This past May was a time of precious memories and difficult goodbye’s- but all in all it was a time of great blessing. The first week of May was our last week in Georgia, so we set aside some time to be with my (Chad’s) side of the family. We were also able to spend some time at our precious home church, and had the joy of joining with our pastor, Derik Lawrence, in dedicating Emily to the Lord Jesus Christ. During the remaining three weeks of May we drove to California, and were able to stop halfway to see some of my family in Houston, Texas. After arriving in California, God gave us a wonderful time with Linda’s family in Bakersfield. We were in California until May 27, and at about 12:45 that afternoon our plane left the runway of Los Angeles International Airport. We landed at Phnom Penh International Airport about 22 hours later.
Since being back in Cambodia…
We have been back in Cambodia for just over a month now, but it feels as if we just arrived yesterday. The time has flown by, and we have been extremely busy. On June 7th, nearly all of the 25 members of Freedom Baptist Church- the church in which God is allowing us to serve- accompanied the Shull family to the airport; and on that day the church family said their last goodbyes to the missionary family who introduced them to the love of Jesus. There was not a dry eye in the group. Just before the Shulls entered the airport to board their flight, we all sang “The Love of God” in Khmer. What an appropriate song for the occasion, for the Shulls’ lives can be summed up in one short sentence: They are conduits of God’s love.
That day as we rode with the church members back to our village in Ta Khmao, the tears continued to flow, but there was a sense of joy amongst the folks, and I could see that although they were sad to say goodbye to this family that meant so much to them, they were filled with faith in God’s sovereign hand. The next Sunday, June 9th, the church had its first service at our house, and what a great service it was. Pastor Proh and I both preached, and we sensed a unity that only God can give. It has been one month since the Shulls left, and the church family is remaining faithful and maintaining a wonderful spirit.
We have had many opportunities to talk about the Lord Jesus Christ; and while many have politely listened, many have not shown much interest in the Gospel. This can get discouraging, but I thank God for veteran missionary in Cambodia, Rodney Ruppel, who recently encouraged me by saying, “My faith is not in the ground; my faith is in the seed.” He also encouraged me with these words: “I rarely give the Gospel to people who are interested; I give the Gospel to people who are willing to listen, and the Word of God develops an interest in their hearts.”
God recently lead me to write a new tract that deals with the definition and the problem of sin. The Cambodian perception of what is “good” and what is “sinful” very much focuses on the exterior. Many Cambodians view themselves as being good people because they give offerings to the monks and go the wat (temple), but they don’t generally view the sins of their hearts such as pride, hatred, lust, or bitterness, or other “common” sins such as lying, hypocrisy, or deception, as being anything too serious. So, Pastor Proh and I have developed a new tract based on a Khmer proverb that says, ធ្វើបុណ្យមួយរយសំពៅ បាបមួយចូលទៅ រលាយបាត់អស់, which literally means, “You do 100 ships worth of merit, but one sin cancels all of those merits.” The tract uses this proverb that is so common here to help the people understand that even though they may have never committed murder, they are still counted as sinners in the eyes of God because of the inner sins of their hearts. Please pray that God will use this tract to create an awareness of sin in the hearts of the people who will receive and read it, and that after being made aware of their sinful condition they will turn to Christ as their Savior.