From June 25 to July 7, an OAFC International Travel Team left the United States for Cambodia to lead an Outreach Training Workshop for youth of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Cambodia. The team was comprised of 8 members: Ethan Boester, Collin Coats, Adam Fosse, Monica Hernandez, Sandra Hernandez, Pastor Peter Kirby, Lauren Sperry and John Robert (J.R.) Townsend. All of the team members had previously been on stateside travel teams and brought much leadership and experience to the International team.
The International Travel Team trained and participated in the National Summer Training in Kansas City from June 18-24. Then the team gathered in Houston to depart for Cambodia on June 25. They arrived in Phnom Penh on Saturday, June 27. For three days the team toured some of the religious and cultural sites of the capital such as Toul Sleng Prison, the Killing Fields Genocidal Museum, the Royal Palace, the National Museum and a number of markets. On Sunday they participated in worship with Christ Lutheran Church and helped to lead music. The team was supported in Cambodia by staff of the Cambodia Christian Ministry Center, the local office of Lutheran Hour Ministries: director Rev. Phin Naro, Ravy, Heng, Songim, and Kunthea. They graciously escorted the team through its travels and provided coordinating support.
From Tuesday, June 30 to Friday, July 3, the team led training for 28 youth from 13 churches in 8 provinces of Cambodia. The training consisted of a Biblical foundation for outreach, guitar and keyboard training, digital outreach, and workshops on puppet shows, drama, personal witness and Bible study. A further benefit of the training was that the Cambodian youth were housed together, so spent much time in the evenings building relationships and encouraging each other in Christian witness. The team also worked on training the Cambodian youth in singing some of the unknown hymns in the Cambodian Lutheran hymnal.
On Saturday, July 4th, the team departed Phnom Penh for Siem Reap, and was able to tour heritage sites such as Angkor Wat, Ta Prom temple and Bayon temple, along with cultural sites such as a Silk Farm, Vietnamese water village on Tonle Sap lake, and the Angkor National Museum. These cultural and religious visits helped team members to learn about the culture and religious influences on Cambodia from Animism, Hinduism and Buddhism.
The team appreciates the support of the National OAFC and the family, friends and congregations that helped to send them to Cambodia to carry out this outreach training. Feedback from the team and the participants has been very positive, and they look forward to future opportunities to continue the outreach training.