Reconnecting in Cambodia and Visiting Japan

Riding on a Train Made of Bamboo

“… and after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you.” Romans 15:23b NLT

I could not include the first part of this verse which reads, “But now I have finished my work in these regions.” because our work in Cambodia is not finished. Many new and exciting projects are already lining up after our return from Japan at the end of summer.

Reconnecting in Cambodia

Now that COVID is reducing in Cambodia, we have been able to reconnect and visit with some of our Cambodian and missionary friends that we haven’t been able to visit for a long time. We have been able to reconnect with friends in Phnom Penh and even in Kampong Chhnang, where we lived between 2009-2011. We hadn’t been able to see some of our friends there for several years.

Visiting Japan this Summer

We will be visiting Japan this summer for the first time since 2018. It will be good to reconnect with our friends and family there. We will spend some time in the Tokyo area, the Osaka area, Hiroshima, and other parts of Japan as doors open. We will be sharing our ministries in churches as the doors open. This means that Lord willing, we will be visiting the USA during the summer of 2023, so we look forward to seeing our friends and family there too. Please pray for all the logistics and doors to open smoothly for us, especially my (Darryl’s) visa to Japan.

Christology Class Begins in a Couple of Hours

I will start teaching a two-week intensive Christology course this afternoon. Normally, I teach Apologetics, so this will be my first time teaching this course. Please pray for this class to go smoothly and for my students and me to learn together. I will be able to use some of my videos as supplemental materials.

Family Update

During April, Benjamin had some time off from school so we were able to travel to Kampong Chhnang and Battambang to see friends and also have some family time away from Phnom Penh. Kayo continues to lead the devotions at Precious Women Organization monthly. She is also getting busy preparing for our trip to Japan. After Japan, she will get more involved in other ministries here in Cambodia. It is hard to believe that Benjamin will soon be finished with 7th grade. He is doing well but sometimes, managing and juggling all the homework is a challenge for him.

In Christ’s Love,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Looking Up

“But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28.

A lot of “things” are happening in the world right now. I don’t know if they are “these things” or not. : ) Regardless, I am reminded that it is always a good time to “straighten up and lift up your heads.” By lifting up our heads we will find that we are looking up to God and therefore we have reason not to be discouraged because God is greater than any problem that we could possibly face.

A selfie with my Apologetics class at a Cambodian seminary

Finished an Apologetics Class

This past week, I finished teaching, assessing, and grading for an Apologetics class I have been teaching at a Cambodian seminary. The class started in January but we had some interuptions when students caught Omicron. Thankfully, everyone recovered in time to make final videos and scripts. The students also serve in local churches on the weekends and they told me that they were using the lessons learned in those classes to help equip the churches they serve and also with their unbelieving relatives.

Preparing to Teach Christology

Another Bible school, where I usually teach Apologetics, asked me to teach Christology because their regular teacher cannot fly in to Cambodia this year due to Covid restrictions. So, I am studying so I can teach this class for the first time in a two week intensive module the end of April/beginning of May. I have learned a lot during this process. There actually is a lot of overlap with Apologetics because I will be teaching on the Deity of Christ, the Trinity, heresies, and cults.

Video Update

Since my last update, I released the video: If I Become Christian Will God Heal All My Injuries and Sickness?. As always, the video is in the Cambodian language. It was reasonably popular on Facebook but not so much on YouTube. I have decreased my video production to about one video per month because my teaching and other ministries are more active than during COVID.

Omicron Seems to be Waning

Now, all the cases of Covid in Cambodia are Omicron but the daily official numbers and unofficial reports we hear all indicate that it is decreasing. The government has indicated that they are not planning more restrictions or lockdowns so this is a relief. Now we just trust that in time, the current restrictions will be lifted.

Summer Trip to Japan Looking More Likely

Even though we are still not 100% sure we can go to Japan this summer, some doors are beginning to open. As of March 1, Japan opened to foreigners on business or with family in Japan (not tourists). So, I can probably get a visa. We will have to go through 3 days of quarantine, unless they lift it before then. The only remaining thing to pray for is that the churches in Japan will be ready and able to invite us. If we go to Japan this summer, we will definitely be planning to visit the US in the summer of 2023.

