March 14, 2016

We recently conducted another mini-basketball camp, which was conducted outside. The temperature was 99 degrees with a heat index of as high as 106. We even had one of our young men pass out! 🙂  We had about forty teen boys and/or college age young men attend the camp, including a handful of our Cham young men from our Psa Thrict ministry.

This is a blessing for so many different reasons: First, it was a blessing because in this part of the world it is often difficult to get men, young or old, involved with the church. Secondly, it was a blessing because we had the chance to help these young men see how sports could be tied in with life. Throughout the four hours we had together I shared many principles for living and serving Jesus. Thirdly, it is a blessing because our national workers, as well as our younger missionaries, have taken an interest in the lives of these young men.  After camp was over we all went to a pizza place and had a really good time of food, fun, and fellowship!

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IMG_5628 (1)Please pray for these young men to grow into devoted servants of Jesus Christ!

The last few Sunday mornings we have had a packed house. The spirit has been great, the singing has been loud and exciting, and lots of new faces. Two weeks ago it was a blessing to see a few folks that we haven’t seen in a while attend the service. It was a real joy to have Meanhuang in the service. It had been nearly a year since she was in one of our services. Meanhuang is the first person I led to Christ after arriving in Cambodia. She trusted Christ and started attending Sunday AM, PM, and Wednesday services along with our Sunday afternoon Children’s/Teen Services. She completed her Bible study in the Book of Mark and received a Bible (which is given out after completing the study).  Then, during one of our Celebration Services she got baptized. She never returned again, more than likely once her parents found out about her being baptized they stopped her from returning to the services. We never could find out the truth!

Also in the service, for the first time in years, was a young lady named Srey Gee. She is a wife and a mother now. Apparently, she at one time (long before I arrived) was a very faithful teen but her parents pulled her out of church to work and help support the family. This is a very common problem here in this part of the world. When I first arrived in Cambodia Srey Gee was the first individual that God really burdened my heart for. Vannak and I started visiting her weekly and eventually my wife and I had her and her husband over our house to eat. Then she moved! She’s back on this side of the city now. Lord willing, we can see her return to the place of faithfulness she once exhibited as a teen girl.

It was also good to see Chanthy in the service. If you will remember our last update I mentioned that Kosal and I had witnessed to a group of 15 people in Steung MeanChey.  Chanty was one of those 15. He has attended three straight Sunday morning services and just the other day Man visited him and led him to Christ!

Another person in the service was a 15-year old boy named Ra. Vannak and I had the privilege to lead Ra to Christ a few weeks ago. He has been in our last few services and has even brought his friend.

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What a joy it was to have some of our deaf girls over our house for a meal. Grace Ortiz is doing such a wonderful job with our deaf. We have had as many as 17 deaf in one of our services and will normally have 4-6 (it used to be more but we have lost a few) on an average Sunday.  Let me tell you, these girls are a blast! We had a really good time with them and I am sure they appreciate us having them over. In Cambodia the disabled folks are looked down on by the average person. It means much to the deaf to have a “hearing person” take an interest in them. We were joking about gossip and one of the girls said we the “hearing” folks could gossip about the deaf and they could gossip about us and nobody would know. That is, unless Grace  spoiled it and told everyone! 🙂

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It’s been a blessing to have Chris Ayala here with us the last few weeks. Chris is a member of Pacific Baptist Church of Monterrey Park. He was actually led to Christ by Sara Vong (one of our team members here in Phnom Penh) a few years ago.  He is a senior at Pacific Baptist Bible College. This is his last semester and he is spending it on the mission field. He spent two months in China and will be here in Cambodia for two months also. Chris believes that God wants him to serve in this part of the world. He especially believes that God wants him to serve in China. Oh, did I mention that he is also my daughter Joy’s “friend”?


Every day as you walk the streets, ride a moto, or a tuk-tuk you are faced with the grim and extreme poverty in this country. It is heart-wrenching to say the least! We seldom go a day without being approached by the child-beggars of Phnom Penh. Some of them are orphans. Others are not, but they are all poor! Concerning the poor, you will find these words in my book Peeking Through the 10/40 Window: Why it Matters to God and Why It Should Matter to Us:

Economist Robert Heilbroner describes the luxuries a typical American family would have to surrender if they lived among the billion hungry people the Two-Thirds World: We begin by invading the house of our imaginary American family to strip it of its furniture. Everything goes: beds, chairs, tables, television sets, lamps. We will leave the family with a few old blankets, a kitchen table, a wooden chair. Along with the bureaus go the clothes. Each member of the family may keep in his wardrobe his oldest suit or dress, a shirt or blouse. We will permit a pair of shoes for the head of the family, but none for the wife or children. We move to the kitchen. The appliances have already been taken out, so we turn to the cupboards…the box of matches may stay, a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt. A few moldy potatoes, already in the garbage can, must be rescued, for they will provide much of tonight’s meal. We will leave a handful of onions and a dish of dried beans. All the rest we take away: the meat, the fresh vegetables, the canned goods, the crackers, the candy.

 Now we have stripped the house: the bathroom has been dismantled, the running water shut off, the electric wires taken out. Next we take away the house. The family can move to the tool shed…communications must go next. No more newspapers, magazines, books-not that they are missed, since we must take away our family’s literacy as well. Instead, in our shantytown we will allow one radio…Now government services must go next. No more postmen, no more firemen. There is a school, but it is three miles away and consists of two classrooms…there are, of course, no hospitals or doctors nearby. The nearest clinic is ten miles away and is tended by a midwife. It can be reached by bicycle, provided the family has a bicycle, which is unlikely….

 Finally, money. We will allow our family a cash hoard of five dollars. This will prevent our breadwinner from experiencing the tragedy of an Iranian peasant who went blind because he could not raise the $3.94 which he mistakenly thought he needed to receive admission to a hospital where he could have been cured.

How can we read these words and not be moved with concern and compassion? These are real people. These are people just like you and me. They may look different on the outside but they are people just like us and like those whom we love.


Also, if you could begin praying for a few upcoming ministry trips that I will be taking in April, May, and July I would surely appreciate it.

  • In April, Lord willing, I will be preaching and teaching in Laos and Thailand for two weeks.
  • In May, Lord willing, I will be preaching in a Missions’ Conference in China. I will be bringing Kosal with me. It’s going to be great!
  • In July, Lord willing, I will be preaching and teaching in a Leadership Conference in China with my dear friend Dwight Tomlinson of 

Denise, Joy, Sue, and I want to thank you for your consistent prayer and financial support for us and the work here in Southeast Asia!

Johnny and Denise

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