Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The first half of our time in the United States has come to a close. Our time spent here has been profitable to us. We have been able to be a part of some missions meetings at various churches, which have been a great encouragement to us. Recently, a missions conference in Tennessee truly provoked us to good works in our personal lives as well as our ministry in Cambodia. We have so many ideas and are yet so far away! Oh how we need God’s grace to believe to put them into action! In the coming months we are planning to be in several more churches in the northeast, as well as other places, as we make our rounds to the churches that have supported us and visit new churches.
The time in the United States has also afforded us the chance to get reacquainted with our home church and our new pastor, Jeff Stewart. This time has encouraged my family and me much more than I thought it would. All our kids anticipate going to church, which is priceless to a parent.
Back in Cambodia, the Lord continues to feed His people through Brother Matt Brown. One of our members, Rith, sadly had to move away for a job opportunity. Yet I rejoice that he is still seeking the Lord and faithfully attending a good church in Phnom Penh where he now lives. It is a blessing to see God’s people continue to follow Him.
There are a number of people that I would like to ask you to pray for specifically. These are all family members of people in Grace Baptist Church and all of them need to be saved.
Ming At’s family
- Her husband
- Daughters Srey Roat and Thida
- Sons Chhaya and Samol
- Grandchildren David, Davin, and Danin
- His father
- His step-mother
- His sisters
- Brother Monorum
- Husband Huv
- Twin daughters Srey Muey and Srey Pii
- Her mother Kunthia
- Her step-father
- Uncle Roatana
I know these are a lot of funny names of people you don’t know, but each name represents a family member of one of your brothers or sisters in Christ, a person for whom Christ died, and a person whom we are praying God will save. I also know that there are people that will see these names and will join us in praying earnestly for these souls.
As I mentioned in our last correspondence, Alison visited an ear, nose, and throat doctor about the problems with her ear. Thank the Lord, everything looked fine. Yesterday, she visited another doctor about some ongoing abdominal pains. She is scheduled to have several tests done on February 2, which will hopefully shed some light on her problems. Please pray that God would provide wisdom to the doctor and healing to my wife during this time.
Thank you so much for your unceasing prayers for our family and ministry in Cambodia.
The Wood Family
In mid-June we arrived back in the US to begin our furlough. We have enjoyed getting reacquainted with family and friends, as well as our church. Our children especially have taken joy in meeting grandparents for the first time (as far as they remember).
The first few weeks here were spent preparing materials for coming meetings at churches, which now are in full swing. The Lord has already blessed in the churches we have visited. In the coming months we have plans to visit churches in South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, and Rhode Island. Please pray for our travels and meetings.
As part of our preparations for furlough Brother Matt Brown and I put together a video presenting the true-to-life Cambodian religion and the reason why Christians should consider taking the Gospel there. We are currently showing this video in churches that we visit. We would love for you to watch the video and prayerfully and seriously consider its message. You can view it below. Please pray with us that, if He is pleased, our Lord would use the video to call some of His people to preach the Gospel in Cambodia as missionaries.
Back in Cambodia, Grace Baptist Church is moving forward with the help of Brother Matt Brown. The Lord continues to take care of His church! A few weeks after we returned to America, Navy and Kanan, two kids whom we had been teaching, made professions of faith. Now Brother Brown is following up with them and their families, and seeing more opportunities to share the Gospel with them. Please keep Navy, Kanan, and their families in your prayers. There might be opportunity to start a kids ministry in Navy and Kanan’s village. Please pray for wisdom and fruit in this endeavor.
If you remember, I reported that Ming At’s husband was in jail. He has since been released, for which we are thankful. Please pray for him to be saved. Another lady I have mentioned previously, Poch, is seriously ill. Please pray for her to be saved. One more soul who needs God’s salvation is Piev. He is Rith’s brother. He has been involved in witchcraft and has suffered under the devil’s control. He seemed to have opened up to Rith’s witness recently, so please don’t forget to pray for Piev.
Thank you for your unceasing prayers for our family and work.
Greetings in the name of kind and faithful Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ! First of all, we want to express our gratitude to you all that have so closely followed my wife’s health issues. Thanks to God, she is doing much better! She still has longer term problems with headaches and her blood sugar. These things are manageable for her now. Thank you for faithfully praying for her.