Family Update

Kayo is almost finished with her coordination work with the local international church’s worship team. She will take a rest and then look for new opportunities to serve and minister. Please continue to pray for her health as she frequently has minor sicknesses.

Benjamin continues to do well in school and with friends. He is growing quickly and is learning a lot. He enjoys reading theology and apologetics books in his free time. 

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

A Home Yet To Come…

“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” Hebrews 13:14 NLT

Graduation Ceremony at Cambodia Bible Institute, one of the places I teach Apologetics.

Not being able to visit either of our passport-countries since 2018 and 2019 respectively, has made me think about the concept of “home.” Cambodia isn’t really “home” either because our presence here depends, in part, on whether or not the government will renew our visas each year. We never feel a sense of being fully rooted anywhere in the world. But, the good news is that this world is not our home. Heaven is our home and so that is where we find our root and permanence.

Omicron Takes Hold In Cambodia

Overall, Cambodia has been spared some of the worst of Covid but now the Omicron variant seems to be taking off. Just this morning, I was informed that my weekly Apologetics class would be moved to online because four students tested positive for Covid at the seminary. The big question and concern is what the goverment’s response will be. Please pray that churches, schools, and businesses etc. will be allowed to stay open and that we don’t go through more lockdowns like last spring.

Summer Travel Plans Still Unknown

Due to Omicron in Japan, many churches have returned to online services. We also do not yet know how difficult it will be for me to get a visa to visit Japan this summer. We will make a final decision the end of April. If, we cannot go to Japan, we will make every effort to go to the USA (California and Missouri). We will let you know when we know.

Ministry Update

Ministry continues to go well. I continue making apologetics/evangelistic videos in the Cambodian language and sharing them online (Facebook, Youtube, and website). I also use the videos as teaching materials when I teach apologetics at Bible schools and seminaries. I have been told that others are using my videos when they teach at Bible schools etc. as well. Kayo leads the devotions at Precious Women Organization each month and she has been using the videos as well.

Since my last update, I was able to release one video entitled: How the Bible Helps Us Avoid Fake News and Deception. I have two more videos in process, one is almost ready for release. Please pray for wisdom in selecting topics that will impact the lives of Cambodians.

As I mentioned above, I have been teaching Apologetics in-person at a local seminary. But, for at least one week, the classes have gone online due to Covid. I have also been helping with the Chinese ministry at a local international church.

Kayo is in the process of reducing some of her activities with the worship team at the local international church. Please pray for her to have a time of rest and then for God to open new doors of ministry for her.

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

2022?!

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

It is hard to believe that 2022 is already here. God was faithful to us in 2021 and carried us through that strange year. Now, as we start 2022, we know that even though our plans may not go as we expect, but no matter what happens, God will be exalted among the nations. 

Summer Plans: Japan or USA?

We have not been able to visit Japan since mid-2018 and the USA since mid-2019, so this summer we will attempt to go to Japan. If that doesn’t work out for some reason, we will try to come to the USA. So, we may be seeing you, depending on where you live and what doors open up. So far, Omicron has been kept under control in Cambodia so they don’t have any expensive and stressful quarantines that would make it difficult/impossible for us to leave the country and return. Please pray that God will open the doors for this summer’s plans whatever they may be.

Helping to Relaunch Light Times Magazine’s Print Edition

Thanks for praying for our Cambodian visa renewal process-they were approved! Light Times Magazine, where I (Darryl) volunteer, provided legal documentation and a letter that was essential for my visa renewal. I have been working with LT, the only Christian magazine, since 2017. During COVID, they were forced to stop printing. Now in 2022, they need funds to buy a new computer that is powerful enough to run their specialized layout software, for printing costs, and eventually to rent a new office, (we are all working from home). If you are interested in helping with this effort and want to know more about Light Times’ ministry in Cambodia, please visit: https://www.internationalfishers.com/blog/an-opportunity-to-help-relaunch-light-times-magazine .

