Dear gospel partners,

In a most delightful departure from the norm here, the past couple months have been a wonderful, steady balance of (1) study and (2) ministry. Below are some ways you can pray for these spheres of our life here.

Lao study

Are you ready for this? I’m encouraged about my progress with Lao study thus far! No, I haven’t been hacked, but God is helping me chart a course of study that’s right for me, and I have reason to hope that it’s an effective one. However, I still do not have a regular language helper. Please do pray that I could find someone willing and available to meet with me daily. Finding a reliable helper here in the province has been anything but easy and source of real frustration as certain traits of Cambodian culture appear to conspire against me. Pray for wisdom and success.

If the search is not productive soon, I’ll spend another week studying in Laos later this month. While this is indeed helpful, it’s less than ideal as the language spoken here in Stung Treng has some major vocabulary differences from the language spoken in the country of Laos.

Gospel ministry

Each week, I’m teaching an introductory Bible study to three different groups of people, all of whom you’ve met before in our updates. Here is how you can pray for each one.

Bible study #1

Tuu, Rhit, Pi-set, and Moni

  • Pray for Pi-set’s conversion. He is very attentive and asks some good questions. He says he is waiting for God to show him a miracle before he commits to Christ.
  • Pray for Moni, Rhit, and Tuu to grow in the their grasp of the gospel and in their commitment to the church, daily Bible reading, and prayer.

Bible study #2

Eng and her mother, Yeng

Yeng and her daughter Eng are a delight, particularly in recent weeks as they’ve been greeting me with a kilo of one of my all-time favorite foods, fresh okra from their garden. Even more delightful is their hunger for the Word. A few months ago, I gave Yeng a simple MP3 player loaded with an audio Bible (Yeng’s eyesight makes reading difficult). In about a month, she had listened to Genesis—Song of Songs and the entire NT! I just love it when I’m teaching and Yeng pipes up with some minor detail of the story! Recently, as we were surveying the OT, I commented that when we get to some passages like Leviticus with its lengthy, detailed descriptions of various ceremonies, it can be kind of tedious. Yeng quickly shot back—No, it’s not! Praise God for this hunger, and pray for Yeng’s village, that God would save her neighbors and raise up a church there.

Parts of Yeng’s village are currently flooded, including these last few hundred yards to her house. Last week, Eng touched a live electrical wire (not visible in the pic but hanging in the water a little way down the road) to her house and was knocked unconscious for a minute. Thankfully, she escaped with only a 1-inch hole burned deep into her hand.

Bible study #3

Though not yet believers, Sopiap and her daughter Aym (mid-20’s) are also a joy. They too will sometimes receive me with whatever delicacy happens to be on their menu for the day. Recently, Sopiap’s husband Kun, piled high a bowl full of Pia, a dish consisting primarily of unpurged cow intestines, and set it before me with a knowing smile. Unlike the Apostle John, I found the food bitter to my tongue, but thankfully, no problem for my stomach.

Pray that Sopiap and Aym would understand the gospel and embrace Christ. Pray also for the handful of grandkids and other relatives who come and go each week while I’m teaching, many of them stopping to listen.

In addition to these scheduled ministry opportunities, pray for the many other unscheduled chances for sowing seeds: in the lives of neighbors, our landlord, and others who come seeking aid.

The home front

After an all-too-brief summer break, the new school year kicked off on July 31. Our one-room school house is hosting 4 grades, 6 students, and 2 teachers this year. The first two weeks have given us enough time to work out the kinks and we’re finding a good rhythm now. Thank you for praying for our kids—as they study God’s world (science, math, logic, etc.), may they do so with reverence and awe; as they study God’s deeds in the world and man’s responses to those deeds (history, literature, art, etc.), may they ever side with God over against every other competitor for their allegiance and affection. Pray also for Bonnie Ruth and Brooke as they manage their teaching loads along with all their many other responsibilities.