Dear Friends at WHCC,
A few weeks ago we requested you to pray specifically for the families of two young ladies that were killed in a traffic accident. We want to thank you for praying and wanted to give you a brief update.
First of all it has been a blessing to see the response of Shalom Church in the midst of a very difficult situation. The church was able to send a contingent of 50 people to one of the funerals despite the fact that the service was held in a village over two hours away from Phnom Penh. Pastor Chhinho was able to give clear testimony of this young woman’s faith in Christ and noted that she had already left instructions with her family (who are devout Buddhist) that in the event of her death she wanted a Christian funeral. This particular village has been the focus of an outreach service by Shalom Church for a number of months, and despite the loss of the most mature Christian in the village the ministry has continued. Kantha (the young woman killed) was not married but was the primary care giver for several members of her extended family. One of those members was twelve year old Vicheaka. She is a beautiful girl, with a contagious smile who happens to be confined to a wheelchair due to a early childhood illness that went untreated. Pastor Chhinho and his wife Keio have taken this little girl to Phnom Penh and will raise her in their home – what a great example! Despite the tragic nature of this event there have been many blessings to consider. Funerals should always cause us to consider the brevity of life, the condition of our own souls and whether or not the life we are living has eternal value……
The second young woman who died was from a village thirty minutes away. The events surrounding her death and subsequent burial are not as encouraging, at least from our limited perspective at this point. She was a single mother of four (ages 14, 12, 10 and 6) and was the only Christian in her village. She had not given specific instructions to her family about what should transpire in the event of her death and therefore the village leaders immediately defaulted to a traditional Buddhist service. When we arrived at the village with her body, local Buddhist priests had already begun to burn incense in preparation – hoping to welcome the spirit of the deceased back into her home in order that she might be protected from evil spirits that might be in the vicinity. Her immediate extended family was angry that she had been a ‘Jesus follower’ and now had been punished for forsaking her family’s traditions – angry as well that they would now have to bare the financial burden of her death and the expense of caring for her children. Even the Christian pastor from a nearby village was fearful of insisting on a Christian funeral lest he become the target of the family’s wrath. Even now we have had difficulty ascertaining the well being of the children. Would you pray with us for this family, specifically their salvation? Pray for the children as well; for their protection, health and for God’s wisdom in helping and/or intervening on their behalf.
Thank you again for praying, we could not face circumstances like this without your partnership! Many of you know that our organization, Action International Ministries, works with children at risk (orphans, street kids, abused children, exploited children, etc) around the world. Several months ago our International Director, Doug Nichols, asked me to write a paper on the biblical foundation for orphan care. I reluctantly took on the task, feeling a bit overwhelmed with our current ministry in Cambodia and feeling totally under qualified. I certainly cannot speak authoritatively on orphan care in a clinical sense. But in the process of writing this paper I was both blessed and challenged by the amount of biblical instruction, admonition and warning there is in regards to the care for orphans. It was especially convicting to note that the care and protection of orphans is an assumed reality from a biblical standpoint and that the majority of the texts simply bear warning and judgment to those who do not act on an orphan’s behalf. I recently presented this paper to our International Council and it has subsequently been used in a Christian publication. You can read the paper by following this link:
The Care of Orphans: Guiding Principles and Best Practices
This brief update is……not so brief. Thank you for your patience…..prayers and support! Jodi, Mikaela, Kamryn, CJ and Drew all send their love and affection! Thank you for sending Rose Marie to us….she has been a wonderful blessing and is doing a great job!
In His Bonds,
PO Box 1178
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Action International Ministries
PO Box 398
Mountlake Terrace, WA 98043
Daren and Jodi Beck