Water of Life Bible School (WOLBS)
At the Bible School, we strive to teach the students the value of God’s Word and how to practically use it in everyday Christian life. In the Evangelism course we accomplished just that! As I’ve witnessed the students’ love for dissecting the Word, this last semester we decided to put that into action because we know if there isn’t an answer to God’s call for us, our studies are all in vain.
Pastor Kurt Kula is passionate about reaching out to our surrounding communities imploring and encouraging our students to share the truth of God’s word. So, we decided to merge our two passions. WOLBS students went out to Steung Mean Chey and Mercy village, going door-to-door, sharing their personal testimonies and the simplicity of the gospel. Pastor Kurt and I (Curtis) saw a huge change in the students from that day on. The students were able to witness to people hungry for hope, hungry for the Gospel. The students seemed to dig their heels deeper in the idea of the “Body” in action. It was a testament to how the Lord breaks down the barriers of fear as He uses them.
This December/January semester we will be studying the book of Romans taught by me, and the book of Daniel taught by Kurt Kula. We are also having a condensed week-long course of Inductive Bible Study taught by Drew Macintyre. Please continue to lift up these students and our teachers in prayer. Most of them are full-time university students and taking bible courses at night at WOLBS. Also, please keep in prayer the growth of the school as we look to reach students within Water of Life and beyond.
Mark 16:15 ~ "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”
2 Timothy 3:16 ~ "Equipping the saints for every good work.”
One of the first calls the Lord put on my heart once moving to Cambodia was to encourage and strengthen the churches, deep in the province of Svay Reang. Over the last 6 years I (Curtis) have been traveling to the province once a month to meet with a core group of approximately twenty local Svay Reang pastors. Despite economical, educational, and physical issues endured daily by these pastors and their churches, they faithfully come to every conference, and are prepared with their bibles and notes to dig deeper into the Word, especially the Old Testament.
A long time member of our group and now dear friend of mine, Pastor Samean (Sah-Me-An) shared with me how much he enjoys learning more about the Word. He has expressed a desire to reach more pastors by bringing this training closer to his area. Every month he travels over an hour each way to get to the conference. When I went there in November he asked if I would start the same conference in his area for his church congregation. While praying about it, the Lord made it clear, almost immediately. Beginning in January we are looking to start another conference in the same province but a different village that is more accessible to other pastors who are interested in joining. Please lift this decision up in prayer. I need wisdom to sort out the details in a way that this project will be complimentary to the surrounding churches.
Curtis and Bre
We have been serving in Cambodia for 6 years. As we began this journey we had no idea what the Lord had planned for us (we thought this was a one year commitment), but we stepped out in faith and just had to trust the Lord. We have never looked back.
It has not always been smooth sailing as we have had our fair share of trials and struggles, but what better way to stay humble before the Lord. He is merciful and He is always good. Every year, month, and day we have to cast our worries aside and put our trust in the Lord, which is easier said than done. We are so grateful for everyone who continues to support us prayerfully, emotionally, and financially. It is comforting to know that despite the miles between us we are all one family in Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 ~ “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass."
We are immensely grateful for all of you that have come alongside us – both prayerfully and financially – on this journey. Your generous financial support enables us to fulfill God’s purpose in our lives in Cambodia in each and every area we are called to minister and serve. We honestly can’t begin to express how much each and every one of you mean to us.
Please continue to pray for us and our work for the Gospel in Cambodia. We would love to hear from you – it’s really a blessing for us being so far from home. You can email us at CJohnson@InspiredMissions.com or you can post a Message or Comment on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MissionsInspired
Lastly, we ask that you would prayerfully consider financially supporting our work here in Cambodia. To pledge a recurring or one-time gift please visit https://www.inspiredmissions.com/support/ and complete the online form. A mailing address is also noted at the above link in the event that you would like to send your support via check.
Thank you. May you have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!
~ Curtis & Bre ~
PS Be sure to pass along or share this newsletter with family and friends.
Curtis & Breann (Bre) Johnson - Who We Are
We were married in 2013 and immediately began our life journey together as missionaries in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, sent by Calvary Hills Church (now Impact Church) in Southern California. In Cambodia we serve with a Christian organization, Water of Life (“WOL”). More specifically, Breann serves at WOL’s childrens home, Children of Hope (“COH”), while Curtis directs and teaches at the Water of Life Bible School. As missionaries our jobs aren’t easily defined, as we both have several other responsibilities and outreaches in which we lead and participate. Our heart is to disciple and raise up the Cambodian people to be effective leaders in their church, community, and family through the power of the Word and His love. We appreciate all of your prayers and firmly believe in the power of Christ and His church. So thank you for praying with us and for us.
