Lockdown

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;” 2 Corinthians 4:8

This is the same verse that I posted last month when we were merely perplexed but now, we really are hard-pressed by police barricades on all sides of our neighborhood. After a year of being blessed in Cambodia with low numbers of COVID cases, the COVID numbers continue to rise and it has not been contained yet. So, the capital city of Phnom Penh is now in lockdown. We are not allowed to leave our neighborhood and only two of us are allowed to leave our apartment three times a week for groceries and supplies. There are steep fines, prison terms, and deportations with no re-entry being handed out to people who violate various orders. So, we need to be really wise and careful in our daily lives. 

Please pray for: 1. That COVID would be contained ASAP so that Cambodia can return to normal. 2. That God would meet the needs of the Cambodian poor because they cannot work and most charitable organizations and churches are not able to operate due to the lockdown. 3. That God would give us wisdom and grace to guide us during this confusing time. 

Yet, we are not crushed. Darryl’s apologetics/evangelistic social media video ministry continues and should be able to continue despite the lockdown. Since the last update, Darryl produced and released two more videos in the Cambodian language: 1 Jonah and the Great Fish 2. How to Recognize False Christs. The second video was made because there is a new cult operating in Cambodia that teaches the Jesus Christ has already returned and is living in the form of a Chinese woman. There was a long Khmer New Year holiday this month so it was only possible to produce two videos instead of three. Darryl also has been editing the English subtitles for Light Times Magazines new video project. Please pray for Soksan the founder of Light Times and his family. They went camping on some land that they own on the outskirts of the city and got caught out there when the lockdown happened now they can’t return to their home so they may not be able to work until the lockdown is lifted. Please pray for wisdom, creativity, and inspiration for Darryl to write more video scripts that will best meet the needs of the Cambodians during this season. 

The Chinese language apologetics/evangelistic video and other projects are on hold because Darryl cannot meet with Pastor Samuel during this time. One good thing is that Pastor Samuel has purchased some audio recording equipment and is taking online classes to learn how to make high quality audio recordings on his own. Please pray for wisdom about how to move forward with translation and recordings for videos even though we may have to wait until after the lockdown to do the video production part.

Even though Kayo can’t meet with the Cambodian women’s organization, she has been busy ministering to other missionaries and foreigners living in Cambodia in addition to taking care of the family. A few nights ago, she got a call at 2am from a young female Japanese missionary who lives in our apartment building that a man had somehow gotten into her apartment. We don’t know the motive. By God’s grace, the missionary woke up and screamed before the man had a chance to steal anything and he ran away without harming her. After receiving the call, Kayo and I rushed upstairs to help the missionary. She was too scared to stay in her apartment that night so she spent the rest of the night in our living room. In the morning we helped her communicate the situation to the landlord’s family. They had another apartment available that is bigger and more secure for the same price so we moved her that morning. 

Now, Kayo also organizes and arranges for different members of the worship team to record their own worship videos at their homes, since the worship team can no longer meet. Darryl combines the videos and sends them to another missionary who adds lyrics and then sends the video to be combined with the sermon etc. for the local international church’s weekly Facebook service video. This ministers to a lot of missionaries and other foreigners living in Cambodia. 

Benjamin’s (Badminton) Baseball In Our Living Room Is A Good Analogy For What Our Life Is Like Right Now! : )

Despite the lockdown, Benjamin’s online school continues, by God’s grace. We weren’t sure that the teachers would be able to teach because they might not have been able to retrieve their teaching materials from school now that they have to teach from home but so far things are going smoothly. For one of Benjamin’s PE assignments he had to demonstrate proper baseball batting, pitching, and catching technique on a video. The challenge was that he didn’t have a bat, baseball, glove, and we are no longer allowed to play sports outside. So, Benjamin had to use a badminton racket, a handball, and make the video in the hallway and living room of our apartment! Benjamin’s video turned out fine and there was no damage to the apartment. He even edited the video himself. 

Also please pray for our Cambodian driver’s license renewal in May. Please pray the the lockdown will end before our licenses expire so we can renew them on time. 

Thanks for your faithful prayers, encouragement, and support. You all mean more to us than we can express, especially in times like these. 

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Perplexed But Not In Despair

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;” 2 Corinthians 4:8

Years ago, when I first started driving a car in Cambodian traffic jams I used to think about being “hard-pressed on every side.” : ) Now that COVID (105 new cases yesterday) is spreading in Cambodia there are few traffic jams. Now, the “pressing” feels more like three people trying to do work, ministry, and online school in an apartment with few outings. By God’s grace, we were able to move into a two bedroom apartment, last month, before this latest COVID outbreak hit. 

