Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ. Happy new year! I pray the Lord's blessing upon all of you who support the Lord’s work here and elsewhere in the world. May you continue to have opportunities and the privilege to support faithful works around the world. May you set higher goals to achieve for our Lord in the year 2014.
As I begin the new year, I can’t help but look at my long term goal and reflect on my 20 year plan for the work here in Cambodia. I am in my 6th year in Cambodia and, according to my plan, have transitioned from the "Foundation Period" (2008-2013) to the "Growth Period” (2014 - 2018). By the end of 2018, the local church should be able to support 50% of IBISR's monthly expenses. As of right now, we are supporting 10%. If we continue to increase at 10% each year from now until 2018, we will hit our 10 yr goal!
Some who read this report might be wondering why it seems like I'm stressing money, money, money and percentages, but please don't misunderstand, there's a reason for it. It is the same reason that Paul gave to the Corinthians in 2 Co. 8:5 and to the Philippians in Phil. 4:17. If you read the context of those passages you will find out that the reason why the Macedonians were able to give above their means was because they gave themselves to God FIRST. It was the result of their faith. The same thing with the Philippians, they were able to support Paul when no one else did, and Paul said that their giving was the fruit of their faith.
If the church in Siem Reap is able to support its own work, it will indicate their level of faith and trust in God. That's our goal. We want to be the church that's found in the Bible and we are striving to produce fruit! Within the first five years, we've built a strong foundation of faithful Christian families that are here for the long haul. From here we want to grow, not only numerically, but financially, and ultimately, spiritually! We are confident that with God’s help we will accomplish our goals that we've set for Him. We ask that you continue to pray for us and our endeavors.
In order to meet our goals for the next five years, the leadership (Chann's idea) has come up with the idea of personal mentorship of the staff and male students. We have 6 men and 4 staff mentors (myself, Chann, Darat, and Piseth). Every weekend for the next 3 months, the students will have personal one on one time with their mentors in the field. They will learn how to talk to people, how to set up a Bible study, how to build relationships, how to follow up, how to prepare, and, most importantly, how to get back up after they fail. After each quarter, we will rotate the students to a different mentor so that they can gain knowledge and experience from all of us. This will avoid preacheritis (1 Co. 1:10-13) from forming. By the end of the year, they would have learned from all of us. I am the mentor for Sopheak and Sovannara in the first quarter and so far we were able to go to the local prison in Siem Reap to try to get our foot in the door, but it so happens that there is already a group there (I think 7th day Adventist) who apparently have the rights to the whole prison because we couldn’t get a Bible study request in. Anyway, it was a good experience for the students and myself. We are excited to go out in the field on the weekends to implement what we learn/teach on the weekdays! Please keep the school and this program in your prayers!
To see Phanat’s report with pictures, please click here.