Cambodia: A Trip of Contrasts

by John Ross

Members of the Xenos short-term missionary team experienced a trip of contrasts during their work in Cambodia, as God's power and goodness shone through the poverty and spiritual darkness endemic in one of southeast Asia's least developed nations.

"The poverty, suffering and spiritual oppression were tangible, right in front of us," says Tommy Williams, a member of the college ministry who led a work team to the province of Kampong Cham. "Yet, at the same time, we got to see the power of God over those things, and the joy that He provides to those who know Him."

The team spent several days learning about Cambodian history and culture - touring floating villages on Tonle Sap Lake and visiting Buddhist temples - before breaking up into work teams.

Workers in Kampong Cham taught and shared testimonies at a prison, then hosted a Bible club for students at the Friendship School, an organization staffed by Xenos missionaries. Those stationed at Mercy Medical Center provided basic patient care, organized educational resources and encouraged national and missionary staff. And the team working in Phnom Penh hosted a Vacation Bible School for neighborhood children and supported Fountain of Hope, the nonprofit founded recently by Joke van Opstal with national Cambodian pastors.

“I’m so grateful to see how God used our team to bless Joke and the Cambodians,” trip leader Holly McCallum says. “And I’m delighted that he enabled us to make a lasting impact from the teachings and the relationships formed.”