Update from Shanon (Cambodia)

MARCH, 2021… It’s hard to believe that I’ve been serving in Cambodia for 18 months already (that’s half of my commitment time). These months have been some of the most transformative of my life. I’ve learned so much from the Cambodian people and love them more each day. I know that I am in the center of God’s will and I want to thank you for joining me on this amazing journey.

This month, God allowed me to see a dream fulfilled even though it was one that I have given up on long ago. The people of the Brao tribe located in the mountains of Ratanakiri province have always held a very special place in my heart. In Bible college I studied cross-cultural ministry and was given an assignment to create an evangelism plan to serve an unreached people group by meeting a practical need they were facing. After doing a great deal of research, I chose to do my project on the Brao tribe. This tribe predominately lives in the mountain range of northern Cambodia and southern Laos where the borders meet. Most of the Brao people in Laos have yet to hear the good news of Jesus.

One of the greatest needs the people continue to face is a lack of education and basic medical care. Over 80% the people are illiterate and unable to read or write the national language of Khmer. When it comes to basic medical care, people with a disease or injury will often go to a local witch doctor or shaman in hopes of receiving a cure. Many never receive proper medical treatment due to the remoteness of their village. The Brao practice animism rather than the national Buddhist religion. I’d created a ministry strategy for reaching the children of this tribe and their families. I had prayed over it and was excited to be a part of making it a reality someday. When I was diagnosed with epilepsy and told I couldn’t go on the mission field, I put the dream and project aside.

This month, I was asked to interview the pastor of FCOP’s newest home church. Pastor Savaret is from the Brao tribe and knows how to speak a little Khmer as her people have their own tribal dialect. She is an example of the majority of the tribal people that never receive an education, therefore, she is illiterate, but she loves the Lord with all of her heart and is being taught by the Holy Spirit. To disciple her home group, she relies on a solar powered audio Bible call a Proclaimer in the Khmer language which she then translates into the tribal dialect. She says she feels that she has nothing to give to her people, but she takes her audio Bible everywhere she goes so that she can give people the opportunity to hear about the love of Christ.

What touched my heart was to hear that she is listening to the audio Bible while studying the words in a Khmer Bible to learn to read and write the national language. As she learns, she is teaching others in her village. She said that the audio Bible is being used as an educational tool and people are wanting to learn more. I love how the Lord is taking the very passion I’ve had to minister to this people group and organically using a member of the tribe to take the Gospel and national language to her own people. She always has people study from the book of John so they can know how much Jesus loves them.

Each week, her congregation of over 35 people from 8 different tribes meet at a church member’s house where they worship in their native dialect, listen to the Scriptures using the Proclaimer, and have a time of prayer for their village, their province, and the nation. Now when people in the village become ill, they gather the Christians to pray. God is bringing revival amongst the hill people of Cambodia through the faith of people like Pastor Savaret and through the technology of Proclaimers that makes the Gospel available to those that would otherwise not have access to the Word of God. Brao people from Attapeu province in Laos are forging rivers and joining this congregation to learn about Jesus. I thank God for His faithfulness and for His heart that all people should come to know the truth.

Thank you for your continued prayers and for being a part of sharing the good news of Jesus throughout SE Asia. Have a wonderful and blessed Easter. Sending you all of my love and prayers!

Shanon

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