Tuesday, May 20, 2014

March/April 2014 Update/Prayer Letter

Cultivating the Soil While Sowing the Seed
Our evangelistic efforts are still consistent and empowered by prayer, and in fact we are adding an additional time specifically for our church to get the Gospel out into our city of Ta Khmau. As I was passing out Gospel tracts in a nearby area two weeks ago with Pastor Proh, I felt led to encourage him with these words: “We’re sowing seeds. And I believe we will see fruit if we remain faithful.” Although there is a strong nationalistic and, frankly, anti-Christian sentiment in the areas that God has called us to reach, I do believe that God is working in people's hearts, and that He will use our efforts to see people saved, baptized, and growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.

A brief update on some of the people you have been praying for:
Srey Neat: Ever since her mother returned from a distant province to live with her again, her reception to us has been much different, and she has stopped coming to church. Please pray that God will soften her heart.
Keang: This man in his 50’s we met a few months ago still receives us cordially, but since finishing the salvation study he has shown little interest in the Gospel. He is preoccupied right now in building a new house, so we hope that when the house is finished we will have more opportunities to speak of Christ with him.
Srey Noich: This teenage girl who was reached through the children’s ministry we started last year is growing wonderfully in the Lord, and intends to start attending our Sunday evening service next week.
La: La is now 16 years old and has been attending our church for one year now. While there are still some “rough edges”, his life has been wonderfully changed by the Gospel, and is continuing to be changed by the preached Word.
Reksmey: Thank God that Pastor Tho’s 5-year-old girl is doing better, and has not yet needed another blood transfusion since the one she received in March. Please continue to pray for her.

God’s Strengthening of Our Church
In our first year at Freedom Baptist Church of Ta Khmau, we have seen the church go through some difficult changes. First was the departure of the Shull family, the precious missionaries who started this work with Pastor Proh seven years ago. After their return to the States there were a handful of people in the church who stopped coming and have yet to return. Then on March 17 of this year one of our dear, faithful members, Dalin, a mother of three in her mid-30’s, passed away of a rare blood disease. To make matters even more difficult her husband, who had claimed to be saved and had attended the church for several years, made no effort to have any type of a Christian funeral, and in fact participated in the Buddhist ceremonies. (Our church did have a God-honoring memorial service for Dalin, which was a great source of encouragement for our church family). All of these situations seem like reasons for the church to be discouraged and weakened- but that is not the case. Those who have remained faithful through this past year have shown signs of definite spiritual growth, and have sensed God’s strengthening hand at work in their lives.

I have not only seen our people’s faith strengthened, but I have seen the leadership of Pastor Proh continue to grow as well. After weeks of prayer, observation, and seeking counsel from veteran missionaries, I, with the agreement of Pastor Proh, have decided to turn the church over to him near the end of this term, sometime in early 2016. Our church here in Ta Khmau, along with several other churches here in Cambodia, will support him, and I will help him with the cost of renting a building until they purchase their own land and build their own building. The Lord willing, upon our return in 2017, we will by God’s grace and through His strength plant a new church. The remainder of this term will be spent working with Pastor Proh and Pastor Tho in building up Freedom Baptist Church and preparing the church for the eventual transition of leadership.

Thank you for your love for our family,
Chad Phillips