Grace Baptist Church of Kampong Cham is about the same. Though we haven’t been growing numerically as I would like, I would be short-sighted to overlook the spiritual growth in our people. It has been a blessing to watch! This kind of sameness has offered me an opportunity to really try and teach our folks one-on-one to follow the Lord Jesus daily. They are witnessing to their family and friends and bringing them to church. We have been traveling through Acts in our services. It seems to be very helpful. “Ming Yesu” (Aunt Jesus), as one of our ladies is not-so-affectionately called by her neighbors, can identify with the experiences of the early Christians in Acts.
A couple months ago we held a special 4-day meeting with a guest preacher, Rodney Ruppel, a missionary veteran of 17 years here in Cambodia. He preached on the subject of the church to our people. Since that time, they have exhibited greater faithfulness not only to the services, but also more willingness to join in other ministries. My prayer over the last few months has begun to be, “Lord, give us your increase” (Col. 2:19). I want to ask all of you to join me in praying for this “increase of God” for our church in Kampong Cham, both spiritually and numerically. Another missionary put it like this: pray that God gives us disciples. That’ll work too.
There are a few names that I would also like you to keep before our Lord in prayer. Poch is a middle-aged lady who lives in Toul Srae village, where we have been teaching various people every Friday for a year or more. Poch was listened in a long time ago, but has recently shown renewed interest. She has a lot of confusion about Christianity in general, yet she wants us to teach her. So we are. Please pray that God would open her heart and mind to receive His truth—the truth. Another lady whom I have mentioned in previous correspondence is Srey. We taught her through the whole Gospel, which she then refused because of the potential persecution from her family. We still try and visit her from time to time and pray for her to be saved. Please help us pray for her.
Khmer Christian Radio, an Internet-based Christian radio station in Khmer that we have started, is now on air. Actually, it has been up and running for some time now, but we just recently went public with it. So, it is now available for any Khmer (or non-Khmer) that has an Internet connection. You can tune in at www.khmerchristianradio.com. In the coming months we will hopefully begin adding new music and getting the word out to Khmer churches.
If you receive a hard-copy of this letter and would rather only receive it via email or social media, please let me know. Thank you so much for your prayers and support for our family. Fare ye well, dear brethren.
Due to some crazies harassing us via this blog, I am not posting a copy of our printable prayer letter. If you would like one to print out, please send me an email and I will get one to you.
And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them (Acts 4:13).
In the twenty-first century, few words would be more insulting to a church than, “And of the rest durst no man join himself to them.” We have become obsessed with having a large crowd at the church that we are often blind to the clear praise that God gave to the first church in Jerusalem. For sure, this church did not lack a crowd (Acts 2:41; 4:4). And though God does point out the many people that He added to the church, He also praised them because people didn’t join their ranks. How clearly this demonstrates just how much different God’s perspective of a church is from ours. We would do well to take a lesson.
There are churches that obsess about the number of people in attendance. They are willing to do almost anything to get more. There are other churches that take pride in the fact that people won’t come, as a kind of badge or proof of their spiritual prowess. This church in Jerusalem was like neither.
Paradoxically, the church at Jerusalem had both large numbers and people afraid to join them. So, what’s the key here? The key is found in verse 14—believers joined them.
And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.
The contrast between verse 13 and 14 is stark—and so helpful. Consider all the good things that the apostles and christians were doing to the people of their communities. Verse 16 tells us that they were healing every one that came to them. There was great reason for the words in the latter part of verse 13: “…but the people magnified them.” So, interestingly enough, many people around them who were not a part of the church; that is, they weren’t believers; sang the praises of these christians. Yet they did not join them.
There might have been a number of reasons why these people did not join themselves with the christians. One might have been persecution. The threat of persecution (by “persecution” I am referring to suffering in any form as a result of one’s faith) is a strong resistance to people trusting in Jesus. Here in Cambodia, even before a person trusts in Christ they often become the targets of nasty words, threats, and mockery. This often serves to cool the person’s interest before they are saved. It’s sad, but true.
