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by Ming Chien Lin, Taiwan
In 2007 the Women’s Ministry Committee of The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT-Women) and the Kampuchea Christian Council (KCC-Women’s Desk) became prayer partners through the Asian Church Women’s Council (ACWC). Since then, the PCT-Women has been supporting KCC in a 3-year scholarship program assisting the poor children in Cambodia to go to school. Because of this project, Rev. Huang Mei-Li and I were to represent PCT-Women to visit our prayer partner and the school children from the program. Moreover, we were to bring 2 funds, one for Prak Saravy, the Secretary of KCC-Women’s Desk and her driver the 2,675 USD we raised for them plus the remaining of the scholarship funding (2,475USD).
We arrived in Phnum Penh at 11:45am on 28 November, 2008. Saravy and her Driver Yin Sima came to pick us up and took us out for lunch. On our way to the restaurant, we told Saravy about the funds PCT-Women raised for her and Sima and we brought it with us. Saravy kept giving thanks to God, saying that “He is a God who answers prayers.” Then she explained about how CCA had given Kampuchea Christian Council (KCC) some money in May to pay for its workers, but the amount was only enough for 4 months. Starting from October she was not able to receive her monthly income. That is why she was very thankful that God not only had ACWC prepared 750 USD for her ministry, but also had PCT-Women raised money for her monthly income. “This way,” we told her, “you will have a steady income starting from October this year into the next year.”

Visiting KCC’s General Assembly’s Office, Handing over the Funds to Secretary of Women’s Desk
Due to the KCC’s insufficient funding, the General Assembly had taken from the Women’s Desk’s founding in the past; because of this action, the KCC women’s ministries were suspended at one point. For this reason, in our first meeting with Saravy, she suggested we hand over the funds publicly and clarify the purpose of these funds in which they are not to be used otherwise.
In the afternoon we visited the KCC’s office, where we met Dith Sareth-the General Secretary, Van Arun Rasmey-the Chairperson of Women’s Committee, and three other Women’s Committee members. During our meeting, we handed over the funds to Saravy indicating that 1 of the 2 funds is strictly for Saravy and Sima’s salaries and the other is for the scholarship project for the poor children in Cambodia. Meanwhile, Sareth, the General Secretary questioned upon this decision because it would give the KCC 2 separate accounts, one for the office and another for the KCC-Women’s ministry committee. Also, he could not supervise the women’s ministry’s account activities. Thankfully, Arun volunteered to supervise Saravy’s ministry and the ministry expenses. It is also under the circumstance where the PCT-Women must first confirm the expense budget and Sareth will review the detailed expense list and ministry report. Finally we have reached an agreement after insisting on the restricted use for the funds.
Later on that night we invited the committee members, Saravy and Sima, for dinner. Despite of our language barriers, we really enjoyed each other’s company; with smiles and gratitude; we understood each other.

The Joyous Gathering on Women’s Saturday
The afternoon of the second day is Women’s Saturday. It is one of the KCC Women’s ministries, to gather church women across denominations. When they gather, they do Bible studies, they share and they pray. Sometimes more people would gather for special meetings such as the World Day of Prayer Service. The meetings usually take place in the general assembly’s office or in different churches led by Saravy or Arun during Bible studies. This time the meeting took place in Arun’s home. She opened her home to start a home church, and the pastor is her husband. I was the moderator for this afternoon’s service; and about 40 women came to the meeting. My translator is a student named Sous Navy, supported by the ACWC’s scholarship program for her university education. Our meeting ended earlier than we expected but we continued to share fervently with one another during dinner. During this time, we even prayed and took offerings for a woman whose husband is a pastor and the wife is a nurse for the poor.
The next day we went to Arun’s home for Sunday service. The moment we arrived, we saw a group of children having Sunday school in the yard. Once these innocent children saw us, they warmly welcomed and greeted us. The Sunday service was lead by Rev. Huang Mei-Lin. About 40 people came to the Service, most young adults who have brought so much energy to the church. To begin the service, Navy led us to worship. Although Rev. Huang and I did not understand their language we still came across some familiar Christmas tunes. In Rev. Hung’s message that day, she preached on God’s unchanging love. The fact that no matter what we go through in life, let it be poverty or adversities, God loves us the same; for we are precious in His sight.
After the service Arun invited us to stay for lunch, and took us to the Toulseleng Museum afterwards. This museum was originally a school, but later became a prison house for ex-politicians, social elites, and civil citizens when Pol Pot (of the communist party) was in power. Pol Pot killed millions of Cambodians in the past. Even though Cambodia is a republic and this country right now, still people cannot forget the sufferings they endured under the communist regime. Later the Cambodian government turned this building into a museum to serve as a reminder for the people to turn away from tyranny to pursue freedom and justice.

