One of the best gifts God offers us is the chance to find purpose in life. Chris and Amy Gesler say they’ve found that, and are sharing that gift with people of all ages in Kampong Cham, Cambodia.
The Geslers help lead the Friendship School, a Xenos Global Partner, which was founded in 2009 by a group of Cambodian teachers and a team from Xenos. Its goal is to address educational, physical, and spiritual needs not only of its students, but their families and the broader community as well.
Chris Gesler says he went to church as a kid and received Christ as a middle-schooler, but found church to be boring. He reluctantly said yes to an invitation to visit a Xenos high school group, and found it engaging. He connected there, and began a faithful walk with God.
Amy says she was a rebellious teen, but heard about God’s love and grace in college. She received Christ then and was captivated by the thought that God had a purpose for her life.
Both say they did not have a sense of a call to missions as young believers, or as a married couple, but that started to develop as they heard from people who were heading out to the missions field. They took a short term missions trip together to Cambodia in 2001, and developed a burden for the people of Cambodia.
This burden turned into practical conversations about the possibility of becoming full time missionaries. When Xenos missions leaders announced plans to expand the Cambodian team the Geslers applied, and worked their way through the steps to join the team in 2004.
Amy says one of their main challenges has been their children’s education. Kampong Cham is a small town and there is no international school for non-Cambodians. Cambodian schools would not be appropriate for their daughters, so Amy home schools them. It’s one of her main day-to-day activities, along with discipling Cambodian women who have a leadership role in the Friendship School and its ministries. She says she has a special burden to help these women see God’s purpose for their lives, the thing that first drew her to a relationship with God. She says she works to help them have a vision for God using them to not only reach non-Christians, but to be part of discipling fellow Cambodians into leaders who can reach more people.
Chris says the school’s scope goes beyond the kids it serves. It also is a platform for evangelism and medical assistance, reaching out to family members and people in the community. It also offers English classes.
Chris says they’re are now exploring ways to expand their outreach to nearby villages. As with the school Chris says mature Cambodian leaders are now taking the lead role. He asks for you to pray for them, that they can have a vision for their work and a passion for the people they can reach and disciple.
But Chris says the thing that he’s learned is that, despite cultural differences, people around the world are quite similar in their hearts. At their core, they struggle with the same basic issues, though they are manifested differently in different cultures.
In their free time, the Geslers like to exercise and play basketball. Amy enjoys baking and has shared that with her girls. She says her older daughter makes bagels and sells them as a way of making a little money since the Cambodian economy doesn’t offer part-time jobs to young people.
When they’re here in the United States, Chris and Amy say they enjoy the changing, moderate weather, which allows for more outdoor activities than does the extremely hot Cambodia weather. And they say they enjoy a good steak while here!
Here are some prayer requests:
- Pray for the Cambodian leaders who now bear much of the burden of the work. Pray that they will have a passion and vision for how God wants to reach the lost and raise new disciples through them.
- Pray for the new effort to expand their influence to neighboring villages, which is in the early stages. Pray for God to give the leaders wisdom, and for God to be opening hearts to hear about His grace.
- And praise God for the 39 people who recently were baptized!
Please consider supporting their work through prayer and financial giving. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org. And you can learn more about the Friendship School at xenos.org/missions.