Jun 8, 2023

A Harvest in Cambodia: 20 Years of Ministry

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Show Notes

For nearly 20 years, Samaritan’s Purse has been working to meet both physical and spiritual needs of vulnerable families in Cambodia through our long-standing country office. As staff and church partners have faithfully shared the Gospel in some of the most remote corners of the nation, a spiritual awakening is taking place and the Good News of Jesus Christ is changing lives.

First, host Kristy Graham speaks with Barry Jessen, the country director for Samaritan’s Purse in Cambodia, to discuss the current challenges that families in Cambodia are facing and how our teams are working to minister to them. Barry gives incredible insight to how new livelihood opportunities have the power to not only provide a stable income but deter desperate people from migrating illegally to find work.

“One of the major issues that people face here in Cambodia is a shortage of work. So, you combine that with a lack of access to clean water, a lack of access to maternal health, or good migration advice, and that results in a lot of unsafe migration. Driven by debt and desperation, a lot of people are then exploited and trafficked.” –Barry Jessen

Next, listeners hear directly from families in Cambodia whose lives have been changed through the Samaritan’s Purse project. Stephen, a podcast correspondent, asks them to share their personal experiences in trying to provide for their families and how new livelihood opportunities and cash grants are making a brighter future possible.

One man shares how he struggled to provide for his family, so he made the difficult decision to illegally migrate to Thailand in search of steady work. While in Thailand, he was electrocuted at a worksite and began suffering from severe health challenges, including fatigue, uncontrollable shaking, and an anxiety disorder. Now, he and his wife are able to take care of themselves through the Samaritan’s Purse livelihoods project that helped them start a business raising chickens. They are earning an income without ever having to leave their home.

Another man is the father to nine children and was at a loss for how he would take care of his large family. Through business trainings and a cash grant to start his own grocery store, he shares how his life has improved. He now has hope for the future.

Finally, listeners will get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a mother who struggled to afford clean drinking water for her family. When Samaritan’s Purse arrived in her community and began providing biosand water filters, she gained access to clean water. This made her curious about “living water” which is referenced in Scripture. Her life changed, and she eventually became a follower of Jesus Christ. Her young son has also become a Christian and recites Scripture from Ephesians Chapter 6 in the Khmer language for Stephen.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” -Ephesians 6:1 (NKJV)

Through all of the stories featured in this episode, Kristy shares how the heart behind all of this work is that those struggling in Cambodia will not only gain physical relief but find eternal life in Jesus Christ.

Kristy concluded her time with Barry Jessen by asking more about how God is actively changing the hearts and minds of these families in Cambodia.

“People are now serving the true living God instead of stones and idols. Please be praying for the families that you heard in this episode but also our staff who are selflessly serving them and the churches that they're working with in Cambodia.” -Kristy Graham