Many years ago, I attended my first missions conference. The speaker said that Christian workers should be redistributed to the unchurched countries. I said to God that day, “Yes, I will go to the mission field.” Some years later, I met a man from Laos in my hometown. I casually mentioned to him that God knows everything. He looked at me and said, “Walter, does God really know everything?” His response shocked me. I told God that I would go to the people of Southeast Asia who did not have a knowledge of God (I Corinthians15:34). After that I worked on a bus route with people from Cambodia on the north side of Chicago. During this time in Bible college, God used a preacher to speak to me. God was saying, “I want you to finish your training here and go now!” I told God I would do what was needed to go to Cambodia as soon as possible.
In 2006, this same King of kings directed us to start an independent Baptist church in Phnom Penh. I had never pastored a church. We had no contacts except one drunk man who offered to bring some people to our first service. I could have said “No” to God, but instead, by faith I decided to follow the Lord and start Straight Road Baptist Church.
Since then, we have obeyed God’s command to win, baptize, and teach. Our church doors are open every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Thursday night. Those who come will hear solid Bible teaching and preaching. Those who do not come will still hear the Gospel through soul winning because our Lord said to us, “Go ye therefore.”
In 2017, Straight Road Baptist Church saw forward movement:
• On five different occasions, we traveled outside the city and had village evangelistic services. Two of these have the potential for continuous ministry.
• We were able to baptize five members of one household. The children of this family have been some of the best members, almost always coming to church before anyone else. Besides this family, other individuals were baptized as well.
• One special lady, after months and even years of turning things over in her mind, finally made a decision to trust the Saviour and stood publicly in church. I thank God for my wife, who had the burden and faith to visit her house many times.
• We had a special Mother’s Day program, which encouraged one grandmother to come. She has not gotten saved yet, but now her grandson has taken an interest and comes on church days and in between as well.
• Our international service saw visitors, a baptism, and six different nationalities.
• We had some tremendous meetings with Evangelist Clarence Moore. He was so helpful. There were numerous salvations through his efforts over ten days, but perhaps the most unique was a Jewish man. Not only was he willing to pray with us, but he strongly encouraged us to help his Cambodian wife connect with a church!
• This year, more than any before, we insisted on the need to make solid decisions. We were looking for growth in individual members, and we saw it. Two of the boys started to help us and participate in our ministry. Recently four of our very best had to move to another province. So we commended them to God’s care and are looking for new people to train in 2018.
Walter and Suni Poole, Joseph, and Jerusha