Friday, August 31, 2018

August Update 2018

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

Greetings! It is monsoon season here. That means it rains hard every day. Praise God that we do not have floods like we had last year. Still, heavy rains make traveling to village ministries very challenging.

In July, we shared about many exciting stories how God was working among new believers. Here are a few more stories…

Raa & His Request
On July 23rd, during a weekly class in Andoung Chan village, Raa shared a prayer request for provision. His old beat-up 1992 Pajero truck was in need of two new tires. Raa and his family have some cows (see Raa’s story in May update) as a family investment, but did not want to sell the cows to buy the new tires. So, he presented his need to the class as a prayer request. Two days later while watching his cows along National Highway 6 (one of the main highways between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap), Raa and his young son discovered two brand new tires (still with plastic wraps and price tags on them) safely hidden among tall grass alongside the highway! They suspected that the tires must have fell off from a fast traveling taxi without anyone noticing. Raa looked around to see if anyone came to claim the missing items, but he saw no one! Toward evening time, Raa and his son took their cows home, but paid special attention to the specific landmark and location where the tires were hidden. For the next two days, Raa and his young son came back to the same spot, AND the tires were still there! At this, they concluded that it must be an answer to Raa’s prayer. Tires were a perfect fit for his truck! A week later during class, Raa excitedly shared his good news. When asked how he will use his truck after this miraculous provision, Raa quickly responded that he will drive his truck to pick up people to church. Keeping his words, every Sunday morning, Raa left his house early and drove slowly along the roads in his village inviting everybody and anybody he met to come to church. Every week, in addition to his family of 7 members, Raa was bringing two or three other people along. Last Sunday, Raa brought a truck load of people (13 people cramped tightly into one truck) to join the Srae Nouy Alliance church! Raa is very grateful for God’s provision. As a result, he is being a good steward to God with his earthly procession.

Baby Kesiah 
A few weeks ago after a church service at Srae Kandal village, Soeuth was asked to dedicate a baby girl to the Lord. When asked for the baby’s name, the young mother was embarrassed and confessed that she had always wanted to give her baby a biblical name, but could not think of one. She pleaded us to give her little girl a Bible name.

Soeuth prayed to dedicate baby Kesiah
After a few moments, we named the little girl Kesiah and told the family that her name can be found in the Book of Job chapter 42. We challenged the entire family to read and learn more about Job’s life… Even while holding her, however, we sensed that something was not right with Kesiah. She appeared pale and lethargic. We encouraged the family to take Kesiah to the Siem Reap Children Hospital and provided for them some traveling and food expenses. Because we were needed elsewhere in addition to some personal reasons where we had to leave the country, all our weekly village ministries/classes were postponed for the next two weeks. This past Sunday (August 19) upon returning to Srae Kandal, we were sad to learn that Baby Kesiah went Home to be with Jesus! When asked about what happened, family and church members took turns to relate to us Kesiah’s story…

It seemed that everyone was very pleased with Kesiah’s given name! So inspired by this beautiful name that the baby’s grandfather and father actually took the challenge personally and began reading the whole book of Job! But the news from the children hospital devastated the entire family. Baby Kesiah had suffered severe heart defects that eventually claimed her life on August 10th. Since every member of the Srae Kandal Alliance church was a very new and young believer, and since they could not reach us by phone, they phoned Pastor Dy from Srae Nouy village and asked for help. Pastor Dy then gathered a number of other Alliance church families from other villages, and altogether about 50 people came to attend the first Christian funeral in Srae Kandal village! During the funeral service, Pastor Dy challenged those who attended the service that death does not discriminate ages, social statuses, or genders. Because of sin, death is unavoidable, but Jesus promises hope and eternal life after physical death. Pastor Dy also challenged the family that if they want to see Kesiah again, they must believe in Jesus Christ. At this, Kesiah’s grandfather, Mr. Reth (who before the funeral was attending church off and on), recommitted his life to Jesus! And Kesiah’s father and three other family members also prayed to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior! As a result, this past Sunday, a total 25 adult and about 15 children attended the church service! That was more than double the average weekly attendants! During a recent Wednesday Firm Foundation class, the attendees were triple the amount!

Church attendants at Srae Kandal were double this past Sunday!

Triple the amount of people attended the Srae Kandal discipleship class!
Normally, our students and those who came to weekly church services were mostly women, but since Kesiah’s funeral, there were more men than women! We even noticed a spark of transformation beginning to take root in Kesiah’s grandfather’s life…  Kesiah had lived on earth for only 30 days, but God had used her short life very powerfully and effectively for His kingdom. Her death brings truth to the words found in John 12:24, “… unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds."

Srae Nouy’s Fame
God is doing something AMAZING at Srae Nouy (KEC) Alliance church! Every Monday during a prayer & sharing time at Andoung Chan village (where Pastor Dy studies Pentateude class with Soeuth), we kept hearing stories of miraculous healings and how people were prayed for and the demons casted out. Through our frequent visits to the Srae Nouy church during weekday times, we had opportunities to hear testimonies and talk to those who were healed or freed from evil spirits!  So much word about these miracles and wonders are being spread among the community of unbelievers that curious people began to “drop by & see."  As a result, Pastor Dy shared that “More than 70 people attended the church service last Sunday!” The attendance was double!

