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!

August 20, 2015

God has been really good over the last few weeks since we returned from the “Creative Access Nation.” Of course, God is always good but you know what I mean. When you are in this part of the world (where Buddhism has been entrenched for thousands of years and they tend to see Christianity as the religion of the foreigners) to be able to witness an individual truly come to Christ, more often than not, takes time. In fact, it takes lots of time for most! Yet, over the past couple of weeks we have seen a handful of folks trust Jesus as their Savior.

The day after our “Celebration Service” we had Naren over our house for a meal. We have referred to Naren often in previous updates. We have been working with her now for over six months. She is the 28-year old young lady who is the manager of a Coffee Bean here in Phnom Penh. She’s the young lady who had never seen or heard of a Bible in her life until I opened up my Bible to share something with her a few months ago. After some pizza and fellowship, I once again began to explain the Gospel to Naren. While Naren speaks and understands English fairly well, I knew I needed someone to help me and interpret so she could hear it in her “heart language.” Man’s wife Kanha came to the rescue. While Naren did not trust Christ she got a little closer to making a decision for Christ!

IMG_0821 (1)Please pray for Naren’s salvation!

Over the last four months Vannak and I have been working with a group of extremely impoverished folks from Steung Meanchey. Lord willing, some time in the near future we will be planting a church in Steung Meanchey. As I mentioned in our last update, ten of them, along with their children, attended our “Celebration Service.” Just a couple days later, one of the men we have been working with trusted Christ as Vannak and I, once again, shared the Gospel with him. His name is Sung, please do keep him in your prayers. Then we turned to his wife Thy and asked her what was keeping her from trusting Christ and she then told us she had trusted Christ on her own. Well, amen! Then just a while later, Thia told Vannak that she too, had trusted Christ on her own.

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IMG_0823 (1)Please pray for the spiritual growth of Sung, Thy, and Thia and for Nee’s salvation!

The blessings just kept coming!

A few days later, while on our regular Saturday visitation, Man was busy sharing the Gospel with a very ill grandmother and Sara was encouraging a brand new believer and his wife. I was trying to keep a handful of children busy by playing with them. While doing so, I was handing out candy to the children. One mother brought her child to get some candy too. She started talking to me. Only one problem there, I had no idea what she was saying. 🙂 To make a long story short, the woman, named Sony, eventually brought Man and I to her shack (pictured below) and we took about an hour and a half and shared the Gospel with her and her mother. Sony said she understood and wanted to trust Christ. I had Man lead her in a word of prayer. Sony was in church the next day with her two children and again on Wednesday evening with a visitor – her mother!

IMG_0822 (1)Please pray for Sony’s spiritual growth and that her mother will get saved!

Over the past few months we have been working with a family. We have mentioned Wanita from Nigeria and her cousins Isabel, Vanessa, and Basil in a few of our past posts. Wanita was saved in Nigeria and has been living here in Phnom Penh for the past two years. She had been looking for a church and God orchestrated our meeting her. Isabel, Vanessa, and Basil are half Nigerian and half Khmer and were Buddhists. About three weeks ago Basil trusted Christ and was baptized during our “Celebration Service.” Joy and Sue have been working with and praying for the girls for the past couple of months. This week I had the opportunity to meet with Isabel and Vanessa, answer a few of their questions, share the Gospel with them, and they trusted Christ. They were as ready as you could possibly be to get saved. I am very grateful for the investment of my daughter and niece into their lives preparing them to trust Christ!

IMG_0818 (1)Please pray for Isabel and Vanessa to grow in their faith!

In just a few days I will be flying to the states. I will be there for two months. During that two month period, 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. I have a few more churches pending at the moment. I sure do covet your prayers during this time period. 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.”

Please 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!

