In his book, Prayer, Tim Keller outlines twelve touchstones of prayer, the first of which is work: prayer is a duty and a discipline. This reality has never pressed more heavily upon me than in recent months; but so has also the corresponding fact that this is not a fruitless labor, but rather one that will yield a harvest to eternal life. Please read below some of the major requests we are laboring with before God; please join us in this labor, and let us wait for much fruit.
In late November, we held the fall session of the Ratanakiri Pastors Institute where we worked through message of Samuel and Kings together with our students. Again, thank you for praying, and please praise God for answering our prayers. Our men are indeed growing in their love for the Bible—all of it—and in their ability to read it humbly, prayerfully, and intelligently. We are now preparing and praying for the upcoming May session when we will cover basic hermeneutics and Bible study. Please pray for my teammate J.D. as he finishes up the material for this course.
Can Own and his family
About sixty percent of my time now is occupied with language study. My language helper, Can On, continues to be a blessing. Please pray for his conversion. For three weeks in a row now, Can On has welcomed me into his home to share the gospel with him and his wife. Each time, they have listened with increasing attention as I explain what the Bible is, who the God of the Bible is, and the origin of all things. This week, we’ll learn why the world is now the way it is. Please pray that that the evil one will not steal these newly-planted seeds.
Mr. Saa-lii and Naa-Ong village
Please pray for Saa-lii, the village head of Naa-Ong, about an hour north of us (just south of the Laos border). Naa-Ong is a Lao-speaking village (though many also speak Khmer). In recent months Joyce (a fellow missionary) and I have made several trips to share the gospel with Saa-lii and some of his family and neighbors. Each time, they have been unusually attentive and asked good questions. They have welcomed us to continue our visits. Please pray for Saa-lii and his village. Joyce and I plan to continue teaching there at least monthly.
Related, pray for Lao-speaking laborers. God continues to encourage and motivate us to pray for the unreached Lao as he brings more and more people across our path who have been praying for the Lao population for many years. But nearly every time of prayer and conversation ends in the same place: we need Lao-speaking evangelists. Pray for me, as I seek to become one; pray for other Lao speakers, that the Lord would direct their steps to Stung Treng province.
The (proto-)church in New Village
Perhaps the greatest joy of the past 8 months of ministry here has been our Sunday morning worship with Yeng and Eng, the only two Christians in their village (Pum Tmey, trans. “New Village”). I’ve asked you to pray for Yeng and Eng before as I taught the Bible to them each Tuesday afternoon for the past year. About 8 months ago, our family began joining them every Sunday for worship. Praise God for the miracle of preservation in the lives of these two ladies who have remained faithful for 8 years with only minimal spiritual care. Pray for our weekly worship, that God would indeed meet with us and that he would soon increase our numbers. Pray that God would raise up a shepherd who can care for these sisters later this year when we return to the US for home assignment.