I was reading through the book Goforth of China, a biography about missionary Jonathan Goforth, and I came across this quote that "got all over me." I wanted to share it with you. The quote is by Mrs. Whitfield Guinness.
"A great 'without' has been written on heathenism. Men and women are toiling without a Bible, without a Sunday, without prayer, without songs of praise. They have rulers without justice and without righteousness; homes without peace; marriage without sanctity, young men and girls without ideals and enthusiasm; little children without purity, without innocence; mothers without wisdom or self-control; poverty without relief or sympathy; sickness without skillful help or tender care; sorrow and crime without a remedy; and worst of all, death without hope."
Thursday, December 27, 2012
Praise the Lord for His protection as we traveled from Cambodia to California, then from California to Georgia. We made it to the States on December 5, and we spent a wonderful 11 days with Linda's family in Bakersfield. Linda's parents picked us up from the Los Angeles airport, and our first stop was Wendy's! I cannot describe to you how blissful it was to eat a Frosty after nearly two years of Frostylessness.
It was so cool to be able to speak with my mother and father-in-law in Khmer. Honestly, I was able to communicate with them on a deeper level than ever, and I feel like I know them a lot better now. We had such a wonderful, memorable time with Linda's family. What a blessing it was as well to spend time with two very special churches to our hearts: McKee Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Pastor Fred Fies (this is the church where I met Linda and the church where we were married) and First Baptist Church of Long Beach, Pastor John Wilkerson (the church where we served for two years before starting deputation).
On December 17 we flew from Los Angeles to Atlanta, and we were greeted at the airport by my parents and my sister, along with my pastor, Derik Lawrence, and some of my best friends in the world. We have enjoyed so much this precious time with family. What a blessing it was to be in our home church with our wonderful church family. The choir, the orchestra, the preaching, the hugs and kind words from our church family, and the overall spirit of the church blessed our hearts in such a special way.
We are looking forward to our furlough and the opportunity we will have to get reacquainted with so many wonderful friends at our supporting churches, and hopefully make some new friends at some churches we have not yet visited. We will be starting our meetings the second Sunday of January and will finish this furlough the last Sunday of May. Our return date is May 27. Please pray that God will give us safety on the roads and opportunities to share the Gospel as we spend a few short months here in the States.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
After being in Cambodia for going on two years, I must admit that being a foreigner still has its challenges. Although I have grown accustomed to many cultural differences, there are some issues that still give me a headache. In these posts, I am going to be blunt and transparent. I am the first to admit that some of these cultural struggles are simply the result of my lack of Spirit-filling. (I'm sure that a good percentage of my readers on this blog have never had that struggle.) :) Nevertheless, I am going to document some of the culture battles that I have faced and am continuing to face. I intend for this to be a record that I can look back on 10 years from now and hopefully be able to say, "Thank God that His grace has allowed me to conquer those issues that I faced back then." I also want to give a reality check to anyone who is getting ready to move to the foreign mission field- especially if they are coming to Southeast Asia. I don't want to come across as overly negative or down on the country to which God has called me to serve Him. We love Cambodia. We love our lives here. We plan on being here long-term. But I would be lying if I told you, "Being a missionary in Cambodia is just one big blissful experience with no frustrations whatsoever!" Just like America, Cambodia has its issues. What makes it doubly difficult for me as a foreigner is that some of the issues in Cambodia are issues that I've never dealt with in the States. So, I hope these posts will be enlightening and in some cases entertaining. I am making this part of my life an open book....enjoy!
Monday, November 5, 2012
A New Location of Ministry
Since our last prayer letter, we have moved from Phnom Penh to the city of Ta Khmao in preparation of working in the church that God has called us to lead. We thank God for the year and a half we had to work at Good News Baptist Church under the leadership of Stephen Benefield. I am thankful for true, godly friends like the Benefield family that God has given us to encourage one another here in Cambodia. On October 28 we had our last service there at Good News Baptist, and this past Sunday, November 4, we began attending the church here in Ta Khmao. I preached both the morning and evening services, and I was so pleased at how well the people responded to the preaching of God’s Word. We are so thankful for this opportunity to serve the Lord at Liberty Baptist Church in Ta Khmao!
