Cambodia

CAMBODIA – Kingdom of Cambodia, Asia

Area of 181,035sq. km belong to Cambodia, the fertile, forest-covered state of southwest Indo-China on the Mekong River. Population of the country is 15,053,112 with the capital Phnom Penh. Cambodia has a 25 languages and the official language Khmer.

Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest countries and heavily dependent on foreign aid. Years of war and genocide followed by venal and corrupt governments have hindered development and kept most of the population poor; 38% live below the poverty line. Significant progress is being made in economic development, but the rural poor are being left behind. Agriculture, garments and tourism are the biggest earners, with offshore oil/gas deposits promising future income. Illegal logging and the sex trade enriches a small number of wicked men, but causes suffering to many.

CHALLENGES FOR PRAYER

The scars of the terrible genocide of 1975-79 remain evident. Nearly two million were killed, over 60,000 lost life or limb to land-mines and most of the population over age 30 need deep healing from the trauma of their losses and suffering. Pray for:
Justice to be seen to be done regarding those who perpetrated the crimes. International tribunals face difficulty in bringing the Cambodian government/judiciary on board with the justice process, and the culture of corruption and impunity still holds sway.
Healing for the deep psychological wounds. Many cope with the trauma through detachment and suppression of trauma, some by inflicting pain on others. Pray that counselling and the Holy Spirit might bring true restoration.
A government that seeks the good of all, and is worthy of the trust of the people. Violence, manipulation, graft and selfishness hitherto have been the rule. The situation is so ingrained and endemic on every level that it must be torn out by the roots.

Spiritual darkness persists in Cambodia and must be lifted by prayer. That darkness is seen in the ubiquitous spirit shrines, Buddhism’s opposition to any ideological rival and a general moral collapse. Structures of sin are prevalent throughout, and the people of Cambodia are made to suffer by the enemy of souls. Pray for the light of the gospel to so shine that the structures of society as well as of individuals may be decisively changed. Beyond the gripping poverty are the following:
Land grabbing. Unscrupulous officials (who pocket the income) have sold huge swathes of Cambodia’s land to rapacious foreign developers and speculators, with locals driven out and evicted from their homes to make way for hotels and resorts. Cambodia is being sold/stolen from under the feet of its own people.
b) Children at risk. The genocide of the 1970s and 1980s created a very young nation where 60% of the population are 24 years old or younger. But many of this generation are sadly exploited by others. Pray for deliverance and salvation for these:
Child labourers. Poverty forces over 1.5 million children under age 15 to work to survive and supplement their family’s meagre income, often at the price of their education, their health or even their lives.
Sex trade victims number up to 100,000. A recent study estimated 20% of tourists to Cambodia made use of the sex trade, often with the young or underage. Yet even this is a small amount compared to the widespread use of prostitutes by Cambodian men. That factor combined with others, gives the nation one of the highest rates of HIV in Asia. Many poor parents sell their own children to traffickers for as little as $10. The Vietnamese ethnic minority is especially targeted by traffickers, being both light-skinned and detested by most Khmer. The much-publicized rescues of these girls, as young as age six, are only the beginning of a long process of healing and equipping for a life after the sex trade.
Homeless children and orphans. Family structures shattered by the Khmer Rouge and subsequent poverty caused high numbers of street kids and unwanted children. Many Christian ministries see a high response to Jesus’ love among these precious souls. At one point, orphanages were booming, but as the population stabilises, drop-in centres and increased ministry to extended families are becoming more appropriate.
Drug trafficking and abuse have increased greatly in the last 15 years. Addictive drugs hold sway over many locals, while crime lords profit from the suffering.

The Cambodian Church has survived against all odds. During the 1990s, churches spread to all 19 provinces. Pray for:
Continued freedom of religion. The use of financial inducements for purposes of conversion by some religious groups has forced responsible Christian groups to reconsider their methods and avoid such negative associations. Pray for continued freedom to wisely and appropriately spread the good news.
Freedom and deliverance from past sin, hatred, suffering and abuse through the blood of Jesus. Deep healing is required for many who suffered acute trauma.
Children and young people to be effectively discipled in the churches and shown how to live in healthy family structures; few are equipped for this. But this generation must begin to lead the Cambodian Church now.

Mature leadership for the churches is the greatest challenge.The loss of so many educated people in the Khmer Rouge slaughter, combined with the dysfunctional society, pushed many new Christians quickly into leadership before they were ready. Pray for the existing Bible schools. Pray for the residential, full-time academic programmes which can be a difficult model to successfully translate into the Cambodian context of life and ministry.

Existing pastors. Their lack of training, their need to provide for themselves and the overwhelming practical needs of the faithful are huge challenges. Pray for wisdom, holiness, power in the Spirit and ways to build up their fledgling congregations spiritually, relationally and economically.

Unity. Divisiveness has been a problem in the short history of the Church here. The Evangelical Fellowship of Cambodia represents about 80% of the Christian community; it is increasingly able to cooperate with other notable networks.

Foreign Christian workers can contribute in many ways to the myriad challenges facing the Cambodian Church. Pray for more long-term expatriate workers who learn the language, identify with the culture and serve for the long haul. There is great freedom for ministry when it is done in a culturally appropriate and sensitive manner. Pray that the foreign Christian will know how to approach the local people in their culture.

The social needs are enormous. The murder of most of those with skills or an education makes expatriate input essential. Rehabilitation, orphanages, reconstruction, health care, projects for agriculture, fisheries, water management and education are all ministries where Christians have significant input. Pray for the effective cooperation among Christian agencies. That they will be able to address the right help and attitude to the complex issues of poverty, foreign aid and dependency. An honest desire to alleviate suffering can cause as many problems as it solves. Overlapping with evangelism, it can also generate both the “rice Christian” phenomenon and resentment from the Buddhist majority over underhanded proselytism tactics. Pray for wisdom and sensitivity for Christians ministering to physical needs.

Pray for the less-reached. The window of opportunity that now sees many enter the Kingdom may not stay open for much longer; the opportunities must be urgently seized. Pray for the buddhist majority, the Cham which are almost entirely Muslim, the tribal people and the six Chinese language groups, that Chinese believers from abroad to come as apostles to these people.

PROJECTS IN CAMBODIA

for more information please contact Zuzana

LIST OF USED LINKS AND BOOKS

Jason Mandryk; Operation World, The definitive prayer guide to every nations; Printed in the United States of America; 2010; 978p.