Each Wednesday, TWR Canada provides a brief update on a project or ministry from around the world. Learn about many different aspects of our global ministry, and be encouraged by stories of lives that have been transformed by the power of the gospel.
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Matt and Kate Thompson (London, ON) have been to Cambodia three times to volunteer at an ESL (English as a second language) camp with their church. Some of the students who attend are Christian, many are not, and the ESL camp is an intentional outreach ministry to the youth of Cambodia. Students travel up to 6 hours by car/bus or ride bicycles for over an hour each way to attend the camp. As many as 120 students attend the week-long camps.
Church in Cambodia
Pastor’s roles are a little different in Cambodia. In addition to spiritual teaching, pastors also teach English. Churches there are predominately made up of children. Cambodia is 95% Buddhist but parents consider spiritual things a part of life so they are very happy to let their children go to church. Children also learn English and computer skills at church. One couple pastors 120-130 children in their church without another adult.
Learning to speak English fluently is key to landing a good job. Tourism and non-profit work are some of the most sought-after jobs. Students lack confidence because they struggle to find opportunities to speak English conversationally. Pastors use the Bible and gospel-centred programming to help the children learn English.
A group of ladies who received media players.
Handing out SD cards to students.
TWR Canada Media Players In 2013, the Thompsons took 80 media players loaded with gospel programming in Khmer which were distributed to pastors. Those players were loaded with a children’s program, Project Hannah, Thru The Bible, and a youth program all in Khmer.
When the Thompson’s returned to Cambodia in 2016 with their church, they took 100 media players and 100 micro SD cards this time with English and Khmer content. Galcom Canada media players pre-set to the local TWR radio frequencies were used so students and families could find and listen to TWR programming any time they wanted to.
“There was some anticipation about these media players because the pastors have been using the [ones we took last year] in their ministry,” says Kate Thompson. “Media players are very important for them – it’s a leg up. It’s a way to dig in in a way they wouldn’t otherwise be able to.”
Camp Cherith To help fund, in part, the media players that were sent to Cambodia, TWR Canada partnered with Camp Cherith in Walkerton, Ontario. Every summer the summer children’s camp chooses a mission project to highlight to campers and this year they choose the Cambodia media player project. As many as 600 campers and 100 staff were able to hear about the work TWR Canada does and the impact these media players have in Cambodia. Children are offered an opportunity to give to the project by donating money out of their personal “tuck” (snack) fund.
Campers and staff this year raised $2600 which was more than what they were expecting to raise for the summer mission project. At the end of each week, campers are given a photo of their cabin mates and TWR Canada included a thank you card along with the photo so parents could learn about the project their children had supported as well.
Impact of the ESL Camps The Thompson’s had the opportunity to build relationships with students and pastors through social media (like Facebook). The relationships and mentoring that’s taken place has helped Cambodian believers grow and mature in their faith.
“We have stayed in touch with one girl who we met when she was 16,” says Kate Thompson. “She had made a profession of faith but was not equipped. Now she’s in university and is very evangelical and teaches in her church.”
Pray for the pastors who are ministering to their churches, often without help or resources. Pray for those who attended the ESL camp, that the seeds of faith that were sown would take root. Pray for the organizers of the ESL camp as they look ahead to ministry needs and changes for next year.