|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on October 28, 2014 at 2:55 AM||comments (0)|
"The seven year itch" is what they call the time period where most marriages begin to fail. It's a time when either or both people start to decline in their feelings for each other. This phraseology doesnt just apply to marriage but to work as well. This month marks my 7th year as a missionary here in Siem Reap, Cambodia and i am hardly "itching." I love what i do more today than I ever did! I thank God for allowing me to be used in this part of the world. As I refect on the fruit of my labors here, I cant help but to be excited! I want to thank all of you who played a role in helping me and ministry to grow to where it is now. We started from scratch in 2007 and now the school is on its third graduating class! We've lost a few people along the way but the ones that endure and remains are the ones we call family. It is this family that I am excited about. I truly believe that the church that meets at Siem Reap has grown to where she is now is because of two things. One, God gave the increase through sound bible teachings via the International Bible Institute of Siem Reap and two, the opportunity that God provides in doing good works via Hannah's Hope Children's Home. It's so easy for me to report numbers of baptisms, bible studies, graduating students, and how many orphans we currently have but numbers can be deceiving. Numbers dont give the complete picture of things. It gives an indication but not the whole picture of what's going on. For those who've visited the work here, you know what I am talking about. Hopefully you see the love that we have for one another, the sacrifices that we make for each other, the forgiving mindset to work things out with each other, and many other intangible things that numbers dont reveal. We strive to live out the bible and the teachings of Jesus Christ as laid out in the New Testament. That is what gets me excited and I can see many good things happening in the future of the church here. I look forward to sharing them with you and ask that you keep us in your prayers as we do you! Thank you once again for your love and support.
Our family of Christ enjoying a great meal together after our hard work in building the bridge to the entrance fo the church/school building.
|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on June 29, 2014 at 3:25 AM||comments (1)|
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I want to take a moment to show appreciation to all who’ve clicked on this page to read about the work of Jesus Christ in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. The past couple of months (May and June) were really special for us. We had Bear Valley’s Asia’s Assistant Director for Extension Schools, Keith Kasarjian and his son Kyle come and blessed us by teaching the students and staff on the much needed subject of Sermon Preperation and Delivery. Keith did an excellent job and our students and staff have grown that much better because of it. I appreciate his experience and wisdom concerning that topic and his patience for relaying such essential information to a bunch of young up and coming preachers. His son, Kyle, also did a great job with the children of Hannah’s Hope in serving them and just showing what a big brother is all about. I saw how much the children loved him. Only a couple of weeks afterward, IBISR was blessed by our long time friend and brother, Wes Autrey, who is the Coordinator for IBISR. I believe this was his 7th time coming to Siem Reap Cambodia. What dedication! I loved the way he thought outside of the box and brought a whole new approach to teaching the book of John that made it fun and interesting. The students at first, were not used to such method but as the days went on, I could tell that they really enjoyed and learned a great deal! Their grade on their final exam proves it. All made A’s! I could tell that these guys really love the Lord through their preparation and sacrifice in coming to impart knowledge to us, thank you Keith, Kyle and Wes for your great Christian example. In a couple of weeks we will have 4 more very special people to visit and fellowship with us. We look forward to having Mike and his son Matthew Hite as well as Neal and son Carl Pollard with us. What wonderful example these men are. I hope to one day involve my children (Javan and Katesana) on mission trips as well! I believe God can say to these men the same thing he said to Abraham in Genesis 18:19! May we all strive to raise up our children in the admonition of our Lord! Please come back next month to see what wonderful works these men contributed to the work here in Cambodia.
Keith preaching to the church on Sunday on Philippians 4
Kyle and the children of Hannah's Hope, all smiles!
Kyle giving a devotional before our fellowship meal with Chann translating.
Wes visiting Saran and Ussa to encourage Siem Reap church of Christ's first missionary couple in Kompong Kleang on the Tonle Sap Lake.
Wes' the gospel of John's class, students searching for evidence to verify Jesus' claim of being deity.
