Dear Prayer and Mission Co-workers,
We greet you in the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Since March of this year, the number of confirmed cases of those infected by the coronavirus had suddenly increased. Because of this, all schools and churches across the country have again been banned from holding classes, services, and gatherings; with curfews and inter-regional roads blocked. Due to the lockdown in the city of Phnom Penh, there were also many difficulties with the restrictions in the market places and residences. So, from then until now, we have had to continue with worship online.
The biggest hardship for us was that some of the brethren were weakened in their faith because of the ban on chapel worship and were not able to worship through the online services. Restrictions also kept us from the Gospel Church in the countryside, which could only hold prayer meetings at home. Miss BAN was able to lead the prayer meeting on Thursdays, with around five to six Gospel Church members.
Nowadays, the national road blockades between regions have been lifted, and access restrictions to the markets and the highly restricted Red Zone in Phnom Penh have also been lifted. Now people can come and go freely. Yet, the number of the confirmed coronavirus cases continues to increase in rural areas and other regions in the country.
The Cambodian government recommends that locals and foreigners be vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine from China. We received our vaccination at the end of May, because without a vaccination certificate the police would not permit us entry into the provinces.
We are thankful for the completion of the wall around the Living Water Church property. The primary construction of the chapel in Dang-dong, including moving the soil and the access road is underway. There is still work to put iron fences on the wall and to build and install the two gates. As the rainy season begins, we trust to finish the first part of the work during June. We are entrusting this project to the Iron Works Company of Brother Sokhom, a member of the church. He and his company will soon move to building the chapel itself.
The Sokhoms have been a very faithful couple, serving and looking after the church like the New Testament Aquila and Priscilla. We believe that the Lord has called and prepared this couple for this weak church, and for us.
We will design the church building in the future and submit the documents to the local government for approval. The Living Water design is for a building that is suitable for rural Cambodia,
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which is different from the Glory and Gospel churches. The difference is basically because is difficult to get help, so we need to reduce the cost. The church site is about 5,600 square meters, and we plan to build a playground and plant fruit trees on half of the space left.
In thinking about the size and importance of this project, all the things that God has entrusted us with at this time, and all that is in the future; to raise up a church under His guidance is to trust in Him alone. In fact, because we do not have ingenuity, strength, or knowledge to do any of these works, it must be Him alone – to God’s glory.
When we were unable to go to Dang dong because the roads were closed off, Miss BAN and her students of the Gospel Church shared the Gospel and the love of Christ to the children there once a week. We are grateful and believe that all these things are the grace of the Lord. She is still our most valuable worker. She is like Timothy to the Paul, she is always laboring hard with us.
Since she had been in her first year of high school, we have known her and worked together with her. She enrolled in a class we taught at Glory Church to learn Chinese. She then attended and graduated from the general university, a local Bible seminary, and has served as a Sunday School, kindergarten and youth teacher, a church administration manager, and a Chinese sermon interpreter. Miss BAN is particularly honest and accurate in accounting, so that no matter what we entrust her with, she tries to do it all as unto the Lord. It is a special blessing from God to have her as a sister-in-Christ.
Up to this very day, there have been many conflicts and trials, yet innumerable prayers have gone between her and us. If we had not prayed with each other, or had not held on to the Word, we would all have failed each other. We are so grateful for her spiritual growth. God has transformed her (and us). So, God is due all the glory in these things. Please keep praying so that she and we will always work together and walk on the same path of serving the Lord, with gratitude and joy.
Lydia lives by God’s grace day by day. Unfortunately, she still has pain in the liver and the surrounding area. But she appreciates being able to persevere with the pain and move around better than before. In that she cannot go to Korea during such a difficult time, she always prays and lives by the grace of the Lord.
Please pray with us for the following:
1. That the number of coronavirus cases in Cambodia will decrease and that the Lord’s Day worship and prayer meetings return to normal.
2. That the brethren would obey the Word of the Lord and to keep their faith in Him.
3. The Living Water Church construction will continue, by God’s grace, and that there will be volunteers to work.
4. May Lydia’s body be healthy, so that she can handle even small things with joy.
5. May Pastor Stephen preach the Word well and be strengthened in the spirit and body.
We pray for you all that our God may bless you abundantly, especially in this coronavirus season.
Stephen and Lydia CHOI