Apologetics/Evangelistic Ministry Update

In December, I researched and wrote three scripts for future apologetics/evangelistic videos on social media and got them in the process of being ready for video production in January. I wasn’t able to release any videos on social media due to the holidays and the need for a time of rest for the whole family. On January 13, I will start teaching a semester long Apologetics class at a Cambodian seminary here in Phnom Penh. Please pray for this class and for the students that they will be equipped with a greater understanding of the truth of Christianity and that this will help them to evangelize others with more confidence and boldness. I also continue to help teach the Bible to Chinese and others on Sundays in partnership with Pastor Samuel, a Chinese pastor.

Family Update

Kayo is beginning to wind down her time of being very active in the international church’s worship team over the next few months. After that, she will start looking for other ministry opportunities after some much needed rest. Please pray for her health as she has been frequently ill and weak recently. Please pray for wisdom about how, when, and where to seek medical help for her.

Kayo continues to serve as a board member for Precious Women Organization and also leads the staff devotions for the organization once a month. In December she used one of my videos in the Cambodian language, God and the Value of Human Life.

Benjamin continues to do well in school even though the seventh grade workload is sometimes pretty heavy. Please pray that the schools will stay in-person. A couple of his closest friends have returned to their home-countries and are uncertain about whether they will return or not. 

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Domino Effect

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2

Starting and maintaining the only Christian apologetics ministry in the Cambodian (and other) language has sometimes felt like trying to start a campfire with a box of matches but damp firewood. Recently, God has allowed me to receive some positive feedback and encouragement from my former students and viewers. Here is one example that I haven’t shared before.

“…I was grateful to learn how to defend our faith from you when I saw in CBI (Cambodia Bible Institute) Phnom Penh. I also formed a small group of four people to continue to teach the course I learned from you…”

Since the last update, I was able to release two Apologetics/Evangelistic videos in the Cambodian language. These videos were: If I Become Christian, Will God Take Away All My Problems? and If I Become A Christian, Will God Make Me Rich? I also researched and started writing the scripts for three more scripts for future videos.

Reopening

Cambodia has taken a lot of steps toward Reopening since my last update. Now, churches, schools, and other places that have been closed/online since March have been allowed to reopen with restrictions. The government has indicated that it intends to keep things open. Please pray that no variant or outbreak will cause the government to shut things down again.

Future Travels!?

With Reopening, the Cambodian government has taken away the up to 14 days quarantine with around $2,000 per person associated fee, which made international travel too expensive and stressful for us to pursue. So, it is beginning to look like we will be able to travel internationally in the summer of 2022, LORD WILLING. We haven’t been able to visit Japan since 2018, so we will try to go there as the first option. If we cannot go to Japan next summer, we will try to visit the USA, since we haven’t been able to visit there since 2019. We look forward to visiting with as many of you as possible as soon as possible.

Resumption of Ministries

Now that Cambodia has reopened, I have been able to resume helping with the Chinese Ministry at the international church on Sundays. Also, Light Times Magazine is planning to resume print-edition magazines in the first part of next year. Please pray for wisdom as I help them develop fund-raising materials for the relaunch.

Kayo has been able to go to Precious Women Organization to lead devotions with the staff and clients there. She is also happy that the church is back in-person so the worship team does not have to make videos for the online service anymore but can worship with the congregation.

Visa Renewal

Please pray for our Cambodia visa renewal process during the month of December. Each year the process gets a bit more complicated and strict. Please pray for wisdom and favor during this process.

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Reopening!?

If it had not been the Lord who was on our side,” Let Israel now say—... ” Psalm 124:1

The Cambodian government seems to be on the trajectory of reopening the country. They have already begun to reduce some of the travel restrictions which have made it too difficult for us to leave the country since 2019. Lord willing, we really desire to visit the USA or Japan in the summer of 2022. Please pray that some more barriers will be removed to make that possible.

Benjamin started in-person school this morning. He was online-only from March to August, 2020 and then had some more online-only times between then and when he went back to online-only in February of this year. Please pray for a smooth restart of in-person classes (despite many restrictions). Please pray for health, protection, and wisdom for the administrators, teachers, and students.

This month I was able to release a video entitled, “The Bible and Ghosts” in the Cambodian language. Please pray for me to have the inspiration, wisdom, and creativity as I choose and research new topics for future videos. Here is an edited version of some encouragement that I received on my videos from a viewer:

“Thanks for sharing these video clips for us… They are a great reliable source of information from the Bible. God bless you and your mission.”

