August 30, 2015

It’s so hard to believe but summer is winding down quickly. The past ten days or so have been extremely busy and bountiful. It is so encouraging to see the desire of some of our new converts wanting to grow in their faith. We are grateful for your prayers and support. The many blessings we have witnessed this summer can surely be attributed to the prayers of God’s people and God’s grace and goodness.

I couldn’t resist adding this picture below to our update. For the past two months, while I was in the country, I had been teaching in our Worker’s Meeting. It’s always a privilege and a pleasure to do so. This past Wednesday, after we dismissed the meeting, I saw Phillip sleeping. Of course, he’s not a worker. His father, Sinath is one of our faithful men and fruitful workers and his older sister Srey Nech, who we have mentioned often, is one of our faithful workers.  For some reason, I am not sure he got much out of my teaching!

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It has been especially encouraging to see Sung’s desire to grow in his newfound faith. In our last update we shared with you how Sung trusted Christ. Recently, we went back to his place to give him a Bible and talked to him about the necessity of growing in his faith, and some of the steps to grow now that he is born again. He expressed to Vannak and I that he wants to grow. I gave him and his wife a new Bible. He was thrilled!

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IMG_8446 (2)Please pray for Sung and Thy’s spiritual growth and pray for their present situation (her possibly going to Malaysia for three years to work)!  

In our last blog update I introduced you to Sony. She trusted Christ about two week’s ago when Man and I shared the Gospel with her. Since then, Sony has been in most of our services, has expressed a sincere desire to grow, and has also started receiving persecution from family and friends.  This is very common in this part of the world. When an individual trusts Christ and starts coming to church, especially if a foreigner is involved in the salvation decision and/or discipleship process, the persecution begins. Sony told her family that she was going to continue to follow Christ no matter what they said. Their reply, again a common one here, was simple, “No problem, but you get no more rice.” In other words, we will not help you any more. Sony told us that she would probably have to move. She’s living on her family’s property in a little makeshift shack.  We have also had the chance to, once again, share the Gospel with her mother Yay Lee. I think she may be close to trusting Christ!

IMG_8850 (1)Please pray for Sony’s spiritual growth, her provision and protection, and for her mother’s salvation!

I have mentioned Abraham in a few of my past updates. Abraham has been tutoring me (or at least trying) in the Khmer language the past three months. He is also a Christian. The past month or so, our language sessions have turned into discipleship sessions. It has been a great joy to see his growth in recent days. Abraham has become more faithful to church, started passing out tracts, sharing the Gospel with others, and is having his vision for the harvest rekindled. He believes that one day God will have him to start a church in his wife’s village. He has a lot of God-given potential and if he keeps his eyes on Jesus I am sure God will use him greatly to reach his own people!

IMG_8109 (1)Please pray for Abraham and his wife (Sreyrohm) to continue to grow in their faith, their love for Christ, their love for one another, and their love for the Khmer people!

A truly huge blessing came to my attention after our most recent midweek service. Man introduced me to a young man named Sophea. Sophea is 19-years old and trusted Christ recently. He has also been attending church services and going soul winning also. That in and of itself is a blessing, but here’s the rest of the story! A few months ago, Man and I were working with a few displaced grandmothers from various villages who had been forced to Phnom Penh for a season. We had eight of them over our house to eat. Many of them started coming to our church services. A few of them trusted Christ. Then, they all headed back home, some in tears of gratitude after a Sunday evening service. Well, one of those grandmother’s son (Sophea) was going to be moving to Phnom Penh. She told him to find our church, which he did. But he didn’t only find the church. He found Jesus, or should I say, Jesus found him.

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IMG_8878 (1)Please pray for Sophea’s spiritual growth!

