For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
As we come to the end of 2016, we have the opportunity to reflect on the past year and to look forward to 2017. After serving as missionaries since 2007, 2016 has been a year of reflection, rest, reading the Word and other books, and reconnecting with family, friends, and our calling as missionaries to Cambodia, a real sabbatical. We are thankful for all of the grace and blessings we have received. We also give thanks to God for providing for our practical needs of housing, transportation, and finances through faithful ministry partners, church family, and some other amazing miraculous ways.
We lived and wrapped up our work in Cambodia until June 2016. Benjamin could successfully finish his school year at Hope International School and we sold and stored some of our belongings there. We arrived at Los Angeles on July 7 and are staying in the greater Los Angeles area where our mission agency and main sending church in the USA are located. Darryl has been able to get the medical treatment and member care that he needs to return to health and strength. Kayo’s Green Card process has gone smoother than we expected and so she should receive her new Green Card around February 2017. Benjamin has been occupied with homeschooling through a charter school and is also taking a Judo (Japanese martial art) class at a local community center.
Lord willing, we will start getting ready to return to our mission field, Cambodia after the first of the year. The returning date on our returning tickets to Phnom Penh, Cambodia is March 25, 2017. Thanks in advance for your faithful prayers and encouragement that God has used to restore and refresh us.
“Instantly Zechariah could speak again, and he began praising God.” Luke 1:64
There have been several months that Darryl has only been able speak and write a little since his mental breakdown/burn out around Christmas 2016 caused by long term stress of bearing various kinds of ministry responsibilities over nearly ten years of our service in Cambodia as a family. Darryl finished teaching classes on a topic of Christian apologetics at two Bible schools in the early part of December. The Lord blessed those classes and beautiful fruit came forth but it seems his mental capacity was poured out as he finished teaching an intensive Christian apologetics class.
Last week we were praying together, tearing down some dark spiritual strongholds which have been hindering Darryl from being all that God designed him to be… and Darryl sensed God restored his ability to communicate. We know that there are no coincidences with God but we as a couple have been reading Luke 1. When Zechariah could speak again, he praised God, Darryl wants that to be true for him too!
We have much to be thankful for despite the discouragements about whether or not our ministries were worthwhile. One of Darryl former students posted this encouragement on the International Fishers Facebook page:
I thank you lecturer Darryl for your practical teaching. It was such a powerful teaching you gave to me at CBI. I made some mistakes there at that time on my presentation, but because of it, I have a better preparation of this kind of message to present to my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ in my area and to my beloved people every time I have a chance to share the gospel. I pray that your biblical materials continue to bless our students in Cambodia.
USA Furlough July 7, 2016-March 25, 2017 +/-
With much prayers, we have discerned that God is leading us through a season of Sabbatical. As a matter of fact, our capacity to achieve external ministry accomplishments has been greatly diminished since the beginning of this year; on the other hand, it has been been a season of spiritual growth in each member of our family including Benjamin. Both Darryl and Kayo (along with other missionary colleagues in Cambodia who have seen and helped us go through this time of weakness and brokenness) still have a clear sense that God’s calling for our family to serve in Cambodia as long term missionaries is not over yet. Nevertheless, Darryl is in need of higher level of medical care that is not available here and also will be able to use some rest and therapy to work things through. In a mean while, Kayo will be able to renew her ten years Green Card that is about to expire. We used to think that we would only take 2-3 months furlough each year but just like many other long term missionaries, we finally seem to need nearly a year long furlough.
As is expressed in the Bible, Jewish concept of “a day” starts from the sunset. For example, the Sabbath day starts from Friday evening right after the sunset and ends at sunset on Saturday. It is interesting that people start their “day” by resting and finishing up their day by working to accomplish tasks. Our family currently is learning how to abide in Christ and rest in His presence. We’ve spent a lot of time in prayers; reading some Christian books, working through them; spending extra time and resources to strengthen our marriage and family relationships; searching, finding and solidifying our Christian identity as children of God; etc; thus, “resting” in God and enjoying our Sabbatical season with Him. Our hope is that as we go through the rest of this Sabbatical season in the US, God will restore, equip, and prepare us to enter into another season of serving in Cambodia with much bigger and better capacity to bring His kingdom on earth with joy in 2017.
. . . Jesus . . .saw a large crowd and He felt compassion for them. . .His disciples came to Him and said, “This place is desolate and it is already quite late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” But He answered them, “You give them something to eat!” And they said to Him, “Shall we go and spend two hundred (days wages) on bread and give them something to eat?”And He said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go look!” . . . They said, “Five, and two fish.”. . . And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food and broke the loaves and He kept giving them to the disciples to set before them; and He divided up the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied, and they picked up twelve full baskets of the broken pieces, and also of the fish. There were five thousand men who ate the loaves.” Mark 6:30-44 NASB
Phany gave us the update that in 2016, Kone Kmeng is planning (by faith) partner with 190 local Cambodian churches to equip them to minister to 30,000 at risk children! This is amazing considering that the Director Pang Sophany, “Phany” co-founded this organization in 2006 in his bedroom. Since then the phrase, “You give them something to eat.” has been rolling around in my heart. Kone Kmeng works with the churches to meet the children’s physical needs for food, shelter, clean water, and education etc. . So instead of feeling called to give them “physical food,” because Kone Kmeng is already doing that, I feel called to give them spiritual food. I long to help these 30,000 young people to know Christ as their personal savior, to become confident in the Truth of their faith, so that they can be bold in their witness to their family, friends, classmates, and community. But I only have one video for children in Khmer called “Real Joy.” For the past few years I have desired to make more videos like this on more topics like creation, the Bible, Jesus, and salvation in the Cambodian language and other languages as well. In order to do this I will need a team or staff and increased funds to distribute the video. These children live without electricity or Internet. The cheapest way I can distribute videos is on CD-Rs (not very efficient for these children) but blank CD’s cost at least $0.30 each so 30,000 copies could cost $10,000 at least and it still wouldn’t satisfy their need. So, like the disciples I have come to the place of understanding that the needs and opportunities are too big for me. So, I am waiting for Jesus to multiply the five loaves and two fish that I do have.
