This summer KCM will be sending out two mid-term missionaries to Cambodia for a 3 month trip. Check out their testimonies on what they’ll be doing and why they decided to #GO.
Heidi Yang // UCLA // Graduating Junior
Last summer, I had the amazing opportunity to go on my first overseas missions trip to S. India. I was, as they say, wrecked. Even though everyone tells you not to have expectations, I did. Even though everyone says to die to yourself, I didn’t. Even though the bible tells you to gather your strength and assurance from the Lord, I found myself clinging to my own abilities, and ultimately, I was wrecked. LOL. Spiritually, I fell into feelings of doubt and apathy. Emotionally, I allowed myself to dwell in self pity and shame. Even physically, I relied on my teammates to help me finish my food. I did witness God moving in my teammates and the native christians, but because I struggled so much to relinquish my control to God, I came back quite convinced that missions was not quite for me.
Following my trip to India, I began to develop a false sense of humility, putting myself down, focusing on the brokenness within me. I longed to be fed affirmation and assurance to diminish this feeling of unworthiness, but instead was called back to my little home church where this community that I desired was not easily attainable. I wondered why God allowed for circumstances to draw me away from the church where I had been building my community for the last three years of college, especially now that I needed them the most.
My home church is called New Life Mission Church. The month that I returned to my church, the project that our missionaries have been working towards for the past 10 years bore fruit. Cornerstone International Academy was opened in the Kampot Province of Cambodia. The pictures my dad showed me from the ribbon cutting ceremony reminded me of the St. Paul schools planted in India, and God began to tug at my heart.
Often, I complained that I have trouble hearing God’s voice, especially in his plans for me. Yet, in the following months, I realized that I would be graduating early, giving me the time to go; that KCM was starting out their midterm program, giving me the support I needed to go; that my church had missionaries in place at Cornerstone International Academy, giving me a place to go and a purpose in going; and that in “wrecking” me, God had placed my heart in a position to surrender to his plans over my own. In each doubt and excuse, God has provided for me, and his voice has never rung clearer.
He has shown me his heart to renew and restore in myself, my own experiences, and has immersed me in his love so that I might do the same. Cambodia is a country that has experienced an abundance of pain and has suffered much. Yet, there is a beauty and a strength to this country that the Lord wants to reveal. It’s people should not be pitied, nor should they be identified by their past. They, like us, are made in the image of God, designed to worship him and delight in his presence. The brokenness and poverty that we ought to mourn over is not lack of wealth but a lack of relationship and communion with God.
In trainings, we have been learning about the ways we ought to balance physical and spiritual support to the people we will be encountering. If you have ever been on a trip you know how easy it is to get caught up in logistics. What curriculum will we use to teach English? What art supplies do we need for VBS? What kind of things can we teach women whose primary vocation is prostitution? Etc. etc. Sometimes “ministry” starts to look a whole lot like any other charity or humanitarian effort. I pray each day that “whether (I) eat or drink, or whatever (I) do, (I) do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). That teaching might allow for the people of Cambodia to gain a sense of confidence that they are just as entitled to seek understanding and to know their God as one of wisdom. That presenting opportunities to appreciate and create art, may expose the beauty that their creator has granted in and around them. That despite what they do at nights and how they have been treated, that they know there is someone who respects and cherishes them as beautiful daughters. God is in everything good. He will be glorified if we surrender to him.
So…please please pray.
- That I would have a heart of obedience and humility. I really struggle to relinquish my desire to take control of situations, especially in places where I feel overwhelmed.
- That God would be working in the hearts of the people we encounter to find a renewed identity as his beloved children. May they come to know the richness of his spirit.
- That the missionaries who will be hosting us will be granted strength and wisdom, especially for their continued ministry at Cornerstone International Academy.
- That we would not forget to give glory and thanks to God for being faithful thus far, and for his promise to be faithful forevermore.
Thanks for reading and feel free to follow our insta @hoomans_ for more updates throughout our trip!!
Soo Lee // UCLA // Graduating Senior
1) What made you decide to go on a midterm trip?
