Friday, June 16, 2017

Our Cambodian Family

Many of you have asked about Titus' family - Where do they live?  What do they do?  Etc.  Here, we introduce you to Titus' parents, five younger brothers, sisters-in-law, and nephews - our beautiful family in Cambodia, who we miss very much and pray for daily.

Dad's name is Romdenh Chamnan (in Cambodian culture, the family name is before the given name).  Pak (Dad) is a hard-working man who is currently working as a foreman in a rural province more than five hours from the rest of our family in Phnom Penh.  He has skills in architectural engineering, but it became difficult for him to find work in Phnom Penh when computers began to replace hand-drawings.  Earlier this week, Pak was very, very sick and we were afraid we wouldn't see him again.  While there is still risk of complications and a reoccurrence of his sickness, he is now recovering at home and we have hope that he will greet us when we return to Cambodia soon!  "Ta" is the Cambodian name for Grandpa, and Sophear loves her Ta!  Pak's family is Catholic.

 Mak on left; Aunt on right
Mom's name is Hem Sokly (in Cambodian culture, women do not take their husband's name).  Mak (Mom) has always been a stay-at-home mom, raising six sons and caring for our home.  Mak's family is Buddhist.

Chamraun is 33-years-old and drives a motorcycle taxi (called a moto dop).  When we visited Cambodia with Sophear in October/November 2015, Pou (Uncle) Raun was Sophear's favorite uncle because he gave her the most/best attention.  When we went to Angkor Wat for family vacation, Sophear spent most of the 7-hour drive on Chamraun's lap, and when we were touring the temples in very hot weather, I was very grateful for Pou Raun and all the uncles who had fun carrying her!

Chamnieng is 31-years-old and is married to Bopha and has two sons, Chamroat and Reaksmey.  Chamroat is maybe 13-years-old and Reaksmey (pictured) maybe 9-years-old.  Chamnieng washes dishes at a restaurant and Bopha is a garment worker (makes clothes in a factory).  They want to have a daughter one day!

Chamrong is 30-years-old and is married to Chantharet.  Chamnong and Chantharet have a little boy, Sovannareth, who is just 9 months younger than Sophear.  Chamnong and Chantharet also hope to have a daughter one day.

Chamnong is 27-years-old and is a very hard worker.  He was recently awarded "Employee of the Month" at V Hotel Phnom Penh, where he is working as bellman.

Titus' youngest brother, Chamnob, is 20-years-old and was born on Titus' 14th birthday.

Titus' family lives in Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Penh.  Although Titus spent some years living in a rural province, at least three generations of his family have called Phnom Penh their home.  When we move to Cambodia, we will also live in Phnom Penh.  Phnom Penh is 262 mi2 and is home to more than 1.5 million people.  We're not sure how close we'll live to our family, but we're excited to share life with them again!

As you can see, it is a family of BOYS!  Titus parents have six sons, four grandsons, and SOPHEAR!  She's a pretty special girl!

Please pray for our family - Pak and Mak, Chamraun, Chamnieng and Bopha, Chamrong and Chantharet, Chamnong, and Chamnob - because they are not Christians.  We pray that God will use Sophear, Chamnab, Titus, and I to open their hearts to Christ.

To see Christ glorified in our family
and in Cambodia,
Titus, Jewel, Sophear, & Chamnab

Monday, June 12, 2017

You're the God of this city

You're the Light in this darkness
You're the Hope to the hopeless
You're the Peace to the restless

For greater things have yet to come
And greater things are still to be done in this city

God has called us to ministry in Cambodia's capital city, Phnom Penh.  Watch this testimonial from Titus' May trip.

To see Christ glorified in Cambodia,
Titus, Jewel, Sophear, & Chamnab

Friday, June 9, 2017

Cambodian Buddhist Tradition of the Dead Body

Cambodia is a Buddhist country. In Buddhist culture, it is tradition to cremate the dead body. After death, the body is kept in the home in a closed coffin for two to four days. Lucky paper is burnt at the foot of the coffin. When the monks visit the body for a chanting ritual, the coffin is opened so the spirit can listen, but the face remains covered with a white cloth. After 2-4 days, the body is taken to the Buddhist temple (pagoda) for cremation. At the pagoda, the body is exposed for a farewell look, but the face remains covered. The body is cremated at the pagoda, the ashes are placed in an urn, and the urn is placed in a stupa on the pagoda’s property or sometimes at home. A white flag is displayed outside the family’s house for one week, and children of the deceased shave their heads and dress in white.

Phirum's stuppa

On Sunday, May 7th, after preaching at a fast-growing church plant in Phnom Penh city, my aunt (Phirum’s mother) and I rode in a taxi to Kompong Som province (140 miles, 4 hours drive) where Phirum’s wife and son live. We spent Monday morning at Phirum’s stuppa. Phirum’s wife asked me to burn incense - a gesture of paying one’s highest respects to Buddha or as an offering to Buddha for His blessing. I told her that I am a Christian, so she lit the incense on my behalf and placed the sticks in an incense pot. Phirum’s mother cried throughout our entire visit. She was quiet except for talking to the picture of her son displayed behind his urn.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 
John 11:25-26 

This is one of the reasons why we go back to Cambodia, we want the Cambodian people, who are living in the darkness of Satan's deceptions, to know and understand that religious belief cannot save them from their sins. God's grace alone can save them from their sins.

We are grateful to be called sons and daughters of the Living God! We know that one day we will see Him face to face.

To see Christ glorified in Cambodia,
Titus, Jewel, Sophear, & Chamnab