“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23
For the past year, we have mourned the loss of certain freedoms that allowed us to run programs for the larger community and resolved to focus on meeting in small groups and intentional discipleship instead. I’m glad God gave us the wisdom and perseverance to seek creative ways to continue to teach God’s Word and fellowship with those that had a desire to meet. There is one young woman, Chan (not her real name), that would periodically come to our Ministry Centre since she was a child. She was not a consistent student and eventually she got a day job so she was too busy to attend our tutoring and ministry programs. Chan was not a Christian, but I noticed that she had a desire to study the Bible and to find friendship. During Covid, Chan lost her job so I invited her to join a small group in which I was teaching the Bible from the beginning starting in Genesis with only one other woman. Chan eagerly attended every week, she would ask critical questions about God, hear testimonies from the others, and take home verses to study.
Praise God that many seeds have been planted in Chan’s life over the years and God prepared her heart to seek truth and to receive it. Chan made a confession of faith to become a Follower of Christ in February! Hallejulah! We had prayed for Chan’s spiritual life for many months and introduced her to other Christians to encourage her in her faith journey. Chan will often thank God for Covid because after she lost her day job, she had the opportunity to study the Bible again and meet with our group of women. This is a refreshing perspective. She also shared that some of her family members have commented on how she seems like a different person who is more gentle, kind and happy ever since she started going to these Bible studies. We are now a group of 4 women meeting weekly, studying Exodus, praying for the community, singing songs of worship and continuing to share testimonies of how God is present in our daily life.
On the other hand, Chan is the only Christian in her family and faces criticism from her siblings for not participating in paying homage to ancestral altars and burning incense anymore. It’s Khmer New Year this week; this new year is based on the Buddhist solar calendar and is also the most celebrated national holiday in Cambodia. During Khmer New Year, it can be a difficult time for Christians when non-Christian family members prepare large offerings of food to offer to spirits in their homes or bring offerings to the monastery. When Christians refrain from these practices, family members often criticize and shame them for not honouring ancestors and forsaking cultural practices. Please pray for Chan and other Christians in Cambodia that they may stand firm in their faith in Christ when they are facing persecution, and be able to show love and honour to their family in different ways.
- Praise God for the opportunity to disciple Chan and that she has accepted Christ as her Saviour.
- Praise God for this women’s small group that has been an encouragement for all of our faith journeys.
- Pray for Chan to continue to grow closer to Jesus and develop strong roots in the Word of God.
- Pray for all Christians in Cambodia to be able to withstand persecution, to not fall away, and to produce good fruit.