A while back one of my friends in Canada (thanks Jan) sent me this quote about Svay Pak ' the village is being overrun by His irresistible, relentless, tidal wave of love. That thought came to my mind today as I began to write tonight's blog. You see the church at The Sanctuary is overflowing. The main sanctuary was estimated to hold about 325 people but since day one as this new building opened in late May, the numbers attending have grown, people are spiritually hungry, they are being drawn to the irresistible, relentless tidal wave of love that Christ is offering them.
There has been such an overflow---the two rooms behind the Sanctuary have mothers and young babies jammed in there each Sunday. The two classrooms that are above the Sanctuary on the 4th floor have more people sitting there--they can't really fully see all that is happening unless you stand at the windows that look down into the sanctuary but they can hear the songs and the message and are willing to just come and sit there. Don Brewster estimates that there is now about 450 people coming to the church service. There is no air conditioning in the sanctuary nor in any of the rooms and there are not many fans so the place is hot, its like a sauna and yet the people willingly sit 2 1/2 to 3 hours depending on how long the service is for. They don't seem to be too bothered by the heat or if they are, it certainly doesn't show. They sit crammed together eager to worship, eager to listen to the message being shared, eager to be in the presence of the One who is calling them to Himself, the One who is wooing them by His tidal wave of love. Such is the spiritual thirst in this community where people are looking for hope, for meaning, for purpose, for healing, for peace, for love. Pastor Chantha is now considering a second service to accomodate the growing numbers. Even the communion cups and 'bread' that are passed out is not sufficient to meet the growing church.
Then there are the cell groups which meet weekly. There are about 8 weekly bible study groups held in various parts of the Svay Pak community and each of these small groups have about 30 to 40 people in attendance ---this gives new meaning to the term 'small groups'---sounds more to me like a mini-church---I wouldn't be surprise to here that some day in the near future the Sanctuary will be planting a daughter church else where.
Pastor Chantha and another local pastor
As I was leaving the Sanctuary I noticed Pastor Chantha and Bunthan gathered together with a handful of people around a table. It turned out a pastor and some of his church members from a neighboring community have heard of the ministry here in Svay Pak and have come to learn more about what is going on at The Sanctuary and perhaps how to partner together. Word is certainly getting out.
Indeed the Chief Cornerstone is adding 'Living stones' to His kingdom here in Svay Pak. He is calling people out of darkness into His wonderful light. He is cultivating a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a chosen people, a people belonging to God from a community that just a few short years ago the Ministry of Social Affairs said 'don't waste your time in Svay Pak, it is hopeless.' Jesus the Source and Fountain of hope is demonstrating through the ministries in Svay Pak, that there is no place, no people where He the God of hope cannot plant nor restore hope in the hearts of the men, women and children. May the God of hope continue to fill the people in Svay Pak with all His joy and peace as they trust in Him, so that they may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13) for generations to come!