Siem Reap, located in northwest Cambodia, is home to the famous Angkor Wat Temple, along with many other temples dating back to Khmer Empire. However, the province’s economy is heavily reliant on tourism and suffered greatly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, there has been a slow return of tourists. Local pastors have shared that the size of their churches has decreased due to people moving to other areas in search of employment opportunities.
Obstacles Cannot Stop Us
We are thrilled to be working with the pastors’ committee of Siem Reap province, which has just been established. It has been many years since they have come together for fellowship due to their different backgrounds and denominations.
Unfortunately, our team faced some challenges. One of the pastors, Ps Joshua was injured and could not join us due to an accident that occurred two days prior to our trip. Another, Ps Sokun developed a sore throat, and Pastor Veasna experienced vomiting at 3 AM on the day of our seminar. Despite these setbacks, we remained committed to our seminar.
Give Space to the Holy Spirit
The provincial pastors’ committee selected a church located in a town which is known for being legalistic and who consider themselves to be more holy than others. The church is old, with large speakers that produce a lot of noise. There were 32 pastors in attendance, with only a few younger ones who helped organize the seminar. I am grateful that the Lord has raised up young leaders to take on leadership roles in this province. During the praise and worship, the Holy Spirit prompted me to share with the team that the pastors need the revelation of Jesus Christ to remove their burdens and self-condemnation. I suggested to the team to adjust the topic and focus on more encouraging themes using Derek’s books Fatherhood and Faith and Works.
A Pastor named Sokchan shared his personal story about his struggles as a father and husband within his family. He felt lost and unsure of how to express his love or provide for their needs due to their financial struggles. His children were also rebellious. However, he found solace in his faith when he realized that the Lord was his Heavenly Father and also the Father of his family. This newfound relationship allowed him to become a better father and husband. He is grateful to the Lord for changing his life and his family’s life for the better. Now, he has a closer relationship with his wife and children, and they all serve the Lord together at church.
Faith and Works
Pastor Sivchen, one of the few female pastors in the area, shared her testimonial of what she has learned from Derek’s book Faith and Works. She explained that she had a new revelation from this seminar - that she shouldn't condemn herself or listen to the voice of Satan, who always tells her she isn’t good enough or hasn’t done enough. When she was younger, she had more energy to serve, but now that she's older, she can't do as much. She wondered if the Lord still loved her as much as before. However, the seminar gave her the answer and confirmation that the Lord never loved her less because of her age or the amount of work she did. Her assurance comes from the finished work of Jesus on the cross. She praises God with much joy for answering her prayer.
Our team was amazed to witness another miracle as a group of local pastors were freed from condemnation. It's incredible how our Heavenly Father understands the needs of His children.