cambodia

History and Cultural Challenges

Cambodia is a beautiful tropical country with an exotic culture—but it is a country still recovering from the murderous reign of Pol Pot from 1975-1979.  During this period, nearly 25% of the population were murdered by their own government in what historians have called an “auto-genocide.”  The Khmer Rouge swept to power promising a utopian society based on communist equality.  However, almost immediately after they seized power, Cambodia descended into a hell on earth—marked by work camps, torture, starvation and wholesale murder.  

 

By 1979, when Pol Pot was toppled, Cambodia was in ruins.  Nearly every family had lost someone to the Killing Fields.  The economy was devastated, hunger was rampant, and everyone with an education had been murdered.  Poverty and illiteracy remain widespread to this day.  And when people are desperate, many social evils emerge such as sex trafficking, crime and political corruption.  

REACHING BUDDHIST-BACKGROUND STUDENTS

University Student Graduates of Harmony’s
 Learn2Work Center in Phnom Penh

Former Buddhist-background Students, Baptized!

Only a small percentage of Cambodians have a university education.  Having a college degree is a game-changer that opens doors for the best jobs, including positions in government.  Harmony's popular Learn2Work (L2W) Center offered free English and computer courses to Buddhist-background university students.  We invited our students to weekly Coffee-Table parties for fun and fellowship.  It is here that they were exposed to the Good News for the first time, while experiencing worship and Christian community.  The result was a steady stream of Buddhist students becoming born-again Christians!  L2W became so popular that our classes were typically filled to capacity.

RESCUING YOUNG GIRLS FROM SEX EXPLOITATION

New Life for Exploited Girls

Esther’s House
a Refuge for Young Girls

Team Harmony (left) and Team Esther’s House (right)
A Legendary Partnership!

Poverty, dysfunctional families and spiritual darkness all contribute to rampant exploitation of young girls.  Harmony helps bring girls from unspeakable backgrounds into the loving care of Esther’s House, where they are loved, provided an education, and taught about Jesus.  What was intended for evil in their lives becomes the Romans 8:28 catalyst for a life-changing experience where many meet Jesus and are healed—on every level. 

 

A large part of our fight against trafficking involves prosecution of sex-offenders.  Many offenders have been successfully prosecuted in Cambodia and in the U.S.

VILLAGE OUTREACH

Cambodia is a provincial country—the majority of people living in remote and primitive village settings.  A focus of our work was in the area of village outreach where we planted and supported village churches, trained pastors, and operated Christian schools for hundreds of village children.  We supported ministry in Kandal, Prey Veng, Kratie, and Kampong Chhnang provinces.

TRAINING VILLAGE PASTORS

Many pastors in Cambodia came to Christ from a village background with very limited educational opportunities. As a result, their knowledge of scripture and doctrine is often very basic.  Harmony addressed this problem by providing free education and training to village pastors using curriculum provided by our partners at Nathaniel Project.  Each village pastor received a notebook computer with thumb drives containing study notes and aids so that they could understand and relate the major doctrinal themes for all 66 books of the Bible!  In other words, an undereducated pastor could access the files for everything from Hebrews to Malachi to unpack the scripture and provide their church members the whole counsel of the word of God.  Harmony Outreach and Nathaniel Project were able to provide this training, together with electronic resources, to hundreds of needy pastors in over half of Cambodia’s 24 provinces.