Duty Calls (Cross-Country Motorbike Evangelism Cambodia)

“…how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?”   Romans 10:14

“…when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” Luke 17:10

Praise the Lord!

Why I Am Getting Covid Vaccinated

Jab 1 of 2, Sinopharm

Disclaimer: This is not an effort to convince anyone to get vaccinated, only an expression of my personal convictions.

July of 2021, vaccines made it to our town in Cambodia, available (and free) to foreigners. Chinese-produced Sinopharm was the option. Beggars can’t be choosers; I was thankful to get a vaccine.

Unexpected byproduct of the shot: I stood up and went on a five-minute rant in full-blown Mandarin Chinese. A bystander was able to translate, said that I dedicated my life to the Chinese Communist Party in honor of the late Chairman Mao Zedong. It was the strangest thing! Just kidding. Like many, I felt tired and had a headache for a couple of days.

In the spirit of cost-benefit analysis, here are my convictions regarding why I opted to vaccinate:

  1. Refusing vaccination negatively impacts evangelism. COVID has thrown a wet blanket on face-to-face evangelism. Because one of the first major outbreaks in Cambodia came through delegates visiting from Hungary, some tend to distance themselves from a Westerner who wants to have an extended conversation. ‘Your country has a lot of COVID, right? When was the last time you were in your country? You get vaccine yet??’ (steps back)
  2. Refusing vaccination negatively impacts discipleship. A Christian’s choices reflect Christ to unbelievers. For example, we have a youth ministry in a nation that is 95%+ Buddhist. The community examines what Christians do – ex. putting their kids and by extension, families at risk for COVID. Trying to prove some political or fear-based conspiracy theory across a cultural and spiritual divide would likely be viewed as selfishness and significantly distract from the gospel.
  3. What about Pfizer or another non-Chinese vaccine? Traveling abroad to get shots (2-week quarantine, then jab #1 + 2-4 weeks wait for jab #2, the Visa process during Covid, etc.) would be a difficult, costly undertaking.
  4. Conspiracy theories. Earlier in my walk, the enemy was successful at convincing me of a variety of conspiracy theories. He used them to manipulate and make a fool of me… and by extension, the message I am called to preach (John 10:10; Eph 6:12; 1 Pet 5:8). Though I certainly do not trust the world system (2 Cor 4:4), most notably China, I try to err on the side of Scripture, caution and reason when it comes to conspiracy theories. Granted, this COVID situation has been a foreshadowing of what is to come. But unless it matches what the Bible says about the mark of the beast, then it’s not the mark of the beast (Rev 13:16-18). Irrational fear proves the Christian is not really trusting the Lord (2 Tim 1:7).
  5. Follow the Lord or His wayward bride? At 43 years old, I should have by now outgrown peer pressure. The church is essential for worship, fellowship and growth. We are commanded to worship together (Heb 10:25). Having learned the hard way, I am thoroughly convinced that we cannot allow our relationship with the church to replace or supersede our personal relationship with Christ. The Lord put church leaders in charge. We are to submit to their authority (Heb 13:17), as long as their directives align with the inspired, inerrant Word of God (Acts 5:27-29; 2 Tim 3:16); Acts 17:11). As Paul prophesied, in these last days, many foundational doctrines, designed to protect us, have been exchanged for fables that appease popular culture (2 Tim 4:3-5; Rev 3:20). Running in fear of the full counsel of God, she fights useless distractions. Please God, not the world or His wayward bride (Gal 1:10; 2 Tim 2:4).
  6. Can world governments kill me? When a Christian gives his life to Christ, he gives his life to Christ (Phil 1:21). I am ready to go. A pastor once preached that the Lord will not take a man until his work on earth is finished (Jer 29:11; John 17:4). In my past life, I ingested enough toxins to kill a herd of cattle. By His grace, I am still here and saved… not to sit wondering why but to seek Him (Heb 11:6) and carry out assigned duties (Rom 10:14, 1:16; Eph 2:10). The Lord has a plan for me (and you), and I trust that I (we) will be here until He is finished using me (us). The Lord has guided me around a lot of dangerous situations. Making this decision prayerfully, I trust that He would have halted it, if it were not His will.

We certainly live in the last days: “…the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Matthew 24:3-8

Any of us could die at any moment. CLICK HERE to find out how you can know enduring peace, God’s purpose for your life and be sure you will go to heaven when your brief time on earth is up.

