Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve here… Imagine Christmas in Cambodia. I don’t imagine it will be turkey and mashed potatoes—likely fish and rice. With 95% of Cambodia’s population claiming to be Buddhist, not many Cambodians will celebrate the birth of Christ this Christmas. However, each year that percentage dwindles because the Lord is at work in this country. In fact, there will be more Cambodians celebrating Christmas this year than there were a generation ago. Cambodia is actually an exciting mission’s story!
Cambodia is a nation of 14 million people, with 80% of the population in rural areas. Protestant missions started only 40 years ago, but by the 60s there were approximately 1,000 Christians. During the 70s dramatic growth occurred amidst the brutal “killing fields” of the Pol Pot communist regime. It is believed that 80% of Christians and all pastors were martyred between 1975-79. Around 1990, the country opened to other missions agencies and the Cambodian Evangelical Fellowship currently lists 100 denominations with approximately 200,000 evangelical believers, or 1.5% of the population. The growth has been rapid and shows no signs of slowing down.
FAIR Christmas Project
FAIR is the humanitarian relief arm of our Fellowship’s international ministry. I am hoping many of you and your local churches will choose to give a “FAIR share” this Christmas to the nation of Cambodia.
This year’s FAIR Christmas project is centered on the ministry of Nhep and Oeut Pech (left), who are using the FAIR-funded mobile dental clinic to provide dental care to Cambodians in villages, towns, and prisons where they then share the Gospel with each patient. To date, they have treated over 5,000 patients, most of whom have never heard the Good News of Christ. They have led scores of nominal Buddhists to Christ, designed a discipleship track, and established three church plants; their ministry has been fruitful.
To read more about the Pech’s ministry, please see the attached trip report following my personal visit with the Pechs on the mission field in 2013. It’s quite a story… Nhep was marked to be killed by Khmer soldiers on three separate occasions but the Lord miraculously spared her life each time.. Both Oeut and Nhep lost family members during this horrific time. Read their story and then prayerfully consider participating in the FAIR Christmas appeal in Cambodia. God bless you as you give.
Have a blessed week,
P.S. Our Fellowship National Conference (November 10-12) is in Toronto, featuring special speakers Ed Stetzer and Dom Ruso. Check our website for more information.