Continuing our series of reflections from the Cambodia team, Scott speaks out .. plus an invitation for January 12th!
At Restoration, we spend a lot of time talking about the importance of having a mentor. Mentors are great. They help you listen to your life, ask good questions that make you think about the thing you haven’t thought of yet, and offer wisdom and encouragement. But at their core, mentors are folks who generously and selflessly take the time to get to know you – to notice who you are and who you are becoming.
In Cambodia, mentors are rare. As Hannah mentioned in her post, war and genocide have plagued Cambodia’s recent history. In the late 1970’s, the Khmer Rouge executed nearly all the educated population in Phnom Penh. Today, the median age in Cambodia is 24. Many of the people who are starting businesses, getting married, and having children don’t have a generation of elders to guide them.
So I was surprised to see such powerful mentorship on display when our group visited an Anglican church plant in Rokakos Province with Gregory, the pastor of the international congregation for Church of Christ our Peace. As Laurel mentioned, a young pastor named Sovannia led us in a worship service with 8 other folks – 7 women and 1 man.
After Sovannia’s sermon, Gregory interrupted the flow of the worship service and asked Sovannia to translate for him. Gregory then turned to the only other man in the group. Sitting hunched in his chair, this quiet unassuming young man in light blue jeans and a grey polo sat up straight as Gregory began speaking to him.
Gregory told him how significant it was that he was here; that it is rare for men in Cambodia to come to church; and he hoped he would continue to trust Jesus and to grow in faith. “God is able to able to save many through one,” Gregory said. “He is able to move mountains through those whose faith is as small as a mustard seed. He will be able to move mountains through you.”
For a moment the room stopped, and everyone’s eyes were on him. He smiled, looked down at the floor, and nodded to Gregory. It was a lot to take in.
I think of this guy often as I continue to pray for my friends in Cambodia. I wonder what he is doing these days. But I don’t wonder if he heard what Gregory told him. In that moment, it was clear that he was noticed and known – in a way that he had never been noticed or known before.
Sidenote: On January 12 from 7:30-9pm, Jesse and Sarah Blaine and the team who went on the trip to Phnom Penh will host a gathering at Restoration in the Fellowship Hall. We are looking forward to hearing from the Blaine’s about their time in Cambodia and sharing some of our experiences from the trip. Childcare will be provided.