Spiritual Growth and a Good SpiritThe transition that took place in Freedom Baptist Church when the Shull family returned to the States was a good transition, and yet it had its difficulties. This is to be expected when such a treasure of a family that has invested years of love and labor into a church are no longer present. Everybody felt the emotional pain when the Shulls followed God’s leading back to the States. A couple of people have stopped coming, and while this can be discouraging, we are greatly encouraged by the spiritual growth that we have seen in many of the believers’ lives. Truly this is a testament to the sound Bible teaching that they have received from Bro. Shull, Pastor Proh, and Pastor Tho over these past few years. While the first few months following the Shulls’ departure was an emotionally difficult time of transition for this church family, I thank God for the spiritual growth that has taken place during this time, especially over the past couple of months. I am also greatly encouraged and filled with thanksgiving to God for the people who have been added to the church over the course of the past few months. La, Srey Noich, and Srey Neat continue to come faithfully. Immediately following Srey Noich’s salvation, she asked her parents if she could be baptized, to which they answered “No.” But thank God that she reported to us a couple of weeks ago that after asking her mother again, her mother finally agreed to allow her to be baptized. Pastor Proh recently told me about a conversation he had with Srey Neat’s grandmother, in which she told him, “Just a few months ago Srey Neat tried to commit suicide.” I don’t know all the reasons that she would try to take her own life, but it can all be summed up in one word: hopelessness. As I have observed Srey Neat’s participation in our services, I have noticed that she really loves coming to our church. I believe when she comes to Freedom Baptist Church, she feels that there is hope, that perhaps there is meaning and purpose in this life. Please pray that she will soon come to a full understanding that the meaning and purpose that she is searching for can only be found in a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
God-given VictoriesI am learning that in the ministry we don’t always see the results we have been hoping for in the time frame that we originally anticipated. I have some pretty big dreams and prayer requests for Freedom Baptist Church- some things that when they do eventually come to pass, I will stand in awe at the great victories that God has wrought in our midst. But right now we are in a season of ministry in which we are still waiting for some of these major victories to come to pass (i.e. our own land and building, the opening of a Bible institute, etc.); but I am just as thankful to God for other great victories that God has given us over the past couple of months. I thank God for the great friendship and unity I have with my co-laborers, Pastor Proh and Pastor Tho. I thank God for the Christmas offering that our church sacrificially gave for an orphan boy named Mah who is suffering from HIV- the disease that claimed his parents’ lives- in our village church in Kampot. I thank God for many of our church members who have recently experienced trials of their faith, and as a result have become stronger. I thank God for first generation Christians in our village church in Kampot, which is led by Pastor Tho, who are memorizing the entire book of Philippians (a couple of teenagers have already quoted the entire book). I thank God that the same teenagers who quoted Philippians recently told Pastor Tho, “Memorizing Philippians has given me a desire to tell my friends about Christ,” and as a result there have been several first time visitors in the past few weeks. Truly, these are victories that only God could bring to pass.
Thank you for your love and your prayers on behalf of our family. We love you and thank God for you.