Observations from Cambodia

by Matt McLain
CRBC Student Pastor

Human suffering is universal and inevitable. Some people, however, maintain an inner peace and an inner joy in the midst of their suffering. These people you might call Christians. A team of seven went to Cambodia last week to visit our missionaries there and to work alongside their clean water ministry. We saw hard living, but we saw joy in the Lord rise above it. We saw a wild world that was trying to rule, but we also saw believers in the name of Jesus subduing that wild world and bearing God’s image in the darkness.

Over the week we provided clean water sources and water filters to a prison that would make even the roughest of prisons in the U.S. look like Buckingham palace. We visited the sick and needy in the villages, led Bible studies for the women and played soccer with the children.

One man from the village sticks out to me. This man became paralyzed six months ago after a fall from a tree. His life since the fall has consisted of lying flat in a stuffy, hot shack, treating bed sores the best he can, coping with an inability to control his bladder, and having to watch his wife care for his three kids. This man is suffering. This man and his family are also the only believers in his village. What does this mean? This means that when we visited this man and his family we found suffering, but we also found a profound joy in Christ that simply can’t be explained. We found a man who knew he was loved, knew where his future lied, and knew the one true God who sees him and values him despite his present state.

The Cambodian believers truly practice Christian living because if they don’t, the suffering will bring them down, sin will reign, and they will die the only believers in their village isolated and lonely. So when we worshiped with this paralyzed man who will become the leader of all of the Christians in that village, I couldn’t help but think right here, in a small village in Cambodia, I am getting a glimpse of the original New Testament church. Here, the sick, the lame, the poor, the lowly and the sinners are the ones who see God. May that be true of our church.

There is so much more to share, and it is our job to share their wonderful stories, so please ask!

Matt Mclain