by Greg Hamlin
Note: Following is the Hamlins report for February; Greg and Sheila arrived in Cambodia in 2007.
SIEM REAP, Cambodia (BNc)- We baptized five souls in February; four are women from the village about an hour from us and the fifth is our house assistant whom we first met when he worked in the restaurant we frequented when we first arrived.
All are continuing to be very faithful in attendance. The women have been attending for about a year so they are pretty well grounded in the faith from the beginning. Hout, our helper, is an extremely diligent student and has been very eager to attend our Bible school as we get started. He will surely be in the first class. We have several other prospects to keep us busy.
Bible School to Start, Teaching Already
We say that we have not started this school yet. But I am teaching three hours per day Monday-Friday.
I have been teaching homiletics to a young Pentecostal pastor. We began with one hour, then he got more excited and asked for two hours per day. He is getting closer to obeying the gospel with each day that passes and more discouraged with his previous tutors who did not teach him the truth.
We are also taking Khmer language classes for one hour, five days a week.
I am teaching homiletics an hour daily to Phanat and Chann, my co-workers. They have had Bible training prior to coming here, but Chan in particular who is the local preacher in Siem Reap has had no preacher training. Phanat has had several expository preaching courses and is very good in the pulpit.
We plan continual in-service training for the staff. They will also teach different needed subjects as the time goes on.
We are continuing to teach the preacher’s wife and another sister, Aya, on Sunday afternoons. Neither of them speak English so Chann translates for us. We are teaching them to help them prepare to teach others.
Aya works with Phanat daily in translation work. They are putting several English Bible studies into Khmer. She is growing very fast as a Christian. (She was one those baptized this past month.)
Phanat is a Cambodian who grew up in Texas after the former destructive communist rule. He speaks Khmer fluently but can’t read or write. They are good co-workers — and we hope — may be newlyweds in year or two.
School to Form as NGO
We plan to start the School formally on June 1st. We are starting a process of forming a non-governmental organization (NGO) for education, with a view of moving gradually into fully accredited status in the Cambodian education system.
The fact that we’re not an NGO yet will not stop us from the beginning the School on time. We have several prospective students already requesting to be admitted and there are no shortage of prospects.
A limiting factor though will be living space for students. Our building is not yet completed. The second floor and third floor need to be finished, which of course takes money. We are working on the problem.
More Teaching in Local University
I have just been offered a part-time job in a local university teaching conversational English, giving me six more hours a week in teaching. I DID pray for God to let me teach here, didn’t I? See what happens when you ask for things in God’s service. I plan to use the book of Ecclesiastes as a text for the course.
We had an elder from Washington State, Joe Hicky, with us all of the month. He has been a long supporter of Chann. They worked in the village where most of our congregation lives to dig wells for the farmers. It was wonderful having him here; he is a great servant of Christ.
Sheila is working on developing a WBS program. She is getting assistance from Phanat who is offering the courses to his English classes in the university. She already has several students.
Teaching at Preachers’ Seminar
We went to Kampong Cham on Feb. 13-15 to teach for a preachers’ seminar. I taught the book of Romans in a full day to about fifty preachers and their wives. Sheila taught developing Christian habits and behavior, along with marriage to the women. All in all it was one of the most encouraging times we have had in a while.
Strikingly one of the most wonderful parts was an impromptu singing session with several Cambodian children and some of the adults. They sang their own Bible songs in English and Khmer (pronounced Khmai) and we all joined in praise together. One of those magic moments…
We bought a car, finally; no more tuk-tuks, at least for a while. It’s a 1991 Camry; mostly it runs and gets us to where we need to go. Can’t beat that. God gave us exactly what we need and when we needed it. Thanks!
Challenges on the Field
We plan to write from time to time on the subject of challenges we (or any missionaries) have on the field.
While trying to get our medicines to us recently, those “challenges” reared their ugly head. Our medicine can’t be obtained in this country, so in order to stay here we must find another way. We had the problem “solved” with our pharmacy in the U.S. before we left; you can guess already — it didn’t happen. (This was even before you get to this country, mind you!) Now we are without medicine and our health is already being affected. Nothing is easy on the any mission field; we didn’t say it is evil and we might want to leave, just not easy.
I wrote one letter recently in which I spoke about the myriad of problems that we go thru to spread the gospel to a country that is 95% Buddhist and, two generations back, has gone through a holocaust. Bear with us; we are reaching and helping to save people even though we can barely speak to anyone. You should see me trying to find someone to manufacture clothes line poles and screen doors, and then have him do the job, giving dimensions by sign language.
Nothing here is easy: no Wal-marts (horror of horrors!), no health insurance plans, no reliable doctors; if we get too sick to care for ourselves we will have to travel to Phnom Penh, six hours away, or even Bangkok, Thailand. None of these are fatal, just not America.
To do the volume of work we do we need a support group behind us, partners in our work serving God and getting the Word to this lost world. We need YOU to work with us.
Not complaining, just explaining. We here and rejoice everyday with contentment for the wonderful blessing. We pray this blessing for every brother and sister we have in the U.S. James 1:2-4 takes on a whole different meaning now. Rejoice with us.
God be with you and we pray that you be found faithful when Jesus comes, May He come quickly.
Greg Hamlin, Interim Director, International Bible Institute of Siem Reap
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us