Nearly three years ago God spoke to me about Poipet being a gateway in the spiritual as it is in the natural (the busiest border crossing in Cambodia). Since that time we started our Imparting Smiles children center to help children. We started two companies (construction company and plantation), we are building a women’s center called the Imparting Smiles Hope Center, and are in the process of launching a Christian school soon as well. However, Poipet is a new city, even though it is Cambodia’s fastest growing city with more than 10,000-20,000 people added to the population each year. As you drive around town, though I know there are many Christians, you will not see more than a little catholic church.
God has been speaking to me about a church which is not affiliated with any denomination or specific group, but one which loves the community at its core and one which especially reaches out to the thousands of children in Poipet. Everywhere you look in Poipet you will see dozens of children. There are more than 2,500 street children which have no adult care. There are more than 10,000 children who are left alone while their parent goes to Thailand to look for work. Poipet is a town which jokes it is the only city in Cambodia where “Grandmothers have babies”, because tens of thousands of more children are just left in the city with a grandmother (ill equipped to care for half a dozen of her grandchildren) while the children try to find work in Thailand and are gone for years at a time. There are gangs of children which are involved in evil things such as selling drugs and stealing bicycles and motorcycles.
God is calling us to do all we can to change the destiny of these children from one of neglect, abuse and poverty to one of hope in Jesus.
So, after much prayer and God’s favor, we are launching a church in Poipet in an empty field the government has told us they will allow us to build a church building on in the future. We spent our free time this week cutting the grass, killing snakes and building a bride across the open sewer at the entrance to the property. We will rent a tent for Sunday’s first service but hope to build a grass roof shelter as soon as possible.
Craig (from Australia) and our kids cutting the grass to prepare the site of the new church
This week, we had a VBS, which is one way we minister to children in the community. For four days we had between 700-1000 children coming every day to learn about Jesus in a fun way. We also fed the children lunch each day, many, it was their only meal of the day. This provides a great momentum to launch the church in Poipet.
Please be in prayer for us. We believe that God’s hand is on the timing of this launch. In a country which averages a church size of 16 regular attenders, we are hoping to see a great revival in Poipet, Cambodia. Our prayer, according to the Holy Spirit’s leading, is to see the city of Poipet, which a known for poverty, human trafficking, drug smuggling, murder and violence, to be a city completely transformed by the glory of God know for his righteousness! Please pray for us in the launching of this new church in Poipet!
If you are wondering about the name of the church, we specifically don’t have one yet. We desire from the bottom of our heart that the words of Jesus will be true, “That we will be known for our love” (John 13:34-35) and not for a cool catchy name and sign board in neon lights! We want to love the children, and families of Poipet, and simply be known for love.