, they flew out to Malaysia the next day so Justin could show Katie his old school and dorm. But on June 1st, we joyfully and lovingly embraced all three kids at the Phnom Penh International airport! It was a true pleasure seeing and hugging all the kids at one time! Jonathan who had just finished 9th grade at Dalat International School came home for summer break.

All three kids arrived into Phnom Penh
Welcome to Cambodia Justin and Katie!
Visiting the palace in Phnom Penh
Enjoying our time with Justin and Katie
Because we still had some ministry business to take care of, we remained in Phnom Penh for the next few days. While Soeuth was busy with the youth committee meeting, I took the children sightseeing at different places in the big city. We also visited some of Soeuth’s relatives who live in Phnom Penh where Katie got to meet some family members for the first time.  

Even in the midst of a rainy season, we were able to visit Sihanoukville (the beach) and spend some family time together. Afterward, we headed out to Battambang province, our hometown and Syna’s birthplace, where we introduced Katie to more family members from Soeuth’s side.

Meeting family in Battambang province
We were so glad that Katie was able to meet her many Cambodian family members…

Justin and Jon on Bokor Mt, Kampot province, Cambodia
View Kampot province from Mt Bokor
All the kids with their kramas
May 30th: While the children were still in Malaysia, we celebrated our 26th anniversary in Siem Reap! Even though we requested for just a standard room, the hotel’s manager after learning about our special date from an "unknown source” had arranged our room to look like a suite complete with fresh flower on the bed and in the bathtub! It was very lovely.

Hotel surprise for our anniversary
Visiting Bontey Srey Temple on our anniversary
In addition to meeting family, throughout their two weeks with us, we were able to take Justin, Katie, and Jonathan to visit most areas of our ministries in Anlong Veng to meet some of our dear friends and church families in each of the villages. Although it was a bit risky, we took all three children to visit Mart Klaa Village floating church!

Boat ride to Mart Klaa floating village
Visiting Mart Klaa was one of the highlights of their Cambodia trip… Sadly, our time together was abruptly ended on June 14th as we said goodbyes to Justin and Katie. Even though the visit was short (but sweet), we are very grateful to God for every precious moment with our children. Both Justin and Katie are now back in Minnesota studying hard preparing for the NECLEX exam soon…

Justin and Jon enjoying brotherly time
Our family at Andoung Chan village
It was sad to see so many traffic accidents as we drove around the country. Last month, one church member from Toul Prich Village was in a serious accident where the other driver was killed on the spot. Sad! The young man was not a believer…

Common mode of transportation in Cambodia
Traffic accident
June 15-16: We had a very lively and exciting discussion time in Poipet during our recent bimonthly leadership class. Soeuth started the class by asking a few questions: Have you seen any miracle lately? Where and when have you seen the power of God is at work? Do miracles only happened in Jesus’ days? Then, people began to share their personal experiences and encounters with spiritual warfare. While all the stories shared were great, we were mostly captivated by Cham’s story. At break time, Syna asked Cham to retell his story slowly so she could scribble it down on paper. This is Cham’s story…

