“Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12 NLT
The purpose of all the kinds of ministries mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 is to “equip the saints”. When I was a child, I remember seeing fire trucks that were yellow or white etc. instead of red. Of course I thought that red was the right color for a firetruck. Looking back I realize that the most important thing about a firetruck is that it “puts out fires.” The same is true for ministries, including ours. We need to constantly ask ourselves, “are we effectively equipping God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the Body of Christ?” If we are only building our own ministries, our own churches, or denominations etc., we are not being effective. If we are doing all the ministry while others are standing on the sidelines as fans or spectators, we are not being effective. This means that we will plant seeds that others will harvest because God is the one who gives the growth.
Japanese Ministry Update:
There are between than 1,400 to 3,000 Japanese living in Cambodia long term and around 180,000 Japanese tourists visit Cambodia each year. There are Japanese owned factories, banks, and other businesses including the largest mall in Cambodia. The Japanese Life Group is the only Christian ministry available in the Japanese language. So far, Kayo has been hosting a monthly fellowship for Japanese Christians and those interested in Christianity at our house. She was very surprised when her small group of Japanese proposed the monthly meeting become a weekly church service. One of the Japanese missionaries has offered to preach, Kayo will lead the worship, and others have volunteered to do other things. The Korean Methodist church, one block from our house, has offered to allow the group to use their facilities for rent-free. This will be an independent service co-sponsored by the International Christian Assembly and the Korean Methodist Church. The first Japanese service will be held on November 29. Please keep this in prayer.
International Fishers Update:
It came to my attentions that Youtube was blocking all of my Khmer language as “inappropriate.” This means people would have to turn off their safety mode, parental controls, or even possibly override other web filters in order to view my videos. Not wanting IF’s videos to be in such an uncertain predicament, I felt led to open www.internationalfishers.com this is a one-stop website that has the capability to post my MP4 videos so that people can view and download them but also allowed me to post all 13 hours of the Anchors of Faith Radio Program in streaming and downloadable MP3. Special thanks to our dear friend Donna for the new logo and for Thorn, a Kone Kmeng staff member for translating the flyer and website into Khmer.
There are separate pages for English, Khmer, Japanese, and Spanish. As God opens the doors I would like to offer more materials in these languages and even set up pages in other languages as well.
Lord willing, I can release more videos in November and make new ones. I am very happy that my friend Phany (Kone Kmeng’s founder) was able to bring back a light and microphone from the US when he visited there for some conferences. This new equipment makes it possible to really use the new video camera to make videos. Our mechanic, a Cambodian Christian, has agreed to appear on an IF video in which he will talk about how the Bible is like the owner’s manual for a car and how sin is similar to putting diesel in a gasoline engine etc. This video will be in Khmer with English subtitles. There are other videos in process and planning stages including some videos for children. We thank God for providing an unexpected special donation to cover the expense of the equipment and website, just when we needed it most.
During the month of October IF was able togive away around 85 CDs full of Khmer language video-tract MP4s and Truth Talk MP3s along with more than 100 flyers. It was a great opportunity to be able have a display table at the John Maxwell conference at New Life Fellowship. It was exciting to be able to give the CDs to Cambodian christian leaders including pastors from extremely remote provinces. NLF is (as far as I know) the largest church in Cambodia. They have been very supportive of the work of International Fishers and it is wonderful that one of their main goals (beyond reaching Cambodia) is to send Cambodians as missionaries to other countries. Lord willing, when that happens, International Fishers will be ready to produce and provide videos and other evangelistic materials for those missionaries to take to other countries. After the next Khmer language video is released, we plan to do another display table at NLF’s three Sunday services to distribute flyers and CDs with MP4 videos and MP3 audio to as many of the 1,000 Cambodians who attend each Sunday as possible so that those Cambodians can use the videos and other materials to help them share the Gospel with others in their schools, workplaces, and families!
Special Prayer Request:
In 2007, we left the USA without sufficient funds to continue on to Cambodia as missionaries. By God’s grace, the churches in Japan stepped in filled in the rest of our needs, which made it possible for us to continue on as missionaries in Cambodia, instead of being tentmakers in Japan. In 2008, when the financial crises hit the USA, the Japanese Yen/US Dollar exchange rate gave our donations from Japan a major boost in value from 110 JPY for 1 USD in 2007 to around 80 JPY for 1 USD from 2008-2012. This exchange rate boost, helped our financial situation and made it possible for us to publish two books and sponsor a radio program. That exchange rate “bonus” season kind of reminds us of the the story of how God used ravens to feed Elijah during the drought (1 Kings 17).
From the beginning of 2013 until now, the value of the JPY has been falling. Now it has fallen to 112, which is even lower it was in 2007. Between 2007 until now our expenses have increased mainly because our family now has three members (insurance, transportation, and education expenses). By moving to our new house, we have been able to save $150 per month in rent and Benjamin’s school transportation fees. We have made some other steps to save money as well. However, our best efforts have not been able to offset the increases in other expenses, especially combined with a 30% drop in the value of our donations from Japan over the last 22 months. The Japanese Christians have been giving more than ever but it is difficult to overcome the exchange rate loss, at least in the short-term.
Cambodia’s economy is based on the US Dollar. The ATMs give dollars and most major purchases are made in Dollars. The Cambodian currency is only used as change in place of quarters and nickels. This means that right now, donations from the USA literally have more, “bang for the buck,” than those from Japan.
We are very sensitive to the fact that many of our senders both in the USA and Japan are already giving sacrificially. Through our human eyes this is truly an impossible situation, but we trust in God’s Word, ” Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible (Matthew 19:26 NLT).” We are not sharing this need to try to squeeze more funds out of our human Senders. Instead, we are asking our Senders to join with us in prayer that God will meet our needs in His way, with His resources, in His time. Honestly, it would be “easier” for us to keep silent about our needs and then try to meet it on our own by cutting all of our budgets to the bone or looking for some kind of employment in Cambodia, but we sense that these actions on our part would likely hinder and distract us from doing the things that God has called us to Cambodia to do. This is a pivotal time in our ministries here and our decisions and faithfulness to our calling will likely define our ministries for years to come. We look forward to the time when we can share how God met this need beyond all that we could “ask, hope, think, or imagine.”
In Christ’s Hands,
Darryl, Kayo, and Benjamin