Mr. Srong, my friend and local Christian leader in Kpbaom, wasn't always a good Christian. He was a Shaman of sorts and this made him fairly wealthy and respected. He and his family lost both respect and income when they came to know Christ as Savior. They have faced rejection by neighbors and family, mild persecution and financial difficulty for their faith. Villagers have mocked them for turning to Christ and losing so much. "What good is your God?" they are asked. Their once beautiful home where we have all our fellowships has fallen into disrepair because of the loss of income; it is not even possible to go inside anymore because the wood is so worm eaten it can't support the weight of a person.
Mrs. Srong has struggled to understand why they suffer like this as Christians. She has been bitter about it but now has come to understand that "prosperity gospel" is not biblical; rather, the Bible promises a reward for those who patiently endure and hope in Christ alone. When the Srongs were approached last month by an NGO to sell their field next to the church, they may have thought it was an answer to prayer. They would receive enough money to rebuild their house. (The wood is too far gone to repair; they must start over.) I was surprised by their answer. After prayer and discussion between themselves, the Srongs decided not to sell but to keep the land for the Lord's work. They hope it can be used for the pastor's house or extra classrooms for the church. God comes first to them, and their house will have to wait.
Please be in prayer for this dear family. Mr. Srong has been diligent and enthusiastic in his study of God's word and in his labors for God's people. He does evangelism, visitation and re-teaches our lessons to the adults who miss and children who live too far away to come regularly. Mrs. Srong has grown in Christ and even humbly reconciled herself with her older sister. The family is given to hospitality, and their eldest daughter, Chanak, has also started showing a great hunger for God and His Word. She is learning to read, looking to grow, and now only considering Christian men as a potential husband. — Rev. Mark Baldwin / Presbyterian Missionary Union