Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Cambodia: Rural Church Planting
Some parts of Cambodia’s history are perhaps better known than others, but through it all God has been at work. In the Twelfth Century, Cambodia’s priest-kings built the famous temples at Angkor. The Twentieth Century was marked by the Khmer Rouge regime’s purges (1975-1979), in which nearly two million Cambodians lost their lives. In recent history Cambodia has another claim to fame, one of the fastest periods of church growth in the world. Since the late 70s, the church in Cambodia has grown from hundreds of people to 200,000-300,000. This is a gift of God and we are grateful. Yet the task remains unfinished. Cambodia is 75% rural, and because infrastructure is rebuilding, this Missouri-sized country seems bigger than Texas. Survey work in Cambodia over the last 10 years (Source: Mission Kampuchea 2021) discovered that out of the 14,000 towns and villages of Cambodia, 11,000 still had no church (“church” defined by those who did the research as a group of 2-3 believers). Join us this month in praying for several church plants in rural Cambodia.
SUNDAYS • Kep
This beautiful coastal town is seeing the fruits of a small but growing church. Currently, a team consists of a young family from Brazil, still learning the language and culture, and a gifted evangelist from Thailand. Pray for a growing love for God’s word among the new believers and disciples who make disciples. Pray for renewed interest to meet in person following COVID. Pray for their vision to start a daughter church in a nearby village by 2025.
MONDAYS • Kralanh
This district in Siem Reap has 94 villages, most of them without a church. Christians there include a Korean couple and a Cambodian church planter sent from the Khmer church. They teach Korean at the local high school and run a nearby student center. Pray for the strengthening of a house group that has been formed in one of the villages. Pray for an ongoing partnership with the Khmer church which has sent outreach teams. Pray for good relationships with students and by God’s grace another house group in 2023.
TUESDAYS • Snuol
Located just miles from Vietnam on the old Ho Chi Minh trail, Snuol is off the beaten path. Evangelism efforts began in the 2000s through a library and literacy project and the Jesus film. The response among the villages of Snuol has been slow. Pray for a family there who have faithfully sowed in this remote part of Cambodia for the past 4 years. During this time a new church in the Snuol market area has emerged. Pray that the new believers may find their strength and encouragement in the Lord, grow in their faith, be hungry to know God’s word, and love those around them well.
WEDNESDAYS • Ratanakiri
By God’s grace, the church has seen significant growth among the minority peoples of Ratanakiri over the past 20 years. There is now a traveling Bible school led by nationals. Also portions of Scripture have been translated into most of the minority languages, and a radio outreach has been launched. Pray for a family serving there as they return to Cambodia from home assignment and continue their work in training leaders. Pray for the fervor of the Lord to remain strong among believers, for deep roots in God’s word, and for national missionaries to be raised up and sent to the harvest fields.
THURSDAYS • Cham
The Cham are a frontier people group. Currently, there are only a handful of Christians living among them and seeking to bless this Muslim people group in Cambodia. Pray for the Lord to send people to these harvest fields. Pray for the scattered Cham followers of Christ to stand firm and encourage one another. Pray for the Cambodian church to catch a vision for Cham outreach.
FRIDAYS • Stung Treng
One of the challenges in pioneer church planting in rural Cambodia is the suspicion of outsiders. One day, the Stung Treng team was visiting a primary school trying to start their first library. The teacher was passionate about having a library with Khmer books and not just a few books in English, so the team started a library project. The school owns the books and the team seeks to serve the school, supplying 50 new Khmer titles every month. Three years later, the library has 1,200 titles, including many Christian books. Because of the good relationship with the school, God has opened many other opportunities in the community as well. The project has now expanded to include three more schools. Pray that this new trust will also open doors to the gospel. Pray for a clear understanding of salvation. Pray for the house church family to grow in faith.
SATURDAYS • Spiritual Breakthrough
While there are 197 districts in Cambodia and only one without a church, growth in existing churches and church planting in these districts is declining. Also, some older churches have closed in recent years. Between 2012 and 2017, Mission Kampuchea 2021 found that over 600 churches had closed and surviving churches’ membership had fallen on average. Pray for continued church growth in the city regions of Cambodia. Praise God that though local Christians and missionaries may plant and water, he is the one who makes the seeds of the gospel grow. Pray that the seeds planted and watered may bear fruit and that the church in Cambodia would continue to grow and multiply in the coming years. Pray for older churches struggling with declining membership, that God would reinvigorate these fellowships and remind them of the call to make him known.