COVER PEEKING THROUGH - Johnny J. Esposito

August 10, 2015

Our last service in the “Creative Access Nation” was a tremendous blessing. Pastor Dwight Tomlinson preached for us. We had four illegal house churches represented for that Wednesday evening service. The place was packed to overflowing. It is amazing how much potential can be found in those churches. This is especially true in the three house churches that are reaching primarily nationals (one of the churches is a Filipino congregation). There’s just so much potential in this country. Approximately forty percent of the country is under the age of 15. These young people are so much more open to “new ideas” and “new ways” than their parents or grandparents were, and this is good news for the Good News. Every one of the services we were in, including the Wednesday PM “Combined Service,” was (counting the nationals only) somewhere between 90-95 percent under the age of 25. I remember reading a few years ago that this country, at the time, was considered the YOUNGEST NATION IN ASIA. IMG_7557-2

step0001Please pray that many in this country will get a vision for the harvest, especially among the young people!!!

This past Sunday was our “Celebration Service.” Every six weeks or so, all of our different ministries gather together in Phnom Penh to worship Christ and celebrate God’s goodness over the previous six weeks. It is always a great joy to see the folks coming from the different villages and to hear the different groups singing and sharing their testimonies. Of course, the food is always excellent! 🙂

It was nice to have Pastor and Mrs. Tomlinson with us for the service. They flew into the country with us and are with us for just about a week. It was also a blessing to have so many of the folks (I think ten adults) that Vannak and I have been working with from Steung Menchey in the service along with their children. Most of them have never attended our church. In fact, only two of them have ever set their feet inside of a any church service. We also had 18 deaf men and women in the service. Grace is doing a tremendous job. Praise the Lord! And, to add to all of the other blessings, we had twelve new converts baptized, including an elderly, disabled woman.

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IMG_7664 (1)-2Please pray that God will continue to bless the many different ministries here in Cambodia!

Today, just before sending this update out, we held our annual Worker’s Training Seminar. We had about forty people in the different sessions.  Of course, not all of our workers were able to make it because of work and school.  A few of those who did come are not pictured below.  Brother Dave Board, Pastor Tomlinson, and I all taught. Pastor Tomlinson taught two sessions that were extremely helpful. Talking about potential. There was definitely a boatload of potential in that room today. There are so many people in Cambodia and the rest of Southeast Asia who need Jesus and if they are going to be reached we absolutely need more laborers.

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I recently posted the following words on Instagram and Twitter:

“It never ceases to amaze me, how, on a regular basis (including today), I meet people who have not only not heard the Gospel (that’s a given), but have never heard of Jesus, or if they have, the name ‘Jesus’ means nothing more to them than the name ‘Johnny,’ or ‘Jeff.’”

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Please pray for more laborers to come and serve in the 1040 Window!

Thank you for your prayers and your financial support,

Johnny, Denise, Joy and Sue

August 5, 2015

We are presently in the “Creative Access Nation.”  My wife and I, Joy, and Sue flew into the country about a week ago. I had the privilege to preach/teach on Wednesday and Thursday PM, along with Sunday AM and PM. On Wednesday and Thursday evening I preached a two part message called, “For the Sake of the Gospel” [1 Corinthians 9:16-24]. On Sunday I taught/preached three times. Two messages on the importance of discipling those we win to Christ and one message on “The More Excellent Way” [Matthew 22:37-39; John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 12:31-13:1-3, 13]. This message dealt with loving God, loving each other, and loving the world with the love of Jesus!

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It has been a real joy to be with our friends and fellow missionaries, Koumaly and Darath Thongdy, and T.J. and Kam Slaymon. Of course, being able to spend time with Sen and a host of others was a real blessing. Another special treat was to have Touch and Debra Keo, along with their children here.

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Please continue to pray for our friends from the “Creative Access Nation” as they continue to shine for Christ in the midst of difficult circumstances!

Pastor Dwight Tomlinson and his wife Gayle met us here in the “Creative Access Nation.”  Pastor Tomlinson, as many of you know, has been in the ministry for over 40 years and has pastored the Liberty Baptist Church in Newport Beach for the last 25 years.  A few years ago God began to stir in his heart to become more involved with missions, especially in the 1040 Window. He and his church were already very involved with missions, but the Tomlinson’s believed God had more in store for them. After visiting with us in the “Creative Access Nation” two years ago, Brother Tomlinson felt led by God to start a new ministry called Barnabas1040.com. This ministry is a ministry that helps to support national pastors as they seek to reach their people with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!

