Dear Friends in Christ,
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6-7).
This prophecy of the birth of Christ is only partially fulfilled, as of yet. What a wonderful blessing in the part that has already been fulfilled with God coming down to this earth as a man, ministering among the inhabitants of the world, and dying on the cross for our sins. The birth and death of Christ are the greatest events in human history, but they are only the beginning. So much more still awaits, and we continue to look forward to that glorious day when Christ will return once again to receive His own unto Himself. Christmas is a great time to be able to get together with family and friends. It is a time that loved ones exchange gifts, for some, in remembrance of the greatest gift ever given. For those who have received that gift, however, we should not have our focus on the things of this world, but on what still awaits in the prophecy that has been given, the kingdom of God. We pray that each of you has a wonderful Christmas and a happy New Year, but please keep your life in perspective of eternity and not just life here on this earth.
Thank you so much for your prayers for the church here in Takhmau. It seems as if one trial leads to another, but God continues to show himself mighty and sovereign. After losing Tera and Mi to church discipline four months ago, we recently let two of the three bus drivers go. This had become a necessity since both drivers were becoming unreliable, disrespectful and even distracting during the services. One man had made a profession of faith years ago but has not shown any fruit in his life since. To our knowledge, the other man never made a profession of faith. In their place, the Lord led in the hiring of one new driver, who happens to be one of the Bible college students. Instead of being a detriment, he has been a great blessing and help. Though attendance has fallen since we left for furlough over a year ago, it has recently stabilized. We know that sometimes God must purge before He does a mighty work. Please continue to pray for the church as we try to reach the community for Christ. Please also pray for a godly national pastor who will seek the things above instead of the things in this world.
The second semester in the Bible college is nearing the halfway point. We have previously mentioned the difference between the first group of students and this second group. As a result, some of the college rules have had to be adjusted a little in order to help the present group develop godly characteristics and strengthen areas specific to them that they are currently struggling with. This group seems to be doing fairly well in their academic studies as far as English and computer, but they are less knowledgeable in the Bible. Ron has had to adapt his teaching to be able to better help in their understanding. He is going at a slower pace to give them the ability to fully understand the various biblical doctrines, principles, and teachings in the lessons. We praise the Lord for testimonies the students give of how God allows them opportunities to practice and apply what they are learning.
We have mentioned this in our Pomegranate Prayer Requests, but please pray for a new location for the college (and our house), as they will soon be working on the road in front: tearing up the street, redoing the septic, and relocating the electrical wiring. It usually takes a year or two to do this, which will be very dirty and noisy. As you can imagine, this will be very disruptive for the students. Along with that, over the past 3 or 4 months, a group from a blind school in Phnom Penh has found it profitable to set up at an intersection nearby to sing and play very loud music over a speaker system for 4-5 hours at a time. This corner is the busiest in our town and this is their way to seek donations for their organization. They are forbidden to do it in Phnom Penh, so they have chosen to come here. While we applaud their efforts to raise money, this has also become a distraction for the students in their studies. We know God orchestrates everything in our lives, and we trust Him for the outcome.
Looking to the future, please keep us in prayer as we begin preparation for some youth evangelistic meetings in May of 2017. You may remember the Cola Combat about 3 ½ years, which the previous group of college students participated in. It seemed to help them take that next step in witnessing, as well as stretch their own personal walk with Christ. Being with other godly people their own age helped them to see that they can live godly lives as well. Please pray that the Lord would prepare the right group of college students from America who will come here to minister. Pray also for God to prepare our hearts, the hearts of the college students here and the hearts of those we will be reaching out to.
As always, thank you for your prayers for our family. Not much has changed since our last quarterly prayer letter, but that can be a good thing. Rebekah has fully recovered from gallbladder surgery and has returned to a busy schedule of teaching and ministering. Leah continues to serve as secretary at our sending church and was recently able to take a computer course, which has helped enhance her job responsibilities. Jonathon is finishing up his online course for this semester and has settled into the teaching job he began at the beginning of the semester, which he greatly enjoys.
Your prayers over the years have been steadfast and faithful and we praise the Lord for you. We want to close out this letter by again wishing you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. May the Lord bless you and keep you throughout this new year.
Serving the Saviour,
* Church growth
* Godly national pastor
* Cola Combat (May 2017)
* New helpers at Church
* God's provisions
* God's working in our lives