The next few posts are going to take glimpses of the lives of several of my friends in Cambodia that I have made on my two survey trips. They are all members of the "Grom-jom-nom Baptist Dom-nung La-awe" (Good News Baptist Church) of Phnom Penh, Pastor Stephen Benefield. Bro. Benefield is the missionary that I will work with during the first half of our first term, Lord-willing. He planted the "Grom-jom-nom Baptist Dom-nung La-awe" about five years ago, and God has added many precious people to this local, independent Baptist church.
Ta is probably my closest Cambodian friend (besides my wife, of course). We became good friends in 2006 under the funniest of circumstances. At that time, I spoke a word or two of Khmer, and he spoke about one or two words in English. One time, he tried for about five minutes to either tell me something or ask me a question. After several hilarious attempts to communicate through our own made-up sign language, and after several minutes of frustration, we both looked at each other and laughed, and then went our separate ways.
If my memory serves me correctly, he had been saved for a couple of years when I first met him; and yet in spite of the fact that I could not understand his language, and in spite of the fact that he was a fairly young Christian, his humility and simple faith challenged me.
In 2006, Ta was working with Bro. Benefield as an assistant who helped with various small tasks around the church. When I went back in 2008, Ta was preaching in children's church, leading singing at Vacation Bible School, and preaching in the adult service. Praise the Lord, I was able to communicate with him in Khmer, and our friendship was strengthened.
I am praying that God will continue to use this 26 year old man; and that he, if it be the Lord's will, will become the pastor of the "Grom-jom-nom Baptist Dom-nung La-awe".
I went to Cambodia thinking that I, the American missionary, would boost these Cambodian Christians to a new level spiritually. The fact is, when I look at the life of Ta, I am humbled. He challenged me spiritually. He edified me. He encouraged me. He helped me. Let's pray that God will keep using this young man- my friend, Ta.