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New Beginnings

The new year has ushered in new activities and ministries. Please pray for spiritual protection, wisdom and strength for the our teammates and for our local partners.

TUESDAY THEOLOGICAL EDUCATION CLASS

Every Tuesday, we have a Tuesday night Theology Class. Students come after their long day of work or school, hungry to learn for about two hours. Paul just started and will be teaching on Marriage this new semester.

Pray for these young students who are or will be the future leaders of the church. It has been a place of growth as well as community.

KHMER CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Lots of new beginnings this year for KCC.

The most joyful is the recent baptism of new believers. Some of whom are people Pastor Thet and his wife, Marady, have been evangelizing, befriending and loving for years. Included was the confirmation of their eldest daughter, Nesa, who is also on the new praise team.

Thankful for Marady, the pastor’s wife, who has led praise over the many years and persevered to raise up a team. Thankful for the ways God has been raising up new leaders, with the support of visitors and short-term teams who have come alongside us in creative ways.

In January, KCC started new outreach classes, offering classes in English, Chinese and Computers as well as a Sunday children’s/youth program and service in the evening. All of these classes are taught by members of our church. Please pray that this would be an opportunity to build relationships and share the Gospel.

REDEMPTION IN CHRIST CHURCH

We first began fundraising the purchase of land and building for RCC in 2017.  After fundraising and countless meeting, RCC had their dedication service on Feb 2.

Please pray for them as they continue to work to build community at their new location.

NEW CHURCH PLANTS

This year also meant the start of two new church plants, Phnom Penh Livingstones Church (PPLC) and Door of Hope Church (DHC).

Phnom Penh Livingstones Church (PPLC) is led by Pastor Vanna, who was recently ordained at the end of last year, along with his wife, Vannary.

Door of Hope Church (DHC) is led by Pastor Sam Ath & his wife, Vanvina. They have been praying, evangelizing, meeting with people, and having bible study for a while now but recently started formally meeting for Sunday worship at a cafe.

We are always engaged in a spiritual warfare. The enemy is continually scheming ways to distract and lure us away from our Lord and to attack His Bride. P

PLEASE PRAY for Spiritual Protection. Pray for

  • These ministries and leaders, servants and members, both in the villages and city. Those mentioned in this update and those in previous updates.
  • Overall health, safety and unity of our team, the presbytery, the church plants, families, etc.
  • Encouragement and wisdom – in the midst of excitement and hope, there is always disappointment, struggle, weariness and doubt.
  • Our focus, confidence and hope be on Christ alone. In our weakness, may Christ be exalted and glorified.

Happy New Year 2020!

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Approaching our ten-year mark on the field, we feel the long-term consequences of being away from loved ones and the constant goodbyes on both sides of the globe. Not being able to worship and connect deeply with people in our heart language for many years can be isolating. The life we left behind has moved on without us and seems like a distant memory. We are learning what it means when the Bible speaks about life as “sojourners and exiles”  and that the earth is not our home; we don’t quite belong anywhere.

Often in the midst of our toiling, God provides the power and comfort we need. Like in the picture above, He sends people to come alongside us, reminding us we are not forgotten nor alone. This year has also provided many opportunities to witness and experience God’s power, grace and gentle kindness. We are amazed at how God continually and creatively God provides support and community through prayers, letters & care packages, visits from teammates, short-term teams, family and friends, new friends here, MTW conferences/retreats, expat groups, etc. We are thankful for the ways our Khmer brothers and sisters embrace us and being able to learn and serve alongside each other. In preparing to speak at the MTW Ambassadors Conference this past October, we had a chance to review and reflect on what God has been doing through our different church plants. All of our church plants, including their respective pastors and families, have gone through many trials and tribulation yet the Lord has sustained them. We have seen growth, collaboration and perseverance. We are humbled at how God works despite and through us, allowing us to have front-row seats and to even participate.

This is a song we recently learned at our MTW Area Retreat in August.  Its lyrics give words to what we live and feel each day.

PSALM 126
Our mouths they were filled, filled with laughter
Our tongues they were loosed, loosed with joy
Restore us, O Lord
Restore us, O Lord
Although we are weeping
Lord, help us keep sowing
The seeds of Your Kingdom
For the day You will reap them
Your sheaves we will carry
Lord, please do not tarry
All those who sow weeping will go out with songs of joy
The nations will say, “He has done great things!”
The nations will sing songs of joy
Restore us, O Lord
Restore us, O Lord
Occasionally we’re asked which we think is harder: to live in the States as faithful, counter-cultural Christians or as missionaries in Cambodia? Each culture, each situation, each life, each relationship, each person has their unique challenges but also their unique way it reflects the Gospel and God’s glory. Yet they all fall short of Christ, who alone fills the void and should reign on the throne of our hearts. We look forward to the new year and pray that Christ would be our all in all.
PLEASE PRAY
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Annual Youth Conference, November

For the Team:
  • Our team has shrunk to four units. Ask that the Lord would strengthen and equip us as we continue the work of a larger team.
  • We have several units in the pipeline to join our team. Ask the Lord to guide and sustain them during their process of confirming their call and support raising. 
  • Team unity, health and spiritual protection

For the Ministries (village and city):

  • Spiritual protection against the evil one who constantly attempts to discourage and distract the church. 
  • Pastors and their families need constant encouragement, support and strength. They seek wisdom and knowledge in how to pastor, disciple and grow the church. May God use the MTW team to be a blessing to them. 
  • Our church plants are small but the people have been growing in their faith. Ask the Lord to mature their faith and raise up leaders committed to the church.

