Famed as a nation devastated by the communist Khmer Rouge and the “killing fields” of the 1970s, Cambodia is now a place open to the good news of Jesus Christ. For 10 years, international Christian media ministry TWR has been enabling people in Cambodia to hear messages of God’s hope and peace. But the country still struggles to meet the basic needs of its people. Deep psychological scars remain, and many suffer from stress-related disorders.
Cambodia’s next generation walks through this broken world, growing up largely ignored and unwanted by adults who can’t afford to send them to school. More than 70 percent of children are estimated to lack formal schooling, and corruption in the educational system results in many dropouts, unemployed youths vulnerable to AIDS, drugs and gangs. Children are often left to carry the family burden, tending to younger siblings and doing housework. Lack of education also extends to hygiene and disease.
Even those children who are allowed to attend Sunday school may not get the guidance and love they need, as teachers lack the education and materials to adequately help them. And out of 50 partner churches in several Cambodian provinces, only three churches have a Sunday school class. Other churches would create one, but they don’t know how to effectively share the gospel with children.
In response to this need for Sunday-school training, TWR-Cambodia partnered with Child Evangelism Fellowship Cambodia in June to coordinate a Servant Leadership Training clinic in Singapore. There were 49 participants—Sunday school teachers, pastors, youth and Happy Children’s Garden listeners. Happy Children’s Garden is a TWR-produced weekly Bible story series geared toward children of all ages aired throughout Cambodia.
The participants of the Servant Leadership Training clinic represented 35 churches. They learned how to evangelize to children, prepare Bible lessons, discipline children, prepare memory verses and teach songs with hand motions. The students especially enjoyed making five-color shirts as an evangelism tool. At the end of training, the students were able to practice by teaching 66 children at a local orphanage. Two children accepted Christ.
Through this Servant Leadership Training, 49 leaders were raised up in Cambodia to reach its children, many of whom will now grow up in the knowledge of Christ and His love.
One student said, “When I go back, I will practice what I have learned with the children in my village. Even though I know that I can’t do it very well, I’m willing to try. Please come back and do this training again. You know, before I came to the training, I felt that this training was not important for me. However, because my pastor asked me to come, I came. After these three days, I found out that I thought wrongly. This training was very helpful to me, my life with God and how I can reach out to the children.”
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