February 28, 2016

God has really been good the past few weeks in Steung MeanChey, of course, He is always good even when we don’t think so. Over the past few weeks we have had the chance to meet many new people, share the Gospel with dozens of people who have been extremely receptive, and are attracting so many more children. Kosal and his new bride Phalley are going to Steaung MeanChey with us every Sunday afternoon now and Phalley also goes with us on Tuesdays. Recently, we ran into one of Kosal’s former students named Tola. Over the past few weeks we have had the chance to share the gospel with her and her husband. One really special blessing was the opportunity to share the gospel with 15 very receptive adults, teens, and children in one setting [see picture below]. Kosal and I spent nearly an hour explaining the gospel to the folks who, other than two of them, had no idea who Jesus was, nor why he had come!

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imagePLEASE PRAY THAT GOD OPENS THE DOOR FOR US TO HAVE REGULAR MEETINGS IN STEUNG MEANCHEY!

On Saturday, February 13, my wife Denise flew back to the States to be with my father-in-law and the rest of her family for a little over three weeks. Her father Eugene had Stage 4 cancer and was under Hospice Care. My father-in-law loved the Lord and he loved people, especially children. He was a Bus Captain at Metro Baptist Church (Pastor John Vapreszan) in Bellville, Michigan for over 25 years. According to his pastor, his route averaged 81 riders per Sunday for 25 years. He and my mother-in-law have been faithful servants of Christ for many years. And, they did a great job rearing my wife. On Saturday, February 20, my father-in-law was ushered into glory and the presence of the Lord that he loved and served for the past 48 years!

I had the opportunity to watch the funeral service on Periscope. Two statements made during the service really stuck out. “We are here today to celebrate a life well lived for Christ” and “He lived his life for the Savior.” Oh Lord, may these words be said and be true at my funeral!

imagePLEASE PRAY FOR MY MOTHER-IN-LAW, MY WIFE, AND THE REST OF THE FAMILY DURING THIS VERY DIFFICULT TIME!

Every six weeks or so we have our regular “Celebration Service.” This is a very special time when our three churches, as well as some of our other village ministries, gather together on a Sunday morning to celebrate God’s goodness. We will normally have somewhere between 250-275 people in attendance for this service. Our “Celebration Service” is normally a little bit longer than our regular morning service. During the service we will have various testimonies given by folks from the different ministries, as well as special music from the different ministries, along with the regular congregational music and of course the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. In addition to the above, we also have a baptismal service. During this past “Celebration Service” we had 20 different people baptized, including Lynn (pictured below) who Vannak and I had the privilege to lead to Christ recently. Praise the Lord!

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imagePLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL CONTINUE TO USE THE VARIOUS MINISTRIES HERE IN CAMBODIA FOR HIS GLORY AND THAT WE WILL ALWAYS KEEP IN REMEMBRANCE TO CELEBRATE HIS GOODNESS!

Recently Thinus Botha moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia from South Africa. As soon as he arrived in Phnom Penh he started attending all of our church services, our English Only Small Group, and our English Chapel Service. He is a good “friend” of one of our ladies. I just started meeting with him for a time of discipleship on Monday afternoons. He comes from a more formal Protestant background and had been out of church for many years. Our time together on Monday’s seems to be going very well!

imagePLEASE PRAY FOR THINUS’ SPIRITUAL GROWTH AND THAT HE WILL FIND A JOB!

I had another chance to go soul-winning in the Chom Ka village and the Psa Thrict village recently. It was a blessing to share the Gospel with a handful of folks, as well as take time to spend with some new converts, including Hong and his wife who Man and I had the opportunity to lead to Christ last month.

It was also a joy to be able to spend almost an hour with a you man named Chu. I believe he’s in his mid-20’s. He’s Cham (former Muslim), he is saved, and at one time, he felt the call to preach. A few years ago, before I came to this country, he was faithfully serving Jesus. Apparently, when persecution arose in the Psa Thrict village from the Muslims, he drifted from God. We had a great talk, it was apparent the Holy Spirit was working and we prayed together.

