Editor’s note: Bill and Noy Peeler are field personnel serving in Cambodia with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. This is their latest communication from the field.
To Our Parners in the Faith,
Well partners, we’re here. Left Atlanta 12:20 PM Oct. 15, arrived Siem Reap 10:25 PM Oct. 16. First leg was 15 hours. Had a two and a half layover at Incheon International then six hours to our destination. Our landlady’s husband, Leap, was waiting for us to take us home, the second floor level of the new house he’s building near Phsar Kraom Market.
This is the season of the wet monsoon. It was dry the night we got here but have had some rain since. It rained the whole night last night and this morning it’s cloudy with patches of blue coming through. That’s the typical scene this time of year. It rains hard when it rains, hard enough to knock a body down, but doesn’t rain all the time. Makes for great sleeping weather.
Noy and I will
soon be off for Phnom Penh to see about a work visa for me. She, being Cambodian, doesn’t have to worry about that sort of thing. She’s a naturalized American citizen, but Cambodia has seen fit to grant its citizens who have resettled outside the country of their birth visas good
for 10 years at a time. I wish it was that easy for me, but alas that is not the case.
We’ll take a boat down the Tonle Sap River to the capital. We’ll meet with Mr. Nhem Nivath, president of the Cambodian Baptist Union and discuss in detail how CBU can use us to help new church leaders and pastors train and equip their respective members to carry out the task of being the “salt” and “light” of Cambodia. From there we’ll travel to Kampot and then Battambang for brief visits with Noy’s brothers, Chet and Phut, both in their 80s now.
We left some things at brother Phut’s house three and a half years ago, mostly household type stuff, that we’ll bring back here to use. Some of our church family members have given us medicines and money to give relatives. We’ll take care of that while we’re out on this first trip. Then it’s back here to work out the next step.
We went to the International Christian Fellowship Church of Siem Reap. Got to see our good friend, Pastor Ivor Greer and several other friends we haven’t seen in a while. That church has just celebrated its eighth year. It’s pretty much a transient membership of expats, missionaries, tourists and a few long-timers representing a wide range of nationalities. English is the medium language.
So that’s a brief rundown of our first days back in Cambodia. The country continues to experience rapid change and development. This is a period of time in Cambodia’s history that we must not squander. Just 35 years ago the nation began digging its way out of the abyss of war’s destruction and the darkness of political oppression. In that short time the good news of salvation that Jesus proclaimed has been changing thousands upon thousands of lives. Noy and I have had the great adventure of witnessing these events going all the way back to the border camps along Thailand’s border with Cambodian in 1979 when the total number of believing Khmer numbered only a few hundred, all the way up to the present. While watching the seasons and checking the time, the words of Scripture are as relevant as ever – “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.”
That about sums it up. The evil lies just under the surface ready to bust out at any moment and in every form imaginable from petty theft to human trafficking. Cambodia was once called the Gentle Land. It’s a very different story that has emerged since those bucolic days before the war. But nothing gets the attention better than upheaval and unbridled change. People are hungry for good news when the news is typically a litany of everything but. And good news is what we came here to proclaim, the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Yours in His Service,
Bill & Noy