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.
I thank God that He has allowed me to grow in my ability of the Khmer language. When we first arrived to Cambodia last March, I had studied Khmer in Long Beach, California; and I had used it on a limited basis with my wife’s family. But even though I had more than a beginner’s knowledge of the language when we arrived, I was still very, very far from where I needed to be. And I still have a long way to go until I reach complete fluency; but I am thankful to report to you that I have been preaching every Sunday morning for the past three months, as well as teaching Sunday school and teaching every other weekend in the children’s services of Good News Baptist Church. God allowed me to recently finish an 11-week series on the fruit of the Spirit, which I believe He blessed. I am so grateful that Bro. Benefield has given me the opportunity to minister to the members of Good News Baptist Church by preaching the Word of God. Please continue to pray for me as I continue to grow in my ability in the Khmer language- I still have a long way to go.
Some mission fields have been cultivated over decades and even centuries- and praise be to God for that! The spiritual cultivation of the field of Cambodia began in 1923. A man named David Ellison went to Battambong, Cambodia with the glorious message of the Gospel- the first time in recorded history that the pure Gospel of Christ entered the borders of Cambodia. But that seed fell on very hard, stony ground. For 50 years the seed of the Gospel was sown, and finally in the early 1970’s the seed began bringing forth encouraging amounts of fruit- until the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975. 90 percent of the nation’s 10,000 Christians (less than 1 percent of the country’s population) were either killed or fled to Thailand during the Killing Fields. Throughout the 1980’s and the early 1990’s, civil war still plagued this battered nation. In 1994, Cambodia finally re-opened its doors, and missionaries began going back in. Missionaries like my friend Rodney Ruppel, who went to Cambodia in 1996, found that most of the seed of the Gospel had been removed. So they started sowing the seed again. And like those Cambodians who heard the Gospel for the first time in 1923, many of them have proven to be hard, stony ground. 16 years later, we are still faithfully sowing the seed. My family just joined this seed-sowing effort in March of last year. Every Saturday we go into neighborhoods of Phnom Penh and talk with the Cambodian people about their need for the Savior, Jesus Christ. There is still much hardened ground; but there are those who prove to be receptive to the message of the Gospel. God has blessed with several visitors in the services of Good News Baptist Church over the past two months. One lady showed up at the church on a Monday morning. Bro. Benefield had met her a year ago, but at the time she was not in the least bit interested in the Gospel. But recently a friend invited her to go to a church that was far from her house, and she went. Because that church was so far, she began looking for a church closer to home- then she remembered meeting Bro. Benefield, and she somehow remembered where the church was. When she came to the church on that Monday morning, she told me, “I want to know about Jesus.” She began attending our services the next Sunday, and one of the faithful ladies in the church has been going through the Gospel with her. Please pray for her- she had to leave for Vietnam recently for medical treatment. Please pray that she will remain tenderhearted to the Gospel, and that she will return to church when she gets back.
Thank each of you for your love, prayers, and support for our family. We love and thank God for you.
Chad Phillips and Family