April Ministry Highlights

Due to the sensitive nature of this ministry, some details, photos and videos have been removed from the below update that was sent to our prayer partners.

Prayer Partners:

Thank you for your support!

Resurrection Harvest (Intro):

In late 2016, the Lord led to begin seeking opportunities to witness to the LGBTQ. For 5 years, getting one to join for church was like pulling teeth. But now, when least expected, there has been a harvest. Praise the Lord! 

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”    Isaiah 55:9

Cambodian New Year, the most anticipated holiday of the year, dominates the month of April, more so this year because 2020 & 2021 festivities were cancelled for Covid. Nonetheless, the gospel was preached from death and burial to resurrection, ascension and salvation requirements. Praise the Lord!

“…Christ died for our sins… he was buried… and… rose again the third day…”    1 Cor 15:3-4

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”   Acts 4:12

LGBTQ Conversion Story:

As of last month’s update, “K” said he was not yet ready to give his life to Christ. I was unaware that communion would be served the following Sunday… until it was. Oh, no! With split seconds to spare, I leaned over and gave him the Bible’s warning, ‘If you haven’t yet repented and believe in Jesus, don’t eat the bread or drink the juice (1 Cor 11:23-29).’ He nodded and then partook.

He has been attending church, has been given a Bible, a tract, has been walked through salvation-relevant Scripture, taught Gen 1-3, an example sinner’s prayer, knows how to pray a simple prayer, etc.

Almost back to his parents’ shop, I asked, ‘Recently, you said you were not yet ready to give your life to Jesus. Then in church today, I said, ‘If you haven’t yet repented and believe in the Lord Jesus, don’t drink the juice or eat the bread.’ But you did.’ (as if to imply, ‘Did something happen this week?’)
‘Baht (Yes).’

‘So do you believe in Jesus?’
‘Yes, I believe.’

‘Are you ready to pray – to decide to repent and give your life to Christ – new life, new path, to follow the Bible rather than your heart, including homosexual desires, religion and the world?’
‘Yes, I’m ready.’

Biblically, one must confess with his mouth the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in his heart that God raised Him from the dead in order to be saved (Rom 10:9-10).

A man must turn away from following his deceitful heart (Ps 51:5Jer 17:9Rom 3:10236:23John 3:1636Matt 3:2) and be born again by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:314:6Eph 2:8-9).

I clarified salvation requirements again. “K” followed me in prayer, repenting of his sins and giving his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. PRAISE THE LORD!

“K” has been attending church faithfully. In addition, typically once during the week, we read Scripture and pray together. He is also part of our Khmer Bible group on Facebook, where Scripture is posted daily.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”   Romans 10:9

LGBTQ Discipleship – New Believer “R”:

Over the New Year, “R” went home to visit family, worked longer hours and had a motorbike accident. Nearly everyone here has a motorbike accident at some point. Though it can be chaotic, most traffic in town runs slowly. Injuries were minor, and he has recovered. Thank the Lord. “R” attended church.

It’s a war (Eph 6:12). Remember that just like any other believer, those who struggle with homosexual temptation are works in progress (Phil 1:6). Please pray that both “R” and “K” continue in the fight (Matt 13:3-9, 18-23) and become soul-winners for Christ! That’s the point.

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

Neighborhood Youth Ministry:

Just after learning Peter’s Denial of Christ and proclaiming, ‘I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back!’, our best trained youth followed his mother’s counsel to renounced Christianity to meet requirements to study in a Chinese language school where all students must be Buddhist. A few weeks later with his mother’s approval, he dropped out of the school and returned to worship Jesus. Praise the Lord!

Like the father in the Prodigal Son story, the Lord welcomed me back 12 years ago. But like the jealous older brother, the church largely has not (with some exceptions who are reading this, thank you for your support!). The Lord convicted to treat this boy like the Lord has treated me, not like the church has treated me. So that’s what I did. Please pray that the Lord uses “P”.

“He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.” John 21:17

This past Sunday, we had planned to worship on a church-boat on the edge of Tonle Sap, Southeast Asia’s largest freshwater lake, and then boat into the lake to look around at (captive) crocodiles and eat lunch.

Satan rules by fear. The Lord breaks his men of fear so that we can boldly serve Him.