The Lord is… longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

Praise the Lord for salvation by God’s undeserved grace alone through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone!

“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Hebrews 10:38

2020 Ministry Recap

Prayer Partners:

Thank you for your faithful support!

2020 was tough. We trust that one day we will look at Covid in the rearview mirror. But through it, the Lord reminded that suffering yields gratefulness for blessings big and small. Even the most bitter of unbelievers will have a testimony of thankfulness for simple things that we all previously took for granted – such as eating in a restaurant with family.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4

2020 began with a much longer-than-expected stay in the U.S. The Lord used it. Many believe that they were born “gay”. Fighting back lies with truth, getting ex-gay testimony out there is vital. To recap highlights:

My testimony is not about me. It’s about what the Lord did for me, that He can do the same for anyone who is willing to repent and fight to follow.

The Lord Jesus Christ is truly “The God of the Impossible”.

“With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”   Matthew 19:26

Click here to read more about 2020 U.S. ministry.


In late October, we arrived in Cambodia and hopped back into the saddle. Highlights:

Evangelism with a Focus on Reaching the LGBT:

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”   Mark 16:15

“Long time, no see!” gave way to opportunity. Two men came to church with us.

Sharing Ex-gay Testimony in Cambodian Churches & Schools:
Before Christmas, I was honored to shared at a Bible school. Click below for video excerpts:
I shared, and we sang at another church in the capital city this past Sunday. Five more churches are on deck. Praise the Lord!

“Satan, which deceiveth the whole world… And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Revelation 12:9-11

Teaching Neighborhood Children:
Against much opposition from culture and family, our neighborhood students are growing and did an excellent job again this year performing in church. Praise the Lord!

Click here for more Christmas Ministry photos.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”   Proverbs 22:6

At 6pm that same evening, the students and their families joined us for Christmas dinner at a Korean restaurant.

Similar to last Christmas, the gospel – including the Second Coming of Christ – was shared prior to asking the blessing. Tracts were made available.

Buddhism focuses on “being a good person” / doing good. It can appear that the Christian is likewise “just trying to be a good person”. This confusion leads people to believe that “All religions are basically the same” and steers them around the cross to everlasting damnation. With unbelieving parents in attendance, my wife suggested that I use this occasion to clarify.

“…seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” 1 Timothy 4:1

“For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” Mark 7:8

So I worked with our Cambodian language teacher to get the proper words necessary to convey that message clearly. I shared that we do not “do good” because we are trying to “be good people” but because we want to point them to the Lord Jesus Christ – the only One who can save them… so that they will be ready to meet Him when they die. Click below for video excerpts:

Much thanks to Aunt Bobbie who contributed to bless the kids and their families for Christmas, 2020 & 2019.

Praise the Lord!

Ways to Partner with Us:
1. Pray for:
– Conviction, eyes to see and ears to hear for the LGBT.

– Revival for the U.S. – that we would stand for all timeless, Bible truth in these days no matter what the cost.
– Spiritual fruit from U.S. church engagements.
– Open hearts & spiritual fruit here in Southeast Asia.
– Stand with us in prayer for the promised son.
– Financial support to keep us in the field doing what I am called to do.

2. Click Here to Donate via PayPal (tax deductible)!

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

And Thank You for your support!

USA Ministry Update

Prayer Partners:

Thank you for your support. Our Visa applications were approved, and we passed our Covid tests. After 10 months back in Pennsylvania, we headed out to return to Cambodia. Praise the Lord!

In spite of Covid season, through this extended homestay, the Lord opened doors. We were blessed to serve 23 churches and 1 school through sharing ex-gay testimony and being a resource. Dad & Mom also shared perspective as parents of an ex-gay prodigal at many of the churches. Praise the Lord!

Click Here to view “Serving Churches USA 2020” photos.

There is a way out of a gay lifestyle for those who are willing to turn away from following their deceitful hearts to follow Christ. Must be born again. Praise the Lord!

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. AND SUCH WERE SOME OF YOU, BUT you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

To pastors & churches who welcomed us: Thank you for standing with us on difficult Bible truth in these last days!

We came home for Christmas 2019. Little did we know we would still be here 10 months later. The Lord has a way of bringing good out of challenges.

