The Welch’s Grapevine
for the glory of God!
Greetings from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Grace, peace, faith and love from the Lord Jesus Christ to each one of you. We constantly thank our Father for your love, prayers, encouragements and support for the ministries the Lord has put before us in Cambodia. We also say “thank you” to each of you.
We recently returned to Cambodia from our first holiday trip to the US since moving to Cambodia more than six years ago. We were very blessed to spend Christmas and New Years with family, friends and saints. Even though the weather was a bit too chilly for us, we were constantly surrounded by warm, loving hearts. We returned refreshed, renewed and rededicated to the work before us in Cambodia.
SNACK NEWS: Upon our arrival we set our hearts on our ministries anew. Sharon hired a new employee for the SNACK Program as another employee was leaving. We began training one of teachers to also drive a truck and continued with evangelism in the homes of the parents of the SNACK children. Read more below. Please pray for Sharon to have strength and boldness in her ministry to the children, their families and the staff.
VISITORS: The leaders of a children’s training ministry joined SNACK for a day to see the product of their work as our staff had learned new teaching techniques from them. We also enjoyed a visit by Kurstin, an American English teacher in China, on holiday for two weeks in Cambodia. Kurstin joined us for Sunday worship at our house church too. Our prayer is that every visitor who joins a day in the villages with SNACK will be blessed to serve more boldly than ever before.
BIBLE SCHOOL NEWS: Dennis has returned to teaching at the Cambodia Bible Institute (CBI). His latest course was the conclusion of Old Testament History, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. He really enjoys working with the students to help them understand how big and powerful, yet full of love and mercy is our God. Each of these books teaches us about Kingdom living and the wondrous characteristics of Yahweh. We ask you to pray for the students to grow in their faith and knowledge so that they can serve as ministry leaders in the body of Christ.
NEW SAINTS: Toni has been attending church for a long time including the church that meets at our house. Both of her sisters and her brother are Christians. LomAng cooks for CBI and has sat in on some of Dennis’ classes. Her husband is a strong brother and frequent teacher. We have been praying for both of these young ladies for quite some time. Recently, both Toni and LomAng decided to give their lives to Jesus and were baptized after assembly of the University church. Please join our praise to the Lord for saving them and our petition to Him for their faith and obedience to grow by grace and knowledge of He who saved them.
PRAYER PARTNERS: Many of you know we’re in a new phase of ministry in response to a need we observed. Now we’d like to ask you to consider committing to praying with us over this new work of our ministry through the SNACK Program. Just to give you an overview, the program was started in some villages about an hour outside of Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia, about ten years ago. This program’s purpose and vision is to minister in holistic ways to the community by providing health education and nutritious food supplements to poor, malnourished children while also modeling the life of a Christ-follower and sharing His teachings with them and their families. All the staff are Cambodian Christians, while the vast majority of the children and their families come from a background of a kind of Buddhism that is focused primarily on ancestor worship.
Our new efforts are focused on the families of the children. By using the SNACK Program as an access ministry into the lives and hearts of the community our evangelists are able to share the good news with one of every two households they visit—not only tell the story, but also get invited back to tell more. We are confident that God’s Spirit is preparing their hearts to receive His grace through the blessing of education and nutrition we are providing their children. We ask you to join our prayers of praise to the Lord of the harvest for many more disciples and churches in Cambodia.
The ministry of the SNACK Program is also to the staff, many of whom are young believers. There are ongoing efforts by us and others to disciple the staff members who are young in their faith, and help lead them toward a closer walk with Jesus. This discipling happens in daily interaction, through activities together and in time studying God’s Word together, worshiping, singing and praying.
Our constant prayer is that the children of the SNACK Program will grow up to be godly leaders in this country; people who know how to live and love like Jesus and how to live out His Kingdom on earth. We also pray that the ministry to their families and others in their community will always be offered in a respectful and loving way, following the example Jesus set for us.
What are our roles with this program? Sharon directs the day-to-day operation by leading the staff in bringing a lesson and nutrition supplement to the children. Dennis leads the ministry of sharing the good news with the families of the children. Together, we are using our unique gifts to holistically minister to these Cambodians. We are striving to be Jesus to them, but here’s our conclusion: We’re not anything special apart from God, yet this program is being blessed and used by God, and we need partners in this work. We strive to help the poor both spiritually and physically. While we may not have much training and experience in the field of nutrition, we’ve decided to follow God’s lead in this and pray that we can ‘be strong and courageous’ in the face of any obstacles the evil one puts before us.
We must depend on God, and He wants to hear us call to Him. We’re looking for people who will partner with us in prayer. We know that God gives us all the privilege of prayer and He works in this world, and strengthens our faith and calling by His answers to those prayers. We know that we don’t always hear/see His answers, but we still believe, and we ask. You may or may not already be committed to praying for the work we’re involved in here. Please let us know if you’re willing to be part of this ministry in committing to pray with us by clicking this link and providing your name and email address so we can stay in touch with you to share prayer needs and praises in the work here. This work is much bigger than we are, but we thank God that He is the one caring for and saving the people of Cambodia and the rest of us in this world and that He lets us all be a part of it. May God bless you in the ministry that is your life!
Eternal love and blessings,
Dennis and Sharon Welch