Evening prior to church, “P” sent me a message asking if he could just stay in the car while the rest of us go out on the boat. I “let on” like that would be fine, but I knew if I allowed it, others would follow and we all would end up cowering under the car. After church, I directed him to read out loud for the group Joshua 1:9 and 2 Timothy 1:7. He cracked a smile. Then I asked him if he was afraid. He said, “No.” And we went. I wish adults were that easy.  🙂

“Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”   Joshua 1:9

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”   2 Timothy 1:7

“Amazing Grace” in Khmer:

Language teacher has been teaching me hymns and worship songs. The Lord empowers. Praise God!

Click here to watch video.

Interviewed on “The “Kilroy Williams Show” Podcast:

This is a deep dive testimony. We covered the Bible’s explanation for why people feel attracted to the same sex and experience gender confusion, the church’s acceptance (or lack thereof) for ex-LGBTQ, spiritual warfare and survival tips for the soldier of Christ. Praise the Lord!

Click here to watch the podcast video.

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”   John 15:5

Click here for ministry photos.

Praise the Lord Jesus Christ!

And Thank You for your support!

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)!

March Ministry Highlights

Due to the sensitive nature of this ministry, some details, photos and videos have been removed from the below update that was sent to our prayer partners.

Prayer Partners:

Thank you for your support!

Cambodian New Year – Cultural Context:

Since eternity past, Satan strives to steal worship from the only God worthy of it.

Khmer New Year, by far the most anticipated Cambodian holiday, is a three-day event in mid-April. Cambodians are taught that angels who protect the nation undergo a “changing of the guard”. At a time annually announced by the prime minister, Cambodians bow and worship “angels” (2 Cor 11:14), expressly forbidden by God’s Word (Col 2:18).

Cambodians also offer them a sacrifice. For example, for the “year of the monkey”, an appropriate sacrifice on the altar would be bananas. After three days, people are permitted to eat the food offered to demons.

Community and family pressure the reluctant (e.g. Christians) with, ‘You are Khmer; therefore, you are Buddhist.’

Praise the Lord for the insight from my Cambodian language & culture teacher. I started prayerfully planning teachings to combat this with Bible truth (ex. Col 2:18Ex 20:3-6Acts 5:27-29Rev 22:8-9).

“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”   Colossians 1:28

Ex-LGBTQ Discipleship – “R”:

Recent convert “R” and I have been making steady progress washing out the lies of the world with the inspired, inerrant Word of God. Praise the Lord!

“And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”   Romans 12:2

LGBTQ Evangelism – “K”:

“K” has joined me for church three times. At 22 years old, like most unmarried Cambodians, he lives with his parents and helps with the family business – selling second-hand clothing along the road.

The second time I picked him up, his mom scolded him in front of me – ‘Cambodians are Buddhist! We do not believe in Jesus!’ After some pleading, she allowed him to go.

When the pastor finished preaching, he handed off to a young Cambodian to share testimony – how she handled the challenge of honoring parents while putting Jesus first. There is no way this was coincidence. God provided guidance specific to his challenge. Praise the Lord!

Although he is not yet ready to give his life to Christ (and I appreciate his honesty), I asked if he feels anything during worship. He replied, ‘sro-sreye’, which is ‘fresh’. Praise the Lord for each step!

“And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”   Galatians 6:9

LGBTQ Evangelism – “O” (2+ hrs away):

Last you heard of “O” (January’s update), local pastor was not willing to welcome him for worship. Churches rejecting the LGBTQ is a global epidemic. This was an opportunity to prayerfully troubleshoot a workaround.

Unable to force pastors to accept the LGBTQ, the only option is to provide a middle ground for strengthening the wounded for release “into the wild”.

Taking it easy, I returned to the salon, took him and another transgender co-worker to eat. He loves to read, which works out well. We read “The Prodigal Son”, accompanying Scripture and prayed together.

While in the area, I returned to the same church. Pastor was away. As is often the case, the pastor’s wife was much more welcoming of those with “unusual struggles” than the pastor is. She assured me to tell “O”, ‘Don’t be afraid to join for worship.’

Praise the Lord for each step!

“By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.”   Proverbs 25:15

Neighborhood Youth Ministry:

The kids are learning to multiply. We walked through the neighborhood and shared the gospel with several families. Praise the Lord!

