Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Newsletter May 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Greetings in HIS Name! As you will see in this newsletter, much has happened in the two months since we last wrote. God has been good to us, seeing us through some tough lessons, some huge surprises and some anxieties about ministry.

Killing Field:
One day in April, a Khmer family from Phnom Penh came to our door and told us that a couple of large holes on our property were used to kill many of their family members and
relatives including their parents together with many others, and the bones are still buried. Actually this middle aged gentleman and his sister were the only ones who miraculously survived from their family. They shared with us what actually happened on “that day” with tears and emotion and “How the old people (who lived in the village before Khmer Rouge) turned against the new people (who moved in after Khmer Rouge).” The atrocities committed by Khmer Rouge seems to be just a part of history to the new generation today, but remains fresh and real still for so many people after almost 30 years.

We believe that God has brought us here for many purposes and this is one of them. Please pray with us that even when the horrific memory of those who suffered cannot be erased as if it didn’t happen, the love and grace, and goodness and righteousness of our Lord will be expressed powerfully through Gateway and eventually will overcome and overwhelm people’s indescribably deep grief and sorrow and bring ultimate peace and comfort into their hearts.

English Teaching:
We began opening our doors for English classes on the 1st of May—which also turned into an overwhelming surprise. We had initially wanted to start with one class a day for one hour, but when over 100 students showed up, it quickly became apparent that our ministry shade/school room (which holds 40 comfortably) was too small for such a challenge. So, with some quick thinking, we opened up with more lesson times and with classes meeting every other day, and overall, we were blessed with nearly 300 students in 7 different classes. However, mercifully, we have seen the numbers of students dwindle down to just over 250 students for this first term of classes (which will end at the end of July).

Ministry Prospects:
We have begun attending services at one of the Khmer Churches near here. It is wonderful to be a part of the family of believers and we are looking forward to seeing how this relationship develops and how we might serve this “family.”

Furthermore, two opportunities presented themselves this last Sunday when the worship leader expressed that his daughter is interested in learning the Bible in English. This has been the very thing which we have been praying about and has been consuming our thoughts lately—to teach the Bible to students. We are still working out the details, as we want to have more than just one student to learn.

The second ministry opportunity came directly from the pastor who asked Taka to spend an hour on Saturdays leading a Bible class of some sort. We praise God for opening doors when we pray for such doors to open!

We have also been discussing the possibility of starting a choir group among the youth and teaching them English praise and worship songs. This would be an outreach that teaches English, but also brings the message of a relationship with God who loves us and made a way for us to be saved from our sins through Jesus Christ. Again, these are still in the praying and preparation stages and we ask that you would join us in praying for doors to open according to God’s planning and God’s timing.

As you might notice, apart from leading a Bible class at the church we attend, all the other programs taking place at Gateway are intertwined with English because we are not yet able to register Gateway as a church. However, English happens to be the very language people here in general would like to learn, but on the other hand, their ability to understand English is very limited especially in a village such as ours. Those programs cannot be carried out without using Khmer language. This allows us to have more freedom to share the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ in their own language despite Gateway’s official status.

You know that we had a brief and sad experience with two orphan girls – Srey Peu and Srey Neang just over a month and a half ago when their sisters decided to take them back to P.P. They no longer live where they used to, and we do not know where they have gone. We continue to ask you to pray for them as their living environment is far from ideal. As for Gateway, we still do not have any children, but we’re praying to God and waiting for Him to fill this place with children.

We rely on people we know to help us find orphans and disadvantaged children and are currently following up on 4 different cases; two of which are babies. We know that everything is in God’s hand and it will all unfold and Gateway will be filled according to God’s plans and God’s perfect timing. We trust HIM and we continually give over this ministry to Him, because it is His—not ours.

Meanwhile, we use whatever we have and whatever has been made available before us to share the gospel and hoping and trusting that Gateway will be used AND has already been being used even just as a tiny part of His enormous plan to expand His Kingdom.

We would love to receive a volunteer or two: one for English teaching program and the other for a choir group. Whether it’s for a short time (1 or 2 weeks) or for a longer time (a month or more), help of volunteer(s) would be greatly appreciated. If you happen to know someone who might be interested in joining us in this capacity, please let us know. Or if you are the one and the Spirit of the Lord speaks to your heart, we would love to hear from you.

Prayer Requests:
1- God will lead us to orphans/disadvantaged children or lead them to us.

2- As opportunities rise for us to teach the Bible and to have other outreach and serving opportunities in the community arise, that God will lead us and give us wisdom and energy

3- Pray for Sroh’s walk with God and for us to continue to encourage this new life in Christ that she has.

4- God will send volunteer(s) to serve alongside with us

“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!”
Romans 11:33

Many blessings,

Taka & Christina