Mission to Cambodia #4 – Cambodian history & the start of the Bible college

Posted: October 21, 2013 in Missions

Due to intermittent internet access at the hotel, I wasn’t able to put up a post yesterday. Sunday was filled with a drive back to Phnom Penh after visiting one of the village churches outside of Svay Riep (?). We got back to town too late to attend local worship, but we got to visit some very important sites from a cultural perspective. First up was S-21, a Khmer Rouge prison/torture camp. Only 35-40 years ago men, women, and children were arrested for no reason (perhaps they had soft hands, or wore glasses, or were educated…anything that might indicate they were anything except a village farmer) – they were rounded up, and tortured under horrific interrogations. They were routinely accused of being a spy for the CIA and/or KGB, and they were tortured until they confessed to their “Crimes.” At that point, they were killed, if they didn’t die in the process of torture.

The Killing Fields that we visited was just one of many execution camps around the country, but this one is a memorial that represents all of them. Dozens of men, women, and children would arrive every few weeks (and later in the regime, hundreds by the day) to be systematically killed, and buried in mass graves. Bullets were expensive, so the vast majority of the people were beaten to death using farm tools, or had their throats slit, or other horrific methods. Babies were many times taken by the feet & bashed against a tree. It boggles the mind to think how cruel humans can be to one another. I can easily imagine what it is like walking through Dakau or Auschwitz, as it was almost the exact same thing here. 2.5-3 million Cambodians were killed during the years of 1975-1979, and some of the evil regime are still living today, still awaiting justice for crimes against humanity.

The men that we’re teaching are products of the culture that survived. They know what suffering is like. They know the face of evil. And they know the God who sent His Son to suffer for the evil of mankind. What a privilege it is to be with them in the study of the Bible.

This morning (Monday), I was the first teacher up, and I began by giving a brief review of Matthew 1-13, and then digging into Matthew 14-15:9. The pace is going to have to be a bit slower than I originally thought, so I’m trying to rework my lesson plan on the fly.

The class went well, though I fear I’m overwhelming the pastors with the amount of material we’re attempting to cover. Please pray that God would give me grace and wisdom to know what to say & what to leave out. Please also pray for the men to have quick understanding of the material we’re covering.

Pastor Dave Anderson is teaching as I write – he’s giving the introduction to Ephesians right now. Pastor Ivy Shelton will teach later in the day, giving the introduction to 1 Thessalonians. These men are great, Godly brothers. May God give us the words we need to be faithful and effective for Him!

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