Training and Equipping Cambodian Pastors and Church Leaders
Since the end of October, I have been teaching Christian Apologetics 8
Cambodian Bible school students at the Cambodian Presbyterian Theological Institute. The class is 4 hours every Thursday from 10am to 3pm until December 17. I plan to video their Apologetics presentations and post them on the International Fishers website, as I did this spring. Between December 7 to the 17th, I will also be teaching Christian Apologetics at Cambodia Bible Institute and they also will be making videos like they did last year. A few months ago, I mentioned I shared all of the International Fisher’s Cambodian language videos and audio files with Samaritan’s Purse Cambodia. They have been purchasing tablet (computers) and filling them up with as much Christian resources in Khmer as possible, including International Fishers’s Khmer resources. It has been wonderful to partner with these other ministries and organizations to equip the leaders who will be able to equip the Christians of Cambodia for decades to come.
Knowing the Times We Live In:
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Do this, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed. The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:10-12)
From the time I was four years old, I followed US politics like most “normal” kids follow sports. Instead of being a professional football player, I dreamed of being the President. So, when I went to college it was natural for me to major in political science. I tested in the top 3% of political science majors during my year, and after an internship in the state Capitol, I graduated in 1999 magna cum laude with a BA in political science. Then God called me to abandon it all to serve as an English teacher, missionary, and Christian apologist in Cambodia. Since then I have often wondered if this major was a mistake.
So, for more than 15 years I did my best not to pay attention to or comment on US politics. Last spring, I felt led to start a blog so that I could respond to the politically motivated attacks that were coming against Christianity, mainly in the USA. As a college student I remember having lively debates and disagreements with others from a wide range of political views on every possible issue and we all stayed friends. My freshman year I had a roommate who was a Muslim from Bangladesh since there were not many other people from Bangladesh at Truman State University in Kirksville Missouri, my roommate’s new best friend was a Hindu from India. I remember discussing the virgin birth of Jesus Christ with both of them at the same time in our dorm room. We all stayed friends. Later I helped my roommate get a job in the Vice President’s office as a student worker with me. After fifteen years away from US politics, I realized that the culture has shifted so that political debates were very toxic and divisive. I wondered why, so I started to read and research so that I could find the best way to help Christians deal with it and also to prepare to vaccinate the Cambodians from spill-over. In my view, radical/nihilistic ideologies are gaining ground in many areas of the US’s society. This is not based on one person or even one political party, it is spreading everywhere. This ideology divides, dehumanizes, and destroys societies, traditions, and institutions. The antidote to this ideology is Romans 13, Luke 6:20-46 and other related Scriptures. We need to start memorizing Scripture so that we can live scripturally every day.
I am beginning to sense that God is integrating my political science, cross-cultural, international, multi-language, and Christian apologetics backgrounds, “for such a time as this.” Please pray for me to have grace, patience, wisdom, and discernment so that I can understand the new culture and even help equip Christians to view these new political challenges as witnessing opportunities by applying the basic ideas of business as mission to “politics as mission.” I believe that God is giving us some some opportunities to help some “Sauls” be transformed into “Pauls”. “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)
Here are some recent posts that may be helpful in helping you to understand the times we live in and still have a peace that passes understanding. Here are some links to some of the articles that I have written that may help you understand the times we live in as I share my thought processes.
Preparing for the Next Chapter: Helping to Prepare the way for the Gospel to Spread from Cambodia to the rest of the World.
There are two parts to my calling. 1. Equip the Cambodian Christians to take the Gospel to their own nation. 2. Help prepare the way for the Gospel to spread from Cambodia to the rest of the world. God is already bringing about part 1 so by faith, I trust him to fulfill part 2. So, by faith we are moving forward to expand International Fishers so that it can spread the Gospel not only across Cambodia but across the globe, especially in closed countries and unreached people groups.