Another real blessing was the opportunity to share the Gospel with Grandma Nas. This is Vannak, Man, San, and Kosal’s 90 year old grandmother. She is very close to trusting Christ but is very fearful of the village priests, family, and friends in the village. While sharing the Gospel with her she looked at every tuk-tuk, motorbike, and car that drove by, as well as every person who walked by with concern that she was going to get in “trouble.”

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imagePLEASE PRAY FOR THE FOLKS IN CHOM KA VILLAGE WHO ARE SAVED TO CONTINUE TO GROW IN THEIR FAITH, PRAY FOR CHU TO COME BACK TO GOD, AND FOR GRANDMA NAS TO TRUST JESUS!

After a wonderful day of soul winning, in Chom Ka and Psa Thrict, I had the privilege to once again preach for our church in Psa Thrict. This church, as I mentioned a few updates ago, is about 60% Cham or Muslim and 40% Khmer. I love these dear people and count it a privilege to preach for them occasionally. San and his team are doing a wonderful job with the church and reaching out to other surrounding villages.

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imagePLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL CONTINUE TO USE THE CHURCH MEMBERS FROM PSA THRICT TO REACH OUT, NOT ONLY TO THEIR FELLOW CHAM PEOPLE IN PSA-THRICT, BUT THE THOUSANDS OF LOST BUDDHISTS AND MUSLIMS IN THE SURROUNDING VILLAGES!

So grateful for a ministry that is busy about the Father’s business every day of the week. It reminds me so much of our home and sending church (Pacific Baptist Church of Long Beach). On Friday evenings here in our building Thy Has has a Bible study with our adult ladies in her apartment. Vannak, Man, Kosal, Adrian, and our teen boys meet on the roof. And, as if that wasn’t enough, Kanha, Joy, Sue, and Phalley meet with teen girls in our apartment. Some of the girls got away before I could take the picture! 😁

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A couple week’s ago Kosal and I had the opportunity to lead Socheat to Christ. We spent nearly an hour and a half sharing the Gospel with him before he called on the name of the Lord. Socheat is a 20-year old young man that Man and I have been witnessing to for quite sometime now. A few months ago he, along with another five or six college age guys, ate at our house. Most of the other men his age have moved away or have lost interest in hearing of Christ, but Socheat kept wanting more. Praise the Lord he showed up for the church services the following day, for both the morning and the evening services. He showed up to play basketball with the guys on Tuesday, for our midweek service on Wednesday, and for English class on Thursday.  Grateful that Kosal has taken Socheat under his wing and will be meeting with him on Saturdays after he brings him to the Men’s Prayer Meeting! 🙂

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imagePLEASE PRAY FOR SOCHEAT’S SPIRITUAL GROWTH!

I love preaching and teaching Gods word and it’s always a blessing to preach for our congregation here in Phnom Penh. On a recent Sunday morning and Wednesday evening I preached parts one and two of a message entitled, “Just Keep Running by Faith and Not by Sight.” On Sunday morning the service was jam-packed, the music was great, and the response to the message was encouraging. For a good portion of the message I was running around the platform and, at times, around the auditorium with a backpack. I did this to illustrate the truth of not filling your spiritual backpack with unnecessary “stuff” as found in Hebrews 12:1.

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imagePLEASE PRAY THAT GOD WILL USE THE PREACHING OF HIS WORD TO SAVE THE UNBELIEVERS AND STIR THE BELIEVERS IN PHNOM PENH!

My wife, Joy, Sue, and I would like to once again thank you for your prayers and financial support for us and the work God is doing in Southeast Asia, especially here in Cambodia!

If you did not get a chance to see the video we posted in our last update for Pastor Joe, please check it out below.

For His Glory in the Nations,

Johnny

Team SE Asia from carrithelight on Vimeo.

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