“My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” James 1:2-4

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33

2 Ways to Help:

  1. Pray for:
  • Conviction, eyes to see and ears to hear for the LGBT+.
  • Revival for the U.S. – that we would stand for all timeless, Bible truth in these days no matter what the cost.
  • Spiritual fruit from U.S. church engagements.
  • Financial support from U.S. church engagements.
  • Financial provision for a much-needed truck.
  • Smooth-as-possible transition back to Cambodia.
  • Open hearts & spiritual fruit in Southeast Asia.
  • Stand with us in prayer for the promised son.

2. Click Here to Donate to either fund via PayPal (both tax deductible)!

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

And Thank You for your support!

Matt & Rebekah Honored to Share “Ex-Gay” Testimony & Song in U.S. Churches

Matt & Rebekah, now home in Pennsylvania, would appreciate the privilege to share “ex-gay” testimony & song at your church.

Please reach out to matthew.karchner@castawayministries.org

Past & Scheduled Future Sunday Mornings:

Praise the Lord!

If you are in the area, please join us!

2019 Ministry Wrap-up

Prayer Partners:

Thank you for your faithful support.

Patience is key to evangelism. While building and fostering relationships, we prayerfully seek opportunities to reiterate the gospel message.

Christmas is not widely celebrated in Cambodia. In recent years, globalization (i.e. movies, tourism) has made Cambodians more aware of what goes on in other countries. Although the true meaning of Christmas is not widely known, the whimsical happiness associated with the holiday is embraced.

Through this fascination with Christmas, the Lord opens doors to share and reiterate the gospel. Equipped with Christmas tracts in Cambodian language, the Lord led back to each of the primary contacts made through “street ministry”.

For Christmas…
Students and their immediate families were invited to a buffet dinner. We thanked the Lord Jesus together in prayer- for the food, for coming to die on the cross for our sins…

Each who would receive was given a tract with the gospel in Cambodian language.
Students were given a spending limit and allowed to purchase needed items for school.
Faithful soldiers were given their own Bibles (Cambodian & English language side by side).

Praise the Lord!
Thank you to my Aunt Bobbie for the donation!

The primary purposes of this ministry are to evangelize unbelievers and disciple those who repent and give their lives to Christ. The Lord promises to meet the needs of His people.

Ability to speak clear English empowers a student to get a job in the more lucrative tourist sector. Students with zero initial English knowledge at the beginning of the year can now read and speak some basics.

A number in this small group have prayed to repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Praise the Lord!

There is a lot of pressure to turn back and to conform to culture. Please pray for these kids.

Lord-Willing Plans:
We continue to trust the Lord for a school / ministry center. Recently we have looked into the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE- School of Tomorrow) curriculum.

Financial Needs:
1) Truck- for everything from taking kids to church to getting groceries.
At the moment, we have a scooter (motorbike). My wife is not able to drive it. While long trips can be an adventure for me, 3+ hours on the back of a motorbike is a lot to ask of my wife.
2) Healthcare- We have been without insurance for two years.
3) Living Expenses- We are currently 50% funded in terms of daily living and ministry expenses.

Serving the Church:
Suicide within church communities is becoming increasingly common.

I remember being a terrified 14-year old boy with a strange desire hidden within the congregation. Through testimony & song to encourage and what the Bible says about this struggle for clarity and conviction, we strive to be a resource for those who struggle and their loved ones.

In 2019, we were privileged to share “ex-gay” testimony & song within Christian establishments in Cambodia such as: International Baptist Church of Siem Reap, Bible Baptist Church Russey Keo in Phnom Penh and Shade of Grace School in Battambang.

Through April 2020 (Lord willing), we are in the United States sharing in churches.

(Revision: Covid-related travel restrictions actually kept us in the U.S. until October of 2020.)

We would be honored to share “ex-gay” testimony & song at your church.

Please email matthew.karchner@castawayministries.org for more information.

Year-End 2018 Ministry Update

Prayer Partners:

Thank you for your faithful support. 2018 was an interesting year.

As much as we have tried to focus primarily on evangelizing LGBT+ adults, the Lord seems to redirect us to children’s ministries. Although baffling at first, we now view children’s ministries as early stage prevention.

The Lord is the driver. Summarizing what we see in the rear view mirror and telling you what we think we see ahead, this update is written from a passenger’s perspective.

Rebekah and I are back in Cambodia, where I was originally called. Praise the Lord.