Visiting the Kindergarten for Poor Children
Early the next morning Sima came to pick us up to go to the Prey Khjey Village. It is the place where the kindergarten funded by “The Poor Children Scholarship Project” is located. Beside Saravy and Sima there was another women’s ministry committee member named Kem Ponavy coming with us. Initially the committee planned to enroll 30 children in the kindergarten, but ended up taking 24 children due to inflation. On the day of our visit, only 23 children came, and one was absent. The children are between the ages of 3 to 6, with the exception of the one child who is 10 years old. The 10 year old boy comes from a very poor family and could not afford to go to a regular school, which is why he came to this kindergarten instead. The kindergarten is located in Prey Khjeh Church; the church pastor’s eldest son is their teacher. His name is Khorn Hai, a 22 year old young man. And his mother Doung Kieng, the pastor’s wife, helps out by cooking for these children.

When we arrived at the church, Khorn Hai was teaching the children the alphabet. He warmly welcomed us, and in turn we were so excited that we took out the presents we brought for the children to give to him. He wanted us to hand out some of the gifts to the children, so we decided to give them candies. The children were very polite; they first thanked us then ate the candies. During our conversation with Khorn Hai he told us about his teaching with special emphasis on their attitude, and how to care for others. Although these children’s parents are not Christians, still he taught these children stories from the Bible and it was well received. Later he even asked the children to sing us a song. The way they sang and danced was simply adorable.
Khorn Hai went on talking about his desire to teach the adults who have had little or no education. In the same conversation, he told us how his father pastors the church without receiving a monthly income.
While our conversation was brief, the poverty stricken village and its need for education were evident. In the end Rev. Huang and I decided to give some money to bless the church. We truly hope the church ministries will continue and the gospel will spread among the village people.
Another example of the KCC’s women’s ministry committee is the weaving classes. For that reason Saravy took us to see the process of weaving and one of the classes. We saw an instructor teaching the students one step at a time so the students can watch the instructor and imitate him. Saravy told us that because of the ACWC’s generous support they can afford to pay for the weaving machines and the instructor’s salary. The students purchase materials themselves so they can sell their finished product.

The Price of Democracy
On our way back to Phnum Penh, we visited the Killing Field where the massacre by Pol Pot took place. Once again, we were stunned by the evidence of Pol Pot’s violence and cruelty. At the end of the day we sat by the riverside, ate some local delicacies and then returned to our hotel.
Our trip in Cambodia ended on the 5th day. In the morning of our last day we even visited the palace. Even though Cambodia is a republic right now, it is still under a monarchy system, and the laws were constituted by the king. The palace had been a forbidden place in the past, but now the democratic system led the palace to open it to the public. We witnessed how the Cambodian government is transformed from absolute power to democracy, had established museums and opened up the forbidden palace. When I think of our country I am more determined that Taiwan cannot turn back on the road of democracy, we must cherish and keep the freedom we have now and protect the rights of our people.Even though our 5-day visit was short, still we felt very privileged to visit our prayer partners on behalf of the PCT-women’s ministry committee. During these amazing 5 days, the love of God was clearly with us because it helped us to care and to pray for the Cambodian churches in despite of our differences. We do wish this special bond between PCT-Women and KCC-Women will last in which we continue to pray for one another and to witness God’s divine love and acceptance.


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