Cambodian Herald Bringing news of Cambodia and Cambodian Communities out of Crisis Issue 9 25p a Day Millions of pounds have been poured into Britain’s city and urban areas in recent years but the resultant growth has forced many to the margins and dramatised the gap between the ‘super rich’ and the poorest. That is the challenge highlighted by Faithful Cities, the report of an ecumenical and interfaith commission initiated by the Church of England. The report argues that much has changed in the 20 sion fatigue. Images of suffering flicker on TV screens years since the Church report Faith in the City ignited a of bored, apathetic viewers. ‘Not more starving chil- wide-ranging political debate on urban life in 1980s dren… let’s switch over to another three hours of Big Britain. Multi-million pound regeneration schemes have Brother.’ A high-profile, immediate disaster can tug at brought riches and new opportunities to many locali- our heartstrings sufficiently strongly to prompt a gener- ties. Yet the extremes of poverty and prosperity are not ous response, but after the reporters have moved on to so different from those in the 1980s. the next tragedy it can be difficult to sustain donations and hence long-term relief, recovery and development. Extremes of poverty and prosperity Another, less publicised, report has painted a similar picture in Cambodia. Earlier this year the World Bank announced that the number of Cambodians living on less than US$0.45 (25p) a day has dropped from 47% to 35% over the last decade. But at the same time the gap between the richest and poorest people in the country has widened. “The income of the richest group grew by about six times the rate of the poorest. This has led to a very rapid rise in inequality in Cambodia,” Nisha Agrawal, the bank's country manager, said. CCC has always shied away from trying to promote a purely emotional response from our supporters. With our focus on education (without which there can be no hope for the elimination of poverty in Cambodia) there are few heart-wrenching photo opportunities. Instead, we rely on God to kindle compassion in the hearts of those whom He is calling to support our work. Will you listen to His voice? But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely We cannot imagine how someone could exist on 25p a hearers who delude themselves. (James 1:22) day. What must it be like to eat rice at every meal, every day, with just a few vegetables and the occa- If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily sional piece of fish or meat? How would we cope if a food… yet you do not give them what is necessary for their child became sick and we had no money to buy medi- body, what use is that? (James 2:15,16) cine (no free prescriptions in Cambodia!)? Would you But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in fancy spending every evening sitting around a candle need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of or oil lamp (it gets dark at about 6 pm all year round in God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or Cambodia, and only 28% of homes have electricity)? with tongue, but in deed and truth. (1 John 3:17,18) Compassion fatigue Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (Galatians 6:7) Like waves on a seashore, year after year, one disaster after another rolls into our consciousness and ebbs We hope you enjoy this issue of the Cambodian Her- away again: tsunami, Darfur, Pakistan earthquake, Iraq ald. But don’t throw it away until you have decided: bombings…. The relief agencies use the term compas- What is my responsibility towards Cambodia? 2 Cambodian Herald Issue 9 ‘Our Protector And Provider’ Sokha and Solida are just two of the 17 Cambodian students whose education CCC is sponsoring this year. Both are members of the Living Hope in Christ Church in Phnom Penh. Sokha works for the Bible Society in Cambodia and Solida is a volunteer in the church. The Cambodian Herald congratulates them on their marriage in January this year and is glad to be able to tell the story of how God has been their protector and provider. At the age of seven, while Cambodia was still a com- Solida has a similar story to tell. “I went to live in a munist country with a guerrilla campaign being waged camp near the Thai-Cambodian border when I was against the government by the remnant of the Khmer about two years old,” she says. “My mum told me that Rouge, Sokha found himself fleeing with his brother the journey was difficult and dangerous because of the and cousin towards the border with Thailand. landmines – some people in our group died from step- ping on mines and others were robbed. With the help of a guide, the children negotiated mine- fields and managed to get past soldiers demanding “Because it was not safe in our camp, I went to live with money. They crossed the border into Thailand and my aunt in another camp. She took me to church and I found their way to Site 2 refugee camp, where they believed in Jesus Christ.” were overjoyed to be reunited with their grandparents. After the repatriation of Cambodian refugees, Solida During the three years he spent in the camp, Sokha continued to live with her aunt. “While I was in grade 12 accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Sav- my father took a second wife and left my mother, so I iour and learned in the children’s church how to love asked my aunt to let me go back and live with my fam- God and trust Him. ily. I really thank God for His amazing grace, even though my family had nothing to eat. In 1993 the family returned to Cambodia and settled in Phnom Penh, where Sokha became one of the founder members of the Living Hope in Christ Church. He learned to play the guitar and piano and now plays bass guitar in the band that helps lead the church’s worship. He is also involved in leadership in the church youth group. Australian Centre for Education, where Sokha and Solida are studying English, thanks to the help of CCC sponsors Just over a year ago Sokha graduated with a degree in Computer Science, thanks to a generous sponsor who Solida and Sokha on their wedding day paid his university fees through CCC. Now Solida is involved in teaching the children of the “Thank God that He has always protected my life and Living Hope in Christ Church on Sundays and works called me by name,” says Sokha. “I want to know Him part-time for the church as a leadership assistant. more and more and become more effective in leader- ship in the church. I can write songs of praise to the “I give thanks to the Lord who always provides for me Lord Jesus Christ. I can do all things through Christ and my family,” says Solida. “His grace is very wonder- who gives me strength.” ful to me and I praise His name always.” Issue 9 Cambodian Herald 3 Signs of Hope News coming from Cambodia is often gloomy, with reports of corruption, land disputes, violent crime, avian flu outbreaks and much more bad news making the headlines, so it is good to be able to report some good news on several fronts. A New Climate of Agreement Cambodian judges and two international judges, while the