In 2008 Cambodia was less than 1% Christian. Today, the population of seventeen million in Cambodia is 6% Christian, and that number is growing daily. On October 26-27 nearly 300 Cambodian pastors, representing more than 170 churches, gathered at the Himawari Hotel in downtown Phnom Penh for the Billy Graham Association (BGA) sponsored Cambodia Christian Pastor’s Conference. The conference was the first step towards casting vision and unifying churches in preparation for the 2019 Franklin Graham Festival (crusade) in Phnom Penh.
This trip was my fourth pastoral training trip to Cambodia in the past 14 years. I began training pastors with Pastor Christopher Lapel at the Hope Bible Institute Leadership Training Institute in 2004. For this most recent trip the Lord opened the door to have Pastor Jerry’s book (Pastoring the Flock of God), and the Billy Graham Christian Counselors Handbook translated in Khmer, printed and placed into the hands of grateful Cambodian pastors and church leaders.
One of the highlights of the conference was Pastor Christopher’s testimony of how the Lord miraculously spared his life from the killing fields and how the cross of Jesus Christ transformed his life and gave him a purpose and vision. Many of the pastors had heard and read of how Christopher had led Dutch – the notorious commander in charge of interrogating, torturing and killing nearly 20,000 innocent Cambodians civilians during the Pol Pot regime – to Christ. And they had read of how Pastor Christopher had forgiven him for killing his brother and sister. Some had been looking for Christopher for many years and never thought they would get the chance to meet him and now be able to share their own stories of how Christ had forgiven them, saved them and opened the door to ministry.
After teaching through chapter one and two of Pastoring the Flock of God in Phnom Penh, Christopher and I spent the next day driving North to Battambang where 120 pastors and leaders were waiting for us, eagerly anticipating receiving their copies of the books and the four days of training they would receive. Most of the pastors are rice farmers and since it was harvest season, attending the training was a significant sacrifice for them. But they came with resolve to learn and grow as pastors and the expressions of gratitude from each one was something I wish all of you could have experienced.
I am planning to bring Christopher back to Cornerstone in mid-December and schedule a Sunday afternoon presentation of highlights from the trip as well as photos and an amazing video documentary of how God used Christopher to bring Dutch to faith in Christ. Be looking for a date and details soon.
There is so much I cannot tell you in this article, but I hope some of these pictures can help you see the joy and gratitude in the faces of these pastors who are so thrilled with their books and their training that you, the members of Cornerstone, made possible. Is God good? He is so good! Is He faithful? He is so faithful! Is He opening doors to take the Gospel to the world? Oh yes, He is! So, what’s next? If we keep praying urgently, I do not doubt that God will continue to surprise and delight us with what’s next! Thank you for your prayers and your giving. The fruit of your faithfulness is being rewarded as Pastoring the Flock of God continues to provide essential training and mentoring for pastors around the globe for such a time as this.
"For this most recent trip the Lord opened the door to have Pastor Jerry’s book (Pastoring the Flock of God), and the Billy Graham Christian Counselors Handbook translated in Khmer, printed and placed into the hands of grateful Cambodian pastors and church leaders."
"...I hope some of these pictures can help you see the joy and gratitude in the faces of these pastors who are so thrilled with their books and their training that you, the members of Cornerstone, made possible."