March 25, 2018

Greetings to you & yours from warm Tucson!  

Last week in the weekly note, I did not catalog the service, but rather wrote a pastoral note about sheep bites.  I got some appreciated feedback from it that told me that others liked that.  Some others told me subsequently that they also like the weekly report from my perspective on the church services of the day.  It helps them keep in touch with the church family from long distance since they live out of the USA.  Both responses were muchly appreciated & I will try to incorporate both into the weekly notes henceforth.  So standby for each.  

Last Sunday was a delightful day with our own Bethel-based missionaries, Jason & Leigha Carpenter.  They were back from their first term in Cambodia where they made huge progress in learning that very difficult tonal language in both speaking it & writing it!  They shared with us that they are going back to now plant a church in a new area with hardly any Gospel  exposure.  It is a more rural area in the province & the Cambodian name is Jemoin (or at least that is my phonetic understanding of it.)  In any case the name means in Cambodian, “chicken manure.”  Their heart to serve has been shown & it came through loud & clear on Sunday!  We were all thoroughly blessed by Jason’s message in the AM service on “The Glory of God in Missions.”  His explanation on the Buddhist law of karma was tremendous!  It helped us monumentally to understand the difficulty in communicating the Gospel truth to the Khmer people.  There are all new definitions to them for sin, God, truth, hope, & virtually every other Biblical concept.  But we got it & that alone should help us exponentially in praying more effectively for them as they go back.

In the evening service Jason took a healthy portion of the service for questions from the congregation.  There were rapid, spontaneous questions about so much that the people wondered about.  Some were personal questions about their living situations.  Some were about the Khmer culture.  Many were about the way they are planning to reach the Cambodian people.  One unique way is that they have taken music lessons on Cambodian instruments to learn to play THEIR music which is common to their Asian ears & tastes.  I thought that was a brilliant idea!  Since music is the avenue to the heart, using music that is not foreign should be truly instrumental in opening heathen hearts to the Truth of God.  I only wish Jason & Leigha had played some of that music so we could have heard it first-hand & how different it is from our Western musical tastes.  I am hopeful that they still will get a chance to do just that before they leave the territory!

Jason played his baritone in the AM & PM services for the offertories.  It was moving, invigorating, & masterfully done.  Anna, his sister, accompanied him on the piano.  Their music brought great glory to the Lord which accented his morning message to the tee.

So it was a marvelous day in the Lord for our church family.  Seeing one of our favorite sons come home from the mission field with such a report was stirring indeed.  I do not know how any of our church members could not have left on Sunday just thrilled out of their minds!  I surely was.  To see this young couple excited about returning “home” to Cambodia & their enthusiasm to plant that new church was absolutely delightful to us all.  To God be all the glory for such great things from the Lord.  What more could we ask for than this?