Monday, March 23, 2015

January/February 2015 Prayer/Update Letter

Dear Pastors and Praying Friends,                                                  

I thank the Lord for His continued blessing upon Freedom Baptist Church in Ta Khmau, 
Cambodia, and its satellite church in Kampot. As you know, we are currently in Bakersfield, California, on a medical furlough for Linda. Before coming to the States, it was apparent that the time was right to recognize Pastor Proh as the sole pastor of the church, and to transition ourselves out of the church to allow the church to go forward under his leadership. Over the last ten weeks, I have kept in contact with Pastor Proh as well as Pastor Tho, who is still assisting Pastor Proh in addition to leading the village church in Kampot; and what a blessing it is to hear of God’s hand of blessing upon both ministries! Pastor Proh is training several young people between the ages of 15 and 20 to teach and preach God’s Word and take leadership within the church. The children’s ministry that I started two years ago is still flourishing as these young people- Thom, Touch, Dara, and Vansee- carry it forward under the direction of Pastor Proh. Pastor Tho was able to baptize three young people this past week who have been attending the village church for a couple of years. How my heart is blessed to see this church that was started over eight years ago by Bro. Ray Shull continue to move forward for the Lord under the leadership of Cambodian pastors and the involvement of faithful Cambodian believers.  

Prayer Requests for Freedom Baptist Church

Spiritual strength and encouragement for Cambodian believers who are often mistreated because of their faith

Wisdom and strength for Pastor Proh and Pastor Tho as they lead the ministries there

Reksmey- Pastor Tho's 6 year-old daughter who has thalassemia, and must undergo blood transfusions once every 4 months

God has truly blessed us over the past ten weeks that we have been in the States. I am actively serving at McKee Road Baptist Church, the church where I met and married Linda. In addition to weekly soul winning, I am helping supervise the ACE Learning Center, as well as helping in the teen department. I am also committed to doing what I need to do to make sure Linda’s needs are met. As we near the half-way point of our 6 month medical furlough, we thank you for your love, prayers, and support for our family. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call me at 661.565.5672, or my pastor, Derik Lawrence, at 770.466.4040. 

In Christ,

Chad Phillips

Saturday, November 29, 2014

October/November 2014 Prayer Letter

October/November 2014

Dear Pastors and Praying Friends,

First of all, could you please pray for the 6 year old daughter of one of my Cambodian co-laborers, Pastor Tho. Her name is Reksmey (seen in this picture holding our Evelyn), and she has been diagnosed with thalassemia, a very serious blood disease that requires her to get blood transfusions every 3 to 4 months. She just received a blood transfusion two weeks ago, and the doctor gave Pastor Tho and his wife some very discouraging news that Reksmey's condition is getting worse. I do not know how reliable this doctor’s assessment is, and I hope to get Reksmey to a Christian doctor that we know who was trained in the States to get his perspective on the situation. Please pray for healing, and for spiritual strength and encouragement for Pastor Tho and his family. The only known cure for thalassemia is a bone marrow transplant, which, as far as I know, is not available in Cambodia.

Secondly, please pray for our English classes that we started two weeks ago. This is simply an opportunity for us to get to know more people outside the church. It is an outreach ministry that we have added to our regular soul winning time. We have had 5 new people come into our church to study English, all age 15 to 30. I incorporate biblical truths into the class time, and our prayer is that the seed of the Gospel will take root in their hearts, and that they will receive Christ as Savior. The class meets every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Thirdly, please pray for the upcoming transition that will be taking place next year in the church here. I will be turning over Freedom Baptist Church to Pastor Proh, the Cambodian pastor who has been in the church since its inception. I will continue to help pay the rent for the church, but Pastor Proh will be supported by the offerings of the church (not nearly enough to support him completely, but it's a start), as well as missions support from other churches here in Cambodia. He will probably have to do some part time work as well. The important thing is that he is ready to lead, and I feel that the longer I am there, the more I will impede his growth as a leader. Pastor Proh is one of the godliest men that I know, and I believe God will continue using him to be a great spiritual leader here in this church and in this country.

