Since you last hear from us …

Covid-19 and Cambodia

For the most part, and in great contrast to many of you, our lives have continued unaltered since the onset of the pandemic. According to some studies we’ve seen, Covid-19 and I are alike in that we cannot handle the heat and humidity. So while I am struggling as always through another hot season, the nation as a whole is healthy, suffering only 124 cases, 122 full recoveries, and no deaths. The primary changes we’ve experienced are …

  • No religious gatherings of more than 10 people are permitted. So I leave most of the family at home for our Sunday gatherings in Pum Tmai village.
  • Our work in the Lao village of Na Ong has been almost completely set on hold, though we have been allowed to visit twice recently. This is a matter of concern, since several villagers professed Christ just before our return to Cambodia in February. These are the first and only believers in this and the surrounding villages, and they continue with no spiritual care. Please pray that God would keep them during our absence.
  • The hot season session of the Ratanakiri Pastors Institute has been cancelled.

So what have we been up to?

  • Bonnie Ruth, Brooke, and the kids have continued with their regular schedule of school. Please pray for strength for them all, especially as hot season continues (typically until the rains begin in June).
  • Some of us have continued to meet with the four ladies who make up the church in Pum Tmai village. Many of you will remember the story of this seedling church and have prayed faithfully for Yeng, Eng, and Chantii. Thank you. Their faith is strong! Chantii in particular, the newest believer among us, is a great blessing to me as she seems almost surprised that “no one wants to listen” when she tells them of the Creator. Yeng and Eng have been believers long enough now (the only ones in their village for 9 years) to feel a certain cynicism about their neighbors—“they’re never going to believe,” an attitude which is all too tempting for me to succumb to as well. So we have been giving ourselves more fully to praying for the conversion of specific individuals. Please pray with us, that God would add to our numbers. Actually, since our return to Cambodia in February, God has added one new lady, 93-year old Own, who has been the only believer in an adjacent village for many years now (our church is comprised of 4 ladies from 3 separate villages). Though 93 years old and mother of eleven, Own regularly reminds me that she still gardens, carries her own water, and exercises! She also faithfully brings a list of the names of her unbelieving children and grandchildren for us to pray for. On Sundays, we have been reading through the book of Acts together, seeing how the testimony of Christ’s resurrection has indeed reached to this uttermost part of the earth. Please pray for these ladies, specifically that they would be bold, faithful, and gracious in speaking about Christ to their family and neighbors.
Easter feast in Pum Tmai
  • I have continued to study Lao, mostly on my own. Please pray for a breakthrough in my understanding. This continues to be a source of potential discouragement for me.
  • For the past three months, I have pursued our many neighbors much more persistently than in the past and have had numerous opportunities to share the gospel in part or whole with several of them. Please pray that I will be diligent with this. I need love and boldness. Pray mostly for my neighbors, young and old, that they would be saved.
  • Lastly, please continue praying for clear signs of the Spirit’s fruit in our lives, specifically love and joy.

Culture notes

To inform, amuse, and burden you to pray …

  • When the rain on your tin roof is so loud you can’t hear preach, sing, or talk, you pull out your Rubik’s Cube.
  • Cambodians often place “scarecrows” in front of their houses to ward off the latest sickness that may be passing through, and Covid-19 has been no exception. Here is a sampling of the handiwork near our home.

Thank you for praying for us and the peoples of Cambodia. We depend heavily on this work that you are doing. May God strengthen you to persevere with us.