Light Time Magazine Print Edition Re-Launch Meeting

During Covid, Light Times magazine, the only Christian magazine in Cambodia, went into semi-hibernation, with online-only activities. Soksan and Linat, the founders desire to restart print-editions in early 2022. As always it will be a bilingual magazine. My volunteer status has been upgraded from assistant English editor to English editor because the former editor in Australia has retired. Please pray for Light Times to raise the funds and volunteers that they need to not only resume operations but also to thrive. This magazine ministers to families and others in ways that other Christian media cannot.

Please continue to pray for Kayo’s partnership with Precious Women Organization. Lida, the founder and her entire family are recovering from Covid. Please pray for a rapid recovery and that we will be able to partner with them in new ways as the Covid restrictions subside.

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

YouTube Milestone and Apologetics Class on Zoom

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

Giving God the glory for 100,000+ views on www.youtube.com/evidencecambodia.

I would like to thank God, my Cambodian ministry partners, senders, and viewers for helping my YouTube channel reach 100,000+ views! This channel only has Apologetics/Evangelistic videos in the Cambodian language. Based on the mostly positive comments I have received, it has reached Christians and non-Christians. One person told me recently that she sends my videos to equip her Cambodian parents, who are new believers. These videos are also used as teaching aides in evangelism classes at a Bible school in Cambodia. In addition to YouTube, I also share my videos on www.internationalfishers.com/khmer and in several pages and groups on Facebook. I do not know how many views these videos have received, but most of my videos are more popular on Facebook than on YouTube. Since my last update, I was able to make one more video in the Cambodian language entitled, “Is God Imaginary?”

My Apologetics Class On Zoom

From September 6-17 I taught an intensive Apologetics class primarily on Zoom. I had never led a Zoom meeting before so Benjamin and Kayo had to teach me what to do. The class went well in terms of teaching and the students were actively engaged despite some technical issues with the computer and internet. The students asked a lot of questions such as, “Why did God create humans knowing that we would sin?” and “What happens to those people who never hear the Gospel?” etc. For their assessment the students wrote scripts and made videos answering questions about the truth of Christianity.

During my two-week intensive class, Kayo was busy taking care of the family and supervising Benjamin’s online schooling. She is also busy with the worship team at the church and helps local Cambodian organizations. Benjamin continues to do well in online school. The government is beginning to allow some schools to open but their requirements are so strict that Benjamin’s school has not yet been able to open yet. Please pray for Benjamin’s school to reopen.

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

Arrows in the Hand of a Warrior

“Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” Psalm 127:4 NKJV

Please pray for my next Apologetics class via Zoom (September 6-17)

Thanks for praying for Benjamin’s summer break from school, especially since we couldn’t visit the US or Japan (Lord willing, summer of 2022). Benjamin, totally on his own initiative, started helping with my International Fishers apologetics/evangelism ministry! He improved the graphic design of the title slides and Cambodian language Bible verse slides of my videos using skills (and software) he learned in school. He even wrote the rough draft (which I reviewed and edited) for a video entitled, Fact or Fiction: the Battle of Jericho. You can watch the video in the Cambodian language at: https://youtu.be/Bp172pctWGo and read the English script at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/7m5x8mottu2qyjw/Fact%20or%20Fiction%20Jericho.docx?dl=0

Thanks for praying for our health. It has improved so my video ministry could be more productive again. Since the last update, with Benjamin’s help, we could release three Apologetics/Evangelistic videos: 1. Covid 19 and the Bible 2. Fact or Fiction: The Battle of Jericho 3. Love and Sin.

Please pray for my Apologetics class, September 6-17 (via Zoom) at the Cambodia Bible Institute. Pray for wisdom, stamina (it is an intensive class), and the ability to communicate well over Zoom.

Kayo continues to be active helping organize the worship team for the online services. I video the worship team and help with the video editing. In Cambodia, only 15 people can gather so small churches/cell groups can meet but large church services must be online.

Kayo also continues to help local Cambodian organizations which help poor children and at-risk women in various ways. We were able to go to the countryside with one organization. Kayo shared her testimony to the group of children and parents at a food/clothes give away to help them make it through COVID-related poverty which compounds their previous economic problems.

