Cambodia Update – God at Work

1977092_10151903645976196_1241913656_nWe have now been in Cambodia 4 busy months! Let me share a few highlights:

This note at a glance…

  1. Skipping School for a Month – Amazing answered prayer giving clarity and transporting us off to a different province for a month.
  2. Student-Led Evangelism – Innovative and multifaceted evangelistic programs led out by students.
  3. People Hungry for Hope – Testimonies ofGod at work to bring Buddhist people closer to Him.
  4.  God’s Future Funding – Moving forward in faith and praying for God to provide the funding.
  5. Un-muting God’s Word – Students making a decision that could impact their lives forever.
  6. Training Trainers – Dozens of hours paying off when seeing the first peek into my dream for Cambodia coming true.
  7. “Illustrating” the Gospel – Caitlin provides new tools to help spread the Adventist message to Buddhists and Christians inCambodia.
  8. A Changed Life – God changes the life course of one of my students
  9. The Greatest Book Ever Written – Lessons in English literature from the Master Teacher
  10. Prayer to Share – 10½ hours in theBangkok airport was just enough time for a amazing Divine appointment.

Skipping School for a Month

Since May 1, Caitlin and I have been in another province(Preah Vihear) on an evangelism mission trip with the 11th and 12th graders. The fact that we have been able to come has been an incredible answerto prayer. Few volunteers could go, since school would still be in session. Itlooked like Caitlin would not be able to go because of her specialized classes.I (Dustin) had been involved in the planning with the students and was invitedto go but didn’t feel clarity from God about spending a month away fromCaitlin. For several weeks we prayed that God would make it possible for bothof us to go, although it seemed very unlikely. Then one day about a monthbefore the trip, Tim told me, “I think it will be possible for both you andCaitlin to go on the trip. It will be a very good experience for both of you.” A substitute teacher was found for Caitlin’s classes, and we praise God for this amazing answered prayer!

Student-Led Evangelism Program

Cooperating with God to share the hope of Jesus with unreached people is God’s desire for every believer. A major goal for this triphas been giving the students experiences to lead, grow, and share. Everystudent is in charge of one aspect of the multifaceted program that includeshealth expos (2 locations), vegetarian cooking lessons, Christian book sellingand tract distribution, home visitation and natural remedies treatments, children’sprograms, and radio broadcasts. The students have been using all of these opportunitiesto connect with people and invite them to the nightly meetings at theSeventh-day Adventist church that begin this Friday, May 9. The students will give health lectures, lead music, preach evangelistic sermons, show Biblical films,and run a vegetarian restaurant.

Please join us in praying for God to work powerfully in the lives of students and call many of them to service as missionaries for Him in Cambodia.

 People Hungry for Hope

 Preah Vihear city has about 24,000 in population and anAdventist church of about 30 active members. It has been inspiring to see God at work to draw people to Himself:

God providentially opened the door for us to put on a health expo in a nearby village in His perfect timing. A crowd was already there to gothrough the health expo as they waited for their ID card photos to be taken. In1½ days nearly 100 people eagerly learned the NEWSTART health principles. Atthe last station, “Trust in God,” many learned about God and prayer for thefirst time. “One woman shared with me how she is living in the present but hermind and heart are in the past,” Chhorvy shared. She could not move on from a painfulexperience in the past. Chhorvy talked to her about the loving God of heavenwho could help her as she put her trust in Him. She shared how God could helpher forgive the person who had wronged her and give her peace. “I want that! Iwant that!” the woman shared as they cried and prayed together.

During a prayer walk through the city last Friday, some students conversed with a shop owner in town. As they invited her to the healthprograms, they were surprised to discover she was already vegetarian because ofher Chinese religion. They were also delighted to find out that she had a Bibleand was open to learning more about it. Two students have continued visiting her and giving her Bible studies.

Please pray with us that God will continue to work in the lives of the people in this city and brings many out to the meetings to hear His Word and surrender to Him.

God’s Future Funding

This mission trip has been an exciting test of faith in the area of finance. The estimated costs for the evangelism trip are $8,000-9,000.The day we left, $1,500 had been donated toward the trip, yet we continue tomove forward in faith that God provide the money. “We need to do what we knowis God’s will. Providing the money is God’s problem,” Tim shared with the group just before we left.