I was so excited to find out about two young people whom God has allowed me to have a small part in their coming to Christ. I met Srey Laek, a 15 year old girl, about a year ago while soul winning. I and a couple of others from the church spoke with her and her mother and invited her to our services. For a year, Srey Laek has come faithfully. At first, she was coming with several others from her area; but as time went by, those others moved away or lost interest- but Srey Laek kept coming, even if she was the only one. I just got word that this past Sunday, after studying the Gospel one on one with Karona, one of the faithful ladies in the church, Srey Laek received Christ as her personal Savior. I thank God that He led us to Srey Laek’s house a year ago, and that the Holy Spirit worked in her heart until she was gloriously saved.
I also just heard from Bro. Benefield that a 12- year old boy named Naveen was saved on the same day as Srey Laek. God gave me the privilege of teaching the Gospel to Naveen for about 3 weeks. On the fourth week I was not able to teach him, but Karona was able to finish teaching him the following week (after we had already moved to Ta Khmao), and he was saved! I pray that God will work in both of these young people’s lives in an amazing way, and that they will continue to grow in the Lord until they die or the Lord returns. I thank God that they have a solid church that will love them and nurture them spiritually!
A New Return Date to Cambodia
As you know from my last prayer letter, God had blessed us with another child. Last week we learned that Linda had a miscarriage at the very end of her first trimester. Thank God that she is doing fine, and we know that God has a plan and a purpose in all things. Our original return date was set for July 16, 2013. That was intended to give Linda plenty of time to rest and recover after the birth of the child. We have now changed our date to return to Cambodia to May 27, 2013. This will obviously make it impossible to visit as many of our supporting churches as we originally hoped. If we are not able to visit your church on this furlough, I will take note of that and make sure that your church has first priority on our next furlough.
We thank you again for your love, prayers, and support for our family. We are looking forward to seeing many of you in just a few weeks or months. God bless!
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
An Exciting New Step
I am thrilled to write to you and inform you of an exciting new step that God has led us to take in regards to our ministry here in Cambodia. God has led us to take leadership at a church in a city called Ta Khmao, just outside the capital, Phnom Penh. The church has a core group of about 30 believers, and at this point in the church’s life it is in need of pastoral leadership. We have been praying and seeking counsel about this decision for a couple of months now, and God just recently made it clear that this is indeed His will for us.
One of the most exciting aspects of this opportunity is that the church has two Cambodian men who are training to be in full time ministry, so we will be working as a team to continue reaching Ta Khmao with the Gospel as they continue preparing themselves to pastor in the future. But our vision goes beyond Ta Khmao. We are praying that God will allow us to branch out from Ta Khmao to the hundreds of villages in the surrounding areas as well.
An Exciting New Addition
Just a couple of days before I made the decision to step into the leadership role at the church in Ta Khmao, Linda gave me the wonderful news that we are expecting our fourth child! The due date is in mid-May. Please pray for Linda and the precious new life that God has entrusted to us.
An Upcoming Furlough
Because of these recent developments, my pastor, Derik Lawrence, has counseled me to take our furlough earlier than originally scheduled. (Our original furlough was scheduled for November 2013). Our responsibilities at the church will begin in July of 2013. So in order for us to really hit the ground running in July, we will go ahead and take a short furlough beginning this December through July 2013. There are several purposes for this furlough:
· Report to our supporting churches, and introduce our supporting churches to the work we will be overseeing and the two men with whom we will be working
· Allow Linda to have the baby in the States
· Allow us to step into leadership at the church with a full term ahead of us, instead of taking our furlough 4 months after coming into the church
Because we have supporting churches in 19 states, we will be setting our furlough schedule as follows in order to be wise stewards of our time and money:
February- South Carolina/North Carolina/Virginia/West Virginia
April- Northeast/New England/Midwest
If you would like to have us in to report or to present our ministry, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Or you can call our Magic Jack number at 661.735.2061 (we are 11 hrs ahead of EST).
