Friday, October 06, 2006

Dear Friends and Family,

There have been many exciting things happening in our lives, and we are happy to be able to share them with you through these pictures and explanations of the way that God is working in our lives. We hope that you enjoy them. If you have any questions or comments, please respond to the email for we love hearing from our supporters and friends. Your prayers and encouragement are so important to us, and we thank each and every one of you.

We went to a dedication service for a newly built church. Pastor Sithon is the new pastor of this church, and God’s ministry through him has already grown considerably. It is the newest Wesleyan Church in Cambodia, and it is off to a great start under his leadership. Here in this picture, Tiffany plays a game with some of the children who were present at the dedication service. To give you a point of reference, this was Tiffany's third day back in the country after returning from the United States.

Pastor Sithon’s church is located in Salomet which is located about 50 kilometers south of Phnom Penh. To get to his church, we had to cross the river. So we had to pull our car onto a very rickety boat, rickety here meaning about to fall apart causing us much fear and trembling. The Cambodians who were riding with us, refused to remain in the car as we went across the river, and they told us to open our windows and unlock our doors in case we needed to evacuate the submerged vehicle. I guess they were as concerned as we were about our car falling into the river.

Our musicians during the youth conference were great. Here you are seeing Sithon (right), whose church was mentioned earlier, and Kim Sua, who is the musical leader of the Wesleyan Church of Cambodia.

A great thing about Youth Conference here in Phnom Penh was the fact that it was so similar to any youth event that we have in the United States. Here, you are seeing Vichea and the “winner”, if you can call him that, of a game that was played by the youth. This young man given a makeover by a girl wearing a blindfold, and the look on Vichea’s face gives a great representation of the fun that we all had at youth conference.

Tiffany was asked to be a judge in the musical competition for the Youth Conference. The Cambodians love to sing and perform, and seeing them perform solos, duets, and ensembles from the different churches made for a great night.

The last morning of the youth conference was the time when a great number of decisions were made. Four young people accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior for the first time, and many others prayed that God would cause them to shine in their homes and in their lives. One girl in this picture felt called by God to become a student at the Wesleyan Bible School. She was interviewed and accepted, and she will be starting on Monday. It is great to hear how these events are shaping the lives of the young people in Cambodia.

Our most recent travels took us back to Kampong Som and the beach. Pastors and Wives retreat was a great time of fun, fellowship, and growth as married couples. Here you are seeing our National Church Superintendent Kimsan and his wife enjoying a moment together during one of the sessions.

The sessions focused on being Godly husbands and wives and loving each other deeply. Here you are seeing the final meeting together when the pastors and their wives prayed to the Lord for strong relationships and ministry together.

For the final night of the retreat, we decided to have a night of special food and fun. The missionaries, Greg, Resie and us, cooked a nice meal for the pastors and their wives. The menu included sodas, chicken adobo, stir-fried vegetables, rice, coffee and a special cake that the ministers really enjoyed. Also, the dinner was served by the missionaries, giving us a chance to show our appreciation and care for our national pastors.

Joy! What a wonderful word, and what a special thing it is when experienced by Christians in fellowship. The pastors gave toasts, played the games we had planned, laughed, sang, romanced their wives, and danced. It was a wonderful witness as well because the hotel workers stayed to watch all of the festivities, and were amazed to see people having so much fun without any alcohol. They told us later that they wondered how someone could have so much joy in their lives. It was a great opportunity to share the gospel with these people, and a true witness that God works in and through the lives of His children.