Praise God Bre and all the COH kids survived Katherine’s (COH Director) 2-month furlough in the US! During this time Bre worked herself to the bone and had little sleep, but thanks to your prayers and the Lord she had enough strength and wisdom to keep everything running like usual. Also, Katherine was able to have a good refreshing trip in the States.
Praise God that Pastor Sokhorn (a village pastor in Svay Rieng Province) has found a solution to the complicated legal problem he was in. God always provides a way!
Continue to pray for the COH kids to excel in school and learn how to trust in the Lord for all things.
The WOL Bible School is in full-swing. Pray for the students to have a continued passion for the Word and to grow in their faith.
Continue to pray against the spiritual darkness and attacks of the enemy. This is an especially dark time as their version of Halloween (Pchum Ben) is this month.
There’s nothing more exciting to me than studying the Word of God with men and women who are so eager and passionate about the truth. We are at the mid-way point of our semester and the students are engaging with the material more than I could have expected. We are currently studying the books Romans and Genesis, along with a topical study in Evangelism. The Evangelism course has been a special blessing as the students are able to take what they are learning in the classroom and put it into practice in their everyday lives. It is so inspiring watching them share their testimonies and present the Gospel to their families and communities. Please continue to pray for the teachers and students to be filled with the Holy Spirit and grow in the knowledge of Him.
Donate - If God has pressed upon your heart to give to the ministry, you can do so by using the donate button or visiting www.inspiredmissions.com/support. All gifts are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. It is our policy to meet the needs God lays before us, so that Christ is lifted up and the Gospel advanced.
As 2017 Draws To A Close We Want To Share With You Some Exciting News From Inspire Cambodia. You Can Read How The Lord Is Touching Hearts And Changing Lives In The Kingdom Of Cambodia Through His Hands And Feet, Curtis And Breann Johnson. As You Read Through The Accompanying Newsletter Please Pray For Curtis And Bre, For Their Work, And For The Ministries They Serve Alongside. In Addition, Please Prayerfully Consider How The Lord Would Have You To Help Support Their Ministry Efforts Financially. Lastly, Curtis And Bre Would Love To Hear From You So Be Sure To Send Them An Email With A Note Of Encouragement, To Reaffirm Their Work, And To Let Them Know That You Are Praying For Them.
Thank You For Your Prayerful Support And Your Financial Support. We Eagerly Look Forward To The Work The Lord Will Do In Cambodia In 2018. Be Sure To Pass Along Or Share This Newsletter With Family, Friends, And Neighbors To Let Them Know What Is Going On In Cambodia. Thank You And God Bless.
The only way to describe the transportation system in Cambodia is “organized-chaos.” For example, the roads are heavily congested with “motos” (a motocycle or scooter). We are seeing more and more cars arriving in Cambodia, but motos rule the roads. Another challenge with the Cambodia transportation system is that the roads drastically vary in quality from the city (good at best) to the villages (non-maintained dirt roads). In rainy season the problems are magnified - the city streets flood to waist-deep water and the village roads turn to slippery clay. The city roads are narrow and pothole-ridden - we are talking deep holes in the middle of the road! Though the traffic laws are similar to America’s driving laws, no one obeys them in Cambodia. Every law is treated as merely a suggestion and instead the people have “unspoken” laws that we abide by, and this means your mental awareness needs to be on point or you throw off the rhythm in which even more chaos ensues. This sounds stressful, as most times there’s more chaos than organization, but we actually love driving here now and prefer it over the American way. Maybe we have lived here too long and have forgotten what a beautiful gift structure is. Whatever the case, driving in Cambodia is like playing real-life version of Frogger – it’s definitely not for the faint of heart.
Curtis frequently travels out to some remote areas in Cambodia’s Provinces to minister to the village churches and to equip and train church leaders there. The roads to these country destinations are practically nonexistent and it is essential to have a dirt bike that can handle the extremely rough terrain. In rainy season, many (if not most) of the roads to reach the village churches are inaccessible without an appropriate vehicle suited to the harsh terrain. He is in current need of a dirt bike that would be formidable for everyday use in Cambodia, as his previous moto was not suitable for all the roads and conditions that he must travel. This impairs Inspire Cambodia’s mission as he has had has to cancel his monthly outreach in Svay Rieng at the present time due to the very poor condition of the roads. Only a sturdy and durable dirt bike can make it safely and reliably through these narrow, clay countryside roads. His 1995 AX-1 dirt bike has seen many good days in its life and has fulfilled its purpose, but it is time for its retirement. After many months of research - taking into account such factors as quality, reliability, dependability, and maintenance accessibility (we do not have access to a wide-variety of vehicle parts here) - Curtis has found one worthy of investment for our mission: it is a KTM Enduro 400cc motorcycle that was manufactured in 2009.
