Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Can’t Believe They Posted Again!

Enjoy it while it lasts, I can’t promise to keep blogging this frequently.  I wanted to give you a couple more things to pray about that I haven’t mentioned yet.

DSC04508 Daniel – 3rd Year PATC Student & Our Khmer Teacher

One of our PATC students, Daniel (pictured above), started an English school about 4 miles from the Vietnam border.  That means the school is about 15 miles south of Prek Ambel.  The school has been extremely successful so far as they teach some 400 plus students everyday, and he is doing a great job of managing everything.  Two weeks ago he asked me if I would come on a Saturday morning to share the Gospel with his teachers.  I happily agreed to his request and we set a date for January 18th. 

When I arrived almost all of the teachers were present.  There were 15 teachers, 2 of which are believers and the rest are Buddhists.  We read the book of Acts chapter 10.  We discussed how God taught Peter that the Gospel was for Gentiles too!  And then I shared the Gospel with them following Peter’s words to Cornelious (Acts 10:34-43).


God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.  Acts 10:34-35


Following the message we discussed the possibility of a weekly Bible study.  They were eager to learn more and studying weekly sounded good (Praise God!).  So this morning we met for the second time.  I decided to go through the book of Mark with them.  This morning we read Mark 1:1-28.  It is quite a powerful chapter, I think.  John says Jesus is so high he is not worthy to untie his sandals.  God the Holy Spirit is with him.  And God the Father is pleased with him.  We are taught the worthiness of Christ; He is the best!  And then we see he is immediately led to the wilderness to be tempted.  “He’s so good huh?  Let’s see what happens after I offer him the whole earth.”  But the Devil was defeated because Jesus passed the test.  Christ passed the test; he did not sin.  We can trust him; we will not be disappointed or ashamed.

Please pray for me and for these teachers.  For the next little while we will be meeting together weekly and reading about the life of Christ.  Pray the Lord would open their eyes, ears, and hearts.  And pray the Lord would help me to teach effectively and truthfully.



OK, update number two.  Jennifer has been working with Katherine for many months now (and doing a wonderful job).  Many times she receives comments about how she did this or that and their apparent disapproval of her methods.  One lady tried to “tell on” Jennifer for spanking Katherine.  She said, “Bill, I saw Jennifer spank Katherine,” thinking I would disapprove.  I told her Jennifer did that because she wants Katherine to be a good little girl. 8-)

And Jennifer has just endeavored to do good and follow God’s word and hoped it would be a testimony to the people she comes in contact with.  After being here for two years we are starting to see fruit in this area.  Two of our female students have seen the benefits of starting child training at a young age and have said, “When we have children, we want to train them like you train Katherine.”  Another student said that she didn’t know children could learn things at such a young age.  She said, “It’s nice how you talk to Katherine and explain things to her, the Khmer people don’t really talk to children like that.”  Jennifer, as you know, is not a perfect mommy, but thank God his light is shining through her.  Please pray for her work with Katherine (and mine too).  Pray we would obey God and raise her well.  Pray the Lord would open Katherine’s eyes to her sin and to the forgiveness of God in Christ, in due time.


God bless you all,


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

More Basketball Stories

As most of you know I have been teaching basketball part-time as a way to meet people and show the light and love of God.  I have also tried to be alert for opportunities to share the Gospel.  Last year I taught at a high school in Saang District. This year, actually starting in December, I am working with a middle school a couple villages away from Prek Ambel.  The name of the village is called, Kah Kile.  I have been teaching them 3 days a week and it is a good time.  They had never played basketball before so we had to start very slowly.  Today I was teaching them about passing and moving without the ball.  I think they were starting to get the idea.

This particular school’s setting is pretty interesting.  The school is inside of a large Buddhist temple complex.  There are idols literally everywhere, some of which cast their shadows onto the basketball court in the evening.  I often see monks sitting down and watching our practices.  It is a place filled with much darkness.  However, I was so thankful to have the opportunity to teach in such a place and have been praying for the Lord to open doors according to His will.  And He has been opening doors!  Let me explain the providences of God. 

