“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
Praise the Lord.
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15
Praise the Lord.
“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalms 119:105
Bible Baptist Church Russey Keo; Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Praise the Lord!
“Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” – Jude 3-4
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” – 2 Timothy 4:3-4
The Scripture above is unsettling. What should I do?
“As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” – 2 Timothy 4:5
Do you remember the scene from “Jaws” where father and son were sitting at the kitchen table and the son copied the actions of the father? As the old adage goes, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”
When we stand for Christ in our community, the neighbors start watching our actions. Testimony is vitally important. Satan is always trying to shoot holes through it- to point out our shortcomings, to give people an excuse not to believe in Christ.
The West has greater responsibility than we realize. As the East develops, it mimics the West. For example, many in Southeast Asia see our actions on media and copy.
We were recently asked if Christmas is celebrated or even acknowledged in Cambodia / Thailand. Even at a Chinese restaurant in America, you might see a Christmas decoration on the wall and wonder why it is still hanging in June. Generally speaking, many associate Christmas with happiness. Happiness is endorsed. And many identify something that comes from the West as cool.
Like many Americans, many Cambodians also do not have a problem agreeing that, “Jesus is good!” People typically do not even rebuttal the deity of Christ. Then again, even the word for the sun comes with “Preah” before it, which means god. Adding Christ to a multitude of other gods who are worshiped is not a problem. Rejection of the gospel comes at the point where we assert that Jesus is the ONE true God and the ONLY way to heaven (the “exclusivity” of Christ).
Imitation of the West is not limited to popular culture. The church of the East also follows the church of the West. The fall of the American church is having a much greater impact than many of us realize. The world is watching. Since the gospel in recent generations came to much of the world through American missionaries, the tendency is to continue to trust / listen-without-filter whatever is broadcast through that same pipeline today. American false teachers, especially those with a large following, are quickly endorsed.
False teachings manufactured in the West are adopted in the younger, quick-to-follow-without-filtering church of the East. Survival of your brothers and sisters overseas depends in part on what you say and do.
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” – Hosea 4:6
Wherever we are, we must be like the Bereans and compare what we are being taught against the inspired Word of God.
“Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” Acts 17:11
Praise the Lord for His Word.
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105
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.
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
“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
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
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”- Philippians 4:13
Apart from Him, I can do nothing. (John 15:5)
Thank you for praying. Bus ride from Bangkok, Thailand to Phnom Penh, Cambodia took well over 20 hours due to a delay and re-route, then about 15 hours to return. Time with church family was wonderful. Although I got sick, the Lord provided strength to push through. We had a blessed mission. Praise the Lord.
We visited the rural village where I lived before moving to Bangkok 5 months ago. Walking from house to house, we gathered kids who regularly attended class on the porch. With most grouped together sort of in a line, I chatted them up and asked one by one if any was still reading the Bible every day. From left to right- ‘Otey. Otey. Otey…’ (No, No, No…). Humble and shy, the last boy uttered- ‘Baht’ (Yes) and looked down.
This is one of the Lord’s cinematic moments. Why was it the last child in the line who said Yes when all of the others said No?
Brothers and sisters, think of this as a case study. Imagine that you have 6 months to build relationships in a village, share the gospel and win souls for Christ. Many pray to accept Jesus. Who will actually follow?
On the surface, all of the children appear to be the same… until you hear “K”‘s story. After accepting Jesus as his Lord and Savior, K immediately showed an interest in the Word. He volunteered to read the Bible and pray in class.
One day, an elderly neighbor woman told me that his parents were both dead. He and his brother lived with his grandparents. I visited them and met his brother who shared he was leaving in a matter of days to work in Korea indefinitely (whch is common… make money to send back home). K was devastated.
Which one is still reading his Bible? The one who is broken- has suffered tremendously and experienced the Savior’s comfort.
“…my father and my mother have left me, and the Lord has taken me up.” – Psalm 27:10
We don’t always know why bad things happen, but we know that God can use them to point us to the Rescuer, who loves us so much that He gave His life for us.
Follow this child’s example. Follow Jesus.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 6:23
“If a man is not born again, he will not see the kingdom of God.” – John 3:3
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 3:2
“Because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” – Romans 10:9-10