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support for our family!
Monday, September 10, 2012
The Benefield Family is Back!
We are so thankful to God that He brought the Benefield family safely back to Cambodia from their furlough. We, along with four men from the church, picked the Benefields up from the airport on July 16. We are looking forward to learning from this faithful family over the next year as I finish my preparations for the new church plant that will take place at the beginning of our second term- most likely June of 2014, after our 7 month furlough which will begin November of 2013. I thank God for the many blessings I received as a result of working in this ministry during the months that Bro. Benefield and his family were on furlough. Because of so many preaching and teaching opportunities, my language ability has definitely increased. I also count it a great blessing to have worked with so many wonderful people in the ministry here- people who just a few years ago did not know God, but now are people who know Him and are serving Him with all of their hearts. We are anticipating great things in the upcoming months as we continue to work with the Benefields.
Friday, September 7, 2012
Loak Crew To (lit. "Pastor To") has become a friend of mine. He has been working with my friend, missionary Ray Shull, for over five years at their church here in Cambodia. He was led to the Lord by the missionary I am currently working with, Stephen Benefield, several years ago after Ray had already befriended him and showed him the love of Christ. Since Ray was the one whom God used to bring Loak Crew To to church for the first time, they naturally developed a close friendship. A couple of years later, after Ray returned to Cambodia from his first furlough, God led Loak Crew To to become Ray's co-laborer at a brand new church plant. God has used Loak Crew To in an amazing way...so amazing, in fact, that the Buddhist leaders in his home village are vehemently opposed to his freedom to preach Christ in that village. Here's why.
Monday, July 9, 2012
New Christians Growing in Grace
Rhanny, a lady in her early thirties, was invited by Bro. Benefield to come to Good News Baptist Church over a year ago; but she wasn’t interested in the least. But a few months later, one of her friends invited her to a church, and she reluctantly went; but God began doing a work in her heart. About seven months ago she decided to start searching for Good News Baptist Church because of its closeness to her house (the church she was attending with her friend was quite a distance from her house). She remembered the description of the location that Bro. Benefield had given her initially, and she found the church on one Monday morning. I happened to be home that day (we live right next to the church), so I was able to talk to her and answer some questions. She began attending church the following Sunday, and I could see that she was having some serious spiritual struggles. Namely, she was constantly plagued by an intense fear of ghosts and demons, a common struggle for the average Khmer (Cambodian) person. God gave me the opportunity to counsel with her and use her struggle as an opportunity to teach her the Gospel. After many weeks of faithfully coming to the services and listening to the Gospel taught by me and Karona (one of the faithful ladies in the church), she finally received Jesus Christ as her Savior. And she hasn’t missed a beat since!
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
It is still hard for us to wrap our minds around the fact that you are in Heaven at this very moment. It seems like yesterday that we were sitting with you at a Khmer restaurant in Long Beach, California, talking about your dreams of serving the Lord with your life. Linda and I vividly remember observing your life as you made the decision to not just be a nominal Christian, but a committed disciple of Christ. Everyone the Lord brought across your path could tell that you were a person who was not willing to allow this culture to define you or dictate the decisions you made in your life. It was apparent that you were being led by the Good Shepherd; and you were not following Him reluctantly, but willingly and submissively. Although it breaks our hearts to see you leave us, we are confident that your dreams of being used by God are being fulfilled even in your death. We are praying that those in your life who have grown cold spiritually, or have never known the Saviour, will be brought to a place of sweet fellowship with the One Who loved us and gave Himself for us all. We love you, Jana.