Freedom Baptist Church is doing well. I really sense that the church family is growing in spiritual maturity. Please pray that God will lead us to some people whose hearts have been prepared to receive the Gospel, and that we will see some families added to the church. Also, please pray for the church this month as we will be putting on a small Christmas play for the purpose of inviting lost friends and relatives to hear an explanation of the true meaning of Christmas.

Our new baby, Evelyn Joy, is nearly three months old now, and she is doing very well, praise the Lord. We thank God for the health of all four of our children.

Thank you for your love, prayers, and support for our family. We love and thank God for you.

Chad Phillips

Monday, September 22, 2014

Heading Back to Cambodia

Evelyn Joy Phillips was born September 6, 2014 at 10:53 p.m. At 7.05 pounds and 20.07 inches, she was born healthy and absolutely beautiful (like her mother, obviously). While we would obviously not prefer to be in Thailand for such an extended period of time, God has used the past 6 weeks to bring refreshment, and I believe this will prove to be helpful as we prepare for the next two years of ministry in Cambodia. The past 6 weeks have allowed me time for extra reading, studying, praying, and also some time for fellowship with friends like the Basshams, the Salmons, the Ashcrafts, and the Tuckers. I have enjoyed helping teach English and Bible at Bangjak Baptist Church, and am looking forward to preaching there this coming Sunday.

I am also thankful to God for His answer to prayer concerning Philip and Lori Bassham's newborn daughter, Grace. Grace was born just a few days after our Evelyn, and it became apparent very quickly that she was having trouble breathing. It was discovered that she had an infection, and the fear was that the infection would get into her blood causing sepsis. After over a week of receiving antibiotic treatment in the hospital, it is a blessing to know that Grace's infection did not go into her blood, and at the time of this writing she is finally at home with her parents, her grandmother who is visiting, and her big sister, Claire.

I am thankful for the leadership of both Pastor Proh and Pastor Tho during our absence. Pastor Proh has given good reports of the church's faithfulness over the past 6 weeks. Pastor Tho's 14 year old son, Dara, has stepped up to help in leading the singing as well as picking up La for church. Pastor Tho continues to minister every Saturday and Sunday morning in his wife' home village in Kampot, and the group of teenagers that he has reached continues to faithfully seek to know more of God's Word. Pastor Proh's wife, Chenda, with the help of Pastor Tho's wife, Jan, hosted a ladies activity a few weeks ago, which proved to be a great success and a source of encouragement to everyone who participated.

This Tuesday (Sep. 23) we will go to the embassy in Bangkok for our appointment to apply for Evelyn's passport. Lord-willing, we will have her temporary passport in hand by Thursday. After our appointment at the embassy, we will be visiting with a Christian family from Pakistan who is seeking asylum in Thailand from the terrible situation in their home country. Please pray that we will be a blessing to them. Lord-willing, we will be back in Cambodia one week from today (Sep. 29). We are excited about getting back and putting our hands to the plow. We will be starting an English class for teens and adults that will meet at our church every Thursday and Friday evening. The purpose of the class will be to have another opportunity to meet new people with the end goal of presenting the Gospel to them. Please pray for us and for Freedom Baptist Church, that God will use us for His glory.