seven-judge Appeal Court will have four Cambo- In the latter half of 2005 the outlook for political con- dian judges and three foreign judges. sensus and human rights in Cambodia was bleak. The In March, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi An- National Assembly voted to remove parliamentary im- nan recommended 12 legal experts, including seven munity from three opposition members; one was ar- nominees for international judges, to serve in the “Ex- rested and the other two, including Sam Rainsy, leader traordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia for of an opposition party, fled the country. The Prime Min- the Prosecution of Crimes Committed During the Pe- ister, Hun Sen, sued several opponents for defamation riod of Democratic Kampuchea”. (a criminal offence), while others left the country, fear- ing arrest because of their opposition to a controversial The trial is expected to take place in 2007, though not border treaty with Vietnam. even a tentative has yet been set. But in January 2006 everything seemed to change, with accusations retracted, apologies made, lawsuits Rice Yield, Tourism and GDP Up dropped, royal pardons issued, imprisoned dissidents Cambodia produced nearly 6 million tonnes of rice in freed and exiles returning. Opposition parliamentarians 2005, its best harvest in 27 years and a 43% increase had their immunity restored and the Sam Rainsy Party over the year before. Announcing the record figures, was given some say in decision making. The National Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed confidence that Assembly voted for a change in the constitution, allow- continued high yields would put an end to concerns ing a party with a simple majority of seats following a about food security. general election to form a government, in place of the previous requirement for a two-thirds majority, which has produced lengthy post-election hiatuses and shaky coalitions. Khmer Rouge Trials A Step Closer At the beginning of 2006 a permanent United Nations administrative office began work in Phnom Penh to prepare for the tribunal that is to try Khmer Rouge leaders allegedly responsible for the deaths of at least 1.7 million Cambodians between 1975 and 1979. Rice and water: lifeblood of Cambodia Meanwhile the Ministry of Tourism reported that in 2005 there were 1,421,615 foreign tourist arrivals in Cambodia, a 35% increase over 2004. Tourism made a strong contribution to Cambodia’s bet- ter than expected growth in Gross Domestic Product last year. The International Monetary Fund reported a 13% increase in GDP, far higher than expected and ranking Cambodia among the world’s fastest growing economies. Justice in sight for those who endured so much suffering at The garment sector enjoyed growth of 10.6%, generat- the hands of the Khmer Rouge? ing 2.2 billion U.S. dollars in 2005, while agricultural According to an agreement between Cambodia and the production was up 17%, thanks to good rainfalls and United Nations, the Trial Chamber will have three improvements in plantation techniques. 4 Cambodian Herald Issue 9 Why English? Please Pray Why does Cambodian Communities out of Crisis spon- The Cambodia Prayer Stream asks us to pray for… sor Cambodian students to study the English Lan- … the Cambodian church… guage? Would the money not be better used to pay for courses in accounting, information technology, busi- • Pray for God to forgive, reconcile and completely heal ness studies, etc.? CCC thinks that there are three the rifts between churches in this nation. Pray for unity good reasons for supporting students wanting to learn in the Body of Christ. English: • Pray for wholistic growth in all churches. Pray that 1. English is increasingly the language of business and God will help all churches to be self-sustaining. commerce. French has lost its place as Cambodia’s • Pray that churches in Cambodia will be agents of second language. If a young person wants to succeed in transformation in the nation. business, he or she needs to speak English. • In 1907, two women missionaries from the USA prayed for many months for revival in Korea. Next year is the 100th anniversary of revival in that nation. Since January 2005, Korean missionaries in Cambo- dia have started a 24-hour prayer chain that will not stop until Jesus returns. They are praying for Korea and Cambodia. We want to see revival break forth in Sign above a Phnom Penh shop Cambodia. 2. English is the language of the Internet. Young Cambodi- … and for the Cambodian nation… ans are hungry for knowledge of the world around them. • The government is preparing to bring former Khmer They can find that knowledge on the Internet (and Inter- Rouge soldiers to trial, but there is no fixed plan for net access is cheap and easy at countless shops in this as yet. Pray that God will lead this nation. Pray for Cambodia’s towns) – but much of the information they peace and security to rest in the land. seek is presented in English. 3. English is a language of Christian instruction. Very few • Storms in Kompong Thom and Prey Veng provinces Christian books are yet available in the Khmer language, destroyed 50 houses and killed four people. All the whereas a whole spectrum of Christian literature, from victims are poor families. Pray for the affected fami- popular titles on Christian living to theological textbooks, lies. has been published in English. Also, many preachers • A village of Phnuong (tribal) people in Mondulkiri prov- and teachers visiting Cambodia deliver their material in ince consists of 140 families. 120 of those families are English and need reliable interpreters – or even better, Christians. The pastor of the church is the village listeners who can understand English and have no need head. They are very poor but truly love Jesus. The for interpretation. tribal people are not well treated in Cambodia, but Je- sus loves them very much. Pray for them to be blessed. The latest prayer requests from the Cambodia Prayer Stream can be found on the Prayer page of the CCC NOT an English school supported by CCC! web site at www.cambcomm.org.uk. Contact Us My Response Cambodian Communities Name .................................................................................................. out of Crisis Address .............................................................................................. PO Box 7591, Loughborough ............................................................................................................ LE12 9WN, United Kingdom Email ............................................... Telephone ................................ Telephone / Fax: +44 (0)1509 507402 ! I enclose a gift towards the purchase of land for Timothy College. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ! I would like to sponsor / part-sponsor a student. Web site: www.cambcomm.org.uk ! I would like details of giving through Gift Aid and / or by standing order. ! I would like to set up a group to pray for Cambodia and CCC. Registered Charity number 1062205 ! I would like someone from CCC to give a presentation at my church.