“Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience” (James 5:7, 8, 10).
Though bookended between New Years and Easter, this past quarter has been one of the most trying of those we can remember. We often remind ourselves of Elijah on Mt. Horeb as he complains to God about his situation, only to be assured that God is still in control. As we follow the news back in the States and around the world, we realize many of you are probably experiencing these same feelings with everything that is going on. Praise the Lord, He is always faithful and sovereign over the affairs of man.
Despite the attempts to faithfully witness in the areas around the church where we have been reaching out for years, the attendance at the church continues to decrease. Many who used to come have either switched to one of the newer “churches” in the area where they receive some material gain, or they have stopped coming in order to take classes or just spend time with friends. Please pray for wisdom and direction on how to more effectively reach the lost in the community. Ron is currently working on a new course to help better prepare the students in giving out the Gospel.
We were very excited about Easter and had been preparing a special service, but it turned out to be quite different than we anticipated. Saturday night, we were informed about a funeral that would be held in front of the church on Sunday and Monday. Due to many conflicts with that, we held service at the Bible college instead. Praise the Lord, we had that option! We ran the normal bus routes, but unfortunately, we couldn’t help any who walked or came late to the church. It was a joy to have Maa-paa preach during our combined service. Please continue to pray about the church permit. We had hoped to have it already underway, but Dr. Johnson has agreed to help when he applies for the permits for some of his other churches. This will be a blessing for us to not have to go through this arduous process without any prior experience or free time to do it.
Last Friday was the completion of the second year of the three-year Bible college program for our current group of students. Thank you very much for praying for them. Each student had his/her own challenge during the semester and sadly, three came close to expulsion due to demerits, but we rejoice that everyone made it. It was a joy to hear them each give testimony on Friday of how God worked in their lives during the semester, and we pray that all of us have learned a valuable lesson through this experience. The next semester runs from the 30th of April until the 21st of September, with very few breaks. The courses will consist of teaching, curriculum preparation, and speech, along with the normal classes of Bible and English.
Please also keep the political situation here in your prayers, since the national election will be held on the 29th of July. One of our present concerns is for our visas, which are due to be renewed in the middle of May.
We also wanted to include the update about our house hunting request, for those who only receive this quarterly letter. A few weeks ago, we found a new place we were very interested in, but as we pursued negotiations, several red flags came up, which the Lord used to redirect us. As of now, we will probably just stay where we are until shortly before going on furlough. Please pray as we go through the rainy season. We are anticipating possible backed-up toilets and leaky ceilings, due to a problem that has been unresolved.
Speaking of furlough, we will be heading back to the States in about a year. Most of our schedule is finalized, though we do still have a few openings for those who are interested. As we consider everything we must do to prepare, we realize how much we have relied on our children to help us in the past, especially concerning the video presentation. Please pray for wisdom, time, and ability to be able to paint a clear picture of the Lord’s work here to those who have been faithfully praying for it over the years.
Thank you for your faithful prayers and concerns for our children. Rebekah continues to teach English and other courses, including private piano lessons to the Bible college students, along with teaching piano lessons at the music school in Phnom Penh, as well as overseeing the Sunday school class at the church. Recently, she began an online master’s degree program through Maranatha Baptist University, so she is quite busy. Leah is still fervently working at our home church, Falls Baptist in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, as well as teaching Sunday school. She loves it all, but it also keeps her very busy. Along with trying to finish his college courses in music, Jonathon continues to teach full time at the “Choice School” in Milwaukee, as well as remain very active at church and available to help wherever he can.
Again, we cannot fully express in words our thankfulness for your prayers for the ministry here in Cambodia and for our family. As we go through the trials the Lord brings before us, we are encouraged by those prayers. Thank you once again. Take care and God bless.
Serving the Saviour,