In Christ,
Chad Phillips

Saturday, August 9, 2014

In Thailand awaiting the arrival of Evelyn Joy

Hello Everyone,

We're in Thailand awaiting the birth of our new daughter, Evelyn Joy. Had a doctor appointment today, and everything is fine. Will keep everyone updated. Taking these next few weeks to do some extra studying (Khmer and Bible study), praying, and reading; and of course I am enjoying this time with Linda, Ellie, Judson, and Bundle. Praying that God will bless us with a healthy baby, that Linda's health will remain good, and that we will receive refreshment so that we will be ready for the next two years of ministry in Cambodia. I have already met several people here in Bangkok who are from a province in which Khmer is spoken (Surin). Granted, it is somewhat different than the Khmer we speak in Cambodia, but we can communicate with them. Please pray that God will use us to plant the seed of the Gospel into their hearts. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

May/June 2014 Prayer Letter/Update

Ministry Update
                  Freedom Baptist Church continues to go forward, praise God. The people are showing signs of possessing a faith that is growing, and there is visible evidence of their ever-growing desire to hear and do God’s Word. For that we are eternally grateful.

                  One blessing in regards to the ministry here is our Sunday afternoon children’s service. The Lord led me a little over a year ago to start this important ministry, and I am glad that I heeded His leading. A 14 year-old girl named Srey Noich received Christ as her Savior nearly a year ago. Her mother will not allow her to be baptized, but continues to allow her to attend the children’s service. A few months ago, because of the love that she experienced when attending our church, she decided to join our regular Sunday morning services. There are no games or candy- only the worship of Christ through song and giving offerings, the fellowship of believers, and the preaching of God’s Word. These are the things that bring Srey Noich, as well as the other members, back to our church week after week.

                  Srey Noich’s 14 year-old cousin, Lee Da, has attended the children’s service since its beginning. Her father, who is a Muslim, has not been a part of Lee Da’s life for several years now. Thankfully her mother, who is a Buddhist, allows Lee Da to attend the service. Lee Da is truly one of the brightest kids I have ever met in Cambodia. She is the only one who quotes her memory verse perfectly every single week. When I am teaching, I will sometimes as questions that require some analysis in order to answer- and she is always the one who “gets it” before any of the other children. Over the past few weeks, she has shown signs of interest in the Gospel. Please pray for her, that she will respond not only to my voice, but more importantly to the voice of the Holy Spirit as He shows her of her need for the Savior.

                  We have adjusted our weekly schedule to allow for more ministry opportunities. I thank God for three teenage young men that faithfully attend our church- Dara (Pastor Tho’s son), Vannsak, and La. Pastor Proh, Pastor Tho, and I have started using Thursday evenings as a time of discipleship with these young men. We meet together at 6:00, play some volleyball, and then spend some time in the Word. I believe that this will prove to be invaluable for all of our lives, as well as for the life of this church. Please pray for these young men.

Blessed to have Visitors!
                  In May we were privileged to have the senior class from Tucson Baptist Academy- a ministry of Tucson Baptist Temple in Tucson, Arizona- visit us for one week. Pastor and Mrs. Armstrong led this group of three young ladies and one young man, and I cannot put into words the blessing that the entire group was to my family and to Freedom Baptist Church. We hosted a mini youth conference that included two other churches in Phnom Penh, and had an attendance of around 80 people. Pastor Armstrong preached two helpful and needed messages, and Mrs. Armstrong and the four seniors fellowshipped with the Khmer believers, many of whom speak conversational English. The group was also able to bring much encouragement to the village church in Kampot led by Pastor Tho. We thank God for the wonderful memories that were made, and for the spiritual benefits that were received as a result of their visit.

Family Update
                  Our family is doing well, praise God. Linda is healthy and expecting our fourth child in September. We are excited about the arrival of Evelyn Joy in just a few weeks. Elisabeth, Judson, and Emily are all growing and healthy. I can’t imagine my life without them. Elisabeth is on her way to finishing 1st grade, and Judson is on his way to finishing K-5. Emily is finally potty-trained!

Thank you for your love for our family,

Chad Phillips

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Some Thoughts on Bearing Fruit on the Mission Field

This entry is merely a documentation of some of my more recent musings regarding missions in the Independent Baptist world. This is not directed at any particular pastor or missionary.  

I have tried to be transparent in this entry. But I want to assure you that by God’s grace, I am still as sure of my call as I was nine years ago.

