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)