In December, a team from Sylvania First and Delta United Methodist Churches will be journeying to Cambodia to lead a youth mission.
Cambodia is a country of children and youth. 70% of the population is age 25 and under, and 50% is under age 16. As a result, the churches are filled with children and youth. It is one of the most youthful mission fields in the world, and the children are coming in droves. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them because the kingdom of God belongs to children like these” (Matthew 19:14). We are going to share in the life of the kingdom with these children and youth.
What’s Your Mission?
Our mission is to lead a five-day youth retreat in a small, rural province in central Cambodia. We will be working with 120 youth to help them find life with Christ and in Christian community, and to help them have some of the tools they need to become a living witness to the power of Jesus Christ to overcome all the powers of the world, even death itself.
What’s Important about this Mission in Cambodia?
In the wake of the Vietnam War, Pol Pot came to power in Cambodia and set about a campaign to make everyone equal by reducing them to the least common denominator. This meant that the educated were killed. The professionals, doctors, lawyers, architects, teachers, anyone who wore glasses was exterminated in the Killing Fields. Between 1975 and 1979, over 2 million Cambodians were killed by Pol Pot’s genocidal regime, and the rest were subjected to back-breaking forced labor in the rice fields.
As a result, Cambodia is not only young, it is desperately poor, with women and children working in sweatshops and many being trafficked by the sex trade. The Methodist Church in Cambodia is stepping into these desperate situations with innovative missions like orphanages, rice banks, micro-lending, artisan training, and schools. We are welcoming the children and helping them see with fresh eyes their own value in the heart of God, giving them hope for a different future.
Why Are You Raising Money?
It costs $100 to send one youth to our five-day training, including transportation, room, board and resources. When was the last time you spent $100 on just one day’s travel, lodging and food? Together with Delta UMC, our goal is to raise $12,000 to make it possible for 120 youth to participate fully in our training.
How Are You Raising Money?
On the wall in the hallway outside the Oasis are 200 red envelopes, numbered 1-200. Take an envelope and fill it with the same dollar amount as its number. That’s it. If you wish to make out a check, make it to Sylvania First and mark it Cambodian mission. Our hope is that everyone will find a number they feel good about contributing to this important mission. If you’re preferred number is gone, feel free to take a two or three envelopes that add up to the amount you want to give. There are also a few mystery envelopes marked, “x,” that you may use to contribute any other dollar amount you wish.
What is the Value of this Mission to Our Church?
We are taking young people to lead this youth mission. Out of our team of 12, eight are under age 30, seven under 22. This is a chance for them to experience some of the hardest things in our world and to see God’s promise of resurrection and new life happening first hand in the faces and lives of the youth we will meet. Being in Cambodia is like walking into the New Testament, with fishing boats and people working the fields, hungry for the promise of new life only Jesus gives. The gift to us is to see a church filled with children and youth, and to be able to learn from the Cambodians what the church can look like when we embrace the next generation with the love of Christ.
How can I be praying?
You can join us in praying for our brothers and sisters in Cambodia and for the preparations they are making anticipating our arrival. You can pray for us as well as we make our preparations to share the good news of God’s kingdom present among us. And you can pray for our team individually: Lynn and Cassie Arvay, Beth Youngpeter, Caryn Bartholomew, Becky Towns, Tom and Will Rand, Emma Losey, Teresa and Shaun Wenrick, Megan Born, and Mike Wyrostek. We will be traveling December 26 through January 8.