Some Thoughts on Fruitlessness on the Mission Field
So what is a young, struggling Independent Baptist missionary supposed to do? He has been conditioned to think that a lack of progress on the mission field is most likely evidence that he isn’t really cut out for missions work. This weighs heavily on him from week to week. He has given his life to learning another language and culture. He has spent himself physically, emotionally, and spiritually in getting the Gospel to his city. Dozens of churches have entrusted monthly financial support to him. And three years into his mission he finds that the task to which he has committed his life is far more formidable than he could have ever imagined. He knew that the soil was hard. He had heard others’ testimonies about the hardness of the soil; but he had never worked the soil with his own hands. Now the blisters are starting to show, and the pain is palpable.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

March/April 2014 Update/Prayer Letter

Cultivating the Soil While Sowing the Seed
Our evangelistic efforts are still consistent and empowered by prayer, and in fact we are adding an additional time specifically for our church to get the Gospel out into our city of Ta Khmau. As I was passing out Gospel tracts in a nearby area two weeks ago with Pastor Proh, I felt led to encourage him with these words: “We’re sowing seeds. And I believe we will see fruit if we remain faithful.” Although there is a strong nationalistic and, frankly, anti-Christian sentiment in the areas that God has called us to reach, I do believe that God is working in people's hearts, and that He will use our efforts to see people saved, baptized, and growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

A brief update on some of the people you have been praying for:
Srey Neat: Ever since her mother returned from a distant province to live with her again, her reception to us has been much different, and she has stopped coming to church. Please pray that God will soften her heart.
Keang: This man in his 50’s we met a few months ago still receives us cordially, but since finishing the salvation study he has shown little interest in the Gospel. He is preoccupied right now in building a new house, so we hope that when the house is finished we will have more opportunities to speak of Christ with him.
Srey Noich: This teenage girl who was reached through the children’s ministry we started last year is growing wonderfully in the Lord, and intends to start attending our Sunday evening service next week.
La: La is now 16 years old and has been attending our church for one year now. While there are still some “rough edges”, his life has been wonderfully changed by the Gospel, and is continuing to be changed by the preached Word.
Reksmey: Thank God that Pastor Tho’s 5-year-old girl is doing better, and has not yet needed another blood transfusion since the one she received in March. Please continue to pray for her.

God’s Strengthening of Our Church
In our first year at Freedom Baptist Church of Ta Khmau, we have seen the church go through some difficult changes. First was the departure of the Shull family, the precious missionaries who started this work with Pastor Proh seven years ago. After their return to the States there were a handful of people in the church who stopped coming and have yet to return. Then on March 17 of this year one of our dear, faithful members, Dalin, a mother of three in her mid-30’s, passed away of a rare blood disease. To make matters even more difficult her husband, who had claimed to be saved and had attended the church for several years, made no effort to have any type of a Christian funeral, and in fact participated in the Buddhist ceremonies. (Our church did have a God-honoring memorial service for Dalin, which was a great source of encouragement for our church family). All of these situations seem like reasons for the church to be discouraged and weakened- but that is not the case. Those who have remained faithful through this past year have shown signs of definite spiritual growth, and have sensed God’s strengthening hand at work in their lives.

I have not only seen our people’s faith strengthened, but I have seen the leadership of Pastor Proh continue to grow as well. After weeks of prayer, observation, and seeking counsel from veteran missionaries, I, with the agreement of Pastor Proh, have decided to turn the church over to him near the end of this term, sometime in early 2016. Our church here in Ta Khmau, along with several other churches here in Cambodia, will support him, and I will help him with the cost of renting a building until they purchase their own land and build their own building. The Lord willing, upon our return in 2017, we will by God’s grace and through His strength plant a new church. The remainder of this term will be spent working with Pastor Proh and Pastor Tho in building up Freedom Baptist Church and preparing the church for the eventual transition of leadership.

Thank you for your love for our family,
Chad Phillips