We have prayed over this decision and are confident that this is the Lord’s direction. As such, we know that He will provide the funding necessary to make this happen. Would you please pray for this need to be met, and to seek the Lord’s direction if He has called you to donate to help meet this transportation need?
Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God.
~ 3 John 5:6 (NLT)
Thank you, and may God richly Bless You!
We have been back home in Cambodia for a couple of months now, which is crazy to think about because it feels like our America trip was nearly a year ago. Cambodia has that way about it, making time stop completely and then the next thing you know it’s going to be 2018.
People often ask us, “Do you love living in Cambodia?” It's a difficult question to answer because that is really two questions in one. We adore Cambodia. We miss it when we are gone. Cambodia is incredibly charming in a truly nontraditional way. Living in Cambodia is a different story, especially since we are here to spread the Gospel and make disciples in a culture that literally summons demons out of Hell. The Enemy will do anything…and we mean anything…to deter us from ever wanting to come back.
That being said, our recent return has been a little rough:
- Every rain our house completely floods with sewer water.
- We have black mold growing in the bathroom upstairs due to a leak in the wall that our landlord thinks is not a big deal.
- Both of our dogs fell ill (if you know Bre, you know that they are her fur babies).
- Our motos keep breaking down.
- We have lived many days without electricity because water keeps getting into our power breaker.
- Honestly, the list goes on and on.
None of this is complaining, just factual and our reality, but this is how we know it’s just the enemy: God’s ministries that He has given us are completely unaffected and thriving!
That’s not to say our ministries are a breeze - they have their fair share of obstacles - but the Word is being taught, and even better the Word is being received. The Lord has been pressing more and more on our hearts about the purpose of our lives. This past week the Lord has been using questions from the Children of Hope kids and Scripture to remind us that we are here for Jesus. We know that we are called to disciple and to make sure everyone we come into contact with will see or hear of Jesus.
Water of Life is on a reading plan and the Scriptures just jumped off the page this morning: Psalms 46, 2 Timothy 4, and Isaiah 45-46. We encourage you to set aside some time today to read these chapters.
“But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.”
2 Timothy 4:17-18 (NASB)
So let’s talk about the ministries because that is way more exciting!
Curtis, Pastor Rith, two older girls from Children of Hope, and Bre went out to Svay Rieng Province, and it was awesome! After 5 weeks of being gone it was really fun to see everyone. They all had a great time talking about how fat America made us. They were eager to get started and dig into the Old Testament. Curtis and Rith taught through Genesis 16-17: the story of Abram, Sarai and Hagar. The village pastors are so grateful to be studying through the Old Testament. They tell Curtis that they have heard the stories of the Old Testament, but did not really understand how to read it, let alone how to teach on it. Needless to say, Genesis has been blowing their minds. Their excitement is contagious - it makes us want to go out there more than once a month, but this is the schedule they gave us so we will slow down and take it month by month.
We love these guys and they never ask anything of us, but before we left for the States they did mention that they would really appreciate a few backpacks since it is so very dusty and muddy out there that their Bibles are being ruined. How could you possibly say 'no' to that request? During our time in America our amazing church helped us raise funds for new backpacks and some heavy duty raincoats for those we minister to in Svay Rieng. We were insanely blessed by the hearts of everyone who contributed to these guys to make their lives a tad bit easier. Their eyes lit up and they were like kids on Christmas morning! They were so excited to pick out their favorite color and style, and they immediately started using their new backpacks. Bre is a sucker for older people and these guys grip her entire heart – “They are the cutest!”
Water of Life Bible School is coming together very nicely! It is ridiculously difficult to get minor tasks done here so it feels like nothing will ever come to fruition, but it’s finally happening! Curtis found a place to make a glass whiteboard for the school and it has been installed. A few days later the desks arrived! We have 20 empty desks just waiting for students to arrive in October. Curtis has been working tirelessly on government paperwork and a solid curriculum, and we are all eagerly awaiting the Fall when we will launch the Bible School with its first students. There is still a lot to accomplish and plenty of “ducks to get lined in a row” so your prayers are absolutely appreciated!
Thank you all for your continued prayers and support for the mission out here in Cambodia. We truly believe this is a team effort and we are continually grateful for the team the Lord has placed around this ministry. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or things we can pray for you about. We would love to hear from you.
Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Curtis and Bre Johnson
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (NKJV)
I sat down this morning to do my morning devotions, which admittedly I am a few days behind on, and I saw 1 Corinthians 13 for today. Do you ever read a popular scripture and kind of just glide over it? Like, “Yes I already know this, on to something I don’t know…”. I did that this morning, but then the Living Word grabbed me. Verse 3 gripped my heart and made me take a good hard look at my life. I have forgotten to love! I am so heavily convicted by this. I just sat there reflecting on the last couple of months and the Lord was showing me all of these different situations that happened within my ministry that could have been avoided if I had checked my heart. This is the character of God. He gently, but abruptly, revealed to me a huge problem that I needed to address. He loves me enough to not let me keep walking in ignorance and recklessness.
The last few months have been trying in many ways, including illnesses, intense spiritual warfare, and coupled with insane heat and high humidity. Hot season in Cambodia is always challenging. It strips you of all comfort and makes you come face to face with a lot of ugly parts of you that you did not know existed. I clearly don’t do well in the heat. That being said, life at Children of Hope has been difficult. We have a stampede of hormonal teenagers roaming the house along with 9 boys who tend to wreak havoc when they run out of things to do. And it’s hot. Did I mention that? This is where my conviction takes place: My ministry becomes a job without love, and the people I am ministering to can tell. The teenagers have been very emotional, moody and sometimes just down right mean, which is understandable since they are teenagers. I should be responding with grace and patience, but instead I get my feelings hurt and tend to hold their mood-swings against them. The boys are in their own world where soccer is the most important thing in their lives. Normally it takes about 30 times of saying something before they actually are aware that I exist…. by that time they missed the gentle Bre, and are coming to when impatient Bre is taking over the show. But lately, it takes roughly 5 times of repeating myself before my patience runs out, and in response the boys will just straight-up ignore me, as if I’m some sort of nagging ghost they can just walk right through.
I have been really frustrated and defeated about this until this morning. Every time I thought about a certain problem with the kids, I instantly blamed them. They are the ones with the problem since I am the adult. Ha-ha! The Lord very sharply showed me they are all responding this way because I am not doing my ministry in love. Or they may not even be responding to me at all, they are just kids dealing with these very normal phases in life; but I am not reacting and teaching in love. There is no heart in that. God does not do that to me when I reject, ignore, forget and sin against Him. He shows me grace and mercy. He waits patiently for me to get over myself. He forgives me. He corrects me and guides me back onto the path. Those are actions of love.
Faith enables us to come to God. But love enables us to imitate Him.
The only way to love people the way 1 Corinthians 13 says to is through Christ. We have to actively seek Him or our flesh takes over. It is impossible to love God’s people without God’s heart for them. I have no idea where you are with your walk with God is, but I do urge you to step back and go back to the basics of the Gospel in all that you do.
My friend Mordegai invited me to do a jungle trip with him. He has an awesome ministry out in a remote unreachable area that provides medical assistance to the locals. He has been going to several different villages over the last couple of years building a lot of cool friendships. From Phnom Penh I traveled 4-5 hours by bike with bibles and old khmer hymnal books strapped on the back of the bike. We met up in Kabal Domrai and stayed at a local church where we were welcomed in by the pastors family. The pastor, in who we call “Oum” which is translated as uncle, is a close friend to Mordegai. His testimony is intense. He fought in two wars, raised a christian family, and is now pastoring this church. His son John, is Mordegai’s right hand man and translator. He has a contagious passion for his people and has helped Mordegai build his ministry with these unreached people.
From this small village, which is located at the base of a small mountain, it took about 8 hours trekking through the bush. This ride was super difficult and I loved every minute of it. We sludged through 3 feet deep of the thickest mud you’ve ever seen in your life, crossing makeshift bridges, and forcing our way through the dense brush. Ive never had more fun in my life! I only crashed once, just right around the corner from the church. I was covered head to toe in mud and had a small battle wound on my knee ***flexes muscles***, but the bibles survived! Once we got out to the middle of nowhere we hung out with a few of the villagers who know Mordegai and got the gist of some their physical needs and an update on how the village was doing. To give you an idea about how unreached these people are, we travelled with a woman from New Zealand and she was the first foreign woman they had every seen. They were so excited to talk to her and touch her skin and hair. While Mordegai went from house to house diagnosing and treating the ill people, I spent most of my time talking to the men about their daily lives, listening to their struggles and shared about what I do here. The men are always curious why I stay in Cambodia which creates a great open door for the gospel.
