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Almost Married off at 16, Now She Needs Our Help to Study for a Degree

The leaders of the Living Hope in Christ Church in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, have brought to our attention the need of a young woman (whom we shall call TS) for help in going to university. This is her story.

TS is 19 years old and has five brothers and sisters, but she is the only one who has a strong commitment to study and the only Christian in her family. At the age of 16 her parents urged her to marry a young man and go with him to work in Thailand. TS attended a teaching session at which a pastor warned children and young people about the dangers facing Cambodian migrant workers. TS refused to marry and to emigrate, and as a result her mother has not spoken to her since. She left home and went to live in a church building in Baray, Kampong Thom province, where her father visited her and brought her food. She has been helping to run the church’s Sunday school.

TS has completed high school and has secured a place at the University of Commercial Law. She has saved $150 (£125) towards the fees but her father is unable to contribute anything. The fees are $480 (£400) per year for four years and the first year’s fee must be paid by 19 November.

The Associate Pastor of the Living Hope in Christ Church describes TS thus: “She has a strong commitment to serve Christ and she completely trusts the unfailing love of our mighty God.”

If the Holy Spirit leads you to help support the education of TS you can do so through Cambodian Communities out of Crisis. You can make a donation online by PayPal or through Stewardship or the Charities Aid Foundation, or send a sterling cheque to us at 32 Springfield Way, Shrewsbury, SY2 6LW. Please contact us if you would like to send a regular gift by standing order or would like to increase the value of your gift by 25% through Gift Aid.

New Life in Christ for the Suoy People

The Joshua Project estimates that there are about 1,600 Suoy in Cambodia. This people group has its own language but most people also understand Khmer. Most are animist in their beliefs, worshipping spirits to whom they offer sacrifices in order to appease them. The Joshua Project puts the number of Christians among the Suoy at 1.5%, or 24 persons.

Recently, a CCC team had the privilege of accompanying pastors and a church planter from the Association of Living Hope in Christ Churches on a visit to a Suoy village near Phnom Aoral, Cambodia’s highest mountain. We were joined by our long-time friend Barnabas Mam, one of the pioneers of the Cambodian church, who was to speak to a gathering of Suoy adults and children.

Having reached Aoral District, we drove through steady rain along a further 20 miles of muddy, uneven roads to the village. We prayed that the rain would stop so as not to hinder people from attending the meeting and hearing the good news of Jesus. As we arrived, the rain petered out and did not start again until Barnabas had finished speaking.

Barnabas Mam preaching to the Suoy people

Starting from the existing beliefs of the people, Barnabas delivered a humorous but compelling presentation of the Christian message. At the conclusion of his talk he invited any who wished to put their trust in Jesus Christ and turn to Him from spirit worship to signify their intention. 42 adults and a similar number of children did so. If they were all born again the percentage of Suoy Christians has increased from 1.5% to nearly 7%.

The CCC team contributed nothing to this outreach other than our prayers and encouragement. Even after, say, 20 years of language and cultural study we could not have achieved what Barnabas (in the power of the Holy Spirit) did in a single hour. We came away humbled and renewed in our conviction that the people best able to reach Cambodia for Christ are the Cambodian Christians. Khmer can reach Khmer, but they can also cross barriers to other people groups in their country far more effectively than could an expatriate missionary.