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

Drug Rehab Center:

Wife of a worship leader friend serves at a drug rehab center and invited me to share with the guys.

‘People are not willing to look up until they are on their backs (hit rock bottom),’ as they say. I shared the gospel and my testimony to dispel the myth that “deep sin” is unforgivable (1 Tim 1:15). We worshipped and prayed together. It was a tremendous blessing. Praise the Lord!

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”   1 John 1:9

LGBTQ Outreach to Rural Farming Community (2+ hrs away):

The Lord convicted to go out there on Saturday afternoon. I checked at the church to make sure service times had not changed. Leader there sent me to the pastor’s house. He was not home, but his daughter, aware of my story, brought out her son who struggles with homosexuality and substance abuse.

We talked and walked through Scripture. After Pastor arrived, we had a group discussion using my testimony as proof that “Jesus can do this!” Ultimately he said he was not ready to give his life to Christ. Having done my duty, we prayed together.

Next day, I rounded up the the willing from the two target families and went to church. On the spot again, the deacon/elder asked me to preach. ‘Don’t Worship Angels‘ was the message I had prepared. A few in the small congregation looked as though they were about to climb out of their skin.

After church, mothers of “Barber” and “Tailor” prepared a delicious lunch for us. Praise the Lord!

“For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”   Ephesians 4:12

“10,000 Reasons” in Khmer:

Language teacher has been teaching me hymns and worship songs. The Lord empowers. Praise God!

Click to Watch Video – 10,000 Reasons, Khmer language.

“Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.”   Psalm 103:1

Discussion with Joshua Berglan of Live Mana Worldwide:

Joshua has an intense testimony that the Lord is using to reach those who feel that they have gone too far to be forgiven. And he is not afraid to share it. It was a blessing to exchange war stories. Praise the Lord!

Click to Watch Video – Discussing respective “deep sin” testimonies (1 hr, 15 mins).

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”   Genesis 50:20

Click here to view LGBTQ Evangelism/Discipleship photos.
Click here for ministry videos.

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!

February Ministry Highlights

Due to the sensitive nature of this ministry, some details and photos have been removed from the below update that was sent to our prayer partners.

Prayer Partners:

Thank you for your support!

LGBTQ Evangelism:

A local massage parlor employee prayed to give his life to Christ and made a profession of faith. PRAISE THE LORD!

That being said, it’s a long way out of a gay lifestyle and false identity. Please stand with me in prayer that he bears fruit in keeping with repentance and becomes a soul-winner.

Like most service industry employees in Cambodia, he gets few Sundays off. Please pray that the Lord provides another job / schedule.

We have had two “discipleship breakfasts” so far.

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”  Luke 15:10

Neighborhood Children’s Ministry:

Remember that these first few weeks back in school, the kids were trained, equipped with a gospel tract and challenged to share with a friend. Rough and tough when we are all together, they were afraid to share the gospel one-on-one.

So I told them we would do it together. A couple of Sundays ago, we went to a local restaurant where I knew the owner and staff. The kids practiced sharing on them.

Considering that getting most adult believers to share the gospel is like pulling teeth, I figure I should go easy on them. In Christ, they can get there!

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”   2 Timothy 1:7

Rural Mission:

The Lord creatively led a couple of years ago to a group of LGBTQ in a poor farming community about two hours from my town. Ever since, I have been going back periodically to build relationships and share Christ with two of them – a barber and a tailor.

When we hit a stalemate, I sought the Lord. He led to teach their nephews and nieces. Barber’s nephew prayed to give his life to Christ and then seems to have acted as a “sleeper cell” of sorts within his family. Next visit, his dad (barber’s brother-in-law), who has influence with Barber, was willing to read Scripture and hear the gospel. We prayed together. He agreed to go to the nearby church if I joined.

Two Sundays ago, I took our neighborhood kids up there. They encouraged the families to worship and sang in front of the church. Barber, his mom, brother-in-law and nephews joined. Tailor’s nephew also joined.

That day, I shared ex-gay testimony, the simple gospel message and led in the sinner’s prayer. Pastor invited me back to preach. At two affiliated churches, the Lord led to preach the Sower & the Seed parable (very fitting for a farming community), which naturally flowed into the gospel message. Praise the Lord!