Pic of Vanna being ordained in November;
Susan with those she meets regularly

For Our Family:
  • Marriage – God has provided safe relationships to encourage and counsel us these past few years. Pray for protection over our marriage and for us to prioritize our relationship, learning to serve and love the other. 
  • Both Caleb & Nate are professing Christians. Continue to ask the Father to firm their faith and draw them into a personal relationship with Him.
  • Caleb – Ask for discernment and guidance as we look ahead and being to prepare for his transition into university, hopefully in 2022. 
  • Nate – To learn to be content and to be motivated to learn and speak Khmer.

Boys are keeping their parents busy.
Thankfully they still have some shared activities and mutual friends.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2020!
May the Lord be with you and Christ be your all in all!

 

West Coast HMA

Happy Khmer New Year! This week is one of Cambodia’s well-observed, three-day holiday. Most leave the city to visit their hometown, making Phnom Penh feel like a quiet ghost town; a nice reprieve for us. Thankfully as the city has developed, there are more malls, restaurants and supermarkets available so we don’t have to stock up with food and water.

Driving During KNY – here’s a quick video we took yesterday

 

It seems the longer we’re on the field, the less frequent we are able to do formal blog updates. Thank you for your patience. Hopefully between emails, FB, etc we’re able to keep you updated but it’s also why our Home Mission Assignments (HMA) are so important.

We wanted to let you know our schedule and hope we can meet with you and catch up in person. We hope not only to share with you what’s been going on with us but also to hear what’s been going on with you. If you are around the area during these dates, please let us know.

  • MTW West Coast Missions Conference in Roseville, CA – April 26-27
  • Northern California – end of April through first week of May
  • Southern California (LA area) – 2nd of week of May to mid-June
  • Southern California (San Diego area) – mid-June to end of June
  • Phoenix/Mesa, AZ – end of June to early July
  • Chattanooga, TN – 1st week of July
  • Atlanta, GA – 2nd week of July
  • MTW ReConnect in Ridge Haven, NC – July 12-15

Some pics of the boys’ last performance and graduation with their Bridges Homeschool co-op. Our beloved drama teacher the last 5 years will be returning to the UK and we will be taking a hiatus from the coop for at least a term.

Nate in “The Gruffalo”

Caleb as the “The Beast” 

  

Bridges Graduation & Send-off Prayer for two families leaving the field

This year has been a blur, full of amazing people & experiences as well as challenges. Too many to put into words but here are a handful of pictures to help capture a glimpse of our lives. Hope it captures both the difficulties as well as the beauty and joy of our lives that are sometimes so obvious but sometimes hidden beneath the surface.

JANUARY

Our welcome home after our quick 2-month East Coast HMA. A prelude to a year of house issues and construction.

Annual Pastors’ Conference

A special visit from a former intern and friend.

FEBRUARY

Short-term team from our sending church

Susan enrolls in a Khmer class at the first nearby school

Caleb’s Boy Scouts Community Project

MARCH

Paul at the MTW Asia Pac Leadership Meeting in Singapore

Paul & his PP Bible School Class learning from the Book of Hebrews

KCC says goodbye the Knutsons retiring off the field after 15 years

Reaksmey & Piseth’s Wedding – after a few months of marital counseling with Paul & Susan

Nate & His Cub Scouts Troop

APRIL

Reunited with Susan’s Mom during their family trip and her 4th visit to Cambodia

Our homeschool’s end-of-the-year performance

Nate starts cajon lessons

MAY

Bridges Homeschool Graduation

Team Retreat in Siem Reap with a handful of special co-laborers and returning teammates

Team Retreat outing to the Angkor Wat – Susan & the boys’ first time!

Send-off for the Schleper Family who now serve in Indonesia

JUNE

Paul preaches at One Covenant Church (OCC) in SG

Celebrating Caleb’s birthday at Providence Reformed Presbyterian Church (PRPC) in SG

Paul speaks at a joint retreat for the two churches

Reuniting with their friend, Zach, in Singapore

Marady’s brother and KCC member passes away while away in Singapore

JULY

Intern John Lee, returns to the States

Susan restarts teaching an English outreach class at KCC

Susan’s regular fellowship with some pastor’s wives

Former teammates, Albert and Natalie Shim vist

AUGUST

Susan joins the Monday night KCC Women’s Fellowship

Paul teaches a Tuesday night Theology class

Caleb’s Boy Scouts Leadership Training with the US Ambassador

Caleb & Nate join gymnastic class with friends

Pastor Sam Ath & Vina have their third baby

SEPTEMBER

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Sending off our summer intern, Chris. Back to college!

