Kingdom Transformation in Cambodia
Before meeting Resonate Global Mission missionaries Ly Chhay and Navy Chann-Chhay, Pastor Neang and his family lived in a small house with a leaky metal roof. They couldn’t sleep when it rained. And sometimes they didn’t have enough food to eat.
Neang is a pastor in rural Cambodia. There aren’t many pastors—or even Christians—in Cambodia. Most of the people there practice Buddhism. Temples, shrines, and Buddhist statues dot the landscape.
Life for people in Neang’s village can be difficult and discouraging. Though the homes are nestled along a reservoir with vibrant green rice fields and blossoming lotus fields of pink and white, the reservoir is a constant reminder of painful times in the past. Many of the residents lost family members to the hard labor of building the reservoir during the Khmer Rouge takeover and genocide in the 1970s.
In addition, sometimes the reservoir floods, causing families to lose their crops. Many families lack proper nutrition—or food altogether. When people are sick or injured, it can take a long time to reach medical care.
But God is at work in Neang’s life and village. Neang didn’t have much hope for the future, but, thanks to Timothy Leadership Training (TLT) and support from Chhay and Chann-Chhay, Neang and his family are better able to meet their own needs—and the needs of their community.
Training for Church Leaders
One of the ways Resonate works to spread the gospel in Cambodia is through TLT, biblical training for local pastors and ministry leaders. Like many pastors in rural Cambodia, Neang is a natural leader. He’s been faithful to his calling from God to plant a church, but he has never had the opportunity for formal training.
That’s why Resonate missionaries lead TLT training to equip local pastors in financial sustainability, community development, caring for people, outreach, and more.
Chhay and Chann-Chhay invited Neang to participate in TLT. Over the course of three years, they worked through the lesson plans with him.
And bit by bit, his life started to change.
Relief in Difficult Seasons
Most churches in rural Cambodia aren’t able to support their pastors financially, so pastors need to have jobs outside of the church. Through TLT, Resonate missionaries taught Neang about Christian stewardship and sustainability so that he could better provide for himself and his family. He sowed rice and cassava, planted palm trees, and purchased more animals. Earlier he had one cow—now he has thirteen. His family has crops to eat and sell.
As Neang and his family earned more income, they were able to invest in their small farm and build a new home. It has a good roof, and now they can sleep through the night when it rains.
Not everything has gone smoothly, however. One year the reservoir flooded and ruined Neang’s rice crop.
Chhay and Chann-Chhay were there for him. “Don’t worry,” Chhay told Neang. Resonate was able to supply Neang and his family food in order to help sustain them during that difficult harvest season.
Spreading the Gospel
While Neang and his family have witnessed change in their own lives, Chhay and Chann-Chhay have also witnessed God transforming their entire village.
Through TLT, Neang has become better at caring for his neighbors and church members. He has become a better preacher and better able to communicate the gospel. He has been able to be more generous with his time and resources to help meet some of his neighbors’ many needs.
As a result, the small church he leads is growing.
While Buddhist shrines still abound in Neang’s village, there’s also now a small pavilion where Neang’s church gathers for worship. The roof provides shelter from the rain and shade from the hot sun while people learn more about Jesus. People in Neang’s village are discovering the love of Christ and finding hope in the gospel. One Sunday, Neang’s church gathered with two other local churches, and they celebrated more than 40 baptisms!
“TLT has strengthened my soul,” said Neang.
Resonate is thankful for the difference TLT has made in Neang’s life and in the lives of others in his village. This ministry is made possible with support from Christian Reformed churches, and there are many pastors throughout the world who are searching for this support.
Now through April 30, a generous donor is matching gifts dollar for dollar to Resonate’s “Where Most Needed” fund. Anyone interested can give securely online at ResonateGlobalMission.org/Double.