We were saddened by the loss of Rebekah’s mother but rejoice in her legacy. She stood for Christ against fierce opposition and raised three children in the Lord.

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If terms of time investment, teaching was 2018’s primary ministry focus. A number of students prayed to receive Christ. Born into deeply rooted Buddhist homes, they have uphill battles ahead of them. Children’s Bible storybooks were given to those who showed genuine interest in going forward to serve the Lord. Please pray that no weapon formed against these kids would prosper, that they would fight to follow and grow up to be bold witnesses.

“But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’” – Matthew 19:14

Sometimes we feel like we have not had time to do much intentional in-person witnessing to those who struggle with same-sex attraction and gender identity. About that time, we go to the market and end up sharing with a someone who identifies as transgender or go to get a haircut and end up sharing Christ with a same-sex couple. The Lord leads.

During teaching breaks, we continued to explore our region and witnessed along the way.

“And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’” – Mark 16:15

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Encountered Yamu on the street, a homeless man with fresh head wounds from an accident. Took him to the hospital. Met basic needs. Shared the gospel and connected him with the local church. Pray for Yamu.

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Sharing Christ with young people in a restaurant in Kandal Province.

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Shared Christ with young men while on a missional adventure in Preah Vihear Province. Have you shared the gospel with someone this week?

“For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.” – 1 Corinthians 9:16

A doctoral candidate at a Christian university in the U.S. included our testimony as part of her research for a thesis advocating repentance and following Christ as a healthy alternative to a homosexual lifestyle. We are thankful to be counted as soldiers in this war. Are you?

Online we continue to post Scripture, typically daily in English and weekly in several other languages. Men who struggle with same-sex attraction continue to reach out for encouragement toward following Christ.

Though we were not able to get home to the U.S. or Philippines for Christmas, we returned to my former home in Kandal Province. We sang, “God, Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen” as a family at Mercy Baptist Church.

On your behalf, we took Christmas gifts to the kids that I used to teach on the porch. Rebekah picked out ‘sport shirt and shorts’ sets and wrapped each with a tract inside. Some were given Bible storybooks. They were thrilled. Thank you for your support!

Quick to scurry off, the kids were encouraged to hunker down to pray and thank Jesus. Anticipating that none of them would be there when I looked up, I was overjoyed to see them all knelt down. It was another unforgettable moment in Christ.

The Lord delivered me from a life of guttural sin. Like the commission of the demon possessed man, my primary ministry goal has been to witness for Him wherever I go.

“(Jesus)…said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.” – Mark 5:19-20

Nothing is more important than sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Across Asia, we were blessed with opportunities to share in churches. I share, and then typically my wife and I sing. Upon request, we have offered guidance to church leaders in evangelizing the LGBT+. We strive to lead by example in sharing the gospel- including the requirement for repentance and warning of coming judgment.

“For I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” – Acts 20:27

“But my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” – Hebrews 10:38-39

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An evening of witnessing to transgender prostitutes in Kathmandu with Pastor Gyan

At our home base in Siem Reap, we have been blessed with opportunities to serve under Independent Baptist Church of Siem Reap (a largely Filipino church that preaches in English and also has a Cambodian service) and Siem Reap Ministry (a primarily Cambodian church). We admire Pastor Joel Madlangawa at IBCSR for his sound doctrine and courage; and Pastor Tieng Tan at SRM for his humility and perseverance in sharing the gospel.

At the end of nearly a year at Westgate International School in Siem Reap, I chose to resign after being reprimanded for Christian teaching and giving children’s Bible storybooks (which were confiscated from many of the children).

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” – Matthew 6:24

The Lord provides. We have looked into several options, such as running a guesthouse with space for teaching and an outreach in the countryside. Please pray toward this.

A missionary on our first short term mission to Cambodia in 2010 shared, ‘English is the best way to get the gospel through. Everybody wants to learn English.’ Recently we began teaching about Jesus and English in our neighborhood.

In looking toward a more established ministry center, we have begun talks with local pastors, missionaries and folks who have embarked down similar paths. Most began with a small school or education center which culminated in a church plant.

Please continue to pray for us as we trust the Lord for the son that He promised eight years ago.

Praise the Lord for all He has done and continues to do as we fight to follow down this narrow, difficult path that leads to eternal life! May the Lord bless you for your support!