As I mentioned in my last update, my family’s personal/mission finances are about $1,200-$1,500 short each month for ministry work funds and health insurance partly due to the 40% drop in the value of the Japanese Yen against the Dollar. (this is draining our financial reserves more information here.). We praise God that so far we have received faith promises for 10% of this amount! Of course faith promises are like eggs until they hatch in our account so while, “we can’t count our chickens before they hatch,” we can count on God. We understand that the economy is tight, church budgets are tight, and other missionaries have needs. So, I have been looking for ways for people to save money (on coffee, eating lunch out, credit cards etc.) so that they can have extra money to invest in their Heavenly Rewards Account (like an IRA but without the IRS). Check out these ideas at Daily Investments for an Eternal Impact. To partner with us in expanding International Fishers: Christian Evidence Ministry, Japanese Immigrant Ministry, Worship, and Mentoring Locals, please click here to make a donation (Heavenly Investment).
“A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.” (Ephesians 6:10-19)
Then I heard the Lord’s voice, saying, “Whom can I send? Who will go for us?” So I said, “Here I am. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8 NCV)
Suddenly this passage came to my mind in a whole new way and with it came
my renewed calling. “Whom can I send, to equip the Cambodians to take the Gospel to their nation and to help prepare the way for the Gospel to spread from Cambodia to the rest of the world? Who will go for us, despite dangers, diseases, and discomforts, even if it means death? From that moment on, my soul has been leaping with joy shouting, “Send me! Send me! Send me! SEND ME!” Aside from this being a calling from God and that He programed my soul to respond this way to His calling, there is no logical reason for me to feel this way. But, I am reminded of John the Baptist leaping in the womb (Luke 1:41) and that “for the joy set before Him, he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2). At church, I prayed with a missionary couple from the Philippines and there was a very strong confirmation that I should not give up or turn to the left or to the right. Every believer has a special calling from God, what is it that makes your soul leap and shout, “Send me!”? It may be business, education, medicine, media, or even politics. There is a saying that “Firefighters run into buildings when others are running out.” Is it a classroom, a hospital room, your own living room, or a cubicle? Where ever it is, that is where God will use you the most powerfully!
“For God’s gifts and His call can never be withdrawn. (Romans 11:29 NLT)” “For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because an obligation is placed on me. And woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)
Some may read the above paragraph and think, “Great, Darryl’s found his calling. What does that have to do with me?” God is our commander and once He gives the order to charge, He does not retreat. Just as God has patiently and persistently sent prophets, Christ, and the apostles to Israel, He is just as patient and persistent in calling as many of His followers as necessary for as long as necessary in order to win spiritual battles. I have always known that the calling that God has given to me is too big for me. Therefore, I have faith that God has called, is calling, and will continue to call as many people to join in this calling as necessary to complete it. Even if I am unable to complete it, I trust that God will call others. Who knows, He might even call you, your children, or your grandchildren. We pray for, support, and encourage our troops, police, and firefighters partly because we want them to face the fires so that we don’t have to. This is a good reason to pray for and encourage your pastors and missionaries–so that you don’t get drafted! : ).
“…If you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs.” (Matthew 10:41)
… “Since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:12-14)
I often hear political pundits complain about, “the donor class” or “There’s too much money in politics!” This may be true, but I can’t remember ever meeting a pastor or missionary who would make the same complaints. : ) This is because when people “donate” to politics, they are either trying to get a law passed that will help them or prevent a law from passing that will hurt them. So it isn’t really “giving” at all, it is more like paying protection money to the mafia. Christian giving should not be like this. We should give ourselves first (2 Corinthians 8:5) and then we should give our time, talents, and resources without expecting repayment, in this life. Therefore, Christian donations are more like making investments in our HRA (Heavenly Rewards Account) in the same way that we invest in our IRAs. Missions and other ministries are a lot more like “investment firms” than we realize, except that our HRAs are completely secure.
Another aspect of investing in missions is that both senders and missionaries share the rewards in the same way that investors and entrepreneurs share dividends or profits. Some of my senders have been investing in me (spiritually, emotionally, and financially) my whole life, others just a few years. I know that whatever heavenly rewards I receive, I will have to share dividends with so many people that my net reward will be much smaller than the gross reward.
So the one who plants is not important, and the one who waters is not important. Only God, who makes things grow, is important, . . .(but) each will be rewarded for his own work. (1 Corinthians 3:8)
Here are some examples of things that God has done in Cambodia through the partnership between our senders and us. In heaven I believe there will be some rewards for all of us to share from these ministries.
Helped establish a Christian presence on a major university campus that continues to represent Christ before university students fifteen years later.
Helped lay this spiritual foundation (since 2000) that led to the founding of Kone Kmeng children’s ministry in 2006. Kone Kmeng has equipped more than one hundred Cambodian churches to minister to thousands of children who are vulnerable to being trafficked into child labor or prostitution. Darryl now serves as a board member.
Authored and co-authored Christianity: Discerning Essential Doctrines and Preserving Unity (2009) and Christianity: Reasons for Faith (2012) these are the only two books that define and defend the essentials of Christianity (Christian apologetics) ever published in the Cambodian language.
Developed and sponsored a Christian apologetics radio programs in the Cambodian language.
Helped to found Trinity Institute of Cambodia which is now called GLOW Cambodia, which offers training in the Bible, Chinese, English, Leadership, and Education.
Founded International Fishers, the only Christian Apologetics ministry in Cambodia, which provides free evangelistic materials in Cambodian, English, and other languages. www.internationalfishers.com
Provided the first Christian apologetics classes in two Bible schools, more than sixty pastors and church leaders have been trained so far.
