“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
“ដ្បិតយើងរាល់គ្នាមិនមែនតយុទ្ធនឹងសាច់ឈាមទេ គឺ និងពួកគ្រប់គ្រង ពួកមានអំណាច និងពួកម្ចាស់នៃសេចក្តីងងឹតនៅលោកីយ៍នេះវិញ ហើយទាស់នឹងអំណាចអាក្រក់ខាងវិញ្ញាណ នៅស្ថានដ៏ខ្ពស់ដែរ”
It has certainly been a busy week for us here in Cambodia. This past week (April 14-16) was Khmer New Year or “Chaul Chnam Thmey – ចូលឆ្នាំថ្មី” which literally means “enter the new year”. As many of you may have seen on Facebook, our family visited Siem Reap in order to get to know the city better before our move there in July. It also allowed us to take in some of the more classic New Year celebrations as Phnom Penh actually does not do a lot for New Years. Our kids truly made the most of their time in Siem Reap by taking part in what basically amounts to a city-wide water fight with a side of baby powder added to the mix. It certainly was a new way of celebrating New Years for our family. Aside from a 3-day holiday and city-wide water fights, another aspect of Khmer New Years that differs from our North American experience is that it is entrenched in religion and spirituality. The closest thing that we have in North America would be making New Year’s resolutions and trying to better ourselves.
The roots of the Khmer New Year’s celebrations are rooted in Brahaminism which is a branch of Hinduism. Today the celebrations are more tied in with Buddhism but with many of the older traditions carried forward and applied. For many Khmer people, the New Year’s celebrations involve offerings and visiting monks at the temples for blessings. For more information see https://bit.ly/2VWrKHy
It is on Cambodia holidays such as this one that we are reminded of why we are racking our brains every day, trying to learn a new language. Learning about how Chaul Chnam Thmey is celebrated also reiterated to us that topics about spirituality and the spiritual forces of good and evil are so much more apparent and real to those in Cambodia compared to those in North America. Please continue to pray for our team and our family as we know that our battle is not just against flesh and blood but also the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12). Pray as well for the people and the country of Cambodia that the light of the Risen Lord will shine brightly into every dark corner of this country.
Here in Cambodia, we quickly left the world of New Year’s on Tuesday and had to pull ourselves back to focusing upon the Easter weekend at hand. We say “had to” because to be honest, Easter caught our family off guard this year. It is not a widely celebrated holiday here in Cambodia. In fact, it is not a holiday at all and if you are not Christian or do not like Easter egg hunts, it is just another day. For the past 16 years as a pastoral family, Easter was always a big part of our rhythm of faith and church-life. But this year, as we celebrate our first Easter away from leading outreaches or preparing Easter sermons, our family had to really be intentional about stopping to reflect upon the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection. On Easter Sunday we attended a Khmer Church and though we didn’t understand everything, we understood enough to hear the pastor declare that Jesus is 100% man, 100% God and 100% risen. Jesus Christ died for the world and whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Because He lives, there is hope for every person who believes.
Too many people in Cambodia have not heard nor have accepted this Good News. Cambodia is still considered a least reached people group with under 2% of the population professing to be Evangelical believers. Soon our family will be working with the Vietnamese population in Siem Reap where the number of Evangelical believers is only 0.17%. That’s about 47 times less than in Canada. Please pray for our team, pray for the Cambodian church and pray for all those who yearn for more and more people in this country to declare faith in the Good News of Jesus’ death and resurrection.
He is Risen!!!
Thank you again for journeying with us!
David, Joyce, Jadon, Elisabeth and Josiah Nguyen