Please pray that God will touch people’s hearts to join us in the evangelistic effort through their finances.

Un-muting God’s Word

In preparation for the evangelism trip, I was invited to take 15 sessions of Evangelism Class with the 11th and 12th graders to train them how to preach. From a survey I conducted with the students,I discovered that 2/3 of them spent less than 15 minutes a week in personalBible study (2 min. or less per day). Without an ongoing daily devotional life,it is difficult for anyone to stay faithful to Jesus, especially in thepressures of a Buddhist country. I brought the concerning results toVolunteers’ Prayer Meeting and we made the students’ devotional life a specialmatter of prayer. As we united together as one to pray for the students, Icouldn’t help but praise God for answering another prayer by bringing unityamong the volunteers. A couple days later during the training, I made anappeal, challenging the students to spend at least 10 minutes each day in God’sWord to prepare for the evangelism. Nearly everyone stood. The volunteerscontinued to encourage the students in their devotional lives. Although somehave struggled, many have experienced incredible revival. One student shared,“After learning with you, I now try to spend more time with God then before.

Thank you for sharing with us.” Praise God for this answeredprayer!

 Training Trainers

The preaching training experience has been a tremendous highlight for me here. I poured thought, time and prayer into the presentationsand activities and God blessed in wonderful ways. Along with testimonies aboutpersonal spiritual growth, many students expressed their excitement aboutpreaching more in the future. I love dreaming about how God will multiply the sharing of His Word all over Cambodia through these students.

“My dream is that you all not only become powerful preachers, but that you become trainers that raise up many more preachers inCambodia,” I shared with my students. Last weekend, I was delighted to see thefirst step of this dream come true. We conducted training with the local churchmembers in preparation for the evangelism. I sat there beaming as two of my students each gave interactive presentations on how to share Jesus withBuddhists through friendship evangelism. They had heard me present the same topicsin Evangelism and English class and then made them their own. I praise God in faith that this is only the beginning of the Holy Spirit’s multiplying impact in the future.

“Illustrating” the Gospel

 “We have the program, but no one knows how to use it.” This was the response given to Caitlin when she asked why the studio staff used Photoshop instead of the more efficient and specialized Adobe Illustrator to create graphics. The media center creates evangelistic resources in the Khmer language for Adventist churches all over Cambodia. Run largely by self-taught graduatesfrom Wat Preah Yesu, Caitlin discovered a way she could help. She began trainingNiet how to use Illustrator, and through these experiences and many others theyhave formed a meaningful friendship. The manager of the studio asked Caitlin toprovide training in Illustrator for more of their staff. Caitlin guided threemore workers through a basic orientation to jumpstart them into learning thenew program. We pray that God will bless the media ministry with effectiveness and efficiency to add to the severely limited Adventist (and Christian) media resources in the Khmer language.

Last Sunday here in Preah Vihear City, we visited several Christian churches and gave them a newly released DVD series of 10 AdventistEvangelistic Presentations. The gift was very gratefully received.

Please pray that theHoly Spirit continues to lead our Christian brothers and sisters into all truth (John 16:13).

A Changed Life

“I feel like I have grown so much closer to God in the last year.” I was humbled as one of my 12th graders, shared with methat I had played an instrumental role in her spiritual development. “Last yearI wanted all the nice things and clothes that other people had, so I wanted toquit school and get a job so I could start making money.” But God didn’t giveher peace with that decision and through answered prayers led her to come backfor one more year at Wat Preah Yesu. “Now I have started praying and readingthe Bible more. When I wake up early to pray, I feel really good afterward.” Throughthat journey, God has changed the course of her life. She feels called to goto the Light Medical Missionary Training School in the Philippines next year.Her dad was uncomfortable with her decision and denied her permission. Throughmuch prayer and a tactful visit by some volunteers, God has opened the door tomake this possible for her, even providing the initial money needed for her toapply for a passport. Lin is on fire for God and lovingly shares her faith withothers often. “I used to feel really scared to share my faith, but now I feellike God helps me do it.” Since learning in my English class about the FORT(Family, Occupation, Religious Background, Testimony) method of sharing Jesus in a conversation, she has put it into practice several times, finding meaningful ways to share with others what God has done in her life.

When given the assignment to interview a volunteer abouttheir walk with God, she chose to interview Caitlin. She and Caitlin have also enjoyed working together to create the flyer for the evangelistic programs. Caitlin and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her and have been inspired by what God is doing in her life.