Reaching Cambodia’s LGBTQ:

As follow-up to last month’s gospel message, my ex-gay testimony in Khmer language has been posted on Youtube and Facebook. What He has done for me, He wants to do for many. Praise the Lord!

Click here to watch the testimony video.

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”  1 Corinthians 6:11

Blessed to be Interviewed by Gary Wilkerson (son of David Wilkerson):

David Wilkerson authored The Cross and the Switchblade and founded Teen Challenge. He previously pastored a church in Philipsburg, PA – high school football rival and neighbor of my hometown, Clearfield. His son Gary, who now heads World Challenge, said he was born in Philipsburg but only lived there for a short time. It’s a small world.

We covered ex-gay testimony, LGBTQ evangelism and Cambodia missions. Teen Challenge also has operations in Cambodia. Their Cambodia team lead reached out after the interview was aired.

What a blessing. Praise the Lord!

Click here to watch the interview (44 mins).

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”  Matthew 16:25

Click here to view recent LGBTQ Evangelism photos.
Click here for ministry videos.

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!

January Ministry Update (as a case-in-point)

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.

Prayer Partners:

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

Click here to view ministry photos.
Click here for ministry videos.

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!

Interview: Rick & Carole Karchner, Parents of a Gay Prodigal – Overcomers Overcoming Podcast

Parents of a Gay Prodigal: How Rick & Carole Karchner (Dad & Mom) Handled my “Coming out”.

Click below to listen to the podcast (35 mins):

Rick & Carole (Dad & Mom)’s First Podcast, 2021

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” Ephesians 6:12

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” 1 Peter 5:8

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. 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

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” 2 Tim 4:3-5

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

“But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Praise the Lord!

រីករាយ​ថ្ងៃ​បុណ្យ​ណូអែល Merry Christmas

Christmas Gathering, Neighborhood Students & Their Families

សាវកប៉ូល (ព្រះគម្ពីរ) Who Was the Apostle Paul?

ព្រមទាំងចម្រើនកម្លាំងដល់ពួកសិស្ស ឲ្យមានចិត្តរឹង‌ប៉ឹងឡើង ហើយទូន្មានឲ្យនៅស្ថិត‌ស្ថេរក្នុងសេចក្ដីជំនឿ ដោយពាក្យថា ត្រូវតែទ្រាំរងទុក្ខវេទនាជាច្រើន ទើបនឹងចូលទៅក្នុងនគរព្រះបាន
កិច្ចការ 14:22

“…we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22

ដ្បិតតើខ្ញុំរកបញ្ចុះ‌បញ្ចូលអ្នកណា តើជាមនុស្ស ឬព្រះ ឬចង់បំពេញចិត្តមនុស្សឬអី បើសិនជាខ្ញុំចង់បំពេញចិត្តមនុស្ស នោះខ្ញុំមិនមែនជាបាវបម្រើរបស់ព្រះ‌គ្រីស្ទទេ។
កាឡា‌ទី 1:10

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Galatians 1:10

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!

LGBT Evangelism Story “Tom” (Cambodia)

A woman who identifies as a man, “Tom” is a 60-year old former soldier. “Khmer Rouge?” “Awt-tay” (No), she assured. Living with her extended family who addresses her as “Pa” at an entrance to Angkor Wat, she climbs trees to gather unusual forest fruit to sell in front of the house (common in rural Cambodia).

Just a couple of miles from home, the heavily touristed “ancient palaces” of Angkor Wat were built by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century when our region was the capital of the Angkor Empire. The pride and heritage of Cambodia, the temple complex is one of the few parts of the country where jungle and trees have not yet been cut to make way for farming.

The “Ancient Palaces” of Angkor Wat, UNESCO World Heritage Site; Siem Reap, Cambodia

Cambodians visit for free. Foreigners pay a hefty $37 fee. After 5:30pm, all enter for free. A few months ago, Rebekah suggested biking there with neighborhood kids. Similar enough to a Cambodian look, she passed the guard station without question. When the guards stopped me, I took a seat at the nearest house with a fruit stand out front to wait until 5:30. That’s where I met “Tom”. Toward the end of a getting-to-know-you conversation, I shared my ex-gay testimony.