Last Sunday, a lady in our church brought her sister-in-law to church, who is not a christian. After the service was over (which I later learned was spot on that sister-in-law), the lady in our church asked her sister-in-law to hold her Bible. She refused, saying she didn’t want someone to think she was a christian. That might seem like slight, yet it has a familiar ring, reminescent of Acts 5:13.
Another reason that people did not join themselves with the church in Jerusalem might have been that they did not believe. Society lauded the holiness, good works, and uprightness of the church, but just didn’t believe in the Lord Jesus. This happens regularly here in Cambodia. People that do not believe praise the christians they know, but they themselves don’t care to join in. It just costs too much. Yet another reason might be the strictness of our faith. Just recently I have heard complaints from non-christians that God requires repentance from false gods and 100% faith in Christ alone. That is strict and exclusive, yet it is absolutely true. For at least these reasons, they didn’t dare (“durst” is a form of “dare”) join with the believers in Christ.
It is fascinating that at the church at Jerusalem, for all the high praises they received from society, unbelievers didn’t typically join them. The ones who joined them were believers. For the unbelievers, the persecution was too strong, the message to strict. For the believers, however, those who dared not join with them before found themselves happily seeking them out that blessed group of God’s people.
Should it be our goal in the twenty-first century to get as many unbelievers into our churches as possible? Should we tailor our styles or customize our message in an effort to draw unbelievers in? Is the church not primarily for believers? This is plainly evident in verses 13 and 14. As the church of the living God, our primary concern should be to honor God in our church meetings and our personal lives. Towards the lost, we should love supernaturally, call unceasingly, and pray fervently. But at the same time, we should have a church that exhibits such dedication to the holy God of the Bible and His word, that people dare not join our ranks; that is, they dare not join us until they have come to know that great God and Savior Jesus Christ. I think the question must be asked: are people that know not God comfortable in your church? Are they “cool with” your faith? If that’s the case, or if that’s your goal, you are in woeful disagreement with the church that God praised in Jerusalem.
We need churches of such quality that those who don’t know God are uncomfortable with our love, loyalty, and dedication to Jesus Christ and His word! We need churches of such stature that the clear teaching of God’s word is such that those without God can’t just hide out to sit and listen. But oh the joy when those who avoided us and our Savior come looking for His people in His church after they have found Him that is altogether lovely and worthy!
Greetings in the name of our risen Lord!
I have a number of people for whom I would like you to pray. So, I’ll just dive right in. First of all, please remember to pray for my wife, Alison. Her health issues have been up and down on a nearly continual basis for years now. We still have few answers as to the cause. Her problems might necessitate a trip to Thailand to visit an internal medicine doctor to run a battery of tests to see if anything in particular shows up. We would prefer to do these medical things in Thailand rather than the United States on our next furlough because the cost is so much less and the care is about the same. Either way, however, she is going to have to leave the country before October this year because of visa requirements. So, please pray for her to get well and for us to have wisdom to know the next steps the Lord would have us to take.
There is a lady in our church who is also dealing with some very difficult situations in her life: problems with her health, a hounding debt, a recent fall and family issues. Please remember to pray for Waat. It seems that she is one of a number of people in Grace Baptist Church that is struggling right now. Also, please pray for God to show us, as a church, how best to minister to and help her.
Srey, Wany, Lot (pronounced “low-t”) and Narun and his family. We have been witnessing to them recently and would like you to pray that they would believe on Christ and be added to the church. We have been teaching Srey for several months now. She is often busy, but we have gotten through most of the Gospel with her. Please pray for her to be saved. Wany is a 16 year old young man who lives in a semi-remote village but works in town. We were able to talk to him about the true God for a while yesterday. Please intercede for him. Lot is a middle-aged lady in Wany’s village. She expressed interest in knowing more about Christ in the future. Please ask God to open both a door of utterance and her heart to receive the truth of His Word. Lastly, we have mentioned Narun in the past. He is the husband of a lady who has come to church on a number of occasions, Srey Puv. He has wandered far from God in the last year or so. Now, however, he seems to want to seek God again. Please pray for him to be saved and for God wisdom to me to know how to help him and his family.
