The Welchs Grapevine
For The Glory of GOD!
Greetings from Phnom Penh, Cambodia Volume 8, Number 3, March, 2013
Dearest family & friends,
We are among the most blessed people in the whole world! We have your love, your prayers, your support and your encouragement. We have good works to do for the Kingdom of God. We have the biggest, BEST God ever. We have an awesome Savior, meek, humble and obedient to our Father. We have a Mighty King, the Prince of Peace. We have the Spirit of God dwelling within us. We are so blessed!
Here’s what’s in this issue:
- CBI news – 4 more graduate
- University Church Camp
- More New Staff for the SNACK Program
- New Face in the House
- Embassy Health Fair
Romans 15:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11 reveal to us the blessings of studying the Old Testament Scriptures. During March, Dennis taught the students at the Cambodia Bible Institute a course on Old Testament History, Genesis to Deuteronomy. While this course certainly exposed the students to the power and providence of Yahweh, plus the beginning of human history and of God’s chosen people, it also demonstrated to the students how God has been working His eternal plan to save mankind since before creation. Dennis will follow-up this course with The Levitical Sacrificial System, focusing on how those sacrifices and worship were shadows of Christian worship and the atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross. It is fascinating and encouraging to see the students “get it.” While Dennis was teaching OT History in the afternoons, Rich Dolan was teaching the students a practical course on Church Growth in the mornings.
At the end of March the Cambodia Bible Institute graduated four more students, bringing the total CBI graduates to 27. God has really blessed us to see how the school continues to fulfill 2 Timothy 2:2, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” We had a big celebration in conjunction with the ceremony that included many former grads, the brethren from several local churches, and family and friends of the graduates. Tim Burrow, Dean of International Studies for Sunset International Bible Institute flew-in to join graduation and witness the other works of the church in Cambodia. Of our new grads, Sokchea will work on the Ship of Life as an evangelist; Sreytouch will work with the Development for the Future of Cambodian Children organization, teaching the children and assisting Sister Doris Morrison; Makara will work with a Christian organization that rescues young girls out of slavery and prostitution; and Tola, Makara’s older brother will work as evangelist, teacher and driver for the SNACK Program. All of them came to CBI as a result of the church that was started in Reang Daek Village by one of our former graduates, Sereywuth who now preaches for that congregation. This is a great example of the local church raising-up leaders from among her membership. Praise and glory to God in the highest! Please pray for these and all of our graduates as they strive to serve Cambodia as they serve our Lord.
In a country where living conditions in the countryside are comparable to what many of us would consider “primitive camping,” meaning no electricity, water, bathroom, air conditioning, etc., what would constitute “camping” in Cambodia? Moreover, how should we define a “church camp?” The University Church of Christ, one of the local churches in Phnom Penh and where we normally worship decided to have a mini-camp excursion to one of Cambodia’s many costal islands. They loaded up two 15-passenger vans and headed south to Rabbit Island, about a 30 minute boat ride from the coast. The group of 27 spent two days and one night on the island sharing fun, adventure and some excellent Bible lessons from local evangelist Veasna who also teaches at CBI. There were also some small-group break-out sessions where folks poured-out their hearts to one another in confession and in love.
This camp made a huge impact on those who participated. Such an impact that prior to departing the island our dear sister in Christ Avy’s husband, Socheat decided to be baptized. We are rejoicing and singing praises to God! Please join our prayer that the church will have other opportunities to “camp” together like this.
We delight to bring you news every month of how the Lord is using His servants in Cambodia to bless many children through the efforts of the GRACE for Cambodia SNACK Program. This ministry has overcome many obstacles in the two years that Sharon has served as its director. Now she has some help. Sharon has hired an Operations Manager. Piseth comes to us from a long tenure on the Ship of Life. Because of a recent wedding and the birth of their first child, he desired to live in Phnom Penh where he could be with his family every day instead of far away on the waterways of Cambodia. The staff of the Ship was really sad to see him go. In his new role he will serve the program as Sharon’s right arm as he serves the malnourished children in the countryside and looks after the day-to-day operational side of the program. Sharon is extremely grateful to God for providing us His servant, Piseth.
You may recall that the Bible lessons taught by the SNACK staff in Tropeang Putrea village were the first steps toward a new church in that village. Now, about two years later, Sharon has hired one of those new brothers as an additional teacher for the SNACK Program. Bot will attend university in the evening after a long, hot day of serving the children of the SNACK Program in the countryside. Please pray for the work of Bot, Piseth and all the SNACK staff to be productive according to the will of God. You might also offer a pray of praise for God’s providence too, especially concerning helping Sharon to manage this wonderful responsibility.
Last month in our newsletter we reported about the condition of the old SNACK trucks. We are hopeful that we can replace one or two of them in April through the generosity of Christians. One of them is already out of service. We have adequate staff for the operation of three trucks, but we only have two trucks that are operational. We are praying that the Lord will provide exactly what we need to continue blessing the malnourished children in the Cambodian countryside. Please join our prayer!
Theary, our Cambodian daughter has four brothers and sisters. Vanna, her oldest sister has spent the last two years in Malaysia working as a seamstress. She has returned to Cambodia to work in a high-end seamstress shop that creates the beautiful dresses worn by Cambodia women in functions such as weddings and funerals. During her transition she is staying in our home in Theary’s room until about June. She has a sweet gentle spirit and a servant heart. Vanna has been a huge help to Theary concerning all the responsibilities she has in our home. Most important of all is that she is not yet a Christian, the only one of the sisters who has not yet obeyed the Gospel. We beg you to join our prayer that our influence and teaching during her stay among us will cause her belief to grow into “saving faith” so that she might stand among us on the great and glorious day of the Lord.
If you are like us, there are so many subjects about which you would like to know more. We both desire to know about more health care. Sharon recently had an opportunity to join a Health Fair hosted by the US Embassy in Phnom Penh. She was able to gather a lot of helpful information about health services currently in place. She made many new contacts that may provide future blessing for her work with malnourished children. We pray for other opportunities to continue to grow in our knowledge so that we might be more productive servants of the Great Physician. Please join our prayer.
We have one final prayer request to share with you this month. One important aspect of our ministries is our feeble attempts to serve you as we serve our Lord in Cambodia. It strongly burdens our hearts that we might be effective at encouraging you toward greater and greater love and good deeds…for one another and for the lost people among us all. Please join our prayer that the Lord would strongly use us toward that result. We are filled with gratitude for the many different ways you help us in these ministries of teaching and serving. May God bless you with much fruit from your faith-filled prayers to Him.
Eternal love & blessings,
Dennis & SharonPhnom Penh, Cambodia JesusServant4U@yahoo.com missioncambodia.wordpress.com
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