Local Missionaries in Cambodia
Cambodia, an impoverished monarchy in Southeast Asia, has endured tremendous political and social upheaval. Located in the Indochina Peninsula, it shares borders with Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and the Gulf of Thailand.
The Khmer Rouge, an extreme Marxist group, seized control of the government in April 1975 and began its reign of terror. Cambodia is still recovering from one of the bloodiest genocidal campaigns of the 20th century. More than 1.5 million Cambodians died from executions, starvation, and other forced hardships in what is referred to as “the killing fields.” Those targeted for annihilation included the educated, doctors and civil servants, former military personnel, wealthy citizens, and religious leaders. This genocide was followed by 10 years of Vietnamese occupation and a 20-year civil war.
Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the impoverished countryside, which also lacks basic infrastructure. About 88 percent of Cambodia’s population is made up of the Khmer people, descendants of a vast empire that dominated the region for 600 years. According to Joshua Project, “Most of the Khmer still live in small villages and grow rice in irrigated paddies. Unfortunately, it has been dangerous for the farmers to work the fields since the 1970s (due to land mines). The mines have caused more wounds to the Central Khmer than any other weapon.”
Prostitution and child sex trafficking are rampant in Cambodia. An indigenous ministry assisted by Christian Aid Mission began rescuing street children—those who are orphaned or abandoned or forced to beg. They request assistance for their children’s center, where impoverished street children are bathed, fed, given clean clothing and a safe place to play and be normal children. They also need help to continue their feeding program in a remote area, which daily draws children to enjoy a nourishing meal. As they eat, the children learn to read and hear the gospel message.
Though 85% of Cambodia’s population is Buddhist, the gospel is rapidly spreading throughout the country. Through the work of indigenous church planters and evangelists, church growth has greatly multiplied during the past 20 years. While the global evangelical annual growth rate is 2.6%, Cambodia’s evangelical growth rate is 8.8%.
Sources: Joshua Project, CIA World Factbook
How to Pray for
- Pray that the healing, hope-filled message of the gospel of Jesus Christ would continue to spread rapidly throughout this war-ravaged nation.
- Pray that God would provide resources for indigenous missionaries to continue ministering the gospel to Cambodia’s most vulnerable citizens.
- Pray that God would raise up the next generation of Cambodians to be strong proclaimers of His truth in their nation.
More stories from Cambodia
Native Christian workers praised God for tribal leaders in their 70s and 80s who recently put their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, resulting in entire villages coming to saving faith. Workers were also encouraged by responses to their radio broadcasts.
A native Christian worker’s gospel radio broadcasts are drawing two calls a day from Muslims desiring to become followers of Christ. “Earlier this year it was men calling, now it is women who are sharing their desire to be followers of Jesus,” the ministry leader said. “Please be in prayer for the women, as they are being persecuted by their families for leaving Islam.”
A 38-year-old Buddhist monk had everything he needed in his monastery, where he had lived since his teens, but he longed to be a child of God. He had listened to a native Christian worker’s radio broadcasts for about four months when he heard him quote John 1:12 about becoming children of God through receiving Christ.
A native ministry provides accommodation for university students and others where the gospel can be shared. One impoverished young man was neither a Christian nor a student, but after coming to Christ he has moved back to his home village, where he has obtained work and eagerly shares his faith with others.