Recently a team of 30 Xenos members traveled to Cambodia to serve in the provinces of Phnom Penh and Kampong Cham. One of them was Liz Kifer, and she gives us her reflections on the 2 week trip:
By Liz Kifer
Many of us went into the trip thinking of ourselves as the teacher, but quickly we became the student. Before our work week started, we immersed ourselves in understanding the culture and history of Cambodia. We spent a few days visiting beautiful temples in Siem Reap and ate wonderful local dishes. After taking a few days to adjust to the time-zone and learn about the country, we met up with our Cambodian teammates that we would serve alongside during our work. We received an abundance of God's love from our brothers and sisters in Christ at Fountain of Hope (FOH), Mercy Medical Center (MMC) and Friendship Ministries, all Xenos Global Partners. Our eyes and hearts were opened to see the amazing work God is doing in these three ministries and beyond.
Our team had the privilege of directly interacting with FOH and Friendship Ministries by running VBS for the students, equipping indigenous leaders, and hosting medical clinics in the rural villages. During the trip, there were many laughs and conversations about God’s love among our team members and with the locals. All hands were on deck and many prayers were answered.
Just a few (of many) answered prayers:
- 11 students started a relationship with Christ during our VBS/EPIC camp
- With the help of the Barsons, K.C. Missions team, and students at the school, the Friendship School started its own micro-business in an effort to raise money for the school and provide some income for the local crafter. (friendshipmarketplace.com)
- There was strong unity among all members (Xenos team, FOH staff, MMC, Friendship Ministries staff, etc.)
- All Xenos team members walked away with a greater burden and love for God’s people
At the end of the trip, saying goodbye was a sobering time. In the words of team member Alex Nathans, “Saying goodbye to our new and older brothers and sisters in Christ was hard for all of us. While we wanted to spend more time with them, I think God wanted to highlight in our lives that we will be with them in heaven and that gave us a lot of joy and peace.” Our visit to Cambodia was short, but we will be able to spend eternity with our new Cambodian brothers and sisters in Christ. Now that I have seen the work God is doing through the believers in Cambodia, I look forward to reuniting with His workers in Heaven.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” - Matthew 9:37-38
In addition to Liz's thoughts, Senior Pastor Ryan Lowery and his wife Jessica traveled with the short term team. They visited the ministries of our global partners as well as doing some high level Bible training for 56 FOH staff. Jessica said, “Visiting with our missionaries and partners in Fountain of Hope was an invaluable experience.” The team used part of its fundraising proceeds to cover the training week costs for 150 cell church leaders and members and 45 teens. Many of the community members commented that they were very encouraged to learn about Paul and the book of Philippians. They said, "Paul was suffering and he kept going, we are suffering and we will keep going too!"