Wes' going away dinner with staff and family!
|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on April 30, 2014 at 10:10 PM||comments (2)|
It's been a while since I updated you about the work of Christ here in Cambodia. Much have happened since the last report and I am excited to share with you all that transpired. First, in February, I was blessed with the presence of long time friend and brother Justin Guess and Aleasha and Caleb French for two weeks. Justin, being the leader that he is, was able to bring his close friends and members of the church in Mathis to come see the work that they help support. Not only did they come to see, but they were very much involved. Not only did they teach at the school (the book of Hebrews) but they got to see the Safe Water Raft outside of Siem Reap (a ministry that one of our graduates currently oversee in providing safe, clean water to the poor living along the Tonle Sap), visited brethren, brought food and clothing, taught, and played with our children at Hannah's Hope. The thing that makes this visit special is the example of Justin, in his leadership and Aleasha and Caleb French in their courage and inspiration to the local brethren here. Justin has a bible background in his schooling at Southwest School of Bible Studies in Austin, Texas, however Aleasha and Caleb have no such background. They reminded me of Acts 8:1,4. Due to persecution, the church scattered except for the Apostles and in verse 4, it said all that were scattered went everywhere preaching/teaching the gospel. You dont need to be a person of strong bible background to teach the gospel!
Justin, Caleb, Aleasha, and myself visiting and having a meal together with Saran and Ussa on the Safe Water Raft at Kompong Kleang.
Justin teaching at Hannah's Hope with Chann translating
In the month of March, by God's grace, I was able to visit my parents in Texas and my supporters there also! I wasnt able to bring my family with me so it had to be a really short trip (13 days). When I got back to Siem Reap, I had to opportunity to teach and preach for an annual youth camp that takes place in Siem Reap geared towards helping the street kids in Siem Reap. The theme was "Following in His Footsteps" and I had a wonderful time and got to meet some really nice people. The local church will do all of the follow ups from this camp.
My parents and I in front of their home in Austin, Texas
I was the guest speaker for the week at AoF8
In April, the school and staff are working very hard to adjust to our new curriculum that will gear towards the local people of Cambodia. We are transitioning from a two year program to a three year program that I believe will benefit the work here much. We have to rewrite the curriculum and adjust our scheduling a little bit but I truly believe this Work/Study program will solve many of our problems in the long run. We appreciate your support and trust in this matter. We ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers for the work here. God Bless!
Piseth working hard in translating his notes from English to Khmer so that he can use it for future purposes
New class shirts to adapt to the sweltering heat!
|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on January 28, 2014 at 12:25 AM||comments (1)|
Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ. Happy new year! I pray the Lord's blessing upon all of you who support the Lords work here and elsewhere in the world. May you continue to have opportunities and the privilege to support faithful works around the world. May you set higher goals to achieve for our Lord in the year 2014. As I begin the new year, I cant help but look at my long term goal and reflect on my 20 yr plan for the work here in Cambodia. I am in my 6th yr in Cambodia and according to my plan, have transitioned from the "Foundation Period" (2008-2013) to the "Growth Period" (2014-2018 ). By the end of 2018, the local church should be able to support 50% of IBISR's monthly expenses. As of right now we are supporting 10%. If we continue to increase at 10% each year from now til 2018, we will hit our 10 yr goal! Some who read this report might be wondering why it seems like I'm stressing money money money and percentages but please don't misunderstand, there's a reason for it. It is the same reason that Paul gave to the Corinthians in 2 Cor 8:5 and to the Philippians in Phil 4:17. If you read the context of those passages you will find out that the reason why the Macedonians were able to give above their means was because they gave themselves to God FIRST. It was the result of their faith. The same thing with the Philippians, they were able to support Paul when no one else did and Paul said that their giving was the fruit of their faith. If the church in Siem Reap is able to support its own work, it will indicate their level of faith and trust in God. That's our goal. We want to be the church that's found in the Bible and we are striving to produce fruit! Within the first five years, we've built a strong foundation of faithful Christian families that are here for the long haul. From here we want to grow, not only numerically, but financially, and ultimately, spiritually! We are confident that with Gods help we will accomplish our goals that we've set for Him. We ask that you continue to pray for us and our endeavors.
In order to meet our goals for the next five years, the leadership (Chann's idea) has come up with the idea of personal mentorship of the staff and male students. We have 6 men and 4 staff mentors (Myself, Chann, Darat, and Piseth). Every weekend for the next 3 months, the students will have personal one on one time with their mentors on the field. They will learn how to talk to people, how to set up a bible study, how to build relationship, how to follow up, how to prepare, and most importantly how to get back up after they fail. After each quarter, we will rotate the students to a different mentor so that they can gain knowledge and experience from all of us. This will avoid preacheritis (1 Cor 1:10-13) from forming. By the end of the year, they would have learned from all of us. The two students above are Sopheak and Sovannara. I am their mentor for the first quarter and so far we were able to go to the local prison in Siem Reap to try to get our foot in the door but it so happens that there is already a group there (I think 7th day Adventist) who apparently have the rights to the whole prison because we couldnt get a bible study request in. Anyway, it was a good experience for the students and myself. We are excited to go out in the field on the weekends to implement what we learn/teach on the weekdays! Please keep the school and this program in your prayers!
|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on December 24, 2013 at 7:45 AM||comments (2)|
Dear loved ones,
First and foremost, I want to wish you all a happy and safe holiday season! I pray that you continue to live a successful Christian life honoring our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! For the month of November and December I am honored to express my thoughts concerning the work of Christ here in Cambodia. A few months back, I wrote a short note on Facebook entitled "3 Rules for Missionaries in a third world country to live by..."