Lastly, our church had its second observance of the Lord’s Supper this afternoon. It was one of the most blessed Lord’s Supper I have been able to be a part of. We read in turn through Isaiah 53 as we ate the unleavened bread and juice. Our people seemed to enjoy it and grasp it well. I think everyone wants to do it more often! We’re going to plan that way.
There is more news, but I’ll wrap it up for now and save the other for a later time. Thank you all for your prayers. Fare ye well.
Adam, Alison, Joshua, Anna, Abigail, Charity, Mary-Lynn & Isaiah Wood (and Sofia [our dog])
The hand of the Lord has been evident here was we observe His persistent and great work in the lives of the people of Grace Baptist Church in Kampong Cham, Cambodia. In general we have seen a surge in personal growth of the people here. Not too long ago, several of our folks were having a hard time being faithful to church. When they didn’t show, others were discouraged, and so on. Those same people are now regulars and the Lord’s molding of their lives; in their attitudes, apparel and goals; is easily discernible. This has, in turn, encouraged others to become more faithful to church. Now, faithfulness to church, though important, is not an end in and of itself. We are constantly trying to ensure that they have a personal and private walk with the Lord as well. It is wonderful to see God’s work.
Chendamony has been inviting her friends to church regularly. One in particular, named Wuech, has been coming on Wednesdays and seems truly interested in the Lord. I ask you to pray for her to be saved. We are looking for a time to sit down with her and explain the Gospel to her. Monorith (Rith for short) had an opportunity to possibly attend one of the U.S. military academies for the 2014-2018 term. After much prayer, he decided that God wanted him to put it off for a year so that he would have a chance to serve the Lord, and that he has been doing indeed. Rith and I have been going weekly to a village called Tuol Srae to teach several folks there about Christ (This is Wutee’s village.). Rith has been especially teaching the children and a teenage young man who is very open to the Gospel. This fellow even reads the literature we gave him by candlelight at night because his village does not yet have electricity. During the week I am teaching Rith how to share the Gospel, and on Fridays he is going out there and putting it into practice. Please pray for our evangelism in Tuol Srae, that God would make Himself and His power known to the listeners. Myen is another lady whom I have been teaching about Christ. She is very poor, does not read or write Khmer and has HIV. She sometimes has a hard time following what I say. Nevertheless, I hear the Lord reminding me to continue to be patient in teaching her as long as she wants to hear. Please pray for her and another lady that have been listening to God’s Word.
As I mentioned before, our attendance in our services is improving as people have been inviting their friends and loved ones. Most exciting, though, is seeing our own folks making a point to seek Lord in the church, listen attentively and give offerings to God. We also have a single lady missionary, Grace Ortiz, and her friend Sina, that have been attending our church. They live here in Kampong Cham as well. Their regular attendance has been an encouragement to others to come faithfully as well. Since the rainy season is over, and the river level has dropped, in the near future, if God is willing, I am planning on leading our people to start some day-long outreach ministries to some other areas around our city. I could certainly use God’s wisdom, through your prayers, to know where, when and how to move forward.
I think I can safely say the work on the Khmer Bible concordance is moving forward. After a long hiatus because of some pretty difficult issues, we are moving forward with preparing a final version that will be sized suitable for print. For those interested, the Khmer concordance is at least twice the size of the English Strong’s Concordance, which creates a major printing problem. I hope we have resolved that. I know for a fact that some Khmer pastors will find a great deal of use in a tool like this, which does not yet exist for the Khmer Bible. Again, please pray for God’s wisdom in the steps forward.
Our family is well, despite some recent sicknesses. The Lord Jesus continues to sustain us and our family. We are all eagerly looking forward to a first-time visit by a family member (Adam’s dad) in December, Lord willing. Before we conclude, we want you to know that we would love to hear from you anytime. Fare ye well.
Greetings in the name of our blessed Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. What an honor it is to be bearers of His name to a dark land! We trust you all are enjoying the Lord’s abundant blessings. I would like to bring you up to date and request your prayers for several things.
A number of people have asked about the mother of a young lady in our church (Mony) who was sick unto death. She passed away just a few days after my previous update. My daughter and I attended the funeral. What a sad time it was! We are thankful to the Lord, though, that Mony honored the Lord by helping where she could in the funeral without defiling herself with the idolatrous practices so common here. Her father didn’t even give her a hard time about it. Praise the Lord.