Contend for the faith!

Victory and Peace in Christ,

Matthew & Rebekah Karchner
castawayministries.org

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”- Philippians 4:13

Apart from Him, I can do nothing. (John 15:5)

2017 Report & 2018 Lord Willing Plans

Hello, Missions Partners:

Thank you for your prayer and financial support. We are especially thankful for the Lord’s leading.

2017 Highlights

  • Evangelism Results: In response to sharing the gospel in Myanmar and Cambodia churches, a number of people prayed to receive Christ. Through street evangelism, 7 people prayed to repent and give their lives to Christ. Praise the Lord!
  • Evangelism Where?: In person, the gospel was shared in 7 countries- U.S., Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore. Using online avenues, the gospel has been shared in many more.

  • Evangelism in Person- How Many?: Goal is to share Christ with at least one individual each day on average. Recently keeping statistics, I am confident that the 365-person minimum has far been exceeded. Praise the Lord!
  • Online Ministry- What Are You Doing?: Daily we have been posting Scripture with a photo (usually corresponds in some way to the text). When time permits, we have posted the same Scripture in up to 10 languages matching the people we have befriended through local evangelism and regional missions. Recently, as the Lord led, we began sending the same passage via private message to 20+. Partnering with other ministries and on our own site, we have posted brief teachings, ex-gay tips and testimonies (ex. video testimony in 5 languages). These have yielded opportunities. Folks from around the world have reached out for encouragement. As we share testimonies, blessings go both ways. Praise the Lord.
  • Stop Beating Up the Broken Campaign: These are testimony-sharing church visits designed to build compassion for the broken through awareness of the struggle. Where there is opportunity, Rebekah and I also typically sing.

 

Examples of how the Lord works when least expected: Street evangelism and testimony sharing at churches can coordinated in tandem. Working within very hospitable cultures with less emphasis on advanced planning, we find that sometimes it is best to prayerfully show up on a Sunday morning. One weekend, we attended Rebekah’s friend’s wedding, researched local churches for where to go the next morning. After Sunday service, we were introduced to a young lady who struggles with same-sex attraction and gender identity and a church that loves her but did not know how to approach it.

Over Christmas, Aunt Bobbie was here. After setting up a tent in a campground, we left and came back to find that someone had pitched tents remarkably close to ours… making conversation inevitable. We made friends and shared testimony. Moments before departure the next morning, another young lady who struggled with gender identity joined their group. Quietly during goodbyes, there was an opportunity to share with her.

  • Board Meeting: While home in July, we held our annual board meeting. Pastor Osterhout of First Baptist in Curwensville, Camerly Abajian and Joshua Maines were added to our board in 2017.

Christmas 2017

  • Christmas Choir: We were blessed to sing with Bangjak Baptist Christmas choir for the Christmas service and at two local malls as outreach.
  • Christmas Album: We recorded a Christmas album. Thank you to all who purchased it.
  • Christmas Giving: Focused on street ministry and refugees:

o 70+ individuals- primarily people we have met through street evangelism who struggle with same-sex attraction and/or gender identity.

o 3 Christian refugee families who have suffered persecution for their faith. These folks are an inspiration.

Lord Willing 2018 Plans:

  • Establish a ministry center readily accessible from red light districts where we can have Bible studies.
  • Lead the willing through the same steps through which the Lord led me in order to break old-life habits and establish new identity in Christ.
  • Take bigger strides in the “Stop Beating Up the Broken” Campaign. Share testimony in more churches, focusing on areas known to have an LGBT community.
  • Streamline online processes- daily Scripture posting, blog writing, discussion items within our support group.

The Lord is faithful. Praise God for all that He has done and for all that He continues to do as we trust Him.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Please Pray for:

  • Conviction for the global LGBT+ community.
  • Awakening in Southeast Asia.
  • The Lord’s grace and mercy for us.
  • The Lord’s provision.

Questions for You:

  • As we embark on a fresh start, we welcome your feedback. What do you suggest that we do differently in 2018?
  • Do you know of a church that may consider supporting our mission? If so, please reply with contact info so that we can reach out while planning church visits.
  • We are looking for volunteers to help with online ministry (ex. video editing, Scripture posts, providing feedback toward improving our facebook page and web site). If you are interested, please reply with availability.

Please click here to financially support Castaway Ministries.