Please pray for the safety of US citizens who live outside of the USA, not just missionaries but everyone (Christians and non-Christians). The situation in Afghanistan may encourage enemies of the US to attack or abuse US citizens abroad more now because they may think that the USA will not actively protect its citizens abroad (just stating my honest assessment, trying not to be political here). Of course, we trust God for our ultimate protection but many Americans abroad are not believers so they don’t have the same hope that we have. This is why we are mobilizing prayer cover and also will be a bit more vigilant (Cambodia is reasonably safe right now).

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

In Everything Give Thanks

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

I’m thankful that this passage says “In everything” instead of “For everything”. We can be thankful in the midst of various trials even when we can’t be thankful for the trials themselves because we can’t see the big picture.

The past month has been an “in everything” kind of time. We have had a lot sicknesses, some more serious than others. One hospital wanted to admit me (Darryl) as an in-patient for high fever (probably a stomach flu) but the government requires a COVID test before they could treat me. I was too sick to travel around the city looking for a COVID test, so I had to ride out the sickness at home. Kayo mobilized prayer and my high fever went away soon. A Cambodian Christian doctor prescribed some medicine for other symptoms online, free of charge. We give thanks that I recovered just in time to record our mission report/sermon video for Tokyo Chapel and then go on a prescheduled family trip to the seaside. Kayo has also had some minor/annoying aliments but also recovered just in time so that we haven’t missed any important ministry or other activities.

This month, because of sickness, other projects, and travel, I could only release one video in Cambodian with English subtitles: “Who Created God?” Kayo also translated the video into Japanese for our mission presentation. I plan to upload it to the internationalfishers.com website soon. Currently, I have two more videos in process so we should be able to get back on schedule and track with video production in August.

On a side note, a Cambodian Christian organization called Bethel Grace Mission took a copy of all 40+ International Fishers videos in the Cambodian language with English and Cambodian scripts. They plan to use them as teaching materials for teens and adults in various locations.

Kayo continues to be active with the international church’s worship team, ministering to Japanese in Cambodia, and advising Precious Women Organization (which ministers to at-risk Cambodian women). Benjamin has spent the summer reading apologetics books and helping me with script writing for an upcoming video. He will start seventh grade in just a couple more weeks.

We have much to be thankful for including people like you who faithfully encourage and support our ministries during times like these.

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin

With You In Spirit

“For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ.” Colossians 2:5

Even though we could not travel to the USA or Japan this summer as we had hoped due to COVID restrictions, we are thankful that we can feel close to our families and senders in both countries. We thank God for communication technology that allows us to communicate so that living on the other side of the globe now feels like living on the other side of the state felt a few years ago. We are thankful that we could even do some online shopping in the USA for a few essential items and books for Benjamin and have them shipped to Cambodia. This too is a blessing.

Right now, we are working on a 45-minute video for the mission service at one of our sending churches in Japan in the first part of July. The video will have a mission report in Japanese by Kayo, a translated message by Darryl (Finding God in Difficult Times), and hopefully, we will be able to include the Japanese version of a short video “Who Created God?”. There are many pieces to put together so please pray that we can get everything put together in the right way for this project.

Benjamin’s online school finished its school year. Benjamin won an academic achievement award. During his first week off school, Benjamin helped me (Darryl) with the Cambodian version of the the video “Who Created God?” by applying some of the graphic design skills he learned in school. We were even able to find some opportunities for Benjamin to swim, play badminton, do archery, and even ride a horse during a short vacation in our neighborhood.

Since the last update we have released two apologetics/evangelistic videos in the Cambodian language: 1. God and Science 2. God and Right and Wrong. The video “Who Created God?” could be released but I am waiting until I can put English subtitles on it so it will be ready for release in a few more days. Please pray for wisdom in selecting and researching new topics for future videos.

Kayo continues to be very active with worship team at an international church in our neighborhood. We record the videos for the online service each week because the Cambodian government only allows 15 people to gather at a time. She also continues to encourage and minister to other Japanese missionaries who are serving in Cambodia and continues to partner with local Cambodian organizations that minister to women and to the poor though these activities are mostly online due to COVID.

Thanks for being there as partners around the globe for us. We are thankful for your prayers, encouragement, and support in various ways.

In Christ’s Hands,

Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin