Here in Cambodia we look forward to March and April. It is the peak season for mango fruit, one of our favorites. In this prayer letter, we are thanking God for much spiritual fruit in recent months. Your prayers and support are part of the reason. This is fruit to your account!
We have seen some victories with the adults that God has brought our way. Our last prayer letter told of three special testimonies of salvation. All three of these were baptized soon after that, but adults have many complications in their lives.
Many years of experience have shown us that even children here have a tremendous reservoir of Buddhist teachings in their minds. The questions they ask, and, more importantly, the unasked questions show that it is not always easy to cross the bridge between two completely different worlds. They struggle to reconcile loyalty to family and culture, which reigns supreme here, with obedience to a new God and a new way of life.
But in spite of all that, many recently have responded with a profession of faith and, more significantly, are coming to church regularly. One family of three teenagers has become dear to our hearts. Their grandfather made this comment to my wife. “Teacher, with school six days a week and tutoring in the evening, we only have one free day to enjoy our kids. But when Sunday comes around, we can’t ‘catch their hearts anymore,’ because of your church.” Certainly, we never want to seem as if we are alienating the children from the family, but we were secretly rejoicing that we as a ministry seemed to have “caught their hearts.”
GHOSTS AND SPIRITS—A WAY OF LIFE IN CAMBODIA
One of the sweetest stories is about a five-year- old girl named Puri. We had tried many times to convince her father to let her come to our church but without success. Finally, he agreed. She comes with great enthusiasm and a sharp mind on top of that. Although her father holds to his religion, the seeds of the Gospel are being planted in his small daughter. She told us recently that a ghost had come to her; but Jesus helped her, and it went away. Praise the Lord!
Since the beginning of this New Year, 21 people have prayed to receive God’s gift of salvation. More encouraging in terms of long-term fruit are the 11 from within this group who are either attending church or at least receive us at their home for continuing Bible studies.
Our children are well. Joseph is 10, and Jerusha is 8. My wife is well too. God has opened up countless doors and hearts by her friendliness to people of all walks of life, whether they be people who pick through the garbage for recyclable items or middle-class homeowners. Many times our needs have been met by people who do not believe in our God but count my wife as their friend and simply want to do us a favor.
Please pray for:
• Suni’s five siblings in India. They are serving God faithfully within their limited financial abilities.
• A new location for our church, with space for play and parking.
• A piano or guitar player.
• Wisdom in figuring out the best way to serve both the Cambodian- and the English- language speakers within the same congregation.
The Poole Family