‘I didn’t know that Jesus Christ was in Cambodia!’ exclaimed the German back-packer amazed to see a cross being carried in the streets of Siem Reap, one of Cambodia’s popular tourist cities. Deb smiled at her, ‘Well, He is. He’s all over the world.’
Deb’s reply was fairly confident. Although we had arrived in Cambodia with little knowledge of how Jesus is working in this Asian country, by the end of our two week stay, having carried the cross through Siem Reap daily, walking in different directions to and from the city centre, talking and praying with many people, the positive response we’d had seemed to confirm that Jesus is indeed working powerfully in Cambodia.
We were accompanied by a couple of great young local guys who translated the gospel message for us on the streets. It was also delightful to see these guys sharing their own personal stories of how they’d met Jesus with other young men their age. One of them confided that initially he’d been embarrassed about walking with me with the cross but had soon felt challenged that God wanted him to witness to everyone as well.
We became friends with many tuk-tuk drivers, most of whom were in their mid-twenties and could speak a little English. Some smiled politely, or giggled self-consciously as we attempted to share the gospel with them. Every so often one would be ready to pray to accept Jesus into his life.
While some tourists appeared determined to avoid engaging with the crazy guy with a cross, there were others who admitted to being on a spiritual journey themselves, and seemed happy to talk with us.
It is difficult to determine the extent of people’s sincerity when they pray to receive Jesus, but I realize that it is not our responsibility to assess this. It’s up to God. Only He really knows if someone has truly opened their heart to Him.
On this trip we had some great encounters with people of other faiths. We were often able to pray with them and see the Holy Spirit take over, sometimes bringing an immediate sense of peace and joy. One person we prayed with said afterwards, with tears in his eyes, that he could feel God’s presence touching him on his arms.
In Siem Reap, we met many lovely people. In this busy, colourful city there is a vibrant church emerging and it’s very exciting. Yes, Jesus Christ is very much alive in Cambodia today!