Dear Friends and Family,
You’re not going to believe this. I had trouble believing it. In fact I sent our General Supervisor to confirm this. Tumnup Island has seen the most remarkable revival in our fourteen year history. It all began a few years ago when General Supervisor Long Khit went to visit one of the only believers on the Island, Mrs. El Sim, who came to Christ back in 2000 when we were running a boat doing evangelism out of Khampong Chhanang along the Tonl’e Sap River. She was taking her daughter from the Island to the mainland for monthly transfusions for treatment of Leukemia when she met our boat and accepted Christ. She made this trip many times over the next ten years, even finding funds from a foreign donor to go for treatment twice to Australia.
Mrs. El Sim had two daughters, one healthy, one very sick. In a dream the Lord told her that in ten days He was coming for the healthy daughter. Ten days later the healthy daughter came down with a sudden fever and died. She couldn’t understand why the Lord would take her healthy daughter. Heartbroken, she brought her sick daughter to Phnom Penh for one last treatment. The doctors sent her home. There was no hope. They told her to go home and prepare for her daughter’s death. It happened that during this last treatment the 2011 Annual Convention for the Foursquare Church was being held. The girl came for prayer. She was healed, and the mother filled with the Holy Spirit.
Both mother and daughter went back to the island and invited the Young Lions to come and preach. God gave Mrs. El Sim a powerful healing ministry, blind eyes were opened, the paralyzed walked, deaf mutes were healed. This was last year. Since that time most of the 90,000 inhabitants on the Island have come to Christ. The local sorcerer lost his power and became a believer.
Last month a strange fever struck the residents on a high hill on Tumnup Island. El Sim went to pray and the orphans living in the Tumnup Church Home saw fire come out of the mountain while she was praying. The people were healed. Two monks at the local Pagoda had died of this fever and a third was very sick. The more the monks chanted for healing, the sicker he became. One of the leaders of the Pagoda had heard of her healing ministry and came to ask her to come and pray for the sick monk. She came, prayed and the monk was healed. The Buddhist Monks have now given her permission to come and pray in their Pagoda anytime, because she had the “True power” over evil spirits. A spirit house that she sensed was a root cause was destroyed. Rev. El Sim, now a Divisional Superintendent over nearly two hundred home churches on the island, can neither read nor write. She listens to the Bible on a “Proclaimer” and the Lord is teaching her to read. She simply listens to the Holy Spirit and does what He says. Believe it or not. (see photos)
Mak Sou couldn’t resist temptation. She’d heard so many testimonies about the “Young Lions Ministry” she had to go with them to Kampong Thom and see for herself. She was not disappointed. This church was close to dead and now it is full of new life. The contagion of the “Holy Spirit” seems to infect young people wherever they go. There are now ninety youth meeting at this church who are filled with the Spirit and leading their community to Christ. They sing, they dance, they pray and people are set free, healed and delivered. There is an anointing here that defies any kind of psychological explanation. Our big problem is getting the Young Lions where they are needed. (see photos)
Why can’t we get the “Lions” where they are needed? Our vehicle fleet is simply not up to the task. We never trade in vehicles; we just wear them out and sell them for scrap. The roads in Cambodia have greatly improved since the early days of our ministry in 1999, but our “Junkyard on wheels” has paid a price. We keep fixing up everything from broken frames, to blown engines, to stripped out transmissions, to bent fenders. Our average vehicle model year? 1996. It’s a good thing we train mechanics and have a steady supply of budding Grease Monkeys! Can you imagine 300,000 kilometers on these roads? (see photos)
Mak Sou had so much fun in Khampong Thom she took the “Road show” to Rattanakirri. Since the Young Tigers delivered the Holy Spirit to that province two years ago, several hundred new churches have been planted in the province and every ethnic group has a sizable group of Spirit filled believers. All because a few devils thought they could intimidate some tree worshipers by sucking out their blood. The “Tigers” kicked devil butt and they’re not afraid anymore. Fear has been displaced by faith and joy. (see photos)
Christmas has always been the biggest holiday of the year for Cambodian Christians. But, our Divisional and District leaders faced a difficult question at their monthly training, “If Jesus was simply born of a virgin in a stable and lived out a life and died on a cross, would we celebrate Christmas?” After a long pause they decided that if it weren’t for the resurrection we wouldn’t even know who Jesus is. They realized that the same Spirit that gave Him life raised Him from the dead and then came to live in us! Wow! Easter has all of a sudden taken on center stage for our Cambodian Christians. There should be some very interesting reports next month. (see photos)
Union Church in Hong Kong brought a group of women for a retreat and wound up receiving ministry at the hands of orphans. They came to be a blessing, which they were, but got just as blessed it return. Somehow, that’s the way it is supposed to work. Bless you! (see photos)
This was an Asian month. A group of Singaporean high schoolers helped build a fence for our church home in Khampong Som. Singapore is light-years ahead of Cambodia economically and these kids come from a private school which only well-to-do families can afford. They experienced a side of life they will never forget. And they left a bit of their own blessing behind in a much safer home for our Cambodian kids. (see photos)
There’s always more work to do than teams to do it! So, when Pa Thom saw the miserable deterioration in the roof and floor at the Serei Sapoan Church Home he called an S.O.S. With in 24 hours, 18 volunteers including a doctor and a contractor were at the site – all Cambodians – and after a few days, the place is looking like new again! (see photos)
“I loaded 66 tons and what did I get? Another day older and deeper in debt.” I know it’s an aberration of the 1950’s hit song “Sixteen Tons,” we just stretched the weight a little to meet our fertilizer requirement for this year’s rice crop. Each sack weighs 110 pounds, bad enough on a good day, but when it is 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 Celsius) you probably couldn’t even keep the devil from complaining about the heat. All our guys wanted was just a jug of water and a cool shower.
For days, the guys had to bag bulk fertilizer that sat in the hot sun, then load them onto trucks to drive it up to the rice fields where each bag had to be deposited it into our spreader for application on our 400 acres of rice land. After hand loading 66 tons of fertilizer, they had hand load the spreader with 122 tons of ground limestone. Why? Because of Pa Thom’s Chemistry set (see Mad Scientist) and so that this operation can feed the 3000+ kids and widows and maybe make enough money to become less dependent upon your generosity. (see photos)
Yup, Pa Thom spent three of the four weeks last month at the rice farm. Improvement is slowly arriving to the depleted Cambodian rice land. Though the locals all think he’s a “Mad Scientist,” his soil samples show a steady improvement in soil fertility. Not only are we making progress on that front, but soon, the “slaves” that suffer from the heat and dust will have a cool, clean place to sleep.
Life gets easier each year. Four years ago the fertilizer went on with one 20kg pail at a time, all by hand. Now we can load up an eight ton spreader and do the work of 100 men. We drill in our seed with a machine that can do 40 hectares a day and uses 1/2 of the seed to get twice the stand of the traditional hand sewing.
Best of all, our real joy this year rests in a new combine which we anticipate will not only bring in our crop, but allow us to earn enough extra income to fund the planting of 100 new churches per year. We have the matching funds thanks to Living Water Church, Olympia, WA, The Church of the Open Door, Clinton IA, and Gateway Fellowship, Fulton, IL. Thank you so much! Now, if we can just persuade the Foursquare Foundation to come through with the other half, we’ll actually be able to put that new machine in the picture to work! (see photos)
Be blessed! We are!
Ted (Pa Thom) and Sou (Mak Sou) Olbrich
And those who do all the work: Our Staff!