Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5
On Tuesday, June 26, 2012, Irene Mparutsa, Sophal Sok, an impromptu translator David, and I visited a few villagers of Chhoeung Prey Church in Kandal Province. For the past several years, CHAD has been working closely with these villagers who are members and leaders of this local Methodist church. CHAD financially and agriculturally supports and practically advises them through the community’s rice bank. On that day, we had the privilege of meeting and interviewing four leaders in their newly elected rice bank group committee:
Outsan: The Establishment of the Church
One day, in the early- to mid-1990s, Outsan’s son was really sick and his uncle took him to the hospital. Ever since he recovered from his sickness, he worked in the field and took care of cows. On a random day, when there was a downpour of rain, he took cover in a nearby shelter, only to have found a Bible. Reading the living Word of God, the Lord softened his heart to desire to know Him more; he wanted to know the meaning of these parables, these commandments, the Gospel, the Good News. Sharing his desiring heart to know who God is—who Jesus is—with his uncle, his uncle knew of a local church and sent him there. Eventually, with his gifts in music, he used them to serve in the church worship team by playing all kinds of instruments, such as guitar and flute.
A few years later, he travelled to Phnom Penh and attended a Khmer church called New Life Fellowship. He had hoped to start a new life there, but in 1997, there was a clash between two parties: the Cambodian People’s Party and FUNCINPEC Party. The result of this political conflict led many people, including Outsan’s son, to flee from Phnom Penh to his childhood village where he continued to work faithfully for the Lord by evangelizing to the villagers, joyfully sharing the Gospel and the Good News with them. In that same year, as he shared with his mother that he wants to start a church, Outsan, 68, was convicted by the Spirit to sacrifice her home to be a home church, which is now Chhoeung Prey Church.
When they first started the church in 1997, there were 180 adults who came out to the worship service. Right now, in the year of 2012, there are 30-40 members in the church. They believe that the cause of this huge decrease in church attendees is twofold: (1) the home church, now, leaks when it rains, and (2) they don’t serve a lot of food and beverages anymore before or after service. Despite any possible reason for the decrease in church attendees and regardless of the number of people in the church—whether there are 200 or 2—we are called to “worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth” [John 4:23] both “in season and out of season” [2 Timothy 4:2] and to work faithfully [Matthew 25:14-30], for the Lord our God alone saves the lost by faith alone in the perfect life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit with His sovereign grace alone.
Please pray for the following:
- For Outsan’s vision to eventually build a children’s center, a computer teacher, an English teacher, and to host weddings in their new church building that is currently being built right now;
- For the young pastor who is serving in Chhoeung Prey Church;
- To not be discouraged by the number of church attendees, but to be faithful in worshiping and loving God;
- For her youngest son Bakaran to have the diligence and faithfulness to work hard to go to a university; and
- For Outsan’s health.
Veasna: The Miracle of a Changed Heart and Mind
When Veasna, 32, was suffering from heart disease and hepatitis B, CHAD helped him to go to Cooperative Services International (CSI) Mercy Medical Center, where he felt loved and respected. He shared that if he was at another hospital like Calmette Hospital, they would have asked him to pay first before they treat him. However, CSI, which is a Christian hospital, seeks to treat all patients whether they can pay on the spot or not. While he experienced all of this when he was a nonbeliever, he came to know the love of Christ through these doctors and nurses, and he committed to following Christ in March 2012. Praise God!
He also informed us that he is illiterate. So, I asked him how he first came to hear of the Gospel and the Good News. He shared that when he attended Chhoeung Prey Church as a nonbeliever, he had heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the pastor’s sermons and by talking to Outsan. Moreover, he asks his children to read the Bible to him so he can learn more about the Word. Hallelujah! There is such a strong need for discipleship among the churches and pastors in Cambodia. And we can only praise God for using such unworthy people with inadequate abilities to help others see the glory and holiness of God. God alone is good! [Mark 10:17-18; Romans 3:10-18]
Puong Sreang: Hope for Her Husband’s Salvation in Christ
Puong Sreang, 56, gave her life to follow Jesus Christ after an encounter with a group of pastors called Hope Organization. She eventually went to study the Bible at Hope in Phnom Penh for three months, but came back on behalf of her husband’s wishes. She’s the only one in her family who believes in Christ. But she believes that God is slowly working in her husband. He stopped burning incense sticks and worshipping ancestors, but is still hesitant.
Please pray for the following:
- For God to bless the community. As the chairperson of the rice bank, she hopes to increase the rice bank;
- To grow in faith;
- For physical healing. She has diabetes and an upset stomach; and
- For God to meet her husband in a newer and greater way.
Ttoi Sietnim: Christ as Yahweh and the Ultimate Healer
Ttoi Sietnim is Outsan’s daughter and is currently a rice bank committee member. Before she met Christ, it was hard for her to forgive others. She was easily selfish, bitter, frustrated, and angry. She also didn’t know that Jesus was God and that He can give peace in the midst of her family struggles. But when she met Christ, she repented and now knows that He is the only true God, the creator of the heavens and the earth, the ultimate Healer. Praise God! In 2000, she worked with a multi-national team from several Southeast Asian countries to evangelize to factory female workers.
Please pray for the following:
- To serve in the children’s ministry once it is established;
- For her son to gain knowledge of English so he can ultimately study in Phnom Penh; and
- For her and her family, particularly her husband who is not a believer yet; for her husband to stop drinking.
Pray much for the members and leaders of Chhoeung Prey Church. Let’s pray that the church would continue to worship in spirit and in truth both in season and out of season.
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. 3 John 1:2
In His love and for His glory,
CHAD Summer 2012 Intern,