By Paul Robinson
Approximately two percent of Cambodians are Christian (and that’s a generous estimate). That means 98 percent of the population will not be going to church, but the majority will be working or be in education. The question for us as believers is: how can we share the good news of Jesus Christ with that 98 percent?
One way is by intentionally going to where Cambodians are: their workplaces or educational institutions. We can seek to understand their context and earn the right to witness to them. But before we can share the gospel, we have to show we are worth listening to. We have to earn the right to share.
By earning a “voice” I mean working with transparency, integrity and a commitment to excellence (an expression of daily worship)—a counter-cultural practice and effective witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. At the same time, we need to be taking every opportunity to verbally give a reason for hope in this life.
This was my strategy when I started lecturing on urban design at the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) in Phnom Penh in 2009. From eight years of lecturing I saw three main outcomes:

Royal University of Fine Arts graduates, 2016.

  1. Personal and corporate outreach. I had the privilege of teaching over 500 students and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ at least once with them through both my work practice and conversations or lectures. (Sometimes these conversations took place at outreach events like course orientation, Christmas or graduation). The photo to the right shows the class of 2016, showing the number of students I was able to share with in just one year.
  2. Collaborating to improve design courses. Cambodian Urban Design was substantially developed through good practice and innovative design in collaboration with local staff and students. Today better urban places and spaces will be created by the next generation of Cambodian urban designers who will improve living standards for many people in Cambodia.
  3. Sustainable teaching methods. The course I developed is sustainable. It can continue even though I’m no longer in Cambodia. To enable this, I had to understand the context of Cambodian education and always work in partnership with local staff and students. The result of this was a continuing education impact.

Paul teaching urban design students.

I have now completed lecturing at RUFA for the time being. But the course I wrote, taught and refined over eight years continues. It now “belongs” to a Cambodia colleague who teaches the course and is developing it in his own way (and making it even better!).
Now that I am based in the U.K. I have many urban design contacts and colleagues from Cambodia who connect with me from time to time (I recently met one alumni for coffee in London). And my relationship with RUFA is one of favor, allowing for exciting professional collaborations in the future.
Because I lectured in Cambodia I now have opportunities around the world to share Jesus Christ through my professional practice as well as my words: there is no sacred secular divide (or hierarchy) when all we do is done for the glory of God.
Will you pray for Cambodia?
  • Give thanks for opportunities for people like Paul to go and use their professional skills to meet Cambodians where they are. Pray for spiritual fruit from Paul’s witness.
  • Pray for more Christians to consider taking their professions to Cambodia to serve and point to Jesus.
  • Pray for sustainable input from Christian professionals like Paul.
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