High-Tech Meets Low -Tech: Benjamin using a computer, iPhone hotspot/flashlight on a claypot, and a candle for online school during a recent electrical blackout. 

We thank God that we are able to continue to reach out to the people of Cambodia via social media. Sometimes we are “perplexed” with questions like, “When will we be able to return to in-person ministries with our Cambodian partners?” “When will we be able to visit the US or Japan?” etc. But, we are not in “despair” because God is with us, has met our needs so far, and we trust Him to be with us in the future.

Some of the reactions to Darryl’s apologetics/evangelistic videos in the Cambodian language.

Since the last update, Darryl has been able to produce and distribute three videos in the Cambodian language: 1. Are Genuine Christians Hypocrites? 2. Is God a Trinity? 3. How Should Christians Relate to Our Cultures?  Now, Darryl has two more videos in process for the Cambodian language. In terms of video production, Darryl is able to produce more videos during the times when COVID is bad than during normal times because other ministry activities and errands are stopped.

Please pray that we will be able to work out a safe way (given the current spread of COVID) to translate, record, and synchronize more audio tracks for Darryl’s apologetics/evangelistic videos in Chinese (Mandarin). 

Please pray for Kayo as she misses her in-person ministries and activities the most. She still keeps busy helping to organize the worship team at the international church for the weekly video service. She keeps in touch with her Cambodian partners but there is not as much work for her to do now that she can’t go to the office. She also is busier with the family when Benjamin is home on online school.

Benjamin is doing well both in-person and online school. He misses being able to hang out with his friends as much as before. Still he is handling it all pretty well. He also is disappointed that we won’t be able to travel either in Cambodia or internationally for some time due to COVID. 

Thanks for your faithful prayers, encouragement, and support as God enables you to bless the people of Cambodia and beyond through your partnership with our family.

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Perseverance

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9

We just found out that there has been another outbreak of COVID and so Benjamin’s school will be online for at least the next two weeks. We don’t know whether churches will be online or not yet. Everything was open for a month after an outbreak at the end of November. This outbreak in Cambodia combined with the COVID situation in the USA and Japan make traveling this summer to either country seem very unlikely. 

Despite our disappointment that COVID has not cleared up as fast as we had hoped, but now it looks like it may linger for awhile, our lives and ministries in Cambodia are going better than we expected given the situation. For example, Pastor Samuel is forming a team to translate and record Darryl’s apologetic/evangelistic videos into Chinese. In the past month we were able to translate, record, and produce the video Life: Creation or Chance in Chinese.

Darryl also produced and distributed two videos: God and the Environment and Is Jesus Really God? in the Cambodian language through social media. He also researched and wrote three scripts for future videos. 

Light Times Magazine has been unable to produce a paper based magazine for some time due to COVID. Now, they are in the process of starting to produce videos for social media distribution. Please pray for this transition and for Darryl’s role in helping with the new videos. 

Kayo continues to be very active with the worship team at the international church. Benjamin is doing well in school despite the changes between in-person and on-line school. We are thankful that we could move into a two bedroom apartment in the same building for the same price as a one-bedroom (due to Covid). Benjamin is happy to have his own bedroom instead of having to sleep in the living room. 

Thanks for your continued and faithful prayers, encouragement, and support. We would be in a bad situation without people like you. 

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Hope For the New Year

“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23

We thank God for His faithfulness in 2020 and look forward to what He has planned for 2021. There are many unanswered questions like, “Will we be able to visit the USA, Japan, or neither this summer?” Right now, the doors don’t seem to be open for us to visit other countries but who knows what a few months will bring. 

Thank you for praying for our visa renewals with the Cambodian government. We were approved for another year. They did require more documentation than ever before but by God’s grace our Cambodian partnering organizations were able to supply everything we needed for the renewal. 

Thank you for praying for Cambodia’s COVID-19 situation. There was a small community outbreak at the end of November. As a result, church and school went back to online only. We thank God that the outbreak was successfully contained and now church and school have both returned to in-person. 

Darryl finished his apologetics class at a local Bible school in December (except for grading). Now, he can focus more on researching for new scripts for future evangelistic/apologetics videos in the Cambodian language and sharing them via website and social media. 

In December, Darryl and Pastor Samuel recorded the first (pilot) episode of “Learn English Through the Bible.” This is a short English and Bible lesson in English and Chinese. We may transition to Zoom style classes instead of making stand-alone videos.

