During Chiv’s first trip back to Cambodia he was reunited with a sister that he had not seen in thirty years. She quickly embraced the Christian message and, just as quickly, asked her brother for money to buy a field in O-Khmom. Although Chiv wasn’t sure he could trust his sister, he knew he could trust his God.
Leaders Work Together
The church at O-Khmom currently serves as “home base” for many of the 8 churches. Leader Ban Ho has completed a course of study at a Phnom Penh seminary and helps shepherd the other leaders. The past 2 years O-Khmom has hosted a Christmas celebration attended by several of the other churches. The people gather under rented wedding tents and spend 2 days enjoying meals together, hosting training for church leaders, and celebrating Christmas with children’s pageants, music and candlelight.
A grove of 800 mango trees was planted in 2015 in fields behind the O-Khmom church. The trees are spaced so that other crops can be grown between rows until the trees are mature. The plan is to rent trees to individuals in the church for maintenance and crop selling when they are ready to yield crops, expected in 2018 or 2019.
History of O-Khmom
Chiv purchased the land that his sister Chantha requested and returned to the U.S. A year later, Chiv returned to discover the new field producing a rich harvest. But that was nothing compared to the harvest that God had in store for Chiv. Chantha had made arrangements with a local shopkeeper to host an evangelistic event on his property. Ban Ho, the shop owner, was not a believer but his brother was. He agreed to host the event. At this open air gathering Chiv played the Jesus Film. Halfway through, the generator conked out. Chiv stood up and told the rest of the story: how Jesus had taken on the sins of the world, how he had been nailed to a cross, died and rose again on the third day. He spoke of God’s love, forgiveness and the rest He offered to those in pain. Over a hundred people, including Ban Ho, placed their faith that day in this Jesus as a result of Chiv’s spontaneous message.
The Jesus Film and the God of Healing
Ban Ho had spent much of his earnings on so-called psychics looking for healing for his ill children. Nothing seemed to work. Could this Jesus whom he had seen in the Jesus Film giving sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf, could he heal his children? Chiv told the new Christian that the answer was yes. Ban Ho began praying for his children. Not only did their health improve, so did his. A pack-a-day smoker, Ban Ho was not allowed to smoke at the hospital that his child was in. He prayed that Jesus would take away his desire to smoke. After three days without a cigarette, Ban Ho went outside to smoke. But something happened. The long anticipated cigarette didn’t feed his addiction or calm his jitters. It burned his mouth. Ban Ho stopped smoking right there on the spot.
Today, Ban Ho is one of the leaders in this growing church plant. When one of his children gets sick, he prays for them and occasionally calls Chiv in Carrollton, Texas to ask him to help lift up his children in prayer.
A Church Built in the Heart of O-Khmom
Chiv knew right away that this group of new Christians was too large to meet in a home. They needed a church building. Chiv and his fledgling ministry wasted no time. With the encouragement of Chiv’s church in Texas, another trip to Cambodia was arranged. Ground for the new church was broken that April. Chiv and his team encouraged the new assembly of believers. By that August the modest church building was completed. A team of 16 came with Chiv for the ribbon cutting. The new building was consecrated with prayer. There was a heart-felt church service inside the new building, complete with praise songs in both English and the Khmer language. Jesus was in the house.
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