Archive for May, 2016

Dates For Your Diary

We must start this week’s blog by thanking you all again for your prayers for the both of us recently. Esther is much better and I am doing alright, I have had some sickness this week but nothing too serious. All of these attacks have come on the back of amazing moves of the Holy Spirit and we know that Satan is not happy about this but we serve and love a sovereign God who protects and heals us.

We have had another busy but very exciting week.  It all started on Sunday when we had our first joint service with the international church 2nd Mile who use the building after us on a Sunday morning. After talking to their leadership team we felt it would be really exciting to have a joint Baptismal service. We really shared everything; the worship was done in two sets firstly the exuberant and dancing Khmer team led by Sokim and then the 2nd mile team led by Dave Saxby. We then interviewed the candidates where one really special young girl from 2nd mile spoke first and then we had eight Cambodians from our church. We enjoyed communion together led by Pat Frost and then I had the honour of bringing God’s word. There were a number of visitors there and I really felt that it was a big opportunity to share the gospel.  At the end we prayed together and I made an appeal and there was 5 people who made decisions to follow Jesus. What a wonderful answer to prayer please pray for each of the new converts that as they step out on a new journey that we will be able to disciple them and help them in the days that lie ahead. Afterwards we headed downstairs and baptised all the candidates before sharing some fruit and cake. It was a truly wonderful day with both churches so happy and blessed to share such an exciting occasion together!

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Praise & Worship

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One of the baptismal candidates

On Tuesday we headed to a new village where we have decided to plant a church at.  It will be our third church plant in just over a year and we are really expectant of what God is going to do.  We met with the community chief and he said we would have no problems getting permission but we would have to go next Tuesday to meet the district chief. Once we get that permission in writing we can start anything we want in the district/province so it opens up many villages. This village is where our newest church worker Sochea and his wife Sunny come from.  Bangor Elim helped three years ago to rebuild the house that we will be meeting at. It is really exciting to now be planting a church there and we believe we are going to see many people won for Jesus.

As I have already said this is our third church plant and we have learnt that it takes time and lots of patience for the breakthrough. In Toul K’day, Sarak’s village, it took a good six months to see our first convert; six months on we have about 20-25 adults coming each week with almost all now saved. In the first six months we had many frustrations but when you stop and think about it everything we are telling people is completely new.  We are expecting them to trust us more than their ancestors and family that surround them. It takes time for them to trust us but with the Holy Spirit working constantly and much prayer we start to see breakthrough. In Chroy Chrey, Sokhom’s home village, we have seen one convert and have anywhere between 6-15 coming each week. We have been meeting for almost 3 months and again it seems slow but we know from experience that it will happen and the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth to them through us. We cherish your prayers as we travel some long distances on not the best of roads and even safety in the villages as not everyone is happy to see us. But most of all pray that hearts will be softened to the gospel and people one by one will give their lives to Jesus!

We are going to be in the UK for 5 weeks arriving in England on the 9th June, at the minute we have a number of speaking engagements and although we don’t have all the times yet these are the dates and venues.

Sunday 12th June – 11am – Southport Elim

Sunday 12th June – pm – Stafford Elim

Wednesday 15th June –  7.30pm – Wellsprings Elim Peterborough (held at Oundle Road Baptist)

Saturday 18th June – 9.30am – Selly oak Elim – churches together Missions morning

Sunday 19th June – 10.30am – Porth Elim Swansea

Saturday 25th June – 9.30am-5pm – Elim Missions Conference – Portadown Elim

Sunday 26th June – 10.30am & 6.30pm – Bangor Elim (Followed by Missions Supper see Ruth McKee)

Wednesday 29th June – 8pm – Carr Baptist church

Thursday 30th June – 8pm – Portadown Elim

Saturday 9th July – 9.30am-5pm – Elim Missions Conference CLC Birmingham

Sunday 10th July –  10.30am – Delancey Elim Guernsey

Sunday 11th July – pm – Elim Churches joint service Guernsey.

Please come along and join us if possible and if you do make yourself known to us we would love to meet you. Please pray for us over the next 12 days in preparation for leaving, also as we prepare for a very busy but exciting schedule. We can’t wait to see as many of you as possible God bless!