In January, “Brian,” a Chinese Christian man from church volunteered to translate some of Darryl’s video scripts into Chinese as a way of improving his English and Bible knowledge. We will then be able to make more Chinese language videos.

Kayo continues to be active with the local church’s worship team and now that Christmas is over is looking for new ministry opportunities. Benjamin is back in in-person school and it is hard to believe that 6th grade is half finished. We also thank God that he requested to be and was baptized the end of December.

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

New Videos in the Chinese Language

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”  Galatians 6:9

Darryl’s Apologetics/Evangelistic video ministry has just produced its first video in the Chinese (Mandarin) language!  Darryl and Pastor Samuel have been talking about this for years now but due to COVID, we both finally have time in our schedules to work together to make this happen.  Pastor Samuel translated and recorded the soundtrack of the video “DNA: God’s Living Software” in Chinese and then we used that to make the video using video from the English version of the video.  This video is now available in Cambodian, English, Japanese, Spanish and Chinese.  It is available for viewing and free download at www.internationalfishers.com/chinese.  

www.internatinalfishers.com/chinese

Please pray for Pastor Samuel as he recruits other Chinese translators for future video projects.  Pastor Samuel and Darryl are also working on a new video series in Chinese and English entitled “Learn English Through the Bible.” We are starting by teaching the book of Mark verse by verse in simple English and Chinese in short videos. Please pray for this project as well. 

Darryl’s vision for International Fishers has long been to, “take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people we will never meet, in places we will never go, in languages we will never speak.”   Because we live and serve in Cambodia, our main focus continues to be teaching and producing videos etc. in the Cambodian language.  But, Cambodia is a very international country and so there are Christians from many other countries and languages and we are always open to opportunities to equip and partner with them to reach people of their own language and nation. 

Last month, Darryl produced a video in the Cambodian language entitled, “the Bible and Angels” and released it on www.internationalfishers.com/khmer , on YouTube, and through several Facebook pages and groups.  Darryl is about to release another video in Cambodian entitled, “God and Ethnic Groups,” but this time he will attempt to put in English subtitles so more people can understand it. 

In November, Cambodia had its first community transmission of COVID 19.  Up until now, all the cases have been imported from overseas and caught at the airport or during a mandatory 14 day quarantine.  Now that COVID has broken through into the community, schools and churches are back online for the time being.  Darryl’s apologetics class has also been moved to online video along with our other ministries.  Please pray for the schools to reopen ASAP so that if possible Darryl can record the student’s apologetics videos instead of having to give them an online exam.  

The family is doing well.  We had a great Thanksgiving and birthdays (Darryl’s and Benjamin’s) (THANKS Kayo!).  

Please pray for our visa renewals this month.  The Cambodian government keeps making the requirements more difficult each year.  We believe that we are fine for this year but please pray for favor and a smooth renewal process.  

Please pray for COVID to get controlled so we can either visit the US or Japan next summer.

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Heart of the King

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord,
Like the rivers of water;
He turns it wherever He wishes.
 (Proverbs 21:1 NKJV)

As I write this post, it is the day before the U.S. election. Growing up, I was interested in U.S. politics while my peers were interested in sports. I even earned a degree in political science before God called me to be a missionary and Christian apologist in Cambodia. Each election year, I thank God that I do not have to campaign for any human candidate, but that I have the privilege to use my skills to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Even though I still have strong preferences for which candidates win various elections, the above verse has helped me to keep my sense of balance and peace by remembering that regardless of who wins the election, God is still in complete control. 

Some of the reactions to one of my videos, “God and Money” on Facebook.

In October, I continued to write scripts and produce apologetics/evangelistic videos in the Cambodian language. I released two videos: God and Good Evil and God and Money. Four more video scripts are in various stages of production for future videos. The video ministry continues to be fruitful and rewarding. 

Now that the churches have reopened (with restrictions), I have also resumed helping a Chinese missionary teach the Bible and English to Chinese and Cambodians at the international church we attend. 

I have also started teaching a Christian Apologetics class at the Cambodia Presbyterian Theological Institute. This class has been a little confusing due to COVID restrictions. At first, the class was supposed to be fully online, so I prepared for that. Then, it was supposed to be partly online and partly in-person, so I prepared for that. Now, starting this week, it is fully in-person. So, I am getting ready to make (hopefully) this final adjustment. I am thankful that Cambodia’s COVID-19 situation remains very good with only a handful of active cases, all from overseas travelers and not community transmission. 

Kayo continues to actively help coordinate the international church’s worship team and minister to Japanese missionaries in Cambodia. She looks forward to getting back into in-person ministries to Cambodians as the COVID situation in Cambodia improves.

