Dear Friends in Christ,
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour."
These are the verses Dr. Pat Delaney used to challenge the class of 2019 at the Cambodian Baptist College graduation March 26...death to self and surrender to God. A simple but practical and profound truth set forth to the students as they completed their studies and began the next phase in their life’s journey. It was amazing to see all the plans and preparations come together, as the Lord answered many prayers. One of those prayers, was the promise and fulfillment by the Minister of Education in Takhmau to sign the certificates, despite new procedures to the contrary. The students saw that chain of events and how the Lord worked, which was a great testimony to the love and power of God towards them. They were also excited to receive a Bible certificate from Baptist College of Ministry in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. I tried to exhort them that even though these certificates are special and may help them secure a good job, they are just pieces of paper; however, their ability, faithfulness, and responsibility are what is going to help them keep their job and be the testimony they need to be.
Graduation was truly a special day and it was a great blessing to have our field administrator, Dr. Pat Delaney, and his son-in-law, Pastor Joel Stevens, with us. We are very appreciative of the sacrifices made by them and their families which allowed them to come. Both men were able to preach to the students and spend some time getting to know them, which always has a life-changing impact on the students. Throughout the week, they were also able to minister to and spend time with all of the BWM missionaries in Cambodia. Please pray for them as they continue their travels to the Philippines and return home this week.
Looking back over the last few weeks of the semester, things were kind of touch-and-go as several students came very close to being expelled, sadly, due to poor choices regarding unfinished homework assignments, tardiness, disrespect and dishonesty. We celebrated the last week with “Spirit Week,” consisting of games, activities and special devotions. It was a joy to see unity return among the students, as well as tender spirits and humility during resolution of the trials. There were many tears shed and many prayers offered, and we praise the Lord all six students successfully completed their three-year studies in the college. Thank you very much for your faithful prayers on their behalf over the past three years. They are fruit added to your account! Please continue to pray for them as they seek the Lord’s will concerning a job and as they serve Him in ministry opportunities.
As we look ahead, the Lord is constantly working out the many details leading up to our departure from Cambodia. One of those was our family dog, Samson. We advertised for over four months, and while the Lord gave us confidence He would provide, the days were passing by. There were several who inquired about him, but most never followed through. Shortly before graduation, a British man contacted Rebekah and was very interested in Samson. He had to leave his Rottweiler behind in the UK, so he believed Samson would help fill a void in his life. After several visits with Samson, it was apparent they were a good fit, so the day before graduation, Samson moved to the province. He is now living at a resort near the beach, so we joke that he has just retired. Another of the details the Lord is taking care of concerns our possessions. Gradually, things are being sold and another big sale is scheduled for this week, April 4-6. Surprisingly, the books hadn’t sold as well as we thought, so we were trying to decide what to do with them. Unexpectedly, another missionary called and offered to buy ALL the books. True to his word, he came Saturday and bought all of them, more than five hundred. Once again, God has proven how He cares for all the details in our life, and we have no doubt that when it comes time to say good-bye, He will give great grace.
We continue to see Sophors on a weekly basis and rejoice that she is faithful to the new church that she attends. She has made some godly friends and is a blessing to the believers there. Rebekah also regularly visits and encourages some of the children from our church who attend the same church as Sophors.
In a previous letter, we mentioned Rebekah will remain in Cambodia for several months after we leave, but she will relocate to Phnom Penh to be closer to the music school where she works. She has found a potential apartment and will find out for sure on Monday. Please pray for her, as we leave and as she transitions into a new schedule and home. Please also pray for Jonathon and Leah, since they too will have to adjust to new arrangements, which include their mom and dad moving in. They have a good attitude though and always seem to be very adaptable.
As we reflect on the verses above, God has presently been giving us many opportunities to live out the truth found in them. Although it is seldom pleasant to die, the thought of growing and being used by God is wonderful. We try to meditate on this principle while enduring the present trials of daily power outages for 4-6 hours, drastically decreased water pressure or no water at all, lack of Internet during online college classes and interrupted phone service. Ron’s favorite verse, Romans 8:28, is also a special encouragement during these days.
Please pray for us over the next couple of weeks. We will be packing up our things and trying to make sure that everything is thoroughly taken care of here before we leave. After the moving sale, we will have a small shipment of our possessions sent out on the 8 of April and we will be leaving on the 10. Our furlough schedule is basically full, except for a few churches we are still waiting to hear back from. Please pray for us as we try to purchase a vehicle for our travels, as we try to make a new furlough presentation (which can be very hard, especially as we are not yet sure of the Lord’s direction) and as we try to take care of various health needs. Please also pray for us as we travel on furlough, that the Lord would use us and that we would be a blessing to the churches we visit. We are looking forward to seeing many of you this next quarter. Thank you again for your ongoing prayers for our family and the ministry here. You have been a very crucial part of all everything the Lord has done and continues to do. May He receive the glory and honor!