When I returned to follow up, she said she had recently received Covid jab #1 (of 2) and had been suffering with symptoms, including agitation of a pre-existing heart condition. Later she shared that she falls out of a tree in the line of work roughly once per year. The Lord led to get her some medications and pray with her. That seemed to pave the way for the next visit. Our lives but a vapor, any of us could be taken at any moment. It was a good time to talk about the Lord.

Cambodian culture calls for extended conversations. Lasting around two hours, this was one of them. Note that this is a relatively new, budding relationship. My Cambodian witnessing partner was key in bridging the cultural divide. The two immediately began small-talking. The family shared fruit from the forest with us. Typically that means we have a conversation about which fruit is sweet and which is sour and who likes sweet and who doesn’t like sour.

We bought some pineapple from them and bonded. Cambodian women softly say “Jaa” for “Yes”, while men bark “Baht”. Tom says “Baht” and speaks of a “propun” she had in the past (word used for “wife” but likely not legally married). In favor of first building a firm relationship upon which to share a gospel that is alien to her, I overlooked such references. I pulled down my mask a bit to show a smile, crucial to social interaction in Southeast Asia. Roughly 30 minutes into the conversation, I noticed that her body language (legs crossed, ankle to knee) matched mine. This is very unusual posture within the culture. It seemed like a good time to begin with our questions.

In seminary, I have studied Buddhism and verified the claims of academia with Cambodians. Understanding what counterfeit paths Satan has ingrained in people is vital to effectively witnessing within a given cultural context. The root problem for Buddhism is suffering. The meaning of life is to end suffering. Buddhism teaches that suffering is rooted in one’s attachments and desires, which must be broken, in order to break the unsatisfactory cycle of reincarnation and enter nirvana.

An Apologetics class requires several field assignments. The Lord has used them to drive evangelism. We asked, ‘If there is a God who is good and loves us, why is there so much evil in the world?’ She said it is because people covet and gave examples regarding motorbikes and cars. This is in keeping with Buddhist teaching that holds covetousness as the highest wrong and source of suffering. We asked, ‘Do you like freedom? Do you think it is good?’ Yes, she agreed that freedom is good. We asked, ‘So that genuine freedom could be obtained, don’t you think we must have the option to do right and wrong, to be good or evil?’ She agreed.

She said God revealed Himself to her in a dream. She said people might say it was a ghost, but she knew it was God. Tom went to her bedroom and returned with the tattered cover of a children’s Bible storybook illustrating baby Moses. She said someone borrowed the contents and spoke highly of it – ‘true, good’ stories.

She said she follows all religions. We read Exodus 20:3-6 where the Lord commands us not to worship idols, graven images or any other gods. She did not rebuttal. Using her watch as an example, I asked, ‘If one person says that is a watch and another says it’s a shirt and another says it’s pants, can they all be right?’ She agreed and said that she believes in “Preah” (God). I reiterated that Jesus is the one and only God. She agreed. Then I shared the gospel message. She seemed to agree, but it is common here to verbally agree in order to be polite and avoid argument.

Looking at the tattered shell of that children’s Bible storybook, I asked if she wants a Bible. “Baht,” she replied. Then I asked if she would join us for church. She said she needs to be home when customers come. Her large family is more than capable of handling the few customers that stop by during this slow season. But her answer to this question was key. It exposed fear. Taking such a bold step away from Buddhism would be viewed as rejection of family, dishonoring ancestors and culture. I asked if we could pray with her. We did. The following morning, I returned with a Bible.

The road to Tom’s house was closed for a while for the Delta Variant but then re-opened. When I stopped by to visit before our most recent lockdown, she was feeding chickens out back. She pulled up a chair for me, and we talked for a while. She said she reads some of the Bible ‘when she remembers’. She asked for clarification on whether or not Jesus likes homosexuality. I told her that Jesus loves everyone but that He created male and female, not a “third sex” (common term for LGBT here), that two men together or two women together is sin. She quickly cut me off and changed topics.

Just like in the U.S., younger folks tend to be much more open to the gospel. At 60 years old, it would be quite a miracle if she were to come to Christ. Praise the Lord for opportunities to share the life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ! Continuing to pray for Tom…

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17