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Mission Opportunities in Cambodia
Pioneering work: This includes the work in the Kampong Cham and Kratie District. There is a very new, fairly large and beautiful multi-purpose (chapel cum community center, etc.) facility in Kratie--First Methodist Church, Kratie where a new "congregation" of around 80 children and 25 young people plus some adults have been started. The youth and the children have been reached through English classes (that are also Bible story classes) and fellowship (with indoor games and use of the playground that has a slide and set of swings). Already the youth and children are singing Christian songs and praying. Contact with a nearby school has been established. New toilets for the children were donated with funds from USA friends. And VIMs have supplied notebooks and pencils and other supplies. New work needs to be started in Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri, but these towns are a good traveling distance away from Phnom Penh, so we need to purchase parcels of land in these locations where centers and bases for the work could be started. Since, there is already much development taking place in these towns as well as on the connecting roads to these towns, the prices of land have gone up.
A clergy couple --graduates of the Cambodia Methodist Bible School--has been assigned to Koh Kong. Koh Kong is a town by the sea with a big population of Chams--a minority people. A house will be rented in this area where a new congregation could be started. A parcel of land also needs to be purchased in this town eventually/as soon as possible. New work will also be started in Kampong Thom town itself. The new DS will rent a house where a new congregation could meet. In the meantime, small groups for prayer and Bible study will be started by the pastor. The Good News of Jesus Christ will be proclaimed.
Student and Youth Ministry: There is a need to start youth hostels and youth and student centers in the major towns. We now have hostels in Phnom Penh, but we need to add more with more spaces for residents. A hostel has also been started in Battambang. A hostel/youth center alongside a new a multipurpose church facility is part of the plan for the large piece of land in Siem Reap. There is an extremely urgent need to buy the property now being rented by the Methodist Mission in Cambodia in Prey Veng, a university town with many young people coming from the different provinces. Already the two worship services at Prey Veng are bursting at the seams with young people/students. There is also an immediate need to renovate the house that is on the property and to build a new multipurpose building as well as dormitories for students. Eleven students now sleep on the second floor of the rented house that is also the worship space, the computer room, and the room for English classes. Phum Phnov Methodist Church is a neighbor to the University of Svay Rieng. There is also a definite need for youth and student hostel there. Two youth camps have been held thus far, and an average of 250 people from all over the country have attended. These young people are already the leaders of the churches, which reflects the reality that 70% of the country's population are people younger than 30, and most of these are younger than 18 (60% of the population). There is also an overwhelming need for scholarships for high school and university students.
Christian Education: This is the program that trains all the teachers and produces the curriculum materials for the Sunday Schools in all the churches. The importance of this program cannot be underestimated. It is in dire need of funding. We have some very capable leaders and potential leaders. We train the pastors and spouses to become Christian educators. The youth are trained to be teachers.
Community Health and Agricultural Development: CHAD has pioneered in helping organize and in training the churches' Social Concerns Committees so that each church is enabled to anticipate and identify needs and are equipped to reach out to people in need and transform environments. CHAD is also key in the effort toward self-sustaining/self-
supporting churches and in enabling the churches to identify resources that could be tapped and developed within each village and town. CHAD is instrumental in teaching congregations and leaders about holistic ministry in theology and in practice. There is much need to progress in the areas of health, community leadership, and in agricultural development in the various Cambodian churches and villages.
Cambodian Methodist Bible School: Most of the ordained deacons and clergy of the Methodist Mission in Cambodia are graduates of CMBS. The work progresses because of the commitment of those whom we have trained to lead the church and to be pastors and prophets where they serve. In the hopefully near future, most of the teachers at CMBS should be Khmer. And the writers of text books should also be Khmer. The authors of books of devotion and spirituality for the use of churches should also be Khmer. CMBS will have to produce these resource persons. It is crucial that CMBS and its part in the total ministry should grow. Pastors should also need continuing education. CMBS is key in the continuing education of the churches' workers and in turning them into catalysts for change in the communities and churches they serve.
Ministry with and among Women and Men: As the country develops and faces new and an increasing number of challenges, the older population of women and men need to be equipped for ministry in their homes and in their work places. They need to understand society as it undergoes changes and to participate actively in determining the directions of change.
Children and Education: There are children everywhere in Cambodia. If we can relate to the children in the Spirit of Christ, the churches should fill the entire country with compassion for the children. The greatest needs are in health, adequate housing and education. There is a Methodist school in Phnom Penh. The dream is for this school to offer education up to Secondary School level. Education is fast becoming a financial impossibility for many of the homes, and children are having to quit school and quit school early. Scholarship aid needs to be provided and new schools will need to be started. If the Methodist Church will prove to be what it has been throughout the centuries, the Methodist Church will be the "breeding ground" for the country's leaders, teachers, engineers, medical doctors, business folk, lawyers, et al. There is a continuing need to reach out especially to the marginalized children: the orphans, the street children and the children with disabilities.
Supplementary Salary for Pastors: The churches are being trained in stewardship and to have an increasingly larger share in support of the Methodist Mission in Cambodia, but until the churches and villages are enabled to be self-sustaining financially, there will be a need to raise funds from friends for the pastors' supplementary salary.