We came to this village specifically for one man on his deathbed whom Mordegai has been treating for a long time and became good friends with. We actually weren’t sure if he was going to be alive when we got there, but we were relieved to see him still plugging away. He is suffering from kidney failure and there is no real cure for it in Cambodia (unless you have a lot of money and good connections). He asked me pray to with him despite his strong Buddhist background. After seeing me pray with him, a drunk man asked me to pray with him too. I have talked to him before and he struggles with heavy drinking and smoking causing him to have some serious health problems. He wanted me to pray with him even after he gave me a long lecture of how Buddhist he was. My heart is burdened for these people who are so hopeless. There is a huge alcoholism problem in this country and gets even worse in areas such as these. The father gets drunk midday due to laziness and the lack of convenient work and the children end up taking care of them since school is not an option out there. The family survives on very low living standards and receive little to no money for the hard labor job they have. There is an obvious spiritual darkness here so we pray that the Lord would use the local church to providing hope and motivation to the people, praying the church is empowered to grow and share the gospel with their neighbors. I was happy I brought the bibles. The pastor was ecstatic to receive them because it is so hard to get your own copy living where they are and not to mention the cost of purchasing one. All in all, it was a great trip. I fell deeper in love Cambodia and I hope to be able to keep going out there.
On another note: both pastor conferences are producing a lot of fruit. In Kien Svey we are starting to gain headway on how to study the Bible (IBS). They are getting really excited reading and being able to dissect the Word of God discovering spiritual truths. We are starting to get a consistent group coming which is really encouraging because we can start to really dig in to studying. In Svey Reang we are going through book of Genesis. After the most recent conference was finished and we were all talking, one of the pastors said to me “I want to tell you something truthfully; Ive never studied any book from the Old Testament. I always look to the New testament because thats what I understand, so thank you for going through this book with us it means a lot to me.” I was so encouraged! Right before I left to go out there I was thinking about if I was making any kind of impact or if I was wasting everyone’s time. The enemy really knows how to kick you in the weak spots, but the Lord is sovereign. Needless to say, I came home pumped. I can't wait for next month.
Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. Matthew 25:34-36
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20
Please continue to keep us and all of these ministries in your prayers. Thank you for your continued support.
One of our primary missions is to disciple by teaching and leading local leaders in Cambodia to grow in their faith and become more effective leaders in their church, community, and families. Curtis has been asked by Pastor Kurt to teach Inductive Bible Study at Calvary Chapel Phnom Pehn's School of Ministry. He will be teaching how to effectively study and teach the Bible in a systematic way using IBS. There have already been two sessions and it's been very fruitful. Pastor Kurt is teaching on Spiritual Leadership through the book of Nehemiah. 30 students are attending the classes and they are all excited to grow deeper in the Word. Please pray that the classes would successfully equip them to be efficient leaders and Bible teachers. Pray that Curtis and Pastor Kurt would have wisdom on what to teach and how to teach it so that each individuals would grow in their faith. Pray for Curtis and Breanne's church that more strong leaders would emerge from the congregation.
I went out so Svay Rieng this weekend and had a great time dissecting the Word with the pastors. We are going through the book of Genesis and are having a great time doing it. Please continue to keep the pastors in your prayers as our passion is to help them discover truth for themselves by teaching the Inductive Bible Study Method. -Curtis
Some may ask why Inspired Missions exists. Why do we do what we do? God’s love inspires us to be missionaries to the world around us, even to South East Asia! His love also inspires us to support those fulfilling this same love driven commitment. To understand what it means to be a part of God's mission begins with the understanding that our Creator is a missionary God.
God is a sending God, with a desire to see humankind and creation reconciled, redeemed, and healed. God’s mission can be seen throughout the pages of the Bible and history. Nowhere is the mission of God better understood than in the person and work of Jesus Christ whom God sent as the ultimate missionary to mankind. John 3:16 tells us:
“God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”
It really is just that simple. As the Father sent Jesus, He also sends us to those who need Him in our time and culture. We have been chosen by God to live in this time and place in order to fulfill His mission of redemption and healing. The mission of Christ continues in us to this very day.
At Inspired Missions we believe that God has called us to both send and support missionaries here and abroad to share the truth of the gospel and the love of God.
This months pastor's conference in Svey Reang was a very special one. Many months back, we were able to give out many Bibles and songbooks to the believers with the help of Impact Church. I have been tirelessly learning their classic hymns for the last couple of months and when I arrived to the church they had a guitar and asked if I could play. I started playing some worship songs from their hymn book. They were super excited so they started pulling out some of their instruments and we had a little Khmer jam session. Then to their surprise I started playing some of their classic pre-Khmer Rouge rock songs with them.
For those who don't know, the Khmer Rouge (who was responsible for a genocide of over 2 million Cambodians) targeted educated and artistic people. Due to this devistating genocide, most of their music was lost and destroyed, but there were a few albums and songs that lasted, So to surprise them, I have learned to play a few of them and it seemed to really bless them, especially Pastor Sokhorn whose wife recently passed away. For a small second, he was able to put aside his current hardships and get lost in the old music. There was a great sense of fellowship and love this month which was encouraging to all of the us. I love to see how our relationships with each other have matured. It's truly ordained by the Lord.
