A Cambodian proverb says, “Fear not the future, weep not for the past.” This proverb is appropriate for a country whose recent history is riddled with tragedy and who still feels the reverberations of this history today.
Following the Vietnam War, Cambodia was overtaken by Communist guerilla forces known as the Khmer Rouge in 1975. Over the next four years, approximately 1.5 million Cambodians were executed or died from malnutrition, disease, and overwork.
John Pudaite, president and CEO of Bibles For The World (BFTW) says, “What a lot of Americans don’t realize is that after America pulled out of the Vietnam War in 1975, the wars continued in that part of the world for another nearly 15 years between Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, [and] those countries down there in Southeast Asia.”
Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1979 and established the People’s Republic of Kampuchea. Eventually, Cambodia regained independence in the 1990s, but not without deep scars.
“When I first went in there in late 1998, it was still like a war zone,” says Pudaite. “There was one paved road in the entire capital of Phnom Penh between the airport and the king’s palace. Everything else was just rubble. I don’t think at that time there were many buildings over two or three stories.”
BFTW started ministry in Cambodia in the late 1990s. “At the time, there was a handful of Christians; literally a few thousand Christians. We got involved in helping provide Scripture for those believers and providing them with Scripture for evangelism.”
Cambodia still has a special place in BFTW’s heart today. That’s why BFTW is launching a new project later this year to encourage a Gospel movement in the nation.
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SOURCE: Mission Network News, Lyndsey Koh