 

A Hospital Stay & an Engagement

When great things happen and you see a real move of the Holy Spirit you need to realise that you will be attacked by the enemy. Satan does not get excited when unity comes and when people turn to Jesus so what he does is try to destroy and as expected it all started a few weeks back.

I took ill with a really high temperature and awful pains in my stomach, the severity of it was reflected in me agreeing to go to the hospital. When there they found out I had an infection in my bladder but also a really bad parasite in my stomach. For the next seven days I suffered a lot of pain, tiredness and frustration of being unable to go out of the house; anyone that knows me knows how much that would kill me.  Thankfully on Thursday 12th May I felt better and was just getting back to full fitness.

Many of you will know that Esther had bowel cancer 21 years ago, the after effects of which means every so often her stomach flares up and the adhesions that she was left with after all the surgery open and cause big problems. This time for some reason she ended up with inflammation of the gut and that in turn caused the adhesions to open so the only way to fix the problem was to stay in hospital until the antibiotics healed the wounds. So on the same day as I was better Esther went into hospital and remained there from Thursday until Tuesday of this week.

We want to thank you all for the prayers and the kind thoughtful messages, each and every one was appreciated and really helped;  in those days where fear sets in when you are in a foreign hospital and you’re not totally sure if everything is being treated the right way. Thankfully for us we have a Lord and Saviour who cares about every area of our lives and He lifted Esther, carried her through the storm and helped her recover much quicker than was originally predicted. The clinic Esther was in was fantastic, we have great confidence in them for the future and Doctor Gloria was excellent in all areas and we thank them publicly today for their help.

We are not the only ones who have been having problems, we have a large number of church members who have been sick as well.  Visal, Sopheavy and their little daughter Christma were in hospital for about 10 days between them.  One of the Be Free trainees is in hospital right now with a stomach problem and up until yesterday it looked like she would need surgery and her daughter has just had surgery on her leg, please pray for them both. Sophea’s father, Sarak’s father in law, has just found out his cancer has come back and as a family they are devastated; they are urgently heading to Thailand to try and seek help. He is not a Christian and we are praying that Sarak has an opportunity to speak to him while travelling to Bangkok. They all need your prayers, please join with us trusting God for a miracle and that we will see the whole family give their lives to Jesus.

On a much happier note last Saturday Sokim, who many of you will have met became officially engaged to her boyfriend Somnang. As many of you know Sokim is the manager of Be Free and has had a very difficult life up until recently.  She has no family and Esther and I are so honoured to play the role of her parents in the wedding. In Cambodia they have official Buddhist ceremonies for engagement as well as weddings so with both Sokim and Somnang loving God they said they wanted a Christian ceremony.  Chamnap, Bong Paula and I came up with a program and we officiated at it as well. Unfortunately poor Esther was hospital bound so she missed it but around about 25 people piled round to the hospital afterwards so she wouldn’t feel left out. It is so wonderful to see Sokim so happy and we celebrate with her because God has brought her a really good young man who not only loves her but loves her daughter Chiera as well and even more importantly loves Jesus so much!

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Sokim & Somnang

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Just a few visitors

We are heading into the weekend and have our Baptismal service on Sunday in which we are joining together with 2nd mile International Church for a full morning celebration. We have 1 young foreign girl and 10 Cambodians getting baptised, two of which we have led to the Lord just this week so we are super excited. Please pray that as I bring the gospel on Sunday morning that it really speaks to the hearts of those that are visiting church for the first time. We are so thankful at the minute as we see the Holy Spirit move in all areas of our church, we serve an awesome God!

We will be in the UK on furlough in less than 3 weeks’ time and will give you details next week of what churches we are speaking in so that we may get to see you.  As always our schedule will be extremely busy with church work and seeing family so please if you can come to one of the services we can catch up with you there. As always please know we really appreciate your love and support.

Finally please don’t forget if you live in Northern Ireland that today is the annual Car and Motorcycle show.  It is a fantastic day out for all the family with some amazing stunt shows and many other fantastic things to keep you occupied. We are personally so thankful to the bike show organisers because they support the work here in Cambodia in so many ways. Please take the opportunity to go as a family and have a wonderful time and of course don’t forget to buy a burger from the missions burger stand!

