In Matthew 6: 35, Jesus tells us, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” In a nation like Cambodia, rife with both physical and spiritual poverty, that promise is a lifeline and one that the church takes seriously.
This past December, the District Advisory Board for the Cambodia District presented us with a need. They shared that most of their churches had only two Bibles. These churches are anywhere from 15 to over 100 people each and they had only two Bibles per church among them. A Bible costs more than a typical day’s wage. The way they saw it, there was a choice to make: feed their family or buy a Bible.
As they continued to explain their need, thoughts ran through my head. “The church in Cambodia is growing faster than any other area in Southeast Asia and they only have two Bibles per church?”
Our Field Strategy Coordinator was also at the meeting and quickly confirmed what I already knew to be true… our Field was holding funds designated for the purchase of Bibles, just waiting for someone to ask for it. So, I shared with these pastors that we would be purchasing as many Bibles as we could afford and distributing them to each church at our upcoming District Assembly. Not only that, but I also promised them that I would continue to find ways to supply them with as many Bibles as they needed, so they could give them away to other people and villages where they were sharing the Gospel. (Technology is rapidly coming to Cambodia, but the Bible on their phones is not yet a reliable option in many of our locations.)
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With approximately $1500 at our disposal, our team went to work. Normally Bibles in Khmer (the most common language in Cambodia) cost $15 each. One of our pastors was able to get Bibles for $5 each. The churches also expressed a need for hymnals. Soon Bibles, hymnals, and children’s Bible storybooks began to show up at our District Office. Everything the local Bible Society had in stock arrived first. Over the next week or so, a motorcycle arrived with a couple of boxes from another province a couple of hours away, and several tuk-tuks (a type of local transport) arrived with still more Bibles. It felt like we were buying every Bible in the country!
When it was all said and done we had to rent a bus to take boxes containing 310 Bibles, 62 children’s Bible storybooks, and 124 hymnals, in addition to other supplies, from Phnom Penh to District Assembly in Siem Reap. Each church received 5 Bibles, 2 hymnals, and 1 children’s Bible. When I challenged the Assembly to make disciples (something they are already doing very well!) so that I would have to buy them twice as many Bibles next year, one of the delegates took it to heart. Later that evening, one of the guards at the hotel where the Assembly was being held came up to our mission team and thanked us for his new Bible! He told us that he was a Christian but didn’t have a Bible, so one of our pastors gave him one of their precious few Bibles so he could share the Good News in his village!
I wait in anticipation of the day when every believer has a Bible instead of worrying about each church not having enough. Through the Word of God, the lives of the people of Cambodia can and will be transformed as the children of God faithfully share the Word of God with everyone. Will you join us in feeding them the Bread of Life? Email me for more information and join us in mission as we “Declare His glory among the nations!” Psalm 96:3
Contributed by Kevin Cambell-White