Editor's Note: In February 2010, the United Methodist Volunteers in Mission team led by Bishop Warner Brown that the California-Nevada conference sent to Cambodia met a young Cambodian woman who worked at the Methodist Mission in Cambodia. She was to leave shortly after the team's visit to attend a leadership training school in Japan, the Asian Rural Institute. This is her story.
My name is Daneth Him . . . from Cambodia. . . . My mom is a businesswoman in a small grocery store and my father was a policeman. I have four sisters and two brothers. I work with the United Methodist Church in Cambodia as secretary to the Women's Desk.
I decided to believe in Christ in 2000, without asking permission from my parents. . . .
Sometimes they didn't know what I was doing. . . . One day they heard. . . . They decided to call me in for a talk . . . They asked me what I am going to do for this Sunday and I told them that I will go to the church.
When they heard the word "church," they were angry. My mom said to me, "I will not allow you to go anymore and if you continue to go, you have to get out from this house. You will not be my child anymore."
I did not answer anything, because I did not know what to do.
My father said, "If you believe in Christ, then let your Christ give you food; you don't need to eat my food anymore."
. . . I continued to go to the church . . . hiding it from them. . . . I just told them I was going to my friend’s house.
One day I told them the truth, that I kept going to church. This time they did not become angry. I wondered why?
. . . I realized that my actions were showing . . . I was really working hard in my studies and housework. . . . I also helped my mom with her business. . . .
I really wanted my family to believe . . . I started to tell them about Christ. They did not say anything, just let me talk. . . . I kept sharing the Gospel. . . . I asked them, "Why don't you believe in Christ?"
They said that they felt embarrassment with relatives and neighbors. All the people in our village know my parents very well and 99.7% of them are Buddhist . . .
The children in our family kept growing bigger and bigger and nobody would help the family to earn money. . . . My parents were very worried. . . . Even I did not have a job . . .
One day, I went to the airport to pick up our Methodist team from the United States. . . . I met a missionary from Kenya, sent by the General Board of Global Ministries in New York.
I tried to speak English with her, but my English was very poor. She asked me, "Did you study? What subject did you study?" . . . She asked, "Do you want to work in the United Methodist Church?"
My answer was, "Yes!"
. . . At first . . . was a volunteer job, but I received the cost of transportation.
I asked my parents, "Please be patient. . . . I will find money to help our family."
In 2005, my dream came true. I was able to receive some allowance from the United Methodist Church. . . . I could support my family in a small way. . . .
. . . But . . . my father had to borrow money from the bank to take care of an illness. . . . We sold our land . . .
Unfortunately, my father died after I started at the Asian Rural Institute in Japan on April 14, 2010. Even though this problem happened in our family, I feel okay now, because my father decided to believe in Christ in December 2009 before he died. I was so happy, for he is living with our Lord Jesus Christ now. . . . Please continue to pray for our family, because most of them do not believe in Christ yet, and one of my brothers always brings problems to our house. Please also pray for my mother’s feelings. . . . She married when she was 22-years-old. She is now 63. It is a big loss for her.
At the Annual Conference Session in June, the Conference adopted a mission emphasis on Cambodia. Aldersgate UMC in Palo Alto and Mt. Tamalpais UMC in Mill Valley have together undertaken $4000 of mission support for the position and training to which this story relates. Information about opportunities to contribute is available at cnumc.org/cambodia.
There are also upcoming opportunities for church visits from Cambodia missionaries. Daneth Him has been the assistant to missionary Marilyn Chan, who is available for itineration from Sept. 27 to Nov. 8, 2010, as is the Rev. Joseph Chan. If interested, please contact Laddie Perez-Galang, Conference Secretary for Global ministries, at 925.727.1295 or at email@example.com.
In other Cambodia mission news, the California-Nevada Annual Conference will host a National Cambodia Consultation at a church in the Bay Area March 31 to April 2, 2011.