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Nestled in the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is a country full of ancient Buddhist and Hindu temples with a mish mash of other religious influences: Confucianism, Islam, Chinese folk religions and an array of homemade superstitions. Ethnic heritage often dictates an individual Cambodian’s religious orientation. The state religion is Theravada Buddhism and is currently professed by roughly 95% of the population.
Cambodian Religious Life
Although French missionaries attempted to introduce Roman Catholicism to the country more than a century ago, the influence of Christianity is conspicuously absent in this country. Rather than entering the country’s capital with an urban evangelism strategy, Heart for Cambodia has been led to focus on the more rural peoples in the smaller, outlying villages deep in the jungles.
Feeding Spiritual Hunger
Christian witness is growing today throughout Cambodia. Evangelical missionaries are beginning to bring hope and healing to the millions who are still haunted by memories of the Killing Fields and those that are still being physically maimed from landmines set by the retreating Khmer Rouge forces more than 40 years ago. It is estimated that in 1990, there were no more than a thousand Protestant Christians in the country. Today, the number is projected to be well over 200,000. But that leaves 11 million more Cambodians that need to be reached for Christ.
The gospel of Jesus Christ offers something different from the world-denying, works-oriented Buddhism professed by the average Cambodian. It embraces hurting people with a world-affirming Christ taking on human flesh and being brutally executed for the sins of an alienated world. This Jesus offers something more than discouraging rules and abstract platitudes. He offers the free gift of eternal life. In the place of a mass grave, the Khmer people are shown an empty tomb. Will you help us shine the light of Jesus in this dark land? There is so much that you can do.
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