5Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight
As we were thinking of all the things that have happened over these last months and trying to think of how to update everyone on the happenings here in our life and ministry, Dave caught himself humming “In His Time, In His time. He makes all things beautiful in His time…” Indeed, God makes all things beautiful in His time. God’s timing may not be our timing, but it is the best timing. Even now, as we type up this update, we are sitting in a hotel room, in Battambang, which is 3 hours away from Siem Reap. We originally came to Battambang April 5th for a 4-day visit while Dave had appointments with doctors here, but our stay has unexpectedly been extended to 16 days (hopefully not more) due to country wide travel bans.
So here goes our attempt at running down a very eventful few months for us.
Firstly, thanks be to God our Healer! For those of you who have not been following on Facebook, back at the end of January, Dave accidently cut his left pinky finger on a broken dish. The finger was quickly stitched up at the hospital that night but unfortunately they failed to diagnose that Dave had also cut his tendon which led to further complications later on. At the beginning of March, Dave ended up fully rupturing his tendon in the same pinky finger when he tried to open a jar of chili peppers. This resulted in travelling to Battambang for emergency surgery that was not available in our province and as well as many follow up appointments in Battambang. Today, 6 weeks after the surgery, Dave’s tendon is healing well but there is still a long process ahead of therapy to regain strength and hopefully full mobility. Please continue to pray for complete healing.
We write this at the end of Khmer New Year celebrations. It is our second Khmer New Year during this pandemic. While Christmas and Easter are not really celebrated in Cambodia, Khmer New Year is the most celebrated time of the year for Cambodians. It is a time where people would typically go back to their hometowns to be with family and celebrate together. Businesses are often shut down for up to two weeks to allow for rest and recreation. Today, we look outside the window and businesses are shut down, but not mainly for the reason of celebrations. Up until Feb 20, 2021, Cambodia had done an amazing job at responding to Covid with fewer than 600 cumulative cases in total. But due to some people who had escaped quarantine and infected others, that number has jumped to over 5000 in just 2 months. This most recent COVID-19 outbreak has already had tremendous effects upon this country with many cities going on lockdown and businesses being forced to shut. The government is trying very hard to vaccinate the population as best as possible with the limited number of vaccines at hand. It seems, as though, every day new measures are being announced and cases are being detected in new communities. Please continue to pray for the government and the people of Cambodia in these next very important months of battling this latest Covid-19 outbreak. Pray as well that during these trying times, believers will lean upon God and those who do not yet believe will be drawn to the message of hope found in Jesus Christ.
Finally, our last part of this update focuses on a big shift in ministry for us. Earlier in January, we were asked to prayerfully consider a move from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh. After much prayer and discussions, the decision was made with our family to make this move around July 1, after the kids finish school. We will still be working among the Vietnamese in Cambodia, who are the largest unreached people group in Cambodia with about 800,000-1,000,000 people (for more information: https://joshuaproject.net/people_groups/12700/CB.) We are excited to be partnering with other C&MA workers from the US and Australia to walk alongside Vietnamese leaders in Phnom Penh in hopes of seeing them lead the charge of reaching the Vietnamese all over Cambodia. Our team firmly believes that the key to reaching the Vietnamese in Cambodia is not us, the foreign missionaries, but the Vietnamese locals who live here. There are a number of Vietnamese Alliance churches in Phnom Penh (Hội Thánh Tinh Lành Hy Vọng a.k.a. Hope Churches) with a few pastors and leaders who are leading them. Our main role will be partnering with and working alongside these pastors and leaders. Our hope is that in partnering with them, which means building relationship with them, walking alongside them, supporting and encouraging them, they will be even more empowered to be God’s light and love to the rest of the Vietnamese in this country. We believe that locally empowered leadership who are discipling and empowering others, will make a greater impact in reaching the Vietnamese population in Cambodia than we ever could. But there is much foundational work before we get to this place as we need to get to know them better personally first. Please pray for our relationship with them over this next year.
This upcoming move comes with it some sadness as well for us as we have built up some great relationships in Siem Reap. We have made some good friends in this city. We have come to love the people we minister to and while we will not be totally disconnected from the work in Siem Reap, we will certainly miss seeing the people each week. Our children are very sad to leave Siem Reap and move back to Phnom Penh but we thank God that He has given them the ability to see the importance of this move for our family.
Please pray for this transition. Pray for the ongoing plans for the continued work in Siem Reap. Pray for Kevin and Carol who will stay in Siem Reap to continue the work. Our focus still remains with discipleship and raising up the leaders we have identified previously. Pray for the believers that they will have a heart to seek after God and deepen their relationship with Him.
Pray for all the details of our move. We had planned to go to Phnom Penh to look for housing in May but are unsure now with the closure of roads and lockdowns in place. Pray for our children, that we have the wisdom to walk with them through yet another move and transition in their lives. Pray for their last 8 weeks of school which will mostly likely continue to be online.
And please pray for us as we hope to attempt to go home to Siem Reap on April 21st when inter-provincial travel is supposed to be open again.
Dave, Joyce, Jadon, Elisabeth and Josiah
Excited to receive a care package from supporting churches in Canada. The ever so coveted Coffee Crisp arrived only partially melted 🙂
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