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A day not to be missed!

 

A Week of Mixed Emotions

It would be wrong of me to start this week’s blog with anything other than a massive Happy 50th Birthday to our wonderful friend Ruth McKee.  We know it is a time of mixed emotions; happy to be with friends and family but with Phil being so far away in China it must be hard. Esther and I look forward to staying with you in June/July and will treat you to a nice meal out to celebrate the occasion!

After last week we were so excited about what God is doing in the church, there is great expectancy but not only that there is a unity and that is really special. On Sunday we were very blessed to have the Reverend David McClay and his wife Hilary from Willowfield Parish in Northern Ireland minister to us.  They came with our friends Mark and Liz Fetherstonhaugh; David brought a message in season with this new move of the Holy Spirit and it was very encouraging indeed.

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David wonderfully assisted by Thida

I have spent a lot of this week travelling.  On Monday the team set off at lunchtime to Chroy Chrey, we have been in this village now for about 10 months and started the church about 2 months ago. Some of our progress slowed down with Sokhom being pregnant and we weren’t able to carry things on as normal for a while.  But the exciting news is that a young lady in her early 20’s gave her life to Jesus on Monday!  It was such a joy to watch as Sarak and Sokhom prayed with her and encouraged her as she started out her new journey as a new creation.  The other exciting news is that two weeks earlier another young lady had asked for prayer for a serious condition she had since giving birth. The doctors had tried many things and medicines to help her but everything had failed so she asked for prayer.  This was a big thing for her to do, so we prayed and believed and on Monday we heard that she is totally well, healed by God and she understands that.  We know she will get saved very soon.

I want to thank the teams that have helped in different ways.  For the money that Harrogate Elim gave towards the work, resources bought by Stafford Elim, for the vehicle used to transport the team gifted from Bangor Elim, for the help from Sellyoak and Kingstanding when they were visiting too.  All of you played your part and on Monday we seen the first results of your labour, God bless you all!

On Tuesday we travelled to Sunny and Sochea’s village to suss out whether we could start another church plant at Sunny’s parents home. The meetings we had were really good and we all came away with a great sense of excitement and expectancy of what God is going to do in the village. Please pray for Sochea as he will be heading this village ministry up with the team supporting him, it is not easy to go into your own backyard and be taken serious but he is more than ready and extremely determined to make it work.

Wednesday was a tough day for many of us as our dear friend Pastor Bill was laid to rest, we found it very hard being so far away and not being able to be there for Maureen. If we possibly could have been there we would have, but it just wasn’t possible and unfortunately we knew when we moved here that there would be days like Wednesday. As I already said it was a tough day for us all but none more than the family and I ask you all to keep praying for Maureen and Andrew and the whole family as they face the days that lie ahead.

Thursday is a day I would like to forget forever.  I woke and went about my business as normal but by mid-morning wasn’t feeling too good.  By 2pm I was a mess, I had a temperature of 38.8 and in agony with cramps in my stomach. Our friends Adam and Colleen came round so that Colleen (our favourite nurse in Cambodia) could reassure me I wasn’t going to die. She did do that but she advised us to get me straight to the hospital for tests, at first there were thoughts of Typhoid but the blood tests showed that I had an infection and also a nasty parasite as well. I was sent home to recover with four different tablets, the last 24 hours have been tough, it’s like Cambodian tummy multiplied by 3; anyone that has had it knows what it’s like.  Thankfully I have an angel for a wife and she has looked after me so well, as I write this I have improved quite a bit.  The doctor warned it could take five days before I’m feeling 100%. I really would appreciate your prayers at this time for a speedy recovery as we have so much going on in preparation for our trip back to the UK in June.

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‘Is this going to hurt?’

Finally we want to say how sorry we were to hear that our niece Jessica’s wee dog Molly passed away this week, we know how much Molly was loved by Billy, Ruth, Jessica, Andrew and the whole family. We both really loved Molly, she was such a pleasant wee thing, and having dogs ourselves understand and know how they become part of the family. Please know that the Bogan’s are all in our prayers and we love you all very much!

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Wee Molly