The following is an email update sent from David Bales, who is in Cambodia with Chiv and Emara In:
I have to apologize for my inconsistency in blogging. Part of it can be blamed on the lack of wifi at moments I could have posted blogs, but it’s also because things are moving so fast and I want to drink it all in and (quite selfishly, I’m sure) I don’t want to go off by myself and blog about it. But I do want you to know what’s going on, because it’s all pretty amazing.
Chiv is pretty unstoppable around here. The days with full agendas get flat out crazy and when he says, “We don’t have anything on the agenda, so we’ll sleep in and drive to Battambang after lunch,” like he did day before yesterday… well let’s just say it was a little more colorful than that.
We got up and went to Emara’s mother and sister’s house in Siem Reap (where we had spent the night) to pick up a couple of things before we left town. Turns out, it was to go with her sister to the market. Not the souvenier laden Night Market filled with American, European and Asian tourists, but the real McCoy where people who live in Siem Reap shop. That would have been an worthwhile experience in and of itself, but the purpose of the shopping trip made it even more interesting. We were there to picked up chairs, a white board with dry erase markers, pencils, pens and notepads so we could deliver them to Tia and To in Kranlanh to establish a meeting place for the new believers in there.
I’ll give a little of the back story for those of you who haven’t been able to follow the developments on previous trips. Last November, the team that traveled here with Chiv and Emara went to visit Kranlanh. Surun Mak, who was on that trip, has family there and everyone on the team knew that the community is strongly Buddhist and notoriously unreceptive to the Gospel. Chiv had also spoken to a D.S. of the Methodist Church in Cambodia who is originally from Kranlanh. He told Chiv that he had returned to the area over and over to share the gospel, but that no one had responded.
When Chiv and the team shared their faith with a gathering of Sarun’s family, friends and neighbors, 53 people came forward to say that they believed in Christ and wanted to be baptized. The vast majority were youth. The first to step forward to be baptized was Tia. Now a year later, Tia and her twin sister To have agreed to lead the young group of believers. Tia and To are young themselves and they’re parents have agreed to host the meetings at their home.
It was fun to watch Emera walk To through the basics of how to lead a meeting. Lead in a corporate prayer, sing a song or hymn together and where to start studying the bible to teach the lesson. Things Tia and To haven’t experienced yet but will provide for those who come to Christ because of their testimony.
Please pray for Tia and To. They are both young in years and in their faith. Pray that they would have the grace and authority to lead others to Christ and help others grow in Christ. Pray also for their parents, who have offered their home as a meeting place and haven’t made a profession of faith yet.
It’s amazing. On a “down day” with Chiv and Emara we were helping to establish a new church in a city that has been notoriously hardened toward the message of the gospel. Amazing.