Cultural Note: Usually, when a mother or father dies, all sorts of worship is performed by the family of the deceased. This is so prevalent that frequently one of the first questions I get when meeting new people is, “I have heard that when a Christian’s mom or dad dies they are not allowed to ‘honor’ them. Is this true?” As you can imagine, this question is loaded. By honor, they are referring to worship in the form of burning incense. Yet they say honor. So if you don’t worship them, you are accused of dishonoring your parents after their death. It is a sort of confusing custom that is often inconsistent. Add to that the fact that there are “Christian” groups that forbid their members from crying, keeping the ashes of the deceased, keeping a picture of them in the house, attending the funeral in any way, etc. So, the question is partly justified. I had the joy of telling an older lady just the other day that it was the Lord Jesus Himself who wept at the hearing of the death of a friend.
Going back to Mony, her father has since torn down his huge altar inside his house that was primarily to worship spirits to make his wife better. He told Mony that it was “worthless.” Now, however, he is visiting spirit mediums to attempt to contact his wife even though she as passed away. Please pray for him, named Sak, that the Lord would open his eyes and that our Lord would provide an opportunity for me (or someone) to show him the Way, the Truth and the Life.
I thank the Lord for a opportunity to teach another family about the Gospel on Sunday afternoons. I met them while out visiting and they seem interested. They are all related in some way or another with each other. I don’t have names right now, but please pray for them to receive God’s Word as taught and for the Holy Spirit to convict them. I’ll try to get the names to you if I can.
There is another family that I met while out visiting that might also be interested in learning more about our Lord. The father, Chaylieng, and his wife have 7 children, the oldest of which is a 20-something. The Lord blessed to allow me to talk to them for probably 45 minutes about the Lord with nearly the entire family and several neighbors listening. Please pray that the Lord would open the door to teach them further.
As for the people in our church, I ask you to pray for Rut. I have begun teaching him English because of some problems he had at his school. Outside of the obvious benefit to him, it has allowed us to get to know each other better and for me to lead him in the way of the Lord. I trust that the Holy Spirit is leading him in His way. He has yet to be baptized, so that is on the agenda to do soon.
I am also working with Davy and Huv, whom I mentioned in our last update. Davy called on the Lord to save her, but her work as a hairdresser keeps her busy. I am working on sitting her and her husband down to discuss her being baptized. Her husband is still a mystery, as to where he stands with the Lord. Please pray for them both, and for me to have wisdom to know how the Lord would have me to help them.
Lastly, a number of you have asked about and shown concern for our son Joshua and his neck problem. This matter stands about the same as before. The next step for us is a trip to Thailand to have a pediatric orthopedist check out his neck. I ask you to pray for us to have wisdom to know when to go and that the fix would be non-surgical. I’ll try to keep you posted on this issue as well.
Thank you so much for praying for us. Please, please keep in touch. We love to hear from you!
Greetings in the name of our Lord. This past Sunday we had our first guest preacher to preach to our people. Pastor Sakhaun is a Cambodian pastor who pastors a church in his home village and helps in another church, New Hope Baptist Church of Phnom Penh, with Rodney Ruppel and Sakhaun’s son-in-law Wang. (more…)
This year has brought a number of major developments in our work and family here in Cambodia. At the beginning of January 2012 our family moved about two and a half hours away from the capital city of Phnom Penh to Kampong Cham. This was a major move for our family, but a move that has blessed our family in a number of ways. Since our move we have been working at starting the Grace Baptist Church (ក្រុមជំនុំបាទីស្ទព្រះគុណ/krom-joom-noom batis preah-kun) of Kampong Cham. We have covered (more…)
Lately, our Lord has provided some excellent opportunities to explain the Gospel clearly to a number of people, in direct answer to our prayers. There is so very much devilish misinformation about true Christianity floating around this nation. So, it is such a blessing to show someone from the Bible what God says about Himself and His salvation. Let me tell you a few of them.
In the last update I mentioned a young lady named Srey Puv and her husband Narun. She is (more…)