Provided emergency training to help stop the loss of pastors and church members to cults.
Kayo started and runs the only ministry to Japanese living in Cambodia. She also is part of a the worship team at an international church, mentors Cambodian women, and is the mother to Benjamin.
More unlisted and more to come.
This is not to boast, because it is all God, but we see the fruit that others never get to see first hand. Many of you who are reading this will say, “When did we______?” when you receive rewards and thanks for ministries that you were not even aware of. Some of our senders have already gone to heaven, I wonder if they are still receiving dividends of the fruits of ministries that they invested that are still producing fruit. …”There is joy in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner changes his heart and life.” (Luke 15:10)
“First they gave themselves to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:5)
As missionaries, we must be committedto God’s calling while our senders must only be invested. To understand the difference between “committed” and “invested” we only have to think about a plate of bacon and eggs. The chicken is invested but the pig is committed. : ) In other words, missionaries must be, “all in”. From the time we heard God first calling Kayo and I many years ago, we have been living our lives in submission to this calling. This has completely shaped our life decisions: about marrying each other, our education, careers, finances, and purchases. We have been, “all in” through many trials and so long as God leads us, we will continue to be “all in”.
“Who ever goes to war at his own expense?” (1 Corinthians 9:7 HCSB) For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12 HCSB)
Immediate Opportunities For Kingdom Investments
During Darryl’s time in Cambodia from 2000-2003 his financial needs were met by a combination of donations and income earned from teaching English. This was also true 2007-2009, when Darryl taught English. In 2009, God called Darryl to step back from teaching English and focus on other ministries. During the US financial crises, God provided extra blessings for us because the Japanese Yen gained 30% against the US Dollar (Cambodia uses US dollars so this was a big boost). This provided the funding for us to sponsor two books, a radio program, and other ministry projects, even without the income from Darryl’s English teaching! During those years we could even able pay off Darryl’s student loans for his much used Apologetics degree from Biola and become completely debt free!
Between 2007 and 2012, the enemy frequently attacked our health, living conditions, and safety. In 2012, we moved back to Phnom Penh and since then God has blessed us with increasingly safe living conditions and our health has improved. However, from the time we became debt-free, the enemy has started attacking our finances by weakening our financial “supply chain,” which is a common tactic in any battle, including spiritual battles. Since the beginning of 2013, the Japanese Yen has lost 40% in value against the US Dollar. Meanwhile, Benjamin has started school.
At this moment, our minimum budget needs are underfunded by around $600 per month, for things like health insurance and ministry work funds. In addition to this, we have been paying for Benjamin’s educational expenses out of our personal savings. Unless God provides a financial miracle for us, our ministry and personal financial reserves will be exhausted sometime early to mid-2016. To pull us back from financial vulnerability, we need to raise $1,200-$1,500 monthly ASAP. This will set us free to start long term ministry projects.
Even though raising an additional $1,200-$1,500 monthly or cutting that much, is impossible for us, it is not impossible for God. For example, if God will raise up 40-50 people who will donate or increase their donations by $30 per month ($360 yearly), our financial needs will be met and we could advance in our ministries. “Seek first God’s kingdom and what God wants. Then all your other needs will be met as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Long-Term Opportunities for Kingdom Investments
Beyond the immediate needs, God is calling Darryl to not only help reach Cambodia with the Gospel but to help prepare the wayfor the Gospel to reach from Cambodia to the rest of the world. This means that in the not so distant future, International Fishers will need equipment, a studio, translators, and production staff. What if God would raise up around 300 or more financial partners who will give at least $30 per month? This would enable International Fishers to reach an unlimited number of people (via social media and personal contacts), primarily in closed countries, for a fraction of the cost of traditional media. We may never see another opportunity like this in our lifetimes!
You have a saying, ‘Four more months till harvest.’ But I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields ready for harvest now. (John 4:35)
The fields are ready for harvest now! Not only in Cambodia but from Cambodia. Here are just a few of the reasons why basing International Fishers in Cambodia is better than basing it from the USA.
Ready access to Christians from many different nations including closed countries (30 nations represented in our international church every Sunday).
Easy visas, political neutrality, religious freedom, and low cost of living mean that Christians from closed countries could travel to Cambodia, make materials for their own people and return without raising suspicions of their own countries.
Overland travel to many closed countries is possible, which is better than air travel.
Young, increasingly educated, multi-lingual, computer/social media savy Cambodian Christians are available to serve as staff at reasonable salaries.
Improving technology, electricity, and Internet service nationwide.
1. Please pray for us: Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin to continue to grow in our capacity to sense God’s desires and our willingness to follow Him.
2. Please pray for healing for Constance, (Darryl’s Mom) as she recovers from one or more strokes and for the family members who are helping her.
3. Please pray that God raise up courageous Christians who are ready to advance the Kingdom despite persecution, political, or economic obstacles. God is greater!
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10 NLT
Last month, I mentioned that my family and I were feeling very discouraged and exhausted despite (or perhaps) because of many breakthroughs in ministry. Since that time, God has given us some space and time to “be still and know” Him better. When a tree grows taller the pressure of the winds can begin to tear at its roots and can threaten to topple the tree. It is during these times that the tree must grow deeper roots before it can grow taller or it will fall over as a result of its own “success”. Likewise, my family and I have seen a lot of upward and outward growth in our ministries so God has been calling us to grow deeper roots into Him through repentance, reconciliation, and growing deeper in the Word and prayer. This process has been painful but we can now say that it is, worth the pain.