“O come, let us sing for joy to the LORD, Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God And a great King above all gods,”
Psalms 95:1-3 NASB
God bless you all... Curtis
PS: a few more pics!
“Inductive” means we use the Bible as the primary source of study to learn about God and what the Bible teaches. We pray that you consider these study methods just like the village Pastors in Cambodia.
Individual study is the first step. Group discussion based observations and insights from personal study are encouraged. It is in the discussion, for many, that the lesson begins to “hit home”. The study group confirms, clarifies, and corrects as each student seeks to discover the truth for themselves. Discussion of the Bible's truths helps to solidify them in our minds and sharing about life application encourages individuals to live out what they are learning. In this approach, spending time to know what the Bible says, understanding what it means, and living it out in our daily life, results in a life that honors Jesus.
The Inductive Bible Study Technique is investigative using three basic components:
Observation: discover what it says
Start with Prayer: Prayer is often the missing element in Bible study. You are about to learn the most effective technique of Bible study there is. Yet apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, that's all it will be—a technique.
Ask the "5 W's and and the H": As you study any passage of Scripture, train yourself to constantly ask: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? These questions are the building blocks of observation, which is essential for accurate interpretation.
Mark key words and phrases: A key word is one that is critical to the text. Key words and phrases are repeated in order to communicate the author's point or purpose for writing. For example, notice that some form of the word suffering is used three times in 1 Peter 5. Key words can be marked using symbols, colors, or both.
Make lists: Making a list can be one of the most productive things you do as you study. Lists restate truths and reinforce important concepts. 1 Peter 5:2-3, for example, contains a simple list regarding the role of the elder, shown by numbering the items in the verse. It is also helpful to make a list of what you learn about each key word or person you mark.
Watch for contrasts and comparisons: Contrasts and comparisons paint word pictures to make it easier to remember what you've learned. For example, Peter compares the devil to a roaring lion in verse 8. Peter also contrasts God's view of the proud and the humble.
Note expressions of time: The relationship of events in time often clarify the true meaning of the text. Marking "time" will help you see the order or timing of events and lead to more accurate interpretation of Scriptures.
Geographic Locations: Often it is helpful to mark geographical locations which tell you where a particular event takes place.
Mark words of conclusion: Words such as therefore, thus and for this reason tell us that a conclusion or summary is being made. You may want to underline them in the text.
Interpretation: discover what it means
Remember that context rules: The word "context" means that which goes with the text. If you lay the solid foundation of observation, you will be prepared to look at each verse in the light of the surrounding verses, the book in which it is found, and the entire Word of God. As you study, ask yourself: Is my view on this passage of Scripture consistent with the theme, purpose, and structure of the book in which it is found? Is it consistent with other Scripture about the same subject? Am I considering the historic and cultural context? Never take a Scripture out of its context to make it say what you want it to say. Discover what the author is saying; don't add to his meaning.
Always seek the full counsel of the Word of God: When you know God's Word thoroughly, you will not accept a teaching simply because someone has used one or two isolated scriptures to support it. Those verses may have been taken out of context or other scriptures overlooked or ignored that would have led to a different conclusion. As you read the Bible more in total, you will be able to discern whether a teaching is biblical or not. Know the Word of God; it is your safeguard against wrong doctrine.
Remember that Scripture will never contradict Scripture: The best interpretation of Scripture is Scripture. Remember, all Scripture is inspired by God. It is God breathed. Therefore, Scripture will never contradict itself. Sometimes, however, you may find it difficult to reconcile two seemingly contradictory ideas taught in Scripture, such as the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. Don't take a teaching to an extreme that God doesn't. Simply humble your heart in faith and believe what God says, even if you can't fully understand or reconcile it at the moment.
Don't base your convictions on an obscure passage of scripture: An obscure passage is one in which the meaning is not easily understood. Because they are difficult to understand they should not be used as a basis for establishing doctrine.
Interpret Scripture literally: The Bible is not a book of mysticism. God spoke to us that we might know truth. Therefore, take away the Word of God at face value - in it's natural, normal sense. Look first for the clear teaching of Scripture, not a secondary hidden meaning.
Look for the single meaning of the passage: Always try to understand what the author had in mind when you interpret a portion of the Bible. Don't twist verses to support a meaning that is not clearly taught. Unless the author indicates that there is another meaning to what he says, let the scripture speak for itself.
Application: discover what it means practically
Believe: Usually this is the first thing we want to know when we read the Bible, but life application actually begins with belief which then results in being and doing. Once you know what a passage means, you are not only responsible for putting it into practice in your own life, but accountable if you don't! Ultimately, then, the goal of Inductive Bible study is a transformed life and a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.
