Dear Friends in Christ,
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 12Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13.
Among the near kidnapping of one of the children from our church, all the computer crashes, at least one church in the area trying to label us with a bad testimony, the local elections, preparing for and conducting the Cola-Combat youth evangelistic meetings, the start of a new semester at the Bible college, trying to start an NGO and get the college accredited, and visits from our children, we have had one very busy and eventful quarter. There have been various times of stress, but there have also been times of great victory and joy. Again, much of this is old news for those who receive our weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly updates, but it is always a wonderful blessing to look back and see all the Lord has done.
In our last quarterly prayer letter, we mentioned the need for a national pastor. Through different events and situations, we now have a legitimate prospect for the position. One of the Bible college students, Maa-paa, has been driving a bus route for the church for several months. Ron is doing all the preaching, and although he thinks he is doing it in the Cambodian language, many of those who come don’t understand him very clearly. Recently, Maa-paa agreed to help with this, so he restates or rephrases what Ron says to help everyone better understand. It has been exciting to see as he really gets into the message and goes well beyond what Ron has said. Because of this, seeing his gifts and hearing from other sources that he believes God wants him to be a pastor, Ron asked him about preaching at the Takhmau church. He has agreed but asked Ron to train him. That was like saying “sic em” to a bulldog. Ron is planning to start a second “preacher boys” class shortly (Maa-paa’s dad was in the first one) and already has a few other students who would like to take the class. Aside from this new class, the college students have been going on visitation with us every Thursday afternoon. Even though it is on a voluntary basis, there has been almost 100% participation from them. Please pray for the Lord’s will to be done concerning Maa-paa, that the church would grow spiritually and be faithful in reaching the community with the Gospel.
We also mentioned in our last quarterly letter about some spiritual problems a couple of students were having. One of them had to make a decision about his future goals, which, sadly, led him to drop out of the college. Even though we have only a small group of six students, our main focus in the college is discipleship, and we are excited about the potential of these remaining students. We started the new semester at the end of April, held classes for three weeks, took three weeks off for Cola-Combat, and have been back faithfully studying since the beginning of June.
Recently, our son Jonathon and daughter Rebekah had a meeting with an official at the Ministry of Education. We were pursing the possibility of getting the Bible college accredited and maybe starting an NGO (non-government organization) as well. The meeting went very well and helped us understand some critical things. First, the educational criteria for teachers is beyond what our small college has. Second, a deposit of $60,000 is required, but after approval/acceptance, that would be returned in increments. Third, a $5,000 fee is required to get the accreditation, which would need to be renewed every so often for another $5,000 (not sure how often). Fourth, other fees to start the NGO would be needed (at least thousands of dollars). Thank you praying with us about this. We are confident that pursuing the accreditation is not the Lord’s will at this time, as He has, at least for the time being, slammed the door closed on this idea.
We continue to rejoice in all that the Lord did during the Cola-Combat youth evangelistic meetings. We are so grateful for all those who participated and sacrificed for this cause, both from America and here in Cambodia. Between the Johnson’s churches in Phnom Penh and Svi Roloom, and our church in Takhamu, we saw hundreds come to the meetings and over one hundred professions of faith. We have already seen fruit from the meetings, which was something lacking from the previous outreach. We believe that having the event on our “own terms” instead of holding it at a public school on their terms made all the difference. Thanks again for your prayers and please keep praying for more lasting fruit.
Another prayer request mentioned in the last quarterly letter was the road construction in front of our house. The work wasn’t completed before the Cola-Combat team arrived from America, but the blacktopping was finished the day before they returned to America. It was a blessing there were no power outages, and the water and septic were finished before the group got here. We are thankful that the construction never really interfered with the team’s visit, and looking back, we praise the Lord that it went as fast as it did.
We are so grateful and blessed to have the opportunity of having both Leah and Jonathon visit this past quarter. As you may remember, Leah was instrumental in coordinating things for the Cola-Combat team’s visit and was such a blessing while she was here with the team. We didn’t get very much one-on-one time with her, but it was great to see her and have her here. She was also able to spend some time with Samson, which she was really looking forward to. Jonathon arrived last week and will be here until the beginning of August. He has already been a great help with finding out about the accreditation, but there is still much more planned for his time here. Rebekah and he have been able to spend some quality time together as well.
Thank you for your prayers for our children and for all the different ministries here. We praise the Lord for you, for your support, encouragement and prayers. You are a very important part of the work that God is doing and we know we could not be here without your ministry from afar. May the Lord bless you and your service for Him.
* Church growth
* College students
* New Preacher Boys Course* Safety and provisions
* Cola-Combat fruit
* Children’s visits
* Prospective pastor (Maa-paa)
* Road completion