The Tomlinson’s are now in a time of transition, as they will be turning the church over to a new pastor and going full-time into leading Barnabas1040.com. You can read more about this at http://libertybaptistchurch.org/pastoral-announcement I would encourage you to go to their website at http://barnabas1040.com and seriously consider prayerfully supporting this much needed ministry.

The next few days that we are together in this country were will be very busy. We have meetings with a couple of national pastors that Barnabas1040.com is presently supporting, a combined service with three different house churches, and then we are off to Phnom Penh, Cambodia together.

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Please pray for Pastor Tomlinson, his wife, the Liberty Baptist Church, and Barnabas1040.com during this time of transition!

July 25, 2015

Friends,

I am excited about the release of my new book called, Peeking Through the 1040 Window: Why it Matters to God and Why it Should Matter to Us. It isn’t a long book but I believe a much needed book. It has been on my heart for quite sometime. It is presently being edited and should be ready to roll of the press in just a couple weeks. It should be ready for my short trip to the states at the end of the summer. I asked my dear friend Pastor Dwight Tomlinson to write a foreword for the book which he graciously agreed to do. Here are his thoughts about the book:

I love to read. Centuries ago the Apostle Paul gave these inspired words of advice to a young preacher. “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” I Timothy 4:13. 

It has been my practice for more than 40 years in ministry to “give attendance to reading”. Rarely have I come across a book that has moved me like Johnny Esposito’s book, “Peeking Through the 1040 Window.” This powerful book comes from the heart of a man that did more than merely take a casual glance at what he saw. What Johnny saw changed his life and as a result it changed many others.

Mine is one of the lives changed as a result of Johnny peeking through the 1040 window. I visited Johnny in the restricted access nation of which he writes in this book. My life was changed. It was as a result of that peek through the 1040 Window that God laid upon my heart to begin a Mission’s Organization to help get the gospel to some of the neediest countries in the world.

As you read this book, please ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the needs and opportunities that await us in the 1040 window. God is raising up a movement of people whose hearts have been touched as a result of lifting up their eyes and seeing the massive harvest fields of the 1040 Window. 

Perhaps your life will be changed, as was mine, by “peeking through the 1040 Window”

Dwight Tomlinson

Pastor Liberty Baptist Church Newport 

Founder of Barnabas1040.com

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Please pray that God will use this book to inspire many to pray for, give to, and seriously and prayerfully consider going to the “uttermost parts of the earth.”

I am also working on another book–a sequel if you will–called Don’t Let the Dream Die.  We might end up calling it Keep the Dream Alive. This book, while being along the same lines as the previous mentioned book and dealing with the great neglected harvest fields in the 1040 Window, will also  revolve much around the dream that God laid upon my brother’s heart for the “unreached peoples” of Cambodia, which began some 30 years ago in North Chicago.  It will also deal with the continual enlargement of that dream until the “dreaded day” when Pastor Joe was hospitalized on October 3, 2013. Lord willing, my sister-in-law Mary will be working with me on this book. If the Lord permits, Mary will write a few chapters in the book.

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Please pray that God will give us the grace, the wisdom, and the ability to write a book that will challenge many to pray, give, and to GO!  

In previous updates we have mentioned Wanita a few times. She is a Christian from Nigeria who Man and I met one Saturday while out visiting. My wife is now discipling her on a weekly basis. We have been asking for prayer for the salvation of her cousins (Basil, Vanessa, Isabel). They are half Khmer and half Nigerian and have lived in Cambodia their entire lives. They are also Buddhist!

We are glad to report that Basil got saved about two week’s ago after our Youth Conference and his older sisters have been coming to church, the Teen Girl’s Fellowship, spending time with Joy and Sue, and asking a lot of questions.