Benjamin is doing well in school and is overcoming the challenges of sixth grade and COVID restrictions (at school). 

Thank you for your faithful prayers, encouragement, and support. Please pray for our ministries as well as for the travel restrictions to/from Cambodia so that we can visit the US and Japan in the future. We also pray that God will bless, provide for, and protect you during this season of uncertainty. 

In Christ’s Love,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Our Refuge

“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.” Psalm 5:11

Since our last update, God has opened the doors for schools and churches to reopen. The government still has placed strict requirements on both but with a total cases around 274 and no community transmission of COVID 19, we are hopeful that those restrictions will be gradually eased. The restrictions for entry into Cambodia remain very strict so for now we cannot leave the country because it might be too difficult to re-enter.

Our regular ministries continue to be blessed. Darryl’s International Fishers apologetics/evangelistic ministry is going well. He has been able to increase the frequency of his videos from about 1 per month before COVID to around 3 per month. He released videos with the following titles (in the Cambodian language)since August: Science and Jesus’ Miracles, Talking Snakes and Donkeys in the Bible, How to Find God, and, God and Time.  There are three more videos in process which will be released soon. He continues to release the videos on the website, various Facebook pages and groups, and on YouTube. It is encouraging that the EvidenceCambodia YouTube channel alone now has 1,620 subscribers and has more than 92,000 total views across all the videos. Tracking the numbers of views on the various Facebook pages and groups and the website is much more difficult but most videos are more popular on Facebook than on YouTube. 

Kayo continues to be very active in worship ministry for the local international church. We are thankful that we no longer have to only do video services but can do in-person services. She looks forward to being able to return to in-person work with Precious Women. 

Please pray for our Cambodian ministry partners, especially Light Times Magazine and Precious Women Organization. Light Times Magazine is struggling financially and also it is difficult to print and distribute magazines during this season. Please pray that now that the churches are reopening that Light Times will be able to return to normal operations as well. Please pray for Precious Women Organization that they will be able to return to regular operations as well. Before COVID, they were primarily focused on evangelizing and retraining women who were trapped in the night-time entertainment industry. Now, they are primarily focused on providing emergency food relief to women who have become unemployed due to COVID. While this is a good temporary focus, please pray that they will be able to return to their main vision ASAP and that we will be able to return to in-person work with them.

Thanks for your faithful prayer, encouragement, and practical support that has made it possible for our family not to just survive during this global season of pandemic and unrest but to actually see some areas of thriving. We pray that God will be with and bless you, your family, and your church as you have been a blessing to the Great Commission in Cambodia. 

In Christ’s Love,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

A Strong Tower

The name of the Lord is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. Proverbs 18:10

Despite the uncertainties of the world around us, God has blessed us with peace and protection during this season. COVID-19 remains under control in Cambodia and we thank God for this. As a result, Benjamin’s school will be able to reopen for in-person classes with mask and social distancing requirements at the end of August. God has carried us through approximately five months of schooling and work at home in an apartment that seems to shrink as our 11-year-old grows. Travel restrictions remain pretty strict so any travel outside of Cambodia before the middle of 2021 would be extremely difficult if not impossible. Churches remain limited to 10 people so we continue helping with the online services at the international church.

Darryl continues to create and distribute Cambodian language evangelistic/apologetics videos on social media and via www.internationalfishers.com/khmer. He just released a video in Cambodian entitled, “Science and Jesus Christ’s Miracles,” which discusses how science cannot disprove miracles and gave other evidence for Jesus’ miracles. The video ministry continues to go well as Cambodians use social media more and more for entertainment and communication. The videos receive anywhere from hundreds of views and tens of thousands of views on various social media platforms. For example, Darryl’s most popular video in Cambodian, “Did Jesus Really Rise From the Dead” has been viewed by more than 45,000 Cambodians on YouTube alone.

Darryl also continues to work with other missionaries to develop a basic Bible teaching website in Cambodian and other languages. It is a slow process but it is very promising in terms of the impact that it can have. 

Kayo continues serving as a board member and volunteer at Precious Women ministry which evangelizes and retrains at-risk women for other careers outside of the night-time entertainment industry. Recently, the organization has been focused on distributing food to women who are out of work due to COVID-19. Kayo and I do some work at home for the organization on an as-needed basis but we haven’t been able to go to the office since COVID-19 began. We hope to return to the office soon. Kayo is also very active in the international church’s worship team and online services. 

Benjamin has been doing some online summer schooling and will soon start joining a soccer club. 