Chad and Linda
Jana's Home-going Service will be held Friday, June 8th, at 10:00 a.m. PST at the First Baptist Church of Long Beach, California- her home church in which she faithfully served Her Saviour.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Hello everyone, I just wanted to give a quick update about what God is doing in the village ministry in Kompong Speu Province. (For those who may not know, this is a ministry that Stephen Benefield, the missionary we are working with, started several years ago. I am currently filling in for him while he is on furlough. He should be back in about two months.)
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Dear Pastors and Praying Friends,
God is Answering Prayer
You may remember from my last prayer letter that I mentioned a situation that took place in the village where we hold a children’s service every Saturday. The situation I mentioned dealt with the drowning of one of our faithful girls named Srey Bpoe- she drowned in a pond right next to the church. As a result of that tragedy, we lost over half of the faithful children because many parents were afraid to send their children to the church because of its close proximity to the pond where Srey Bpoe drowned. Another reason is because one of the mothers in the village had a dream that the pond was going to take the lives of three more children. I could sense that some of our faithful helpers in the children’s service- all members of Good News Baptist Church- were getting a little bit discouraged after weeks of driving an hour out to the village and only seeing only about 18 children come to the service (we were having almost 40 every Saturday before the death of Srey Bpoe). So I had a prayer meeting with them one Saturday after the service was over; and I also began urging the church in Phnom Penh to pray for this matter fervently. Well, praise the Lord that He is answering our prayers in this situation. For the past month we have seen an increase almost every week- not a drastic increase, but little by little some of the children are starting to return. This past Saturday, April 28, we had a wonderful service with the most children we have had in months. The spirit was great, and the children listened intently as I taught about the events leading to the crucifixion of Christ. Please pray for the parents of Srey Bpoe. This past Saturday I finally had a chance to talk with them about the hope that we have that Srey Bpoe is in Heaven. I asked them, “Do you have any hope for her soul?” The answered plainly, “No, we do not know where she is.” Pray that God will use this to soften their hearts to the Gospel.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Dear Pastors and Praying Friends,
Every Saturday, I take a group of 5-10 folks into different areas near our church to pass out tracts and talk to people about Christ. Several months ago Adam Wood, a missionary who was working with us temporarily while waiting for living arrangements to be finalized in another province, met a family on the other side of the main river that runs beside the city of Phnom Penh. Adam witnessed to the wife on at least 7 different occasions, but she did not seem understand the seriousness of her sinful condition. Adam has now moved to another province, and I have been meeting with this lady. This is really the first person that I have had a real chance to sit down and go through the plan of salvation in the Khmer language. Please pray for me, that God will give wisdom in dealing with her; and pray for this dear lady as well- I call her Ming, which means aunt. Pray that the Holy Spirit would open her spiritual eyes, and that she would trust in Christ alone to save her. Also, last Sunday we had two 17-year old young men who visited our services for the first time. One of them is the son of a lady who has been attending our church for 9 months or so. Please pray that I will have an opportunity to sit down with these young men and teach them about the glorious Gospel of Christ, and that they will receive Him as Saviour.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Recently, my family and I went out to eat with some of the young men in the church. We had a wonderful time of fellowship at Lucky Burger, the closest thing to McDonald's here in Cambodia. In the course of our conversation, we started talking about the fact that Khmer people for the most part are vertically challenged (short), and foreigners (white guys in this context) tend to be a little taller. As an example, one of the guys brought up a missionary here in Cambodia that we all know and love. This guy is about 6'5, which is exceptionally tall in Cambodia. As the guys speculated about this man's height, I felt led to say, "Yeah, he is a big guy, and he has a big heart also!" In Khmer, that goes something like this, "Baat....go-aht tom mairn, howy go-aht mee-un jut tom dye."
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
What a blessing it is for me to write to you again and report about what God is doing in Cambodia. Over the past few months our faith has been stretched, which is quite an uncomfortable experience sometimes; but without this stretching of our faith we would not see the mighty hand of God at work in our lives and in the lives of others around us.