Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ministry Update - Part 1

Over the last several months we have seen a season of harvest in the ministry.  I suppose this should not come as a surprise because Jesus said that problem is that there are not enough workers to reap the harvest, not that the harvest is too small.

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Katherine helping me make a cabinet

While Chheng was visiting in the USA, we started a new effort to share the gospel in the Prek Ambel area.  We decided to follow a road headed west out of Prek Ambel.  The plan was to follow it for about 8 km until we had shared with most every house.  The evangelist’s were consisted of the PATC students who decided to stay for the summer, church members, and two days a week me (I was and still am working to correct and revise the 1689 Baptist Confession that was translated a few years ago).  This went on six days a week in the morning from 8:00 to 10:30 for around four months.

A further word about the church members that joined with us.  All of them are busy everyday.  Many of them have cows and to feed one cow they have to go and cut grass for 1.5 hours.  This is per cow.  Some of them have 2, 3, 4, or even 5 cows.  If you do the math you will see it’s not a quick job.  Also, they are busy doing things by hand that you would normally use a machine for.  A Washing machine, a stove, a shower, a toilet.  All these things take much longer for the average Cambodian.  They wash clothes by hand, make fires for cooking (and chop down wood), walk to the river to bath, and look for a quiet spot for a bathroom.  Yet, week after week, I watched these folks coming to the church to participate in the work of the gospel.  They didn’t come everyday but nearly every time we went out we had someone from the lay membership join us.  Many of them are not good speakers.  Many of them weren’t sure how they would start conversations.  But they stepped out in faith.  It really encouraged me to see them taking the gospel to their neighbors and families and friends.  And I hope you know that often times these folks are the hardest folks to share with.  Please follow their example!  Share with those around you!  If they can find time so can we.

So back to the evangelism.  For the first few weeks we didn’t see much response.  Some people said they would come to visit the church but didn’t.  Many people just plain rejected the idea that Jesus could be a substitute for the sins of his people.  But by God’s grace we pushed on.  Then we started to see fruit.  A man openly repented of his sin and wanted to follow Christ.  Then he brought his wife and kids.  Then several children started attending that we met while on the road.  Then two women started coming to the church and every week more and more new faces were joining our services.  Many of theses faces we had never shared with but the Lord brought them.  We had so many new visitors that we decided to buy a church van to make a pickup run on Sunday mornings before church.  I became the driver (though two church members are in the process of learning to drive) and on my first trip I had 31 people in a 12 passenger van. 


Since then, the Lord has continued to bless.  My young adult Sunday school class has grown from 25 to 45 students in the last few months.  The children’s class has been separated into four different groups because it had grown too large.  And the Church service has gone from 70 people to around 100.  Several times we ran out of chairs and had to borrow chairs from the PATC center.  What a blessing!

to be continued…



Anonymous said...

It is exciting to hear of the fruit you and Jennifer are reaping. I know you have sacrificed so much and I'm sure this is making the sacrifice not such a loss. Matt. 11: 39 "If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it." My family will be praying for you and the ministry in Cambodia as often as the Lord brings you to mind. Pray for us too, that this verse would come to life for us as I see it is at work in you. Your friend, Cara

Dean Olive said...

Thanks be to God for the good news. This is what we have been praying for! May the blessings continue!

Dean Olive