It’s been 100 years since the first Protestant missionaries began ministering in Cambodia, and today’s evangelicals are celebrating that their “prayers have worked” as they host the largest gathering of the country’s Christians to commemorate the centennial.
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Behind the story
From Kate Shellnutt: Several years ago, I was taking tuk tuk rides to and from Phnom Penh’s shimmering Diamond Island, where I met young believers at a packed worship conference. They passed out Christian literature, shared their conversion stories and testimonies, and described the place of the church in their communities, especially in connecting with and educating students. I had a Khmer translator, a Christian on staff at a local megachurch, who helped me interview those who didn’t speak English.
This weekend, an even bigger gathering will take place at the same spot, this one a much-anticipated celebration honoring the 1923 arrival of Protestant missionaries in Cambodia. As James Thompson—a missionary and journalist in neighboring Thailand—reports, it hasn’t been an easy trajectory. The church’s history has been marred by government conflict and genocide, but local leaders see the Spirit at work in sustaining and growing the Christian minority in the Buddhist nation.
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