Missionaries must not drive a Lexus, Mercedez, Range Rover or any other luxurious vehicles of the sort. You've given up those things when you left America.
Missionaries must not own any land or buildings. Of all people, you know that we dont have ownership of anything in this world, why tempt yourself and risk putting His work in jeopardy?
After 5 years of your ministry, missionaries must not be in full control of everything. You must learn to trust your work and see the growth of your fruit!
I want to focus on Rule #3 because this is my 6th year as a missionary in the land of Cambodia. Most of you probably know that I've spent the past month or so away from Cambodia competing in the SEA games in Myanmar in the sport of Basketball (which i love very much). It was an honor to represent Cambodia and I thank God for blessing me with this once in a lifetime opportunity! I had a wonderful experience. Not only did I have a chance to compete in the sport that I love on a high level, but more importantly I was able to see the growth of my fruit! When I was away, Darat, Piseth, Chann, my wife Chakriya, Hout, Ravy, Saran, and the rest of the local leaders stepped up and took care of everything. It was as if I hadnt left! I realize that all my hardwork in building trustworthy people to lead and not be dependent upon the missionary was a success! The school ran normally and the children's home went smoothly as well. Im wondering if God is telling me that my work here is nearing complete? I love the work that I am doing here and believe that we still have a long ways to go before we have elders and be self supportive but at the same time i see that we are definitely taking steps in the right direction! This is an exciting time and what a way to end the year! I look forward to the 2014 year and see how much more we grow as a church and as a people of God individually! Please keep us in your prayers and keep supporting this wonderful work.
2013 Cambodia's National Basketball Team
|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on October 27, 2013 at 11:05 PM||comments (1)|
Jum reap sooh brothers and sisters in Christ! Hope all of you are serving Christ well in your part of the world. As for the work of Jesus Christ in Siem Reap, Cambodia, God has been very good to us here. We are thankful for every blessing He's given us and asks that He does the same for you. We are thankful for the Mcdonoughs for their humility and their efforts with the local work here. We are thankful for the local brethren and their steadfastedness. We are thankful for Keith K., the Autreys, and Phil Woolley for their sacrifice and demonstration of love towards us the past few weeks. We are thankful for Jeff Bell and his wife visiting us again. It's too bad we didnt get to spend much time together but the little time that we did spend was precious. What eventful months September and October were for us here. We begin our 2nd school year in September with Chann teaching Church History, Darat teaching 1 and 2 Chronicles, Piseth teaching Psalms, and me teaching 1 and 2 Corinthians. The planting and watering continues with IBISR yet we never forget the One who gives the increase. We added a new student in Sovannara and what a promising young man he is to our program. Keith Kasarjian visited and taught us on the subject of the Godhead and did a very good job. The students and the staff benefited much from his teachings. We got to know God on a more deeper level thanks to him. Then Wes, his wife, Teri, and daughter Natalie, along with Phillip Woolley spent two unforgettful weeks with us teaching and fellowshipping with the local brethren. What an awesome example they were to the group here. We see the manifold wisdom of God through them (Eph 3:10). I, personally, am thankful for their visit and the encouragement they bring to me as the local missionary here. I am grateful for their wisdom, their company, their jokes, and more importantly their love. These are the things that help keeps me going and serving God in this part of the world. I covet your prayers and continual support. I look forward to your visits. I am thankful for your encouragements. Please keep them coming because they do make a difference!
Bill and Marie-Claire providing 5000 plus life jackets to the local village in Kompong Kleang where we have a graduate, Pheap of IBISR, serving there.
Keith Kasarjian (Asia's Director of BV Extension Schools) with the children of Hannah's Hope after worship on the Lord's Day
Wes preaching to the family of Christ in Siem Reap
Chann teaching English to students in the evening as an outreach program for the local church
|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on September 1, 2013 at 2:40 AM||comments (1)|
Greetings to all my supporters, friends and family! It's good to be back and report of the work of Christ for the past two months. We have some wonderful news to share. In the past two months, three souls were added to the church in Siem Reap. Two of whom are students at IBISR (that enrolled 3 months ago) and the other one is a future student of IBISR and is the sister in law of Darat, one of our staff. We are overjoyed to be a part of the transformation of these three souls and look forward to winning more souls for Christ.