The Greatest Book Ever Written

In my high school English classes, I often struggled to find the significance of studying many of the books that my teachers assigned. Inever imagined that years later I would be in the teachers’ shoes. For the literature section in my 10th grade English class, I decided to teach a unit on “The Greatest Book Ever Written” – The Bible. We first lookedat how the Bible was written and the various literary genres in the Bible. Thenwe read and studied the book of Ruth to learn more about historical narratives.I thoroughly enjoyed doing creative activities with the students while givingthem a deeper understanding of the story of Ruth and the lessons we can learnfrom it. I was inspired to seek out the many more Ruth’s in the world ready tofully accept God and be used by Him to bless others. I was inspired to sharewith the Naomi’s in the world about the hope that God can restore even when itseems all is lost. I was inspired to point people to the antitype of Boaz–JesusChrist–our Redeemer who has bought us back and provided us with sustenance,protection and a future.

Prayer to Share

“This is my first time sharing in front of people aboutJesus,” Peith, my 11th grade student, shared with me about his nervousness just before speaking for student week of prayer. I offered to praywith Him and asked God to give Him peace, courage and boldness. “After youprayed for me, I felt a lot better and was not nervous anymore.” Peith told meafterward. Praise God for another answered prayer! In his sermon he spoke aboutthe Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 about going to all the world with theGospel. He encouraged the students during the upcoming vacation from school toshare the Good News with their Buddhist family members back home. That gave mean idea…

In English class the day before the students left on their vacation, we spent my English classes laying hands on and praying for each student to be filled with the Holy Spirit and have opportunities to share over the vacation.

When Caitlin and I left on our vacation to Thailand, I prayed that God would also give me an opportunity to share with someone about Him. God’s answer came in the Bangkok airport during our 10½ hour layover. A friendly man sitting across from us started up a conversation with me. Itturned out that he was from Portland, OR. He thought he would never come toSoutheast Asia after fighting in the Vietnam war, but now lives in Thailand with his Thai wife and son. He shared that he had made a lot of bad decisionsin life and felt he had bad karma coming his way, so now he is doing his bestto make good choices and be a good husband and father. “I read the Bible because I have found it helps me make better decisions in life, and the book of Proverbs talks a lot reaping what you sow. Our choices matter,” I responded. “Butalso we are affected by the choices of other people. On top of that we areaffected by the choices of the Supernatural. But I am so thankful that Godgives us the chance to start over, to have a clean slate, to be forgiven. Thereare so many people in Southeast Asia with no hope. They feel they will never begood enough to reach nirvana. But I’m so thankful that God gives us hope. It isnot by us trying hard because we can never be good enough. As we rely on God,He gives us the power to be a new person. He can give you the power to be agood husband and father as you surrender to Him.” I could feel the Holy Spiritspeaking through me (Matthew 10:19-20). We spoke for several more minutes and at the end I prayed for Him.

He asked for my email address and I readily gave it to himexpecting nothing to come of it. A few days later, I received a lengthy emailfrom him. He shared that he had grown up in church but turned His back on Godfor many years after some painful experiences. The night before ourconversation, he had felt a deep conviction to come back to God. His emailread, “So there I sat with this overwhelming desire to speak to God. Ispent quite some time begging for his forgiveness for the many sins I havecommitted for so many years to so many people and God himself. I prayed for mysoul and I cried like a newborn baby. Almost suddenly I felt as though a greatburden had been removed and a feeling of total peace came over me. I prayedsome more and asked God to help me – show me the way – help me to be the personI should be and on it went for some time – and when I was done I knew Godwasn’t – he was with me and he wasn’t going anywhere without me. I thoughtabout this encounter most of the rest the night and early the next morning – Iwas truly amazed. This brings me to the airport…” He shared how he was sure that our interaction was much more than a coincidence and had been very meaningful to Him.

God is working on the hearts of people all around us. Heinvites us to work with Him in the precious endeavor of saving souls because Heknows that we ourselves will be strengthened and blessed.

 Try praying for God to give you a Divine appointment today. Ask Him for the opportunity to share with someone and experience the amazing blessings that result from it.

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One Response to Cambodia Update – God at Work

  1. ouni2014 says:

    Reblogged this on Life among the Ashes.

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