Application is not a third step in the inductive process: Application takes place as you are confronted with truth and decide to respond in obedience to that truth. The basis for application is 2 Timothy 3:16-17: All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
How observation, interpretation, and application relate to each other: Accurate interpretation and correct application rest on the accuracy of your observations. Therefore, it is vital that you develop observation skills, even if at first they seem time-consuming or you feel less than adequate and even awkward doing them. Studying inductively is a learning process that does not happen overnight. It happens by doing—doing over and over again, until the doing becomes almost a habit, and a wonderful one at that.
Bring truth against what you believe and how you are living: As you go through the inductive process, you'll sometimes find observation, interpretation, and application happening simultaneously. God can give you insight at any point in your study, so be sensitive to His leading. When words or passages make an impression on you, stop for a moment and meditate on what God has shown you.
Put His truths into practice: Through a diligent study of God's Word, under the guidance of His Spirit, you'll drop a strong anchor that will hold in the storms of life. You will know your God. And when you know your God, not only will you be strong, but you will do great exploits for Him (Daniel 11:32). When you know what God says, what He means, and how to put His truths into practice, you will be equipped for every circumstance of life.
Another fantastic Pastor's Conference happened in Kien Svay this last weekend. This group started fairly small but I can see God's hand and the interest in the area building. We were able to continue using the IBS method to better understand the Good Samaritan parable in Luke. I am so encouraged seeing everyone so excited about studying the Bible in greater depth.
Inductive Bible Study (IBS) involves examining the ideas and words of the text, which leads to the meanings and then the interpretations, which in turn lead the reader to conclusions and applications. In inductive study, the reader will read a passage and then ask questions of how they personally interpret the verse(s). These questions can range from what the verse(s) literally means to how it applies to the believer's present personal circumstances. The purpose of these questions is to go deep enough into the text to extract the meaning and then to apply that gained knowledge to life. God speaks to our lives directly through His word.
Continue to pray for us as we are starting to gain momentum.
Have you not known?
Have you not heard?
The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
~Isaiah 40: 28-31
Eight weeks ago the Lord set before me one of the hardest tasks I’ve had to date. Of course one of the most rewarding as well, but we don’t tend to see the rewarding part often until it is over. For the last 2 and a half years, I have been serving and leading at WOL here working in a children’s home called COH. I am the house/staff manager of the home. My title is simple, but my job has many responsibilities. We are not an orphanage. We do not have a revolving door for kids and the children placed with us are not for adoption so it is truly a home. We very much treat it like home, like family. The head of the house is my best friend, Katherine. The kids have adopted her as their mom so that has become her new name “Mom”. Our daily goal is to create a structured and “normal” environment for these kids that have experienced more heartache than they should in their childhood. This is not an easy task! My other main responsibility is to train and manage our staff. We are legally only allowed a few “foreign” staff and the rest must be Khmer, which is great. I am glad to say for the first time in COH we are fully staffed. It is quite difficult to find Khmer staff that meet all the requirements we and the government have, not to mention one would have to live with 28 kids!
That being said, 7 weeks ago Katherine and her son went back to America for a couple of big family functions and to visit her home church. When she left, I took over the home and attempted to fill her shoes. I have done this many times before and every time I do, the Lord stretches me far beyond my abilities, this time was no different. Don’t you love that every time you feel like you’ve conquered an seemingly impossible mission, the Lord brings you a bigger, more insane mission? Of course He is holding you every step of the way, but when you start thinking in the flesh those mountains sure are high. Since we have a house full of new staff that are still in training and a 3 year old that needs 24 hour care, I actually had to move into COH for 7 weeks. The times I stayed before, I stayed the night a few days then went home for a few days but this time was full time.
Honestly I was really afraid! Katherine was trusting me with her home, with her kids! I seriously doubted my capabilities, and rightfully so! But in my fear I am always challenged to add God into the mix. The only way the kids and I survived was because God ordained it ha-ha! I shared a room with a 3 year old that cried most nights, woke up and cared for the girls that got some crazy stomach flu, broke up a fight at 5am!!!!!! between 2 boys who couldn’t share the bug farm they were building in their closet. I definitely put an end to that one. You don’t wake Bre up at 5am over bugs, that results in all the bugs dying. I stayed up late with the older kids who were studying for their end of the year exams, and spent 3 hours at a hospital trying to figure out why one boy kept throwing up and having terrible stomach pain, only to find out he didn’t eliminate for 7 days! We all survived. I couldn’t be more grateful for every experience I had there. Though extremely difficult at times, I wouldn’t change anything.