Thanks for your prayers, encouragement, and support. May God bless you and keep you and your family during this season.

In Christ’s Loving Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Cambodia Missions Update

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;

But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

Psalm 20:7

With a pandemic, economic turmoil, and social turmoil in many places around the world it is easy to become overwhelmed and frightened when our “horses” and “chariots”, whatever they may be, fail. But, these times constantly remind us that God is real and He is greater than whatever we fear. We thank God that He has been taking care of us and meeting our daily needs during this precarious time.

Ministries have stabilized in this new season. Darryl was able to release a new video in the Cambodian language entitled “If God Created Everything, Why Do Animals Eat Meat?” This video was well-received on various social media platforms. 

Darryl has also been video recording and editing the videos for the worship team at the international church’s online service via Facebook. Darryl did the subtitles for one week but now there is someone else to do this. 

Darryl is waiting for students at the seminary to turn in their online apologetics class assignments for grading. Hopefully this will be completed in July.

Right now, Darryl is mainly focusing on researching and writing video scripts for future videos. Please pray for wisdom and inspiration for the writing process. 

Kayo participated in a food giveaway via Bethel Grace Mission a Cambodian founded ministry that ministers to the urban poor who live in graveyards.

Kayo is also helping to organize the worship team at the international church and is actually more busy than normal with this because of the need to record the worship time on video. It looks like the churches will be shut down for several more months. 

Benjamin completed his online school year. He will be going into 6th grade (probably online) in August. We are proud of him for winning a the Jo Miller award for Christ-like servant leadership. 

We are doubtful that we can go to Japan this fall because now in order to return to Cambodia we would need to deposit $3,000 per person for quarantine expenses in addition to other hurdles in Cambodia and Japan. Please pray that these travel restrictions will be lifted in time for us to travel internationally again in 2021. 

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Peace in Troubled Times

“Refuse to give in to him, by standing strong in your faith. You know that your Christian family all over the world is having the same kinds of suffering. And after you suffer for a short time, God, who gives all grace, will make everything right. He will make you strong and support you and keep you from falling. He called you to share in his glory in Christ, a glory that will continue forever.” 1 Peter 5:9-10

The italicized part of this passage has been on my mind since reading it with Benjamin a few days ago. There are troubles all over the world. Before one trouble gets resolved, other troubles break out. In the past, it seemed like the lives of those in our sending countries were more peaceful and secure than our lives as missionaries in Cambodia. Now, I am not so sure. 

Now, it is increasingly clear that heaven, not earth, is our true home. Even when things go wrong on earth, God will make everything right either now or in eternity. So, as believers, we can maintain the love, joy, and peace, that God gives us regardless of the trials that we and our loved ones around the world are facing. 

Cambodia Update

Darryl’s Latest Apologetics/Evangelistic Video In Cambodian

By God’s grace, we have been able to continue to minister in Cambodia despite COVID-19. Darryl has been able to finish all 16 (30-minute) videos to substitute for in-person Apologetics class lectures at a local Cambodian seminary. In June, he will still need to grade the final exam/projects.

In addition, Darryl was able to produce and distribute a new video entitled God’s Robots in Cambodian. This video is about the amazing design of microscopic “walking robots” called kinesins that transport molecules inside the cell. The video has been distributed on various social media platforms, Facebook groups, and will also be available on the app of the largest Cambodian church and network. There is another video in process and then Darryl will need to take some time to research topics for future videos. Please pray for wisdom and creativity. 

Kayo has been helping to organize the international church’s worship team for weekly video-recorded worship sessions for the online services. She is also organizing some smaller member-care fellowship groups to care for various members who are getting isolated after months without in-person fellowship. In-person church services remain closed for the foreseeable future.

Kayo has also been ministering to and encouraging other Japanese missionaries and expats in Cambodia. We will not be able to go to Japan this summer to visit our senders there so we are looking in to making videos for them.

Precious Women organization continues to distribute supplies to women who are at risk of getting trapped in prostitution. Many of them have lost their regular jobs as a result of COVID-19. So, they are at even greater risk. We continue to support this organization financially and Kayo does some work from home work for them as well. 

Benjamin is finishing his school year online. Lord willing the school will be able to start in-person classes in August but we are not sure of that either. 

Please continue to pray for our finances as it is very difficult to raise additional funds because of COVID-19, meanwhile our expenses have increased beyond our control. We recognize that many of our senders are also facing financial uncertainty as well so we are sensitive to this reality as well. 

In Christ’s Loving Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Phnom Penh, Cambodia