International Ministries

With The Spirit’s Leading

June 5, 2003 Journal

Again, I want to thank all of you who are praying for the situation here. May God be faithful, as I believe He will be.I write this journal primarily to ask you to pray today and tomorrow for Mr. Bot, the assistant pastor.

He came to see me two days ago.Surprisingly to me, I think he has decided to make a public statement, essentially urging Pastor Sok to change his behavior. He has carefully written out a document that says he believes the church is heading for disaster.He writes that Jesus is the master of peace, and Jesus wants there to be peace, unity, and growth in the church. Bot outlines that the only remedy for the impending disaster is (1) to stop holding power and "gifts" in one person's hands, (2) work towards the good of the whole church and not just one man, (3) stop using harsh words that incite dissension, and (4) become gracious.Though no names are mentioned, the document is clearly speaking of Pastor Sok.

He says he feels the Lord is leading him to do this.He has had 3 dreams in the last 3 years, all of which he remembers vividly, has never doubted were from God, and interprets that now is the time for him to act.Unlike us Westerners, Khmers, including Khmer Christians, take dreams very seriously. Though it may sound spurious to us Americans, after working in Cambodia many years I believe that God often speaks to Khmer Christians through dreams.

In the first dream (about 3 yrs ago) Pastor Sok was driving a van with the church members as passengers.He drove off the road down an embankment, hit a rock and was killed, and seriously injuring the passengers.The 2nd dream occurred more than a year ago.Pastor Sok drove a wooden peg into the side of Mr. Bot's house, hung himself, and also caused half of Mr. Bot's house to collapse.At that time the church met in Mr. Bot's house.The 3rd dream occurred recently, the day I spoke to Pastor Sok two weeks ago.Pastor Sok was driving a motorcycle, had an accident and incurred serious head injuries.Injured, Sok came to Mr. Bot, asking him to pray for him.

Bot and I had a long talk.He wanted my advice.Though he was not clear, it appears that he might intend to present this written statement publicly in church, possibly this Sunday.I told him that while I was confident it was proper for him to deal with the situation (he has been silent for a long time), I did not feel I could confidently advise him on the exact manner and approach.I told him I thought normally it better to talk to Sok alone first, or perhaps with a few other leaders (if there were any), and suggested that written statements can take a life of their own.On the other hand, I said I realized Pastor Sok has already made the issue very public and he has already been approached privately (at least by me).I noted that Paul confronted Peter publicly when Peter was behaving without integrity with the Jews and Gentiles (in the last two Sunday sermons, Pastor Sok has taught that we do not need to study the Bible and we do need to pray, a sharp change from his past teaching).I admitted that Mr. Bot is the assistant pastor and it is his responsibility to safeguard the church.

In the end, I told Mr. Bot that he would have to rely on the Holy Spirit's leading and despite whatever my advice might be, he needed to abide by what he firmly believed that leading might be.I also told him that I was very confident that if he was obedient to God throughout this ordeal, there will be tough times ahead for him and the church, but that God would be faithful to his sheep and in the end God's good purpose would be accomplished.I encouraged him to do everything in love and with courage.We prayed together yesterday.Early this morning I went to see him again and prayed over him, asking that the Holy Spirit would be upon him, filling him with the Spirit's leading, wisdom, truth, love, and courage.

Please pray for Bot.This will be very difficult for him.I think he realizes that Sok's most likely response will be rage, condemnation, and perhaps even eviction from the church body.