Guest Contributor: Mike Philips
The Kingdom of Cambodia and the Kingdom of God are about as different as could be, and yet, there is intense interest in the Kingdom of God about what goes on in the Kingdom of Cambodia. As the King in the Kingdom of God once said about another worldly kingdom, “… should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left…?” (Jonah 4:11)
The King, our King, cares a great deal about the people in the Kingdom of Cambodia. They are His creation; they are His offspring; and the vast majority of them are lost. They are stumbling down the road to eternal destruction, with no idea where they are going. Our King is concerned about that. He is so concerned, in fact, that He sent His own Son to save them. He allowed His own Son to die so that they, just like us, could be saved. But most of the people in the Kingdom of Cambodia don’t know about all that. They don’t know who Jesus is, and they don’t know what He did for them. And so they stumble on into eternal death, not having ever heard the good news about Jesus, about salvation, about life.
That concerns our King. And, therefore, it concerns all of us, His servants.
My name is Mike Phillips. Up until about four months ago, I was an engineer at Raytheon Company in the Dallas area, and a deacon at the Spring Creek congregation in Plano, Texas. But on October 1, my wife, Christy, and I, and our four children, moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to share the gospel with a people that sorely needs the good news of Jesus Christ.
The Kingdom of Cambodia is located in Southeast Asia, situated between Thailand and Viet Nam. During the last half-century or so, it has experienced a great deal of upheaval from the Viet Nam War, an internal civil war, and the rise to power of a Communist regime known as the Khmer Rouge, which resulted in the genocide commonly referred to as “the killing fields”. Even since the defeat of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1979, the country has continued to struggle with poverty, corruption, and autocratic rule. And, most significantly for our family, Cambodia is a country with very few Christians.
Cambodia’s religious thinking is dominated by Buddhism, with an estimated 97% of its 15 million inhabitants claiming Buddhism as their religion. Of the remaining 3%, most are ethnic Muslims. Despite the dominance of Buddhism, the constitution that was enacted twenty years ago included freedom of religion, one of the many ways that God has provided for the work of His Kingdom here. Another thing that benefits the work of the Kingdom here is a source of readily-available Khmer-language Bibles.
The people of Cambodia desperately need the words contained in those Bibles, and yet, for the most part, they do not realize their need. As Paul told the Romans, “ ‘… whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:13-14) We have in our possession the greatest treasure there has ever been in the history of this world. And they have nothing. We must share.
Therefore, we now live in Cambodia in hopes of telling as many people as we can about the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ: about His death, about His resurrection, about righteousness and self-control and the judgment to come. Paul tells King Agrippa that Jesus sent him to the Gentiles “… to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me [Jesus].” (Acts 26:18) We hope and we pray that God will do the same with us in Cambodia.
While we are new to the work of the Kingdom of God in Cambodia and we have much to learn, there is one item that has been abundantly clear throughout and that I rejoice to share with you: God has met every need of ours at every step we have taken. We have been in many unfamiliar situations in which we have not known how to go, but each time God has provided for us bountifully, and in ways that have strengthened our faith and trust in Him. We do not know what the future holds, but He does, and we rest in that knowledge.
Given that realization, I ask for your prayers. I am absolutely convinced that God can supply every need we are going to have in Cambodia, so what we need most are your regular, ongoing petitions to our loving Father on our behalf. I also ask that you pray not only for our family, but also for the Cambodian people. Pray for those with whom we are going to be coming into contact, that they might be receptive to the gospel. Pray for the Cambodian government, that it might maintain its current openness to foreigners and to religious freedoms. And pray for the very few brothers and sisters in Christ that you already have here in Cambodia, that they might grow in their faith and in their knowledge of the word.
I do not know what all God has in mind for the Kingdom of Cambodia and for His church here, but I do know that He wants the Cambodian people to hear the gospel. And I know that He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia