2014 Cambodia – Sam Ra

Shake What Your Father Gave You

“Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” -Psalm 8:2

I first heard about Cambodia when I was a sophomore in high school. My youth group had sent a mission’s team to Cambodia and came back with powerful testimonies. I found that my friends had returned completely different, and their outlook on life and their future had changed. Needless to say, I jumped at the opportunity when I saw that New Philly was sending a team to Cambodia, even though it was a dance team. I don’t know if many of you know this, but I’m not a dancer. So I held out on the hope that I would be the team photographer or videographer. However Pastor Joel joined our team last minute to take over the media roles. Although I may have had a calm cool exterior leading up to the trip, in my mind I was very worried about dancing. I questioned how God would use dance as a ministry, and especially my dancing.

I remember at our first missions team meeting, Pastor Emily asked the team what we were expecting from this trip. I responded that I wanted to see the youth set on fire for God. We heard from previous missions teams that Cambodians weren’t very expressive with their emotions. So our team specifically prayed for there to be freedom of expression. Don’t get me wrong. I wanted to see signs and wonders (which we did see), but specifically I wanted to see the youth set on fire for God. And indeed we saw this at one of our first outreaches, which was in a slum about 20 minutes outside of Phnom Penh. We ministered at Freedom of Sensok Church. We performed our song, our dance, and Pastor Emily spoke about evangelism to the youth. After the sermon, we had an altar call to break off fear and release empowering boldness onto the kids. It was powerful! All of the youth were praying with such intensity and faith. I stood amazed at the passion and fire they were carrying for the Lord at such a young age. We were warned about how Cambodians might not be responsive, but that is not what we saw in the natural or the supernatural.

Now towards the end of the trip we ministered at New Hope for Orphans in Kampong Cham, which is north of Phnom Penh. Again the team did our thing; we danced, gave a testimony, sang, and Pastor Emily gave a seminar about healing. At the end of the seminar we split the kids into groups of 2-3. We taught them how to pray for healing, and Pastor Emily asked if anyone wanted to show the others what they had learned. One of the first volunteers was a boy in my group named is Cheng Ah. We later learned from our local contact, Pastor Vandy, that Cheng Ah’s birth mother, whom he still has a relationship with, was admitted into the hospital a couple days ago. She had already been diagnosed with HIV, but they found she had also contracted malaria. Cheng Ah and Pastor Vandy spent all day at the hospital praying for her prior to our arrival, as the doctors didn’t believe she had much longer to live. At the time, no one on our team understood the significance of what it meant for Cheng Ah to be the first volunteer to pray for healing. If anyone in that room had a reason to be angry with God or have doubts about God being our healer, it was Cheng Ah. Nonetheless, he went up and practiced praying for healing and afterwards joined our team as we went around the village praying for the sick.

To conclude this eventful day, our team performed another dance, did VBS, and taught the children English through songs. My teammate Sophie and I led a song called “Making Melodies in My Heart.” To teach this song, we decided to have everyone get into a huge circle. Now what happened next, I don’t remember– I’d like to say it was my suggestion, but basically our VBS circle became a dance circle and soon we were having an all-out huge dance “partay.” Everyone danced from little boys to old ladies, the Pastor’s wife, and even Pastor Emily (whom me and Andrew brought into the circle). This was definitely my favorite moment during missions, because dancing has a way of bringing freedom and joy. And especially seeing Cheng Ah go into that circle and dance his heart out, full of the joy of the Lord, really ministered to me.

God met and exceeded all of my expectations on this trip. I saw that the youth of Cambodia are hungry and on fire for God. God also revealed how dance coupled with the power of the Gospel breaks down whatever walls people build up in their hearts; dance was what brought expression to the Cambodian people’s faces. The very thing I was most nervous about became my favorite memory and also God’s most effective tool. Seeing the youth at Freedom of Sensok Church and especially Cheng Ah so free, on fire, and passionate for God, I realized that it was me who needed the fire. These children’s abandonment for God ministered to me and released a deep and renewed hunger for the Lord. Just as He used them to minister to me, God is using the youth to silence and stamp out the enemy in Cambodia, releasing His glory in its place.

Thank you for supporting me on this trip! Everything our team sowed and reaped, is for you as well. I pray revival is stirring in your hearts in response to what God is doing in the nations!

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