This past Thursday in our mid-week Bible study we were privileged to listen to the preaching of Bro. Kuonaro Keo, a fellow missionary here in Cambodia. This was the first of 7 guest speakers who are scheduled to preach between now and Thanksgiving in our mid-week services. Lord willing, I will give a brief overview of each week's sermon and also take advantage of this opportunity to introduce you to some great men of God with whom I am honored to serve the Lord.
Bro. Keo has a very unique testimony. He is Cambodian, and was born right here in Phnom Penh, the capital city. He was a young boy during the Pol Pot era, and in 1979 his mother, father, and 3 older brothers were killed by the Khmer Rouge. He, along with some other relatives and siblings, managed to escape to the refugee camps on the Thai border. While in the refugee camps, he heard about the Lord Jesus Christ and began to consider himself a Christian. When he moved to America in 1984, he began to attend a church where the Gospel was preached but no one ever questioned whether he himself was actually saved. The Lord moved him to Long Beach, California in 1992 where he attended a young church called Cambodian Baptist Church, pastored by Pastor Joe Esposito. Bro. Keo says that the preaching at Cambodian Baptist was unlike anything he had ever heard. He said Pastor Esposito preached hard. He made sin out to be wicked, and he even named specific sins! Another thing he did that was new to Bro. Keo is that he gave an invitation to be saved. After attending there for a couple of years, Bro. Keo got saved, baptized, and went off to Bible college to prepare for the mission field.
He and his wife, Chorvy, and their three daughters have been serving the Lord here in Cambodia for the past 7 years. He pastors the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Chom Chao (on the Western outskirts of Phnom Penh). Bro. Keo faced some incredulous disbelief from some of his family when he and his wife willingly returned to the land where they had experienced so much hurt and grief. So many Cambodians even now wish they could go live in America that they consider him and other Cambodian/American missionaries to be crazy for returning. According to Bro. Keo's own testimony, this was something he struggled with for a long time. But he could not shake God's call upon his life to reach his own people with the Gospel. As he grew as a Christian, he found himself praying often for God to send missionaries to Cambodia. God answered his prayer by sending him. How we thank God for Bro. and Mrs. Keo and their willingness to lay aside their own ambitions in order to bring the Good News back to their people.
Tonight Bro. Keo preached a message entitled, What Is A Christian?He preached from the three times in the Bible that the term "Christian" is used. He talked about how many people claim to be Christians but do not know what it means to be a true Christian and then a good Christian. First, a Christian is one who has personally put their faith in Christ for salvation. He talked about how so many professing Christians cannot give a clear testimony of the day that they were born again. Christianity is not something we gradually grow into. When a person is born again, they instantly become a child of God. A person who has not been born again is not a Christian. Second, a Christian is one who is not ashamed of Christ. We should not be ashamed of Christ, but rather shame should be reserved for when we have sinned. If we are ashamed of Christ now when we have religious freedom, certainly we will not be able to stand for Christ in times of persecution. Third, a Christian is one who shares the Gospel with others. We have a responsibility to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those with whom we come in contact every day. Soulwinning is not just a once a week activity. It is supposed to be a way of life.
Bro. Keo's message was a great challenge to our church, and I am thankful that we had a good crowd to hear it. I am looking forward to next week's guest preacher, a national pastor who was led to Christ about 12 years ago by Bro. Rodney Ruppel.