A newly arrived intern joins us for family night w the Schlepers’ old ping pong table

MTW hosts a table at the annual Asian Christian Conference

Another plumbing issue

OCTOBER

Pisey & Samnang’s Engagement in AKJ

Caleb, Sophea & Orchea lead praise for our team worship in the village

Susan & her sprained, bunion foot

Ongoing electrical issues & blackouts

NOVEMBER

A packed month of visitors and conferences, including fellow co-laborer, Hannah, who stayed with us for a month,  teaching English at KCC and PPBS and having her first Thanksgiving meal in six years.  Former Intern, John, and Pastor Andrew, who returned for his 3rd visit, returned for our Annual Youth Conference, held for the college students of all our ministries in the city and village.
   

Sending off our dearest friends, Singapore Lees, for their 3-month HMA. How will the kids survive this long separation?

DECEMBER

Caleb’s 6th Overnight Boy Scouts Camping Trip

Our Homeschool Prince Caspian Performance – Caleb as Cornelias and Nate as Centaur & Dryad

Bridges Homeschool Cast Party

Lee Men pack and prep the ground floor for construction. Time to move?

From roof to foundation, we’ve covered it all this year.

Through all the ups and downs, changes, and richness of our lives here on the field in SE Asia, the one constant is the glaring reality of how good and great our God is. All of it is a constant reminder to remember and not forget who God is, what He has done and who we are apart from Him and in Him (Deuteronomy). As we close out the year and celebrate Christmas, we want to continue to cling to Christ our King and enjoy Him and to live a life “in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called.”

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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Dear Friends,

Our brother has left this earthly home to be with his Heavenly Father yesterday. We want to thank everyone for their support and prayers. We ask that you continue to pray for his extended family and the community of believers at KCC. Please pray for deep comfort and peace that can only from our Father. Pray that God would draw near to his children and be a Light in this time of darkness.

This morning’s KCC Worship service has been canceled. Instead there will be a time of praise and prayer at the family’s home near the New Steung Mean Chey Mall at 8AM followed by a funeral service at 2PM.

Our dear brother, Thon, who is 38-years old and married with 4 children, ages 18 to 6, has been diagnosed with stage-4 lung cancer. He has been a member of KCC for many years and is the older brother of Marady, the pastor’s wife.

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Thon is on the far left, red shirt in front of KCC’s former location.

We are amazed at the joy and peace in the midst of this difficult time, displayed by Thon and his family. Pastor Thet and his wife (KCC) visit almost daily to support and pray for him. Handful of church members have surrounded him with love and encouragement. It has been a wonderful opportunity to strengthen his faith as well as be a light to his unbelieving family as well as others in the hospital and community.

Paul & Susan’s recent visit. Last pic – praying for his hospital roommate who is being reacquainted with Christ after 30 years.

We need your prayers. Please pray:

  • Thon – God is able to do all things according to his good will. Pray for healing. Pray for comfort. Pray for continued and daily strength of heart and faith.
  • Family – Witnessing the love and faithfulness of the church that has surrounded with hospital visits and prayer, his wife, who has been hostile and disapproving of his faith and participation in the church, has been open and softened to the Gospel, along with his mother. Please pray that God be glorified and that He would draw near to his wife and children, showing Himself as Savior and Friend.
  • Thet & Marady – in addition to their usual responsibilities of ministry, family, and work, they have been actively involved in caring for Thon. Pray for physical strength and health as well as encouragement and hope.
  • Help – Pray for wisdom in the many decisions that need to be made to ease and care for Thon and his family. Pray for financial provisions to help with all the costs.

We want to praise God and thank all of you who have helped through your prayers and funds towards the Redemption In Christ Church (RCC) building project.

  

We have recently purchased the land and are currently working with a local architect to help design and construct the building that will be used for the church and dorms.

Please continue to pray alongside RCC as they make this big transition.

Please Pray

  • Transition – The new church site will be in a different section of Phnom Penh. We hope with the purchase of its own land, we hope there will be more stability to build a continued community but please pray for this transition. The relocation is in a different area of Phnom Penh. Most members are unable to move. Please pray for wisdom in dealing with these changes.
  • Outreach – RCC has already begun outreach activities in the new area. The challenge but also the wonderful opportunity is this land is located on railroad tracks. One side of the tracks are the poor while on the other the more wealthy.  Pray for wisdom and leading in knowing how to reach and bridge people of a diverse demographics. Pray for spiritual protection and that God would use them to be a light in the area.
  • Pastors & Family – We’ve noticed our pastors and families go through a lot of stress, challenges and spiritual warfare. Please pray for Pastors Hong & his wife, Ratanak, and Pastor Pheakdey & his wife, Kunthea, and son, Nathaniel.

 

Pastor Hong & Rachel at their wedding, later at RCC Sunday worship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pastor Pheakdey & family; Nathaniel was recently baptized at RCC