Well intentioned Christians often say cliches like, “Where God guides, He provides.” However for those who are going through a time where God’s provision has not yet arrived, these truisms may cause them to doubt their calling, “If God isn’t providing is He still guiding?” As many of you know my family and I have been going through some serious financial challenges, partly due to the exchange rate between the Japanese Yen and US Dollar, which we will share in future posts. It is during trials like these that it is easy to question our calling to ministry in general and mission in Cambodia.
A few weeks ago, I (Darryl) went to the altar at the International Church with many others who were seeking God’s direction for our lives. There, I received a renewed sense of calling, “Take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to people you will never meet, in places you will never go, in languages you will never speak.” This describes the calling that God has given me toward apologetics media ministry and for many years I have sensed that God was calling me not just to minister in Cambodia but to many other nations as well. Recently I have noticed that God has been bringing opportunities to share my materials in other languages and nations as well, including closed countries.
Internationalfishers.com One Year Update:
By faith, I renewed www.internationalfishers.com for another year. Allow me to share some stats that are encouraging. Between September 15th and October 15th, 644 different people visited the website and they in turn clicked on a total of 3,123 different posts, videos, and audio recordings. This is a fairly typical month. Given my personal limitations during the past month there is no way that I could have ministered to 644 people directly, but the website made it possible for me to minister people I will never meet, in places I will never go. As God opens the doors for new languages, then eventually, this ministry may be done in languages that I will never speak. Even though right now, I don’t know how this will take place–It seems impossible. So, I can only trust God who will bring about His perfect will in His perfect time, in His perfect way.
Kayo continues leading the Japanese Life Group ministry and God has been using the Alpha Course videos to strengthen the faith of the new believers. Please pray for the non-Christians who started attending, various obstacles have arisen that have prevented them from attending. Please pray for them. She also has been quite involved in the worship team at the International Church and in helping prepare the way for other Japanese Christian musicians to minister in Cambodia in the future.
Christian Apologetics Classes
On October 23, Darryl will resume his third round of teaching Christian Apologetics at the Cambodia Presbyterian Theological Institute. Please pray for the strength and wisdom to be able to equip these pastors and church leaders to “Always be ready to give a reason for the Hope that you have, with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15). At the end of the class the students will give video presentations giving evidence for the Truth of God’s Word.
Please pray for our strength, wisdom, peace, and unity during this time. We are in the process of making some very important decisions which will impact our lives, family, and ministries for many years to come.
“I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” (John 4:38 NLT)
Always Missionaries: At Home, On the Internet, and On TV.
We had a blessed time in the USA. In addition to being blessed by our senders,
we also were able to encourage and challenge the Body there. In addition to typical, “home assignment” activities God opened the doors to do some, mission work. Darryl was interviewed by Pastor Arnold Gonzalez on his weekly radio program, “He Is the Reason,” on KTBN an internet based radio station with that has a global audience, especially those in closed countries. You can listen to the interview and Cambodia update here. In addition, Darryl was invited to teach two one-hour apologetics sessions on Songkuem TV, a Cambodian Christian television ministry that broadcasts Cambodian language sermons over local cable television stations to Cambodian immigrants in the USA. Darryl taught on “Evidence for the Creator” and “Evidence for the Resurrection.” Pastor Sonly, a Cambodian-American pastor translated. This was the first time anyone has taught about the evidence for the truth of Christianity on Cambodian-Christian television in the US (or anywhere).
Back to Cambodia
One week after returning to Cambodia,
while we were still recovering from jet-lag, we hosted a mission-exposure team from Tokyo and Kansai, Japan. At the same time, the Lopez family came from Hiroshima, Japan to visit Ryoken, their eldest son, who came to Cambodia to study English and gain work experience. During our time in the USA Matt, a
missionary from Cambodia and his wife, a Cambodian, took good care of him and lived out their faith before Ryoken every day. This challenged Ryoken, to make a public profession of his childhood faith through baptism, during his family’s visit. Ryoken has been staying in a hotel near his English school for three months. A few weeks ago, God opened the door for Nary (Matt’s wife) to start a Sunday afternoon Christian meeting for the Cambodian staff. One female staff member wanted to get baptized in the hotel pool. This opened the door Ryoken to get baptized too. Because of this woman’s and Ryoken’s testimonies, another male staff member said he wanted to accept Christ and be baptized too! God is doing something amazing in Cambodia!
Japanese Life Group
Kayo re-started the Japanese Life Group ministry. Now, they are going through the Alpha Course in Japanese on Sunday afternoons. Three non-Christian Japanese are attending, three new/recently baptized Christians are attending, and one Korean-Christian lady who speaks Japanese are attending. Kayo needs more help!
