Friday, November 23, 2018

November Update 2018 (Part 2)

Dear Praying Friends and Family,

Thanksgiving greetings! Wishing you the gift of faith and the blessing of hope this thanksgiving day!

It’s rice harvesting season in Cambodia. Church families, needing extra time to harvest, requested that the weekly discipleship classes be postponed for the time being. Traditionally, for families with few smaller plots of rice fields, farmers take turns to help each other harvest crops. Upon agreement, the working parties come together to harvest crops in a ready-to-harvest field one rice paddy at a time, while the field’s owner is responsible for providing lunches for all workers.

Farmers harvesting rice at Toul Prich village
Sheaves of grains collected at harvest season
This practice goes on until every farmer’s field is harvested. It can last anywhere between a few days to 5-6 weeks long!  Since every helping hand is needed at the field, some rural public schools even give students times off so the young people could help their parents with harvesting. This season is also a good opportunity for local farmers and/or for students to earn extra money. The available, willing workers would go to the fields’ owner and offer themselves as hired harvesters expecting to earn 20000 -30000 riels (about $5.00 to $7.50) per day. Some young people from Srae Kandal and Srae Nouy villages are taking advantage of this opportunity to make extra money to save up for the coming annual KEC youth camp, (April 5-8).

Seng’s Abundant Harvest…

When it was time for the workers to harvest in Seng’s fields (a young believer from Toul Prich church) every harvester was amazed at the abundant crops the fields produced! When asked why her fields yielded more crops than any other farmer’s fields, Seng quickly responded, “It is because I talked to Preah Yea-sue (Jesus) every day! I always asked Him to protect and to bless my fields and He did!” At threshing time, Seng and her family collected nearly double the amount of grains compared to the amount of grains collected by her neighbors whose fields are the same sizes as Seng’s fields!

Seng's abundant crops
Every farmer in Toul Prich village is amazed at Seng’s abundant crops! Like all her neighbors in that village, Seng attends the Toul Prich church for the past six years, but she was not growing spiritually, until this past year when she enrolled in a Bible-based adult literacy class and then in a discipleship class. Currently, Seng and four other villagers are studying in Firm Foundation class with Syna; and Seng was one of the 33 people who got baptized last month.

Seng studying Firm Foundation class with Syna
Seetha’s Priority…

Seetha and family from Srae Kandal village
Seetha, aged 26, a young believer from Srae Kandal Village-house church (Alliance), a wife and mother of two small kids, is also a very passionate follower of Jesus Christ. Having no fields of their own, the young couple did farm works on her parents’ properties. In between planting and harvesting rice, the couple goes about to find odd jobs as construction workers, cashew orchards or other plantation workers, or as hired laborers at any available work sites, while leaving their kids to the care of Seetha’s parents. Like most poor rural families in Cambodia, this family depends entirely on their daily income. Because every day’s earning ensures food and other basic needs to the family at home, people work every single day. Even as a young believer, Seetha’s love and devotion for the Lord Jesus is evident in her daily life. Seetha often prayed for and encouraged her husband to do what was right according to God’s word. Every week while studying in Firm Foundation class, she is involved in class discussions and often shares what she learned with her husband. At harvest time, there is a temptation for this poor family to skip church, so they could find work opportunities and earn money, but worshiping Jesus is Seetha’s priority! Her own husband often tried to persuade her, but Seetha gently reminded him the importance of keeping a regular Sabbath day, saying, “God gives us six days to work and to earn money, but we must honor God by not working on Sunday." Because hard, loyal, and faithful workers are hard to find, once hired, the field’s owner would do anything to keep the workers satisfied. And knowing that some Christian workers of the Srae Kandal village may not show up on Sunday, one field owner did something so drastic; he gave his workers with advanced payments for Sunday’s working fees and then tempted Seetha with this remark, “If you work on Sunday, I will make fried pork for lunch! (Average poor families eat mostly fish and rice; pork and other meat are for special occasions). But Seetha smartly responded, “I am sorry to disappoint you, Uncle. But even if you offer to pay me double on Sunday, and even if you give me a fancier meal than fried pork, even then, I will not take Sunday off from worshiping Preah Yea-sue!” She then added, “The Lord Jesus is more important to me than any fancy meals you could give. AND there is no amount of money that can take me away from my God!” Since we met her (September 2017), through rain or shine, Seetha and her children had rarely missed a Sunday service at Srae Kandal village house church!

