We met again for the month of August to talk about the work of Jesus Christ that’s happening in Siem Reap, Cambodia. As always, I am grateful to God and the brethren for the opportunity to be a part of this meaningful work. I know many people say they love what they do, but I am truly thankful that I am counted worthy enough to be a servant of the Almighty in this part of the world.
Paul wrote to the evangelist Timothy exhorting him to make full proof of his ministry by being sober minded in all things, enduring afflictions, and doing the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5). Part of my responsibility as an evangelist is to be watchful in all things. Especially on the mission field when there are so many distractions from the evil one and his ministers (2 Cor. 11:15).
Time and time again the Bible teaches us to beware of false teachers and mark those who follow not after the traditions and teachings of the apostles. We must be on guard and contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints, keeping sound doctrine. However, we must also consider the emphasis of the Bible on unity, forgiveness, teaching to restore the error, and making sound judgments. Sometimes we focus too much on the former and forget about the latter. It’s true we must guard against man-made doctrines creeping into the church, but we must also be wise enough and loving enough to correct those who may teach false doctrine but are sincere about serving God. We should be able to discern when to 'speak the truth in love' in hopes of converting the sinner’s soul and when not to 'cast our pearls to the pigs' and have them trampled on.
A good biblical example that I like to use in emphasizing this point is found in Acts 18:24-28. Was Apollos a false teacher? According to scripture, “he spoke and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John” (v-25). That sounds like a false teacher by some of our standard nowadays! However, while in Ephesus he encountered Priscilla and Aquila, coworkers of the apostle Paul who instructed him more accurately (v 26). Evidently Apollos repented of teaching falsely on baptism and became a huge asset to Paul and the work of God in that area.
How many of us today would’ve marked Apollos and had nothing to do with him because we heard him teach falsely on baptism? Moreover, how many of us would even dare to approach a “well versed and eloquent man” and correct him? For tentmakers like Priscilla and Aquila to not only approach but correct the Alexandrian born intellect, proves that it doesn’t matter what our background is. If we have the truth, we should have no fear in correcting and teaching the one in error. Apollos then set out for Corinth, where he encouraged fellow believers and soon became as popular as Paul and Peter; parties loyal to each began to threaten church unity. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians addresses the threat, “every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ” (1Cor 1:12). Far from blaming Apollos for the divisions, Paul credits his work and appeals to the true basis for fellowship when he writes, “I have planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the increase” (1 Cor 3:6).
Further indication that Paul and Apollos were not rivals is found in Paul’s urging Apollos to revisit the church in Corinth and in his requesting Titus to “bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them” (1 Cor 16:12, Tit 3:13).
What we want to do at IBISR is cultivate this mindset in all of our evangelists. We want to be biblically sound yet humble and confident in winning allies and souls for God. It doesn’t matter if the person is older, or more educated, or wealthier, or is from a more powerful nation, or is more eloquent in speech, or better looking, etc. If they are in error, we should not judge according to appearance and automatically marking them as a false teacher. We should be humble yet confident and sit down with them and ask them to explain why they taught what they taught and reason from the scripture to come to the truth (1 Cor 4:6).
We know that the word of God is the ultimate authority and if both parties submit to it then there should not be any problem resolving the issue at hand. These attributes, soundness, humility, and confidence, are what we want our students to have when teaching the gospel to others. I truly believe that we have men with such traits serving God in this part of the world. I want to thank you for supporting such a great work that's producing such men and women.
One of our sound, humble, and confident brother in Christ, Choeuy translating for our other sound, humble, and confident brother from Tennessee, brother Jeffery Bell who will also teach in Tanzania with the BV extension school there. Brother Bell and brother Daniel Hamm did mission work in Thailand and Burma before coming to Cambodia to be with us. It's always good for our students and teachers to be exposed to sound preachers as much as they can so that they can learn from them and their experience. It's amazing how there are so many unsung heroes in God's kingdom and these two are truly them. If you get to know these individual as we've gotten to know them, you will truly be blessed and be inspired to do more for Christ and His kingdom. Especially brother Hamm's story.
Our family business of selling school and office supplies is starting to pick up. It's a low profit business but at least we have an outside source of income. We pray that business will pick up so that we can pay back our loan and in time do more for the Lord and His kingdom. Please keep us and the work in your prayers.
My daughter Katesana is now 13 months old. She's grown up so fast. She may be born in Siem Reap, Cambodia but she's a Texan at heart!