Kone Kmeng Board
Darryl has joined the Kone Kmeng (www.kone-kmeng.org) board. Fifteen years ago, Jessica, Laura, and the rest of Darryl’s team of English teachers met Phany, a motorcycle taxi driver, who came to church to practice English, even though he thought, “Jesus was crazy because he taught, love your enemies.” Jesus changed Phany’s heart, he accepted Christ, took the Gospel to his family and village. In 2006, he started Kone Kmeng children’s ministry in his bedroom. Today Kone Kmeng empowers more than 100 Cambodian churches to minister to more than 1,000 children who are risk of being sold slavery as prostitutes or laborers.
International Fishers Update
Darryl is getting ready for a booth at the Asian Christian Conference, September 17-20. In addition, God is opening doors for Illustra-Media videos to be translated and dubbed in Khmer probably next year, in partnership with Samaritan’s Purse. Please pray for wisdom and provision for this and other Christian video projects. There is another project in the works but it is stalled due to fear of “political consequences.” Please pray for a breakthrough!
Despite (or more likely because of) these exciting ministry developments, our family has been experiencing crushing levels (but by God’s grace) of discouragement and spiritual oppression. We often identify Scriptures like, 1 Kings 19:3, “I have had enough, LORD” or Psalms 22:1 “My God, my God why have you abandoned me?” When we look at our strength and our resources, we feel like we are coming to the end of our road. I woke up this morning with an image like this on my mind. Here is my attempt to capture it.
Please pray for us so that we will have the faith and courage to fly with Jesus instead of crashing in despair. By faith, we believe that God is doing something great but the spiritual climate is, “the darkest before the sunrise.” Please continue to pray for our encouragement, strength, health, protection, and provision so that we will be able to continue to be strong in faith, on God’s runway.
…the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:16b NASB
Joints in the Body of Christ: New Connections
When we think about the “Body of Christ”, which is made up of all true followers of Christ, we often think about big denominations and organizations. In the Body of Christ, churches, denominations, and organizations are a lot like “bones.” They are big and strong but they often lack flexibility and when they try to work together it can be painful. When bones come in direct contact, “arthritis” usually occurs. It is becoming increasingly clear that God has called us (Darryl and Kayo) to be “joints.” Healthy joints are made up of “ligaments” which hold the bones together and “cartilage” to cushion and smooth out the connections. Even though we are small, we play a role in connecting the “bones” across national, cultural, language, denominational, and many other lines which can cause painful conflicts and divisions in the Body of Christ.
Darryl has been close to Phany, the co-founder of Kone Kmeng since 2000 when Darryl’s team of English teacher met and evangelized him. Phany went on to take the Gospel to his family and village, and in 2006, he started this organization. Darryl has been working behind the scenes as an adviser and mentor for Phany and this ministry for many years now. Glenn, a missionary from the UK was forced to return to his home country due to health problems so he could not continue as a member of Kone Kmeng’s Advisory Board. Phany invited Darryl to join the board in his place. Kone Kmeng Children’s Ministry partners with more than 100 Cambodian churches that in turn minister to thousands of children who are vulnerable to human trafficking (being sold or kidnapped and forced into child labor or child prostitution). Kone Kmeng is involved in many kinds of ministries including: education, micro business incubation, health training, well drilling, latrine building, cleft palate surgeries, and dormitories for high school and university students. They also distribute International Fishers videos and materials through their network of churches.
Samaritan’s Purse CambodiaBefore departing Cambodia in June, Darryl supplied videos, radio programs, and Power Points to SP Cambodia. These resources will be loaded on tablets that SP Cambodia will distribute to many pastors across Cambodia. Samaritan’s Purse has already published the Cambodian language version of The Lotus and The Cross by Ravi Zacharias. Darryl will serve as a consultant on the project to produce a video based on the Cambodian version of this book. Darryl is also working to help them connect with other media ministries so that they can produce more videos in the Cambodian language in the future.
Songkeum Khmer Christian MediaA few years ago, while a short term team from CC La Mirada was preparing to come to Cambodia, they met Mary Anne a Cambodian-American who had a unique “joint in the Body of Christ” ministry which connects Cambodian-American Christians together by videoing Cambodian church services and broadcasting them on local cable channels and online. In 2013, the team introduced us to Mary-Anne, her mother, and other Cambodian-American Christians. The mother and daughter told us an amazing true story of their escape from the Khmer Rouge (Communist Cambodians as brutal as ISIS). When the KR took control, many Cambodians who were in the Navy of the old regime, fled the country aboard warships. Mary Anne, then a baby, and her family escaped on a stolen Cambodian Destroyer.
Mary Anne has invited Darryl to join the Board of Advisors of Songkeum TV as well. Darryl’s role will be to help connect the Cambodian-American Christians to the Cambodian Body in Cambodia. Both groups have needs that can be met and blessings that can be shared, only through connecting with each other.
USA Home Assignment
We have had a blessed time in the USA visiting our senders, friends, and relatives in California and Missouri. We are now in California until we return to Cambodia on August 11. We can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com or 562-241-6740.
As “faith missionaries” (we depend completely God to supply our needs through free-will donations) our current and future ministries in Cambodia and beyond depend completely on the faithful prayers and sacrificial investments our senders make in obedience to the Great Commission. If God is leading you to partner with us financially you can donate online by clicking on the button that says “Become a Financial Partner” Or, you can send checks payable to Saving Grace World Missions 17451 Bastanchury Rd #203, Yorba Linda CA 92886, 714-993-4801 be sure to include a note that you want donation to go to the “Record Family in Cambodia.” For our senders who wish to make donations from Japan please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.