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Please pray for Wanita and Basil’s spiritual growth and for Vanessa and Isabel to trust Christ! 

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July 17, 2015

As we mentioned in our previous update, Sen came to visit us from the “Creative Access Nation” and was with us for a little over two weeks. In addition to Sen being with us Amie Richard, a missionary from Thailand, was also with us for a week. It was a blessing to have these two young ladies staying with my wife, Joy, Sue, and me. We had a great time!

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Please pray that God will use Sen and Amie as they return to their countries!

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July 6, 2015

On Saturday’s I go soul winning with either Vannak or Man. More often than not, I go with Man. Last Saturday Man and I had the opportunity to share the Gospel with these five folks pictured below. Four of the five had never heard the Gospel, or even of Jesus. They were heading back to their home province within a few hours of our meeting with them. In other words, they were heading back to one of the nearly 14,000 villages with no Gospel witness in Cambodia. Man and I were thankful to have the chance to share Gospel with all of them and leave them with some literature to read in the future.

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Please pray that God will take the words that we shared with these dear folks and bring them to a place of salvation!

Last Sunday I had the awesome privilege to preach at our two village churches. It was a long day, over 14 hours, but it was an extremely blessed day.  I had the privilege to preach three times. Actually four, if you count the hour-and-half of preaching/teaching on the tuk-tuk with three of our Cham men. I preached twice for our Cham (former Muslims) people and once for our church in Prey Bang. It was a real treat to see the tuk-tuk unloading with over 20 adults (including one blind adult man), teens, and children to come and hear the Word of God preached. I even saw one motorbike pull in with five people. It’s legal here!

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June 25, 2015

I recently read an article about the drought here in Cambodia. While those of us in the big city, who are a bit better off (the average Cambodian makes less than $1.50 per day), haven’t really felt the effects of it–other than the extreme heat–those in the outer provinces and various villages throughout the country have definitely been effected. While reading the article and seeing a few pictures (including the one  below), I was reminded once again, not only of a literal drought that the country is temporarily going through, but the spiritual drought that this entire country is experiencing, and has been experiencing for hundreds of years. Like the young boy seeking water, but finding only polluted water, the people of this country–if we don’t bring them the water of the Word–will have to settle for the muddied waters of Buddhism, atheism, or paganism. These dear people so desperately need Jesus!   
Please pray that God will continue to send men and women to countries like Cambodia in the 1040 Window that are experiencing a spiritual drought!

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June 17, 2015

It’s been quite awhile since I mentioned this, but the church here in Phnom Penh, Cambodia reminds me so much of our home church in Long Beach. This is especially true of those early days of our home church. While you today may know our home and sending church as Pacific Baptist Church, when my brother (Pastor Joe) started the church over 27 years ago it was called Cambodian Baptist Church. In those early days, while the church was reaching many people for Christ, both young and old alike, we were definitely reaching more young people than we were older folks. If you had visited the church in those early days, you would have seen a lot of children and a lot of teenagers. You might have been tempted to call us a “teenie-bopper” church, as one woman did after visiting a service years ago. In those early days of the church we found that it was difficult to reach the older Khmer folks. Very difficult! So after much prayer, and some really good counsel, Pastor Joe started to focus his attention on the next generation. Yes, those “teenie bopppers.” It all started with a dream God had placed in my brother’s heart some 27 years ago. That God-given dream became a strong godly desire and led to a dogged-determination to reach and train the next generation for Christ. Little by little the vision became clearer and clearer. God blessed in a miraculous way!

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June 8, 2015

It’s been awhile since I have mentioned this in an update, but I want to thank those of you who continue to pray for my brother, Pastor Joe,  his dear wife, and the rest of the family. I had the chance to FaceTime Pastor Joe and Mary the other night. While my brother has made much progress the past 21 months, he still needs a miracle. His wife Mary, the rest of the family, as well as the church family are very grateful for your prayers, your words of encouragement, and acts of kindness during this trial.

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Please continue to pray for Pastor Joe’s recovery, for encouragement, and strength for his wife Mary, and the children!

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