The past few months, while soul winning in Steung Meanchey (where Lord willing, sometime in the near future we will plant a church) we have had the opportunity to meet Yay (grandma) Bounseang. She is in her late 90s and very ill. After sitting and listening to us share the Gospel many times, about a month ago Yay trusted Christ. After she got saved, she told us, “Now, I don’t have to worry anymore. When I die I will go to heaven.”  Two weeks ago, when Vannak and I visited her, she was very ill. From what I understand she is in the hospital now. She spoke to us like someone on their deathbed, who understood that their time was short. She begged us to take her MP3 player that someone had given her a few years ago. Of course, we didn’t want to take anything from this very poor old woman. She begged us saying, “You must take it. Because when I die, they (her neighbors) will come in here and steal it.” ISN’T THAT JUST LIKE THE WORLD? When we said goodbye to her and that we would see her next week she replied with, “Maybe!”

IMG_9747 (1)Please pray for Yay Boungsean’s spiritual growth and a peaceful and painless journey to heaven!

The past 3 weeks or so in Steung Meanchey have been tremendous. But last week was really good. Vannak and I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with 10 people including the teenage girls pictured below. While none trusted Christ, all ten of the people were open and the seeds were sown. We are praying that God will bring an increase that will lead to eternal life.

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IMG_8817 (1)Please pray that the many who have heard the Gospel in Steung Meanchey over the past few weeks will trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior!

Knowing that I would be leaving soon and be back in the States for two months made my last week or two of discipleship session’s bittersweet. I am going to miss these men a boatload. Over the past eight months for most of them, a bit less for a few of them, I have had the privilege to get to know them, open God’s Word together with them, pray together, and share one another’s burdens. All ten (In the past few weeks we have had an extra man from the village join us making it eleven) of these men have so much potential. They have a heart for God, the have a heart for His Word, and they have a heart for their people.

If this country is going to be reached for Christ, it won’t be the missionaries who will do it. God will use men such as these to reach their own people!

While in the States, Lord willing, we will be staying in touch with most of them via Google-Hangout and I have given them reading and scripture memorization assignments from the Book of Acts to work on while I am gone. I thought I would share an email I received a couple days before leaving Cambodia from one of these men with you. It was a real blessing. You don’t get letters like this often, but when you do it reminds you, it’s worth it all.

“Brother Johnny!

We will miss you when you’re at the state. I’m very thankful that God sent you to help His work in Cambodia. And I’m very thankful that you listened to God’s voice and followed his will here in Cambodia.

 I know for foreigner to live in Cambodia it is not easy. Since I know you, and have had the privilege to study the bible from you, soul winning with you, and spent time with you, I can see that Jesus lives inside you. Brother Johnny, you may not know this, but you and your family are a BIG blessing to our church, my brothers and my family. Thank you for your Godly example, thank you for your investment and passing down the Truth to us.

 You have helped my brothers and myself a lot, like how to have a proper walk with God, prayer, and soul winning. Thank you for being a part of this team. We will truly miss to when you’re gone. You’re labor is not in vain. I am glad to have learned so much from you. The truth that you have taught we will pass to others. So that God’s name may be exalted. We will pray for your trip! God bless you.”

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IMG_8459 (1)Please pray for Vannak, Man, Sinath, Kosal, Both, Abraham, San, Ra, Sen, Tom (that’s his English nickname J), and Ly to continue to grow in their passion for Christ and for the cause of Christ in this part of the world!

As I mentioned in our previous blog update, I will be in the States for two months. During this two month period of time, Lord willing, I will be in three different states, in three Missions’ Conferences–including our home church’s Missions’ Conference. I will also be teaching an Intensive at Pacific Baptist Bible College on Missions’ and Discipleship, along with being in at least seven other churches. While I am traveling, Lord willing, I will have my new book with me called, “Peeking Through the 1040 Window: Why it Matters to God and Why it Should Matter to Us.”

COVER PEEKING THROUGH - Johnny J. EspositoPlease pray that God will use my time in the states to help folks awaken to the great need in Southeast Asia, China, and the rest of the 1040 Window!

Speaking of the 1040 Window and the great need for laborers, a few days ago, I posted the following words with the picture below on Instagram, Twitter, and Google+

Far too many of God’s ships [Christians] are sitting in safe and secure harbors, rather than sailing the seas of God’s eternal purpose for which they were created by the Wise Ship Builder (Colossians 1:16-8; Acts 1:8; Revelation 5:9; 7:9)!

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My wife and I, along with Joy and Susanna are ever grateful for your prayers and your financial support!

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