Last month, while Cham was sitting in the shade of a tree, a very distraught mother was running toward him crying and screaming for help! Her sixteen-year old daughter being manifested by evil spirits was acting inappropriately and violently.
Cham, a church leader from Ang Salaa, telling his miracle story
Sensing that her daughter’s mind was controlled by something else, the concerned mother (who was not a believer) took the daughter to a local Kru Khmer (witch doctor) for help. At the witch doctor’s house while he was chanting and performing his rituals, the demonized girl though very skinny and small in form screamed out in strange voices at the witch doctor cursing and mocking him saying, “You’re not strong enough for me!" The witch doctor then attempted to do a few other rituals; but no matter what he tried, the girl could not be contained. And she began to throw things at him! She also kicked the witch doctor where he toppled over and fell off the bed! Seeing that nothing else could be done, he yelled, “Take her away. Go! Go away all of you! And don’t come back!” The mother then took the girl to the government referral hospital in Poipet where medical staff gave her some sedative medication so she was able to sleep. Shortly afterward upon waking up, the demonized girl began to act violently all over again! But this time it happened in the hospital surrounded by many frightened patients with their families and medical staffs who were all staring at the girl! Then, some of the staff shouted “Take her to Kru Khmer. Kru Khmer will know what to do.” But the mother shouted, “No! We just came from Kru Khmer and he could not do anything to help her.” After a few moments of silence, someone in the same room said, “You should take your daughter to Pouk Yea-sue (meaning-- the Jesus people). They can help her.”  Feeling encouraged by these words, the frantic mother then asked a friend to watch her daughter while she returned to Ang Salaa to get Cham (because of his strong faith in Jesus, Cham is known to everyone in Ang Salaa Village as “Taa yea-sue," meaning-- the Jesus Man). At the mother's persistent requests, Cham reluctantly went along to the hospital where the girl was sleeping. Upon arrival, everyone was curious with great anticipation wondering what will become of Cham when the girl wakes up. Cham quietly began to pray in his heart asking God for strength, courage, and wisdom as he had never done anything like this before! Finally, Cham calmly called out to the girl, “Daughter, wake up. Do you know who I am?” When opening her eyes, she looked straight into his eyes saying, “Yes, I know who you are. You are Pou Cham (Uncle Cham). You believe in Jesus." And Cham responded, “Yes, I believe in Jesus. He is very powerful and stronger than all evil spirits in this world. And He can heal you. Do you want to be well?” She responded, “Yes!” So, Cham prayed with the girl to receive Jesus into her heart while everyone in that hospital room sat quietly watching and listening to the entire conversations feeling amazed at what took place. Since this incident, the girl is well again and has been coming on and off to the Ang Salaa Alliance house church. Her mother has not made any decision to follow Christ yet…

June 18: The regional quarterly youth rally went well! The newly elected Regional Director, Rev.  Nhear Phearum, preached about the story of The Lost Son found in Luke 15:11-32. He challenged the young people to identify themselves as one of the rebellious sons while recognizing that no matter what we've done in our lives due to sinful nature, God is always waiting with open arms and tender mercy to give us a second chance for any prodigal child who truly repents…

178 KEC youth attended the regional quarterly rally at Svey Sisophon

Youth rally at Svey
During the rally, various youth groups performed their special songs with choreographies. All of the songs (chosen by the various youth groups) had the titles or lyrics related to the message! Everyone in the room was amazed by this coincidence…

The night before the rally, due to distant locations, all 28 youth from Anlong Veng areas came to sleep at our house! At 5 in the morning of the appointed date, we loaded everyone into a rented van and into our pick-up truck. Some young people with carsickness had to sit outside the entire trip (a three hour drive to and from). Altogether, we had 178 people attend the rally. Everyone seemed to have a great time. Praise God!

Young people from Anlong Veng traveled with us to the youth rally

Some dates and events needing your prayer:
  1. June 30, Teacher Training Seminar/ Workshop for new Sunday school teachers for the Northwest region will be taking place at Andoung Thma Meas Alliance Church, Poipet.
  2. Our next bimonthly Poipet leadership class is scheduled for June 30.
  3. Earlier in June, a group of 9 new believers at Andoung Chan Alliance had finally completed their first new believer discipleship course called Living Water! It was no easy task for them to study and memorize God’ words since most of them could hardly read or write! But they made it and all did it so well! Next level, Abundant Life class, will begin on June 22!
  4. July 4-9: All Alliance International Workers in Cambodia will attend our annual Field Forum in Siem Reap province. Many of us will be traveling from far away provinces. Please pray for safe traveling for all. Pray that we will be open to receive and hear what God has to say to us.
Please share with us what God is doing in your life. As always, we are grateful to God for your prayers and finally support toward the Great Commission Fund. Thank you for your partnership with us in the effort to bring the Gospel of Jesus Christ to lost people in Cambodia everywhere around the globe.

Soeuth & Syna