Grandma and Benjamin reading a book about Abraham Lincoln.
“All right, go!” Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water. Matthew 8:32 NLT
Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. James 1:2 NLT
Keeping our Joy In Trials: In the past month, we have experienced some “opportunities for great joy”. Here are a few examples:
Darryl started “emergency apologetics classes” to equip a Cambodian pastor and
a Filipino missionary so that they will be able to protect and vaccinate their 14 churches who have lost 7 members and an evangelist to a cult and a Bible school student to Islam. Please pray that they can help restore those who have strayed from the faith. The day before the first meeting, the Cambodian pastor was returning to Phnom Penh from a weekend of ministry in a a rented SUV (from Lyna Garage), when suddenly a “free-range-cow” charged his vehicle causing $400 worth of damage. A village leader gave the group a ride, but his vehicle broke down. By God’s grace, this pastor was able to make it to the first apologetics class. Right before the third meeting, the faucet in our upstairs bathroom broke in the ON position, which required us to turn off the water to the entire house and make emergency plumbing repairs.
A couple of days later, Darryl was getting ready to go to Lyna Garage to film “The
Bible: God’s Instructions for Life” so Kayo went to pick Benjamin up at school. On the way home, Benjamin’s training wheel bicycle fell over and he got a deep gash on his chin. By God’s grace it didn’t bleed much so we could clean and bandage it and he didn’t need stitches. We had to pray and trust God to heal Benjamin so that Darryl didn’t have to cancel this video shoot that had taken six months to set up and couldn’t be rescheduled for a long time. Darryl is still editing this video, Lord willing he will release it this week. In addition, was able to film Mrs. Samoeun Intal’s testimony. She was the founder of the FEBC Christian radio station in Cambodia and has also paved the way for other kinds of Christian media in Cambodia, including International Fishers. www.internationalfishers.com/samoeun-intal
Kayo’s ministry to Japanese speakers in Cambodia has also experienced great
breakthroughs and trials. Mr. I, the 76 year old Japanese man has made a clear profession of faith. We have also been able to help a Japanese missionary family get settled in, find a good vehicle, and to overcome some other obstacles and trials. We have also helped Ryoken, an 18 year old man from Japan, get settled in, plugged in to Gateway Cafe Student ministries, and started studying English and volunteering here in Cambodia. Please pray that he will learn English, learn employable skills, and most of all that he will come to know Christ in a new way that goes beyond his parents’ faith. These breakthroughs also came with trials. Kayo has been sick and exhausted off and on for the past few weeks. We took her to the doctor twice but they couldn’t diagnose anything. We are treating her at home for amoebas now. Last night she had an allergic reaction to the medicine. Please pray that she will be fully healed before our trip to the USA on June 11. Benjamin has also had unexplained illnesses that disappeared after prayer and Darryl got food poisoning after going to a lunch hosted by a Bible School. There have also been other inter-personal conflicts that are also related to spiritual opposition.
Despite all of these trials we see God’s hand moving in our lives in ministry in ways that we have never seen before! So, we can have joy that God is using us and that His work through us (despite our weakness) is such a threat that we merit opposition and trials. If things are happening to us in Cambodia, it is likely that our Senders may also be under some spiritual trails and opposition too. The enemy’s tactics include: deception, destruction, disconnection, discouragement, distraction, and division. In the USA, you may not have a cow charge your car, but a co-worker may accuse you unfairly. This is why we must continually pray for and encourage each other.
USA Trip June 11-August 14:
We are looking forward to seeing as many of our beloved Senders and others who are interested in being used by God to help reach the world for Christ. We will be in California from June 12-23, Missouri from June 23-July 14, and back in California from July 14th to August 11.
For our friends in California, there is a special Open-House on Saturday June 20th from noon-5pm. Please e-mail email@example.com for more details on this event or to schedule other times to get together (in CA or MO).
…But evil people and impostors will flourish. They will deceive others and will themselves be deceived. But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught….2 Timothy 3:12-17 NLT
Urgent Prayer Request:
Darryl has been asked to advise, equip, and train the leaders (missionaries and Cambodian pastors) of a group of 14 churches which were planted by the Wesleyans but are now independent. Recently, seven of their church members and one evangelist have converted to a Korea-based cult operating here in Cambodia. One more Bible school student has also recently converted to Islam. There are reports that other churches of various denominations have also been losing their flock to this same Korea-based cult.
The leaders of these churches are concerned that more pastors, members, and leaders will be taken into this cult, and other religions, because they aren’t equipped to be confident in the truth of Christianity (beyond experience, emotions, and a limited knowledge of the Bible) much less defend their faith in the face of trained cultists. In addition to making sure that they get the books, videos, and other materials that they need to vaccinate their people Darryl will start intensive apologetics training sessions at our house with these leaders next week (until our trip to the USA and then more to follow after our return).
Please pray that as these leaders attempt to restore their wandering sheep that they won’t be deceived.
Please pray that they will get equipped so that they can vaccinate the rest of their group against cults or other religions.
