International Ministries

Shedding Light on the Crisis

July 27, 2003 Journal

Debra and John Coats, Cambodia

Last week Pastor Sok's supervisor, in Phnom Penh, kindly agreed to meet with me.

The meeting I thought went okay.One good thing that happened is that we were able to talk openly.I told him I wanted to give him a chance to ask me questions, talk, or express frustration with me about my role in the conflict in Sok's church.I told him I knew Pastor Sok had met with him several times and I knew Sok was quite angry with me.Sok's supervisor said he appreciated the American way of sitting down and talking directly.He told me he was not upset with me, and that he basically had told Sok to learn to control his temper and to grow up a bit.When he finished, I then went on to tell him what I have done that I thought had caused Sok to be unhappy with me, so he was aware and could have the opportunity to respond to me directly.After I did, he opened up a bit more, making a number of comments and asking me to think about some issues.I did not understand everything, as he often spoke in nuances which I'm supposed to figure out myself.I don't know if I'm that smart though.Two significant things however he did tell me were:

1.He felt that I still had the ability/opportunity to put a stop to this conflict, and that he felt Sok still had some respect for me and cared about what I thought.

2.He hinted that unless the conflict could be dealt with, it would only grow and there might be serious trouble between Sok and Bot.He referred to an incident in a nearby district where a Christian church was ransacked by villagers and several Christians beat up.An English newspaper had reported there had been a drought for 3 years in that village and the villagers were blaming the Christians.He said he however knew the situation and things were not as they seemed.I interpreted this as meaning there might have been an internal church conflict and the ransacking was orchestrated.He also said he feared our local conflict could result in jeopardizing my work and name.

I've been mulling these comments over and trying to learn what I need to.

We did not discuss Ray the Holy Spirit teacher for lack of time, but when I asked, he agreed to meet together again in the near future and he would listen to my concerns about's Ray's teachings.So that's good.

He then opened up more and admitted he was unhappy with me about something. Apparently he has received a letter from an American evangelical agency that he works together with in Cambodia.They are asking him about his relationship with Ray.They have received a letter containing information of his involvement with Ray.He believes I am the source.He said I had a right to think what I thought but it was not right for me to give out such information without talking to him first.

I've thought about this for awhile and believe he has a very valid point and that I've been wrong.It appears that a Westerner in Cambodia from whom I had sought counsel, but with whom I also openly discussed Ray with, has probably spoken to a second person who already knew of the relationship between Ray and Sok's supervisor, and this second person has conveyed some of my information about our situation mixed with his own opinions to this American agency.I did not plan to jeopardize Sok's supervisor's reputation or for the information to go further, but I see I have been wrong.I did not take steps to make sure that would not happen.I had not viewed the workshop content or Ray's relationship with Sok's supervisor as private or secret so was not very careful.But now I can see clearly that by not talking to Sok's supervisor first as a concerned Christian brother was unwise, ungodly and has seriously jeopardized trust between myself and him. I'm hoping to talk with him about Ray in the near future but can see my credibility is not what it was.Please pray for me as I explain and ask his forgiveness, and that I might be able to regain his trust.Oh, how a loose tongue can destroy.God forgive me.