My journey to Cambodia began freshman year, when God was tugging at my heart to #go on global missions. By His grace, I had the opportunity to #go to Cambodia in the summer of 2016 to experience the brokenness of the world and the hope of Christ. Ever since then, I was always thinking about going back, not necessarily Cambodia, but just to #go anywhere and do God’s work. I thought being a missionary was the most glorious task as a Christian and gave serious thoughts about tent-making. I always talked about missions and going longer if it was in God’s will for me. The past three years, God gave me this “passion” for missions, but there were no open doors and opportunities, which made me honestly bitter and resentful towards God. Later, I began to see my pride and how I glorify missions rather than focus on what was important to Him: to heal our – the world’s and my own – broken relationships with Him . Going to this midterm trip was not really my doing or choice, but a God-given opportunity. After always going around and telling people about my heart to #go, God finally opened a door for me when He deemed that I was a little bit more “ready.” He really orchestrated everything by providing me sisters to go with, allowing me to return to Cambodia, granting me my parents’ approval, and so much more. It’s funny because this opportunity was given to me when I was least “passionate” about missions, but God took these seasons of sending/staying and training to teach me that it’s really HIS missions and HIS will. My decision to #go was to simply obey and gratefully accept the opportunities He has given me! 🙂
2) Why Cambodia?
Cambodia has a long history of oppression and exploitation by many foreign countries like the French and the US, and even by their own people. 40 years ago the country faced a tragic genocide that wiped out 2 million (20% of the population) intellectuals and anyone who were potential threats to the regime, known as the Khmer Rouge. Through horrific event, many middle-aged generation was wiped out and the remaining elderly live with tremendous trauma. With the lack of mentorship and fear of education, many young Khmer people lack proper education, especially in rural areas. Also, due to current influences of social media, many Cambodians are currently growing up with desires for worldly success and prosperity that push them into the city, leaving the villages impoverished and underdeveloped. Tying all this with the foreign influences, Cambodians lack native leaders to protect their own people from sexual and labor trafficking. BUT there is so much hope and need for ministry in Cambodia, especially focusing on raising up Christian native leaders. 70% of the population is under the age of 30, meaning that there are so many young people and children who can grow up in the gospel and with proper education to raise up a Christian nation! 🙂
3) Vision? Ministry plans?
Reflecting on my journey leading up to this trip, my biggest vision for this trip is to SEE GOD at work and HAVE FELLOWSHIP with the Cambodians and the missionaries. I want to go with a humble posture to let God move and let myself just simply observe and join in on the amazing things God is already doing. Our main form of ministry will be english education at our base, Cornerstone International Academy (CIA). CIA opened October 2018 and currently has 12 students – 7 kindergarten and 5 1st graders – taught by 4 Khmer teachers. In addition to teaching the students and the teachers, we will be working with nearby village centers and even with the boat people in Phnom Penh. We will also be partnering with KCM to work with the sex-trafficking ministry, Precious Women.
4) What are you learning through your training process? Any fears/doubts, blessings, new learning experiences, etc.?
During my senior year, God has been humbling me and challenging me to surrender and trust Him more rather than taking things into my own hands. Through training, I have been learning a lot about how sensitive and culturally/socially aware we have to be when entering into the mission field, especially places like Cambodia with past hurt by Western countries. I was very discouraged by how an “innocent” act of kindness and generosity could potentially be offensive and hurtful to the community – read “When Helping Hurts” for more details. However, God has been teaching me the hope we have in His power and grace – that the answer to my fears of hurting others cannot resort to inaction, but action convicted by His wisdom. I have MANY fears going into this trip because I really do not want to cause any harm to the missionaries and the people of Cambodia. However, I want to pray and prepare for a heart that is excited to see and experience God so that in all that I do, it is through His power and His will, and not my own.
If you feel convicted by God’s story through me, please keep me and my small team (Heidi and Sarah) in your prayers:
- Constantly remind myself to have Humility and Hope in Christ so that everything I do comes from the Lord.
- Unity and Wisdom within the team to support the missionaries and have healthy fellowship with the Khmer teachers and children.
- Rise of Christian Native Leaders who will eventually raise Cambodia up to be a Christian nation.
Also feel free to follow our instagram page (run by Heidi and me) @hoomans__ to keep up with our journey to and at Cambodia! <3
Please keep them in your prayers!