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,