Kane and Noun’s Searching…

Noun & Kane and son, new believers recently joined the Toul Prich church
Early November at Toul Prich church, Kane, Noun, and their young son, Chidra, came to join and stayed for the entire church service! At the end of the service, the couple eagerly asked Soeuth to pray and lead them to receive Christ. Their story is the following… Both Kane and Noun had suffered unexplained chronic body pains and many other illnesses. Being the oldest son of a Chinese family, Kane (the husband) was obligated to keep the ancestor worship. For years this family had spent all their money on medicines and doctors’ fees hoping to find relief and healing. They also spent money on food offerings and gift offerings to their ancestors’ spirits pleading the same requests: to be healed and freed from their suffering. But no matter what they did, nothing and no one can help them. Finally, in October, being fed up with all the miseries, Noun (the wife) finally called a distant relative who lived in another village nearby Srae Kandal and said, “We have had enough with our old beliefs! We want to follow a new God called Preah Yea-sue (Jesus)." Kane and Noun were traveling to visit this relative when they providentially “bumped” into a believing couple-- Reth and Sophie, members of the Srae Kandal Village Alliance church! At this surprised meeting, Reth and Sophie lovingly explained to the seeking couple that true hope and answers to all life’s problems can only be found in Jesus Christ! At Reth’s persistent pleas, the couple stayed a few extra days in Srae Kandal as Reth and Sophie continued to explain Scripture to the seeking couple. When Kane and Noun finally said goodbye, Reth gave the couple his brand new Khmer hymnal book! Reth and Sophie also encouraged the new couple to seek an Alliance church group in Toul Prich village. They did... Last week at their request, we visited Kane and Noun’s house for a prayer service. At their home Noun said, “Since you prayed for me to receive Jesus, I am feeling a lot better! I still have some minor aches and pains now and then, but they are not as severe as I used to have." Then Kane joined in, “As soon as we came back from church, we removed all the shrines and high places and gave them all away! Now, our entire family believes only in the One True God!” Both Noun and Kane attend the Toul Prich village church and recently joined the Toul Prich village’s Firm Foundation discipleship class.

Kane & Noun & son removed and burned all their old worship items as they started a new life in Christ
Pheap, a lady in yellow sweater, visiting Noun, Kane and son-- Chidra at Toul Prich village
Moul’s Determination…

This past week during a visit to a bimonthly leadership class in Poipet, we continued to be amazed by stories of commitment and of determination from the Poipet church leaders in addition to their contagious powerful testimonies. Twenty-eight leaders and representatives from five different village- Alliance churches came to the bimonthly class! They came ready and determined to absorb and pay special attention to every new information learned so that they could take back to share with others at their home. Like most farmers at this time of the year, Moul was extremely busy and was needed at home. Many people would easily and understandably find excuses for not showing up in class, but not Moul. Prior to the appointed class meeting, Moul had firmly told his wife Phally that “I cannot be absent from the leadership class this weekend. I will help you all that I can this week, with housework as well as with harvesting, but I must attend Lok Krue (pastor) Soeuth’s class." Being a one-legged amputee (Moul had lost this leg to landmine accident in early 2004), Moul relies on Cham, (his ministry partner and close friend) for transportation. Normally Cham drives his raggedy old motorbike while Moul holds on tight in the back as the pair travels about an hour distance from Ang Salaa village to class at Living Water Alliance church. This past week, however, Cham was needed at home so Moul had to find his way to class alone! He began his day at six o’clock in the morning, peddling on an old bicycle with one good leg, riding more than two hours to arrive on time for class!
Moul and Phally from Any Salaa village, Poipet

Immediately after class, Moul, with a pocket calendar in one hand and a pen in the other, cornered us with a question, “We want you (Soeuth) to speak at our Christmas celebration this year, when can you come?” Soeuth responded, “We are very busy in December. Can you find someone else locally to speak?” Not satisfied with the answer Moul responded, “If you can’t come on weekends, then come on a week day. Any day you are available, we will schedule the event accordingly." When asked why us, Moul replied, “You led me to the Lord (2004). We are gr
ateful that you taught us God’s word and then helped us to start a church service in Ang Salaa village. But since you moved to a new place, you hardly had time to come to visit us! Don’t you want to see for yourselves what God is doing in out midst?”And then he added, “You came all this way (3 hour-drive each way from Anlong Veng) to meet us in Poipet. Why can’t you drive just another hour to see us?” With such determination, we complied with Moul’s request to join the Ang Salaa Alliance church’s Christmas celebration on Friday December 14.

Praises and prayer requests…

- Praise God for the recent workshops for children ministry, a Sunday School Teacher-Training seminar done at three different locations: at Preah Vihear Province (32 attended), at Odar Meanchey Province (9 attended) and at Bontey Meanchey Province (56 attended).  Traveling from place to place with Lalynn and Pheap and teaching two workshops at each place was physically and mentally exhausting for Syna. Praise God that was all done and behind us now. We rejoice that many new teachers showed interest in reaching kids from their community for Christ. Pray for these new teachers to remain faithful with their decision to work with the kids in their own church and community.

- We are taking advantage of extra resting days as the villagers need time off from weekly classes because of harvest, to get our bodies, mind, and messages ready and prepared for the upcoming “Christmas’ marathon." So far, we are expecting to preach (Soeuth) and attend at seven Christmas celebrations in December! Pray for safe traveling. Pray for many who will attend Christmas for the first time this year. Pray for opportunities to share about Christ to those whom God sends our ways.

- While God continues to work mightily through performing miracles and wonders among believers at Srae Nouy Alliance church, the Enemy is also at work causing all kinds of illnesses and chaos among believers of the areas. This week, Pastor Dy and some of the Srae Nouy church families are sick of all kinds of illness. Please pray for protection against the evil ones and for healing for the church members.

We are very grateful for your on-going prayers and support! Your generous financial contribution toward the Great Commission Fund (GCF) enables us to keep serving our King in this part of the world sharing the message of true Hope and of Love to lost people that only Jesus Christ could give.  The field is ripe for the harvest, but the workers are few. We’ve been praying for the Lord of harvest to send us workers. Recently, we learned from our leader that, this year, a record of 60 new International Workers (IWs) have been trained, prepared, ready, and waiting to GO to mission fields! But we are a bit short on GCF funding. If you have not done so, please consider giving your 2018 year-end offering to the Alliance, so that more workers could join us in the fields.

With a Thankful Heart,

Soeuth & Syna

No comments:

Post a Comment