I bonded so deeply with the kids and the staff, which is really the whole point of our lives here, the people. I would give up my whole life for those kids again in a second. The Lord called Curtis and I to Cambodia to love His people and to show them who He is. Discipleship, meaningful relationships and investing in people is the only way to have an long term influence here. Keep pointing people to Jesus. Thank you for constantly praying for us and Cambodia.
- Curtis' pastor conference continuing in the Svey Reang province.
- School funds for care of the the children.
- For all of the believers in our village for a deeper commitment to Christ.
- For Cambodia, that the government would see their people’s needs and pray for their salvation.
If you have any questions or comments concerning our life and ministries here please email us or write us on Facebook! We would love to share our hearts with you :)
God Bless You,
The Pastors Conference in Svey Reang this month did not go as I expected. I had prepared a lesson starting the book of Genesis and also had planned on reviewing the tests from the epistle Titus. I got up at 4am and began my long journey to the village. I received a call, while eating breakfast an hour away from the church, that Pastor Sokohrn's wife had died the night before. Pastor Sokorhn is the pastor of the church that we meet at so for obvious reasons we canceled the conference. All the other church's pastors and I decided to go to his house anyways to comfort and be with him along with praying for his family.
Pastor Sokohrn's wife had been sick for about a year but got increasingly ill this last month so they had been taking her to Vietnam. Healthcare in Cambodia is very poor so this is their best option in order for her to get the best treatment possible. She passed away at the hospital at the age of 53. She was 1 of 8 brothers and sisters whom are very close and she left behind her husband, two kids and grandchildren. It was a very emotional day as we began to prepare for the funeral. But in all this grief there was a shining light as they performed a Christian funeral for her. It is very cultural in Cambodia to do a traditional Buddhist funeral and if you don't do it you're considered to not love the person who has passed but Pastor Sokohrn held his ground knowing that she would want a Christian funeral and that it would be a testimony unto the Lord. The day was consumed with lots of tears, lots of comforting, lots of stories, and lots of prayer. Though there was incredible sorrow, there was also joy in having that assurance as a Christian that she is in heaven with our Lord Jesus Christ.
Some of the pastors came to me apologizing that the conference had been canceled and that I had still traveled all this way to their village and I reassured them that I was happy to be there with them because I love them and care for them personally. It was a great time where they were able to see my heart a little bit more that I wasn't just there "on a mission" or trying to get a job done but that our friendship has value and that we are all one family in Jesus Christ.
Please lift up Pastor Sokohrn's family and all of their friends in prayer as they go through this difficult time.
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14
As we mentioned in our last post, we are incredibly excited about the Pacific Rim conference coming up in Sept. Thank you to those of you who are praying for us and who have provided some of the funding needed to make the conference. There is still a need for more support to make it happen but we trust in the Lord's provision.
There is so much more going on than this one conference. We are still making trips once per month to Svey Reang and Kiem Svay to train local pastors in inductive Bible study techniques. This takes quite a bit of preparation but the results are worth every bit of it. If you would like to see what is happening and pray for or support these efforts, please check out our "About Cambodia Page." We'll have all of the training and ministry dates posted for you to see so you can be there with us in prayer. We'll report back soon about the amazing things God is going to do this weekend!
Bre and I wanted to share some exciting news about an incredible opportunity that is available to us and we need your help - the 2016 Asia / Pacific Rim Conference.
The 2016 Asia/Pacific Rim Conference will be in Chaing Mai, Thailand from September 26th through 29th. The theme of this year’s conference is: “The Harvest is Ripe”. This is an important gathering of pastors, church planters and missionaries at a time when doors are open to the Gospel in Southeast Asia. This conference is for those who share that heart for God’s work in Asia and the Pacific Rim countries to come and connect with others. It is also a vital time for present and future missionaries to gather together for vision sharing, fellowship, and encouragement and “to stir up love and good works” in each other (Heb. 10:24).
The cost for the 2016 Asia/Pacific Rim Conference is $180 per person which includes the conference fee, lodging, and most meals. Additional costs to attend this Conference are round-trip airfare at $300 per person, Thailand travel visa fees at $40 per person, and miscellaneous travel and meal expenses which we estimate at $75 per person.
We are confident that the 2016 Asia/Pacific Rim Conference will be beneficial as we continually seek the Lord’s direction for current and future ministry opportunities to share the Gospel and disciple Christian brothers and sisters in Cambodia. We ask each of you to prayerfully consider giving any amount to help fund our expenses to attend the 2016 Asia/Pacific Rim Conference.
Donations for this Conference can be made online using the “One Time Gift” option at: https://www.inspiredmissions.com/support/
Thank you for your prayers and for your support.
Grace and Peace,
Curtis and Bre