I had my cell phone stolen from the side of the basketball court during practice one day, which was a Monday.  On the following Wednesday, I didn’t go to practice because it was a national holiday.  But the students thought maybe I had decided not to coach them anymore because of the incident.  So about half of the players (10+) came to the church by bicycle (about 3 miles) to meet with me and ask me to come back.  After assuring them I was not angry with them, Vanak, a PATC student, and I sat down with them and had a lengthy discussion about the grace of God in sending the Lord Jesus as a substitute for our sins.  This conversation happened because of my phone being stolen.  Fret not, Christian, when dark providences come your way, for you do not know the good that lies on the other side.  Thank God for His providential care!

Another opportunity came when I invited the team along with the school administrators to our annual Christmas play.  Almost the entire team came and heard clearly the story of Christ’s birth and God’s love for mankind.


Guests eating breakfast at the Christmas party

And today after practice, I finally had the chance to speak with some of the monks.  Three of them, who were in their early twenties, were walking around the complex close to my car.  As we approached each other I said, “Hello” in English.  This almost always gets a smile in Cambodia, and I use the technique often to break the ice and get conversations started on friendly terms.  The standard Khmer greeting, Chum Rip Soouh, I have not found to be as effective.  All three of them could speak English fairly well, and they were asking me many questions about my life in Cambodia. 

I told them that I was a computer teacher and also a Bible teacher.  I asked them in the Cambodian language, “Have you ever heard the Word of God about Jesus?”  They answered, “Yes, but only a little.”  In all we spoke for 30 minutes (In Khmer! Thank you for your prayers!) about the total hereditary depravity of man, our inability to obey God, our desperate need for a savior,  and the good news that God the Father had sent His Son, born of a virgin, to redeem His people from their sins.  At this point darkness had set upon us and we said our goodbyes.  They were quite polite and we agreed to speak together again in the future.  Thank God!

Please continue to pray for our work here.  The soil here is rocky, the thorns sharp, and the dark winged fowls of the air plentiful.  But, thanks be to God, some seed will find the good soil and produce a crop 100, 60, and 30 fold.


He who has ears, let him hear.  Matthew 13:1-9


Grace and peace,


Friday, January 9, 2009

Sre Trang Christmas Program

The Sre Trang congregation had their Christmas program on Dec. 13th.  We met in the new church building that had just been finished a few days before. 

church front The new building.  The old one is just to the left.

Several of the local police were there, as well as some area government leaders.  One of the leaders got up and spoke, having highly favorable things to say about the church there and Christianity in general.  What a blessing to have the support of the local leaders out there.  We can't be naive.  It wouldn’t be unheard of to, at the Christmas program, extol the church and affirm his most affectionate commitment to its prosperity, then shut it down the next day.  But thus far local support has seemed genuine, so we thank God for this blessing and pray that it would continue. 

guests arriving Guests arriving on the road toward the church

All of our students and a few church members went to the program.  (We left at 4:30 AM!  Yikes!)  Groups from both congregations presented songs and skits.  I missed most of it.  The crowd of children around Katherine (and I) was causing a significant distraction to the audience, so we went outside.  There were over 100 children there; most without an adult counterpart, all without adult supervision.  Some of our students played games under a tent with the ones who weren't interested in the program. 

children Some of the children checking out Katherine

On a side note, Sre Trang has actually had over 100 children attend their Sunday worship service consistently over the past few months.  Please pray for them as they figure out how to wisely manage and effectively teach them about the One True and Living God. But Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." Matt 19:14

inside, waitingChildren waiting for the program to begin 

When the program was over we all ate curry soup together, then our students taught the Sre Trang youth a series of gestures/movements to go along with the song "God Will Make a Way."  They really enjoy doing gestures along with songs. 

  church and tent The tent under which the children played and we ate lunch

Overall, it was a really nice time for the two congregations to worship and fellowship together.