Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We are thankful for your prayers and support, which enable us to see God’s blessings on our ministry here in Phnom Penh.
In June of 2018, my mother passed away in the USA. We decided to have a memorial service a little over a year later in Phnom Penh. That timing is significant because in Cambodia, it is customary to mark the one-year death anniversary of a loved one. We combined some aspects of the traditional Cambodian ceremony, but it was a Christ-honoring time as well. Using a familiar cultural format enabled a good number of adults to attend, when typically, they would not be convinced to join a church service. The Gospel was clearly preached, with an opportunity to respond in a prayer of salvation.
We are pleased to say that in recent months, a good number of our faithful children have prayed for salvation, such as Srey Neang, Mai, Moni, and Minea. Others have accepted the Gospel as well as we go door to door. But we are especially pleased with those who come regularly to church because these provide the best opportunity for assurance of salvation and growth. We will be discussing baptism with them in the coming days.
We are praising God that a young Filipino couple, trained in the Philippines, has joined our ministry. At the present time, they are full-time English teachers, so their help is only on Sundays, but that one-day participation is a great help to us.
China is moving to Cambodia. According to one report by the National Police Department, there are approximately 250,000 Chinese nationals living in Cambodia (probably more), and the results are very obvious. Chinese businesses are opening everywhere. It is increasingly common to see groups of Chinese men working and walking the streets. Would you pray for some Chinese-speaking missionaries to come and help us reach this group?
Our annual church Christmas program took place on December 22. Our total attendance was over 50, with close to half of those being adults. We had 6 adult first-time visitors. These are very good numbers for our church. There was a lot of special singing, a play by the children, and a meal afterwards. About 6 hands were raised to indicate a willingness to accept Jesus as the Seeking Saviour, and during a public prayer for salvation, additional voices joined in.
Cambodia is on the move. Construction is exploding. Young people are tremendously hungry for education, as they try to grasp the future. The society and landscapes are rapidly modernizing; yet beneath all of this is a pervasive reliance on luck, charms, and magic. The Buddhist doctrine of karma, taught from birth, powerfully opposes a simple acceptance of God’s grace by faith in Jesus. Although we preach a Gospel with correct doctrine, we must also have power with God and with man to deliver the Cambodian people from their fear of very real spiritual forces.
Will you pray for us? Will you send someone to join us?
Walter Poole and Family