Phally immersed for the remission of her sins.
The International Bible Institute of Siem Reap finished its first school year in the month of July. We are very excited for this group. They will be the first group to go through our newly updated curriculum that involves the Work/Study Program. We cant wait to see how much fruit they bear. Below is the roster for our current class of 2014:
1. Vannak, M, 37 yrs old, Puen's husband (our cook) has 2 sons and 1 daughter. Came to IBISR by way of wife's encouragement. Plans to be a preacher after graduation.
2. Pros, M, 18 yrs old, member of Somrowng church where Sokchea preaches near Leang Dai. Very bright young man. Plans to go help Sokchea back in his home village.
3. Sopheak, M, 18 yrs old, my brother in law, studying at IBISR as well as Build Bright University part time. Plans to be a full time preacher.
4. Samnang, M, 18 yrs old, from Kompong Kleang where the water of life raft is at. Plans to go back to KK and help the work there after graduation.
5. Tuk, M, 25 yrs old, from Sambu village, Plans to stay in Siem Reap and help with the local work
6. Doung, F, 23 yrs old, from Takam village, University student. Plans to help with the children in Siem Reap
7. Rotana, F, 18 yrs old, Piseth's wife, works part time at Hannah's Hope and teaches children bible class
8. Khemerey, F, 23 yrs old, my sister in law, University student studying accounting also works part time at Hannah's Hope
9. Socheat, F, 18 yrs old, University student, part time nanny at Hannah's Hope
10. Makara, F, 18 yrs old, rotates teaching the children on sundays, part time worker at Hannah's Hope
11. Phally, F, 20 yrs old, orphan
12. Phalla, F, 18 yrs old, orphan, Phally's sister. From Battambang province.
In August, we had a 3 week break for the students after they finished their school year. We take our annual trip to Kompong Som Province to enjoy one of God's beautiful creation, the ocean! It was a wonderful and uplifting event in that we never forget to praise God and involve him in all of our activities. We heard great lessons from the staff at IBISR as well as our guest speakers Bill and Daniel. It was a wonderful and successful event in that because of this event, we were able to recruit another student for IBISR. One of the family members of our students saw how we interacted and wanted to learn more about God. He is the older brother of Rotana which is the wife of one of our staff, Piseth. God has blessed us so much and keeps sending more people our way. We ask that you continue to keep the work here in your prayers and continue to support us because without you, these things cannot happen!
IBISR 3rd annaul retreat at Kompong Som Province
|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on July 1, 2013 at 11:00 PM||comments (0)|
Greetings from the church in Siem Reap! It's always an honor to report of the work of Christ here in Cambodia to all my supporters back home in America. My family and I thank you for your love and support. In this particular report, I would like to focus on my main work, which is IBISR (International BIble Institute of Siem Reap). It has been such a blessing for me not only to be able to teach at this school, but also play a role as the director of this humble school. Many lives have been changed for the better because of this program. We have developed faithful men who are able to teach other faithful men what they've learn (2 Tim 2:2). We are currently on our 3rd class since its inception back in 2008. We have continuously strived to improve and adapt our program to meet the needs of the Cambodian people as well as our goals for Christ. We think we have the right curriculum program by formulating the "Work/Study Program" as a part of the curriculum. This program has helped us to focus and put priority on the local church in Siem Reap instead of the village churches outside of Siem Reap. Before, as a part of our program, we sent students out on the weekend to the villages to gain experience and preached to the poor villagers because we thought that the students who came from the villages would go back and teach at their village once graduated. But we found out that rarely does that happen. Either the villagers wont accept the newly graduated preacher back in their home village or the newly graduated preacher wont go back to his humble background because he's been 'spoiled' by the 'city' life. If we continue in this cycle, we will never be autonomos. It will always end up being a 'show' for the brethren. They will be 'playing' church instead of really converting to Christ and living the Christian lifestyle. That's what we want to eradicate with our program at IBISR. We want to build 'gold, silver, and precious stones, not wood, hay and stubble' (1 Cor 3:9-15) through our program. We ask that you continue to keep us in your prayers, especially for the school's program in developing strong faithful leaders to grow the church here in Cambodia.