Among those who attended the church were six adult females (ages 21-78 years old, all related) who are new friends and neighbors of Mr. Raa (as mentioned earlier).

At the home of Mr. Raa's six new friends

Raa (in blue shirt) took us to visit the home of his neighbors, the six ladies who went to church with him
For generations, all the females of this family had been suffering severe curses and bondages by evil spirits. The grandmother used to practice black magic and had made a living as a fortune teller. Although she no longer does those things, she and the entire family still suffered from chronic headaches, slurred speech, and many unexplained pains in body parts. Among the four younger ladies, one is mute while another constantly laughs and talks nonsense. All six ladies had some kinds of various visible and non-visible symptoms… During the recent Sunday church service when it was time to pray for healing, the two older ladies (mother-daughter) went forward to ask for prayer. The church leaders came forward to lay hands on and pray for them. The entire service witnessed the healing touch of God! The grandmother suffered chronic pains (over 30 years) in her left arm to a point where she had to keep it bent to avoid pains. But after prayer, she was able to straighten her arm! Her daughter (aged 59, also a mother of four adult daughters) had chronic headache for “All my entire life!” saying “No medicine can help me!” But after prayer, her headache was no more! Pastor Dy thought that during prayer time, “At least two evil spirits came out of her!” because as the church continued praying, “She passed out twice! And then she woke up smiling and completely freed!”

The field is ripe…  Please don’t get bored from reading as we keep repeating phrases like “God is doing something amazing…” and “God is at work!” We cannot say it enough that it is a JOY to serve God in Anlong Veng! We are experiencing the abundant season of harvesting souls! As stories of healings and miracles continue to spread, curious (not-yet-believing) friends and neighbors are flooded into village churches every week in every village just to “check it out." As a result, the numbers of those who attended Sunday churches or classes were double or triple! Not just the women (as we normally had), but some men started to come to church and classes as well! Some of these curious people dropped by and then left, but many came and stayed for the entire service! As we progressed with weekly discipleship classes, our students are coming to classes with expectation and anticipation to hear God’s words! They come prepared with homework completed and assigned Bible verses memorized. Many come ready and with lists of questions related to their spiritual journeys.  Everyone seemed to look forward for opportunity to share or “show & tell” with the class what God was doing in their lives. The bumpy roads to each village ministries are long and treacherous, but joy and excitement always awaits us upon every arrival. If we have the extra time and extra helping hands, we could easily start two or three new classes in each village! People are asking for new classes, but we could only do so much with just the two of us. Because of distant location and other needed ministries, we could only commit to one-all-day classes per village. Therefore, please continue to bring to the throne and ask the LORD of harvest to send us workers…

Heng & Moum

Heng and Moum and children visiting Anlong Veng ministries
This past week, August 18-22, we had the joy of hosting our dear friends, Heng and Moum and their two little girls at our house. We had known Moum and Heng for many years while serving in Poipet.  Because of economic reasons Moum, as a teenage girl, came to look for jobs in Poipet. Seeing the condition of her life and where she was “working," we invited Moum to live with us where she became like a daughter to us for nine years. Heng also came to Poipet in 2006 for similar reasons.  Both Heng and Moum had studied with us in discipleship and leadership classes. Both became a gifted preacher (Heng) and Sunday school teacher (Moum). When the young couple met and decided to get marry, Soeuth officiated their wedding and then dedicated their two babies a few years afterward. Currently, Heng enrolls full time in a four-year program Bible school in Phnom Penh, and Moum works part-time as a staff at Alliance Antioch Bible Training Center. The young couple is praying for and seeking directions what plans God has for them for the next two years, after Heng completes his studies. While visiting us these past few days, we showed them some of the ministry sites around Anlong Veng areas. Please keep Heng and Moum in your prayers.

New Classes
August 5th, at their request, we started a new discipleship class called Living Water at Srae Nouy KEC church where 16 school age children and some youth enrolled in this class. Soeuth is co-teaching this class with Phearum and Srey, youth and children workers of that church.

Soeuth co-teaches a new discipleship class at Srae Nouy village

Phearum & Srey Poev learning how to teach Living Water Discipleship and Literacy classes at Srae Nouy village
It is our goal that in the near future, Phearum and Srey Poev will be the main teachers for these classes once feeling comfortable with their teaching ability. Also, Syna is working with Srey Poev on how to teach literacy class. Sadly, last month, after years of trying, this couple lost their baby through ectopic pregnancy! Not able to have children of their own, this precious young couple are devoting themselves to work with children and youth ministries.

Family News
August 6-10, we went to Bangkok for annual routine medical and dental check-ups. All is well, praise God! Jonathan is back at Dalat International School for his 10th grade year. We appreciate your prayers for Jonathan as he transitions back into school routines while adjusting to a new set of dorm parents and some new dorm siblings…  Justin and Katie are doing well working as registered nurses (still in orientation stage) in Minneapolis, MN. And by early March 2019, we will welcome, Lord willing, our FIRST grandchild!

Please PRAY for… all the village classes as believers learn God’s word,. Pray for spiritual protection against the scheme of the enemy and for safe traveling when we visit and do village ministries…

Thank you so much for all your prayer and financial support to the Alliance GCF which enables us to continue serving our great King in this part of the world.  Thank you for your partnership in the Cambodian mission field.  Please share with us what God is doing in your life…

Soeuth & Syna