Presenting Christ to Cambodia

Dear prayer and mission co-workers,

We greet you in the precious name of Jesus our Lord, and also thank our Lord for being gracious to us during our long stay in Korea. Let us explain what has happened to us.

Back on April 23 we arrived in Korea for Lydia’s treatment. Due to the coronavirus crisis, all the schools in Cambodia have been suspended since the second week of March. At the same time, worship services and any group meetings in the church chapel were also prohibited. Instead we were allowed to have very quiet worship services at home or in small groups. There are police boxes (small stations) and a village office in front of the Gospel Church. The manager of this police box occasionally came to check the church, without notice, because he thought we would make a mistake and call students and church members to worship or gather for a meeting, which was banned by the government. He was very afraid of us coming in and out of the church in this village.

After we arrived in our home country of Korea, something amazing happened. The manager of that police station heard that we were staying in Korea. He contacted our church leadership and informed them that if only the church members from this village were gathering, they would be allowed to worship and use the chapel. Since that time, every Sunday worship and prayer meeting has been held in the chapel.

Upon hearing that news, we rejoiced for we know that this wonderful thing came alone from our gracious God. And because of this, we realized that extending our stay in Korea was beneficial to us and our Cambodian brothers and sisters in Christ.

So, we came to Korea back on April 23, quarantined for 14 days, and Lydia was immediately admitted to the Gospel Hospital to drain the fluid from her liver cystoma. However, two attempts to disinfect the cystomas failed. Lydia still had abdominal pain yet had to leave the hospital as they were unable to do anything further at that time.

Once released from the hospital, we tried to find a place to stay, praying to the Lord about our situation – it was difficult. In addition to that, the Cambodian government requires that everyone returning to make a deposit of US$3,000 to cover a quarantine period, an insurance certificate, a certificate that we have tested negative for the coronavirus, etc. These complicated demands made it more difficult for us. Yet, when we think about these difficult situations, we have come to believe that this is what God is giving us as a time of rest.

During our 20 years of ministry in the field, we did not have a sabbatical, and we could not.
Though we had a desire to do so, there was never an opportunity, and there was no one to take over the ministry during our absence before. It’s a difficult time when all doors are closed and all feet are tied due to the coronavirus crisis. Yet, God providentially provided Lydia with her pain, which has allowed both of us rest and healing. Our God is so wonderful.

Our two churches in Cambodia have established two leaders from the Bible seminary and three faithful brothers in the church to serve, so we are grateful that they are leading and looking over the Sunday services and prayer meetings. We believe that this opportunity is a precious one for the churches in our mission field to become self-reliant and trained.

In Cambodia, all schools are to be officially opened in November this year, and I believe that all churches will be allowed to return to worship on Sundays in the chapel. We pray that it will come true soon. Here in Busan, Korea, a local pastor gave us a room for free, so we are so grateful because the hospital is very close and the transportation is very convenient.

Many missionaries having returned home are also having difficulties in finding room to stay in Korea. We pray that the Lord will abundantly bless this local pastor and his family, as they have provided us with a room to live. We will stay in Busan until the end of August. On August 27th, Lydia will go to Gospel Hospital again to have a CT scan and check the condition of the fluid in her liver cystomas. Since last year, she has been suffering from pain in various parts of the body, even after the treatments.

Please pray that the pain will disappear and the fluid will not return. Please also pray for our bodies and spirits to be well rested and strong so that we can return to the field of Cambodia.

We sincerely thank all of you for helping and supporting.

In Christ,

Stephen and Lydia CHOI