|Due to the sensitive nature of this ministry, we typically do not post detailed updates in public forums. Below is January’s update with some details and photos removed.|
Thank you for your support!
This month, the Lord provided two case-in-point stories that illustrate Castaway’s unique challenges.
Story #1: LGBT Evangelism:
Remember the three men who identify as transgender in the rural salon? The youngest used to lead worship but says he stopped attending church because he got busy. There may be more to the story.
At Christmas, he asked for a Bible. We walked through passages together. He has been active in our Facebook Khmer Bible group, reacting to Scripture almost daily. The oldest of this trio greatly influences the other two. On the way there three days ago, I prayed that he would be singled out.
The Lord answered prayer – singled out and not busy – very unusual. We went through the gospel and read Scripture out loud again.
My primary aim was to nudge him back into worship. I said, ‘If I truly believe in Jesus, I will join church every Sunday.’ He nodded. I asked if there is a church nearby and asked how to get there. He pointed in the direction of one about a mile away. I said, ‘If I made a decision to follow Jesus and did not follow, I can ask for forgiveness and start over.’ I asked him if he wanted to make a decision to start following Jesus. He said, ‘Yes.’ He followed me in a prayer of re-dedication.
Then came a sad reality. While asking directions to the church at a corner store, the pastor pulled up. I followed him there.
Even after sharing my testimony, he seemed to welcome me with open arms. In the U.S., not all do. But to him, I represent the richest nation on earth. He pointed out needs the church had, his lack of help and pictures of Americans who have donated and served.
I told him my concern is for helping the LGBTQ follow Christ. When asked if he knew the salon worker, he said he did. I asked him to go with me (less than a mile away) to encourage him to come to church. Pastor remembered how busy he is and couldn’t spare five minutes.
This is not a Cambodia-specific problem. With no political correctness movement to hide behind and probably with good reason in some cases, pastors here openly bully the LGBTQ. Called to stand in the gap, I am praying for wisdom. Please pray for a solution around the salon worker and the global issue this situation puts on display.
“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Galatians 6:7-8
Story #2: Evangelistic Mission to a Remote Province:
This was my 3rd trip to this province (556 miles roundtrip, according to GPS). 1st trip, roughly 4 years ago, I met a young boy with his dad in a poor fishing village (houses suspended above the ocean on stilts). 2nd trip about 2 years ago, I went to their house only to find that the dad had died of alcohol-related ailments. I cried, while his widow and son sat there dry-eyed as if to say, ‘You only met him once.’ I could have been that guy… but God. The Lord gave a heart for the boy.
Through a soccer ball purchase, the Lord led to a seller who identifies as gay. 1st trip, I also met the village’s barber who also identifies as gay. Both responded to the gospel much better the 3rd visit than the 1st or 2nd encounter with a total stranger sharing an outlandish story about a foreign God. It’s all about building trust. I prayed with both. Praise the Lord.
The boy’s name is ‘Big’. His younger brother is named ‘Small’. With exposure to the gospel but no church in the area, the mother figured she’d just go to the local pagoda and worship whatever gods. We walked through the gospel (2x with the kids), clarified Exodus 20:3-6 and prayed the sinner’s prayer for all interested in giving their lives to Christ. Praise the Lord!
Leaving Big’s house, a man’s voice shouted at me from an apparent woman’s body – a “ladyboy”. Sex workers tend to relate to my humiliating testimony and return the favor with refreshing honesty. He asked many questions. We talked for about an hour, and he asked me to return later.
We ate and talked for a long time. He ended by saying he is young and not yet ready to give his life to Christ. I warned that he could die tomorrow. Without Christ, he would spend eternity in hell. He said, ‘Some day, I will probably call you and say, ‘I’m ready.”
Will Big’s family realistically succeed in following Christ without attending church? Probably not. Asking around, I located what appears to be the only church within reach.
The gate was ajar. I shouted inside to no avail. Hearing noise, I walked near the sanctuary (open air) to a side room. A man came out, encouraged the dog to attack, grabbed a Judo stick and came after me shouting. Backing up, I yelled, ‘Jesus! (making a cross with my fingers, pointing up) I am a missionary! Jesus! Jesus!’ He continued at me, flanking me through the sanctuary with his Judo stick. My heart sank. Is this where we are as a church? What???!!!
Bear in mind that I was there to find a place of worship for a fatherless child. When I turned around and started recording the pastor, he calmed down a bit. I walked out.
“…as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40
Neighborhood Children’s Ministry:
One of our kids has been “seeing ghosts”. Demonic encounters are common here. Satan terrorizes to steal worship from the Lord and drive those of weak faith back to Satan worship (Buddhism’s teaching that if evil spirits are not appeased through sacrifice and worship, they will curse – e.g. illness, “bad luck”). Click here for last Sunday’s spiritual warfare message.
These first few weeks back in school, they have been trained, equipped with a gospel tract and challenged to share with a friend.
“…rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20
Reaching Cambodia with the Gospel:
The gospel message in Khmer language has been posted on Youtube and Facebook for a few weeks. Promoted to a broader Cambodian audience than would normally follow our ministry, it has been viewed over 450 times. Some have reached out with Bible questions. Praise the Lord!
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3
Rick & Carole, Parents of a Gay Prodigal:
Reflecting on their handling of my “coming out”, Dad advised regarding, “How to Fight a War Like This”. Mom provided insight from the perspective of a loving mother forced to choose between her son and God’s inerrant Word. Click here to listen (35 mins)
“Abraham… took the knife… the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven… Lay not thine hand upon the lad… for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” Genesis 22:10-12
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Ways to Partner:
1. Pray for:
– Conviction, eyes to see and ears to hear for the LGBT.
– That seeds would bear fruit, that the Lord would raise up Cambodian evangelists.
– Revival for the U.S. church – that we would stand for difficult truth in these days no matter what the cost.
– Pray for our marriage and the promised son.
– Financial support to keep me in the field doing what I am called to do.
2. Click to Donate via PayPal (tax deductible)!
Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!
And Thank You for your support!