Please pray that God will help the leaders of the other denominations, who have also lost their sheep to cults like these to unite on the foundation of essential Christian doctrine and present a united defense of the Truth and will better equip their flocks to be able to keep their faith and share it with confidence and joy.
Japanese Life Group Update:
Last time, we mentioned an elderly Japanese man that Kayo and other Japanese missionaries were “re-evangelizing.” This man is well on the path to developing a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ as his Savior (if he hasn’t already). We are moving slowly with him, because he made a profession of faith as a child and was baptized but there was little/no fruit until now. Now, this man is motivated to allow Christ to change his life, and he wants to share his limited knowledge of God’s Word, with other elderly Japanese men living in Cambodia (this is a real unreached people group : ) ).
God has also been bringing a variety of people to the group (some as visitors some continue on). In the past month in addition to Japanese, Americans, and Koreans, we have had Korean/Chinese/Japanese family, a Ghana/Japanese family, and a Cambodian/French man attend the group. This is surprising for us because we have not made any attempts to advertise the group since last December but people are finding the old flyers etc. and just showing up.
International Fishers Update:
In the beginning of April, Darryl taught an (6 hours spread over two days) intensive Christian apologetics workshop to eight students of the Family of Faith Cambodia Church’s church planter training program and he also preached on the evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ at this Church’s Easter Service. As missionaries, we often feel like we are constantly pouring lighter fluid and lighting matches in an attempt to light the fires of Christianity on the charcoal of Cambodia. Now, it is clear that the charcoal is burning on its own (not just the lighter fluid). For the first time, in the past 15 years, we are gaining confidence that God is preparing a great revival in Cambodia (which is why the cults are showing up to plant tares among the wheat in the softened soil).
Later, Darryl was able to produce two videos: God’s Technology vs. Human Technology and DNA: God is the Author of Life in Spanish (click here to view/download) . Advancing computer/Internet technology made it possible for Darryl’s friend Fernando (a Guatemalan living in Japan) to translate and record the soundtrack for these videos. Darryl (in Cambodia) was able to combine this with photos from Pastor Kevin (an American in Japan), Graphics from Donna (in the USA) and music from Pastor Bob (in the USA).
Also, because of the recent onslaught of criticism and attacks against Christianity from cultural and political leaders, Darryl also felt led to combine his skills as a Christian Apologist with his background in Political Science to analyze and defend against these attacks in real-time. You are invited to read this English-language blog called Apologist In Exile.
Sender’s Encouragement Trip
Looking forward to connecting with as many of our precious senders in the USA as possible. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. . . .For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike. So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News. Romans 1:11-17 NLT
Home Country Encouragement Trip June 12-August 11
Our family (Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin) are “eager to come to you in”….Southern California and Southeast Missouri. We have been so blessed in our lives in Cambodia (housing, security, ministries, and even better than expected weather), that this time, Lord willing, we will not need to come the the USA to rest and recharge but instead we hope to be able to encourage and equip our brothers and sisters in the USA who are coming under increasing pressure and opposition.
Here are the key dates of our trip (please mark your calendar).
June 12 Arrive in California
June 23 Fly to Missouri
July 14 Return to California
August 11 Return to Cambodia
While we have been experiencing a new openness in ministries in Cambodia, as if the spiritual oppression is lifting, we sense that our senders in America are struggling. When things were extremely difficult in Cambodia, we often returned to the USA in need of physical, spiritual, and emotional recharging, but now it seems that God is calling us to use this trip to encourage our senders. As the USA becomes more and more unstable (and potentially hostile) politically, economically, and even environmentally, we find that our experiences, training, and perspectives as missionaries with contacts and indirect ministries in closed countries become more and more applicable to the future of Christianity in the USA.
So, during this trip, we would like as many opportunities as possible to share our perspectives as missionaries to help as many American Christians to learn how to see their families, neighborhoods, campuses, and workplaces as mission fields. Even though China expelled the official missionaries in 1949, since then, there have been a lot of unofficial missionaries who are working in educational institutions and businesses. The ironic thing is that the pre-1949 missionaries were easily trapped in their churches while the more recent Christian “workers” have been welcomed into and even have received part or all of their funding from public educational institutions. While university professors in the USA have turned many young people away from Christianity, Christian professors in China have pointed many young people to Christ. As missionaries applied the lessons learned from China, to places like Cambodia and so now we sense that Cambodia is on the verge of a major spiritual awakening.
We really desire that God will open doors for us to serve, encourage, and fellowship with as many people as possible (as individuals, families, or groups). Please e-mail email@example.com with your contact information and your ideas of how, when, and where we can can minister to you and come alongside you as we minister to the USA together with you. Sometimes people are afraid to spend time with missionaries because they fear that God will call them to be missionaries to Cambodia (or Africa), but we sense that God is much more likely to send them as missionaries to California and the midwest. ; ) Be aware that there will be spiritual opposition to contacting and connecting with us. The enemy will try to distract, discourage, or even make you fearful, but we know that God fear isn’t from God. Great journeys of faith begin with one baby-step and God has always carried us the rest of the way.
There are many exciting things to share with you about what God is doing in Cambodia, but if I write it all down now, this message will get too long for you to read. Lord willing, I will send you our regular update next week.