The International BIble Institute of Siem Reap (Texas Orange!)
|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on May 13, 2013 at 1:05 AM||comments (1)|
Happy Khmer New Year to all the khmers who read this blog! For those who are not of khmer decent can celebrate with us anyway! For me, as a missionary from the United States, it is a blessing to be able to celebrate two new years because i get to set, renew, and reflect on goals twice in one year. I get to set my goals in January with my American friends and get to set new goals in April with my local friends. I think it's important to share goals and hold each other accountable and encourage one another to achieve such goals, especially if they are goals for Christ! As I reflect on the work in Siem Reap, Cambodia and how we first started from nothing to where we are now is truly remarkable. God has truly blessed the work here and i am so thankful to be a part of it. We have an opportunity to change a whole culture from doing what's right in their own eyes to having King Jesus in their lives transforming their whole way of living! Five years ago, when we started IBISR in 2008, we didnt know that from that first class that we would have Christian marriages and family formed, breaking away from the Buddhist cycle of family traditions. We didnt know that we would have strong faithful leaders to lead and start churches in the villages of Leang Dai and Takam. We didnt know that we would have loving and compassionate Christians sacrificing and caring for orphans as their own children at Hannah's Hope. We didnt know that we would send out missionaries of our own to remote places in Cambodia to minister to the poor people who lives on water in their boats on Tonle Sap, offering clean and safe drinkable water. We didnt know if people would respond to the gospel genuinely and not for money's sake or make a 'business' out of the gospel as many have in this country. But to this present time, these things have happened to the glory of God! We look forward to seeing much more bountiful fruits being produced in the name of Jesus and we pray that you continue to think of us as you speak to our heavenly Father in prayer. We, like always, will do the same for you on your end.
Brother Vannak (Puen's Husband and one of our 1st year students) and Darat (Faculty of IBISR) working part time along with studying and teaching God's word. With this type of mentality and their example, the local church will be autonomous in the very near future. It's one of our many goals that we've set for the local church. We have already started to move in that direction when the local leaders of the church in Siem Reap decided to help fund/support IBISR $100 per month for the rice for our students. If we are able to increase this amount every year, we will hit our goal of being autonomous within 20 yrs as outlined in our 20 year plan. I am excited to tell you that they came to his decision on their own (as I try not to be in their leaders meeting so they can make decisions without my influence). I am so happy to see that we share a common goal for the future of the church here in Cambodia. It has been a difficult task to get them to see the vision but it's finally coming together and this just shows how God is working with us and increasing their spiritual maturity!
|Posted by siemreapchurchofchrist on April 7, 2013 at 1:40 AM||comments (1)|
Greetings brethren in Christ!
Welcome to my blog on the work of Christ and my ministry in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It's always a joy to be able to reflect on the work here from month to month and share with my supporters and encouragers about what's going on in my life in this part of the world. Some see it as a chore to report of these things but I count it as a blessing because it keeps me focused, accountable, and energized! I was recently asked a question pertaining to my ministry about what is the greatest challenge that I am currently facing. It's not the first time I was asked this question. In the past five years, my answers to that same question varied based on my experience. In the beginning, it was adapting to the Cambodian culture, its food, way of life, etc. Then as I progressed, my biggest challenge was how do I get the lost in this part of the world to recognize that they need Jesus and what's the best way to evangelize to them. Finally, my answer to that question has become, how do I get the saved to trust and depend upon God completely, in all aspects of their life. I, myself, struggle with this but am progressing slowly in totally and completely trusting in Him to provide for all things physical and spiritual. Also, as the director of IBISR, the major concern that I have pertaining to IBISR is how do we get our students, after they graduate, to have the mentality of the apostle Paul with respect to his ministry. Meaning do they understand principles like:
Philippians 4:11-12 (to be content in whatever state, whether it's in lacking of things or in prosperity; handling it correctly as they live their life and serve God)
1 Corinthians 9:1-18 (to know their rights; as laborers for God, they have a choice in receiving support from the local church or not and doing whatever necessary to further the gospel even if it requires sacrifices on their part)
Acts 20:33-35; 18:3 (the principle of hard work to not only support themselves but help the weak and poor; to understand the blessing of giving!)
These three principles, if developed in our graduates, we won't have to worry much about their high salary or lack there of. We won't have to worry about their incentives and motives for doing Gods work. Hopefully the work study program of IBISR along with the current curriculum will get us moving in that direction. We will find out in the next few years as we are still in our developing stages. Please keep us in your prayers.
Piseth (Faculty of IBISR) and Rotana (Student of IBISR) 3/3/2013
Chealin (IBISR's Secretary) and Ravy (Hannah's Hope Cook) 3/8/2013
This month we had four Christians (Ravy and Chealin, Piseth and Rotana) committing to one another in marriage. We pray God's blessing upon them as they embark on their journey together as Christian husbands and wives!