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캄보디아 서길성 선교사 2017년 3월 선교소식

글쓴이 : 천성교회 날짜 : 2017-04-07 (금) 08:02 조회 : 513

Spring (North America);
Dry Hot Season (Cambodia) 2017

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Equipping and Empowering 
Emerging Leaders in Cambodia

What is Christian leadership development, really?

Recently, I (Gil) shared with a group of young Cambodian leaders about challenges and opportunities facing them as Christian leaders in Cambodia. I talked about challenges on two levels: societal and personal, based on my research.  I drew a diagram of three circles with a leader at the center. 

I tried to illustrate that societal issues like rampant corruption, growing materialism, lack of quality education, chronic dependency, crumbling morality and more immediate challenges like family conflict, high stress, financial burdens all add pressure coming at them. I drew arrows coming toward the leader at the center. Everyone nodded his/her head in agreement. Then, I reversed the arrows saying these challenges were all opportunities for us as salt and light to make a difference in this situation. They said Amen.

But what is missing in this picture? I asked. Can we pull this off ourselves? Are we really being the salt and light in our dark corrupt society? They became quiet. I felt the Spirit convicting us. What do we do? I put a small cross at the centre of the diagram and read Luke 9:23Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” I shared about the call to choose and follow the way of cross on a daily basis. I explained the discipleship as the essence of Christian leadership. 

I believe for Cambodian church to be a strong and healthy witness to the gospel in this society and beyond, one of the key pieces is leadership development. What is leadership development from a Christian perspective? Answers vary. Many confuse training with development. Training denotes a short-term activity or even while development is a multifaceted long-term process. Training can definitely contribute to development. But they are not the same. In Cambodia, much leadership training focuses on knowledge and skills of leadership, coming from functional view of leadership and missing Kingdom values, especially of self-denial and servant leadership.

I am convinced what Cambodian leaders really need is strengthening their sense of calling and deepening their relationship with the One who calls them in the environment where rapid social changes pose strong pressures and temptations. Leaders fall not because of lack of skills or credentials. Usually the causes relate to discouragement, isolation, lack of accountability and support and disconnection from deeper source of leadership, that is emotional and relational health. Cambodian leaders are mostly the first generation of believers in
their families and lack any systematic support as the church is young and small. The hierarchical and shame-based culture make it even harder for these young inexperienced leaders to seek the help they need. They need trusting relationships, deep fellowship with other leaders and continual growing as disciples as they lead others.
I see myself as mentor, big brother in Christ, Barnabas to these young Pauls in Cambodia. I work to strengthen their connection to Christ and to each other. It involves hospitality, empathic listening, meditating scripture, deep sharing and praying together. As I provide ongoing support, I aim to nurture a lifelong posture