UMVIM Team Heads to Cambodia for 10-Day Mission in February
December 09, 2010
By the Rev. Stephen Lee
San Ramon Grace UMC
"First-Century Church." These were words uttered to describe our experience of churches in Cambodia during a fact-finding trip led by Bishop Brown in February 2010.
Imagine with me what it may have been like in the churches of Corinth, Ephesus, Galatia, Philippi, Colossae or Thessalonica, or any place in the first century of the Mediterranean world. This is basically what we experienced in the churches we visited in Cambodia.
In February, 2011 an UMVIM team will return there. Our VIM project focus is to be trained and work together with O Kroch Methodist Church members to build a fence for their church in a rural Kuy community north of Phnom Penh, in Kampong Thom Province.
A portion of family property was sold to the Cambodian Mission in Cambodia. In January, the land was purchased for the Kroch Church with funds donated by the New York Annual Conference.
The parcel of land is 129 meters x 17 meters in front, and 29 meters towards the middle and back. Construction on a multi-purpose church facility has started but the funds are insufficient to cover the cost of a fence. The congregation has begun to clear the property so that fruit bearing trees can be planted. Produce from the land will produce income that will help the families of the church, and provide for the church's ministries. The fence will help the crops from being destroyed or eaten by wandering animals that come to graze on the property.
As we build the fence, along the way we will share cultures, learn about each other, trade stories, and share a common communion with Christ.
History of The UMC's Cambodian Initiative
In 1979, humanitarian efforts began with The United Methodist Committee on Relief and the Women's Division of the Church, which supported mission work to aid the restoration of the country.
Cambodia today is a country that has been historically colonized, occupied, and ravaged by war at the hands of Pol Pot in the "killing fields," but which remains passionate to thrive. Cambodia is a Buddhist country; only about 2% are Christian and only about 5,000 people are Methodists. The country has a population of 14,080,653 (2006) and due to the "killing fields" 70-80 percent are youth, children, and young people no older than 30 years of age.
To date there are officially 13 UM mission initiatives in 18 countries across the globe. "Cambodia is one of them, and is among the earliest and the largest of these initiatives," said the Rev. Jong Sung Kim, Director of the Office of Mission Initiatives for GBGM.
Three of the 10 GBGM missionaries serving in Cambodia are members of the California-Nevada Annual Conference: the Rev. Joseph Chan, Marilyn Chan, and Katherine Parker. Rev. Chan works in church planting, Marilyn Chan in women's empowerment, and Katherine Parker in community health and agricultural development. We ask that you keep the churches and missionaries on the ground there in your prayers. We also invite you to support Cambodian mission with your prayers, talents, skills, and finances – to engage in Extravagant Generosity in the best way you can.
We also invite you to take an exciting 10-day mission adventure with a VIM team. We invite you to experience Spirit in the people of the church in Cambodia like you never have before. Experience a Risk-Taking Mission as if you were in the first century world!
Contact Rev. Stephen Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510.919.7052 for additional information. Project donations are welcomed: Make checks payable to Grace UMC and write "Cambodia" on the memo line. Mail to Grace UMC, 19901 San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, CA 94583.