2014 Cambodia – Halima Dodo

Glory in the Face of Uncertainty


Three months ago I never imagined that I would embark on my first missions trip to Cambodia with New Philadelphia Church. Yes I am a dancer, and yes I love Jesus, but I was neither a leader nor an official member of this congregation. I created so many obstacles: I told myself that I didn’t have the money, that my parents would never approve, and that I was not mature enough in my faith. Although many of these challenges were real, the root of these problems was my refusal to trust God to carry me through. But our team leader Danny always said to put down the fears, because it is easy for God to overcome. And God was so faithful.

During missions training, God’s grace allowed me to grow stronger in my knowledge of the Gospel, to be more diligent in prayer, and to be willing to obey even if I was not sure what would come next. From orientation to our days in Phnom Penh and the days after our return to Seoul, the Lord proved steadfast in every way. He enabled me to withstand financial difficulties through close family and friends. He gave me wisdom in sharing his vision for Cambodia when I faced the objections of my parents in America. He strengthened my spirit during attacks on my health in the field. The Lord truly shined his goodness no matter what circumstance came my way.

One place where I really saw God’s goodness was in the slums of Cambodia. Pastor Bunly, one of our local partners, is devoted to outreach in impoverished villages. These villages are comprised of tightly-packed huts made up of rusty metals, old wood, and cement. In the natural one only sees naked children running around in filth. But the Lord instantly reminded me of a praise song that my church in America sang almost every Sunday: “This is Holy Ground, we’re standing on Holy Ground, for the Lord is present, where he is, is Holy.” With the lens of the Holy Spirit I felt even more zealous to minister in a physically desolate area. We were breaking ground for God to build up His house for His children. God made known to me that wherever our team went to sing and dance, we ushered in His presence, and the dirt upon which we walked was actually Holy ground—a place where we were vessels stirring up new life and freedom in Christ.

There was one slum in particular that was covered in the joy of the Lord before we even began to minister to them! It sounds cheesy, but as we made our way down rows of unkempt shack houses, the grass was greener, the sun was brighter, and the smiles were wider all around. The children were so well disciplined with gladness and eager to take part in all of the VBS dances. Their enthusiasm for VBS carried over into attentiveness for the powerful Gospel message preached by Pastor Joel. And when we opened up the altar to pray for healing, they sincerely approached with small cuts on their hands, and fingers pointing to sore teeth or throats. And of course God released His healing! I was blessed by the innocence and purity that these children carried despite their living circumstances. I saw even more clearly how God’s love shines to those who are viewed as small or less important by most of the world.

This missions trip to Cambodia was so fruitful because of God’s goodness. During missions training, it was easy to expect salvation and supernatural healing because that is what the Gospel says we will see. But I didn’t expect God to reveal that it’s not up to me to win hearts over. Each day that we were in the field He showed me that the hearts were already won, that the Cambodians are desperate for something more. When I shared my testimony to the youth Freedom of Sensok Church, it did not matter that my voice was barely audible from a sore throat. For many of these adolescents were the only Christian in their family. To them I was a tangible witness of strength, courage, and hope in Christ because I follow Jesus even though my father and his family are Muslim. When we performed our hip hop set to Trip Lee’s Robot, it was not my choreography or our team’s ability to go ham that set the atmosphere. Rather is was the message of the dance: the fact that we were not machines operating on do’s and don’ts, but that we are sons who are free and saved through the Gospel of Christ.

Please continue to pray especially for the seeds sown by the local ministers in villages and slums of Cambodia. The nation is 90% Buddhist, but the culture of routine idolatry is no match for life-giving power of Christ. Thank you so much for your prayers and support. From touch down to take off, my heart sang and still sings: “We are standing on Holy Ground and I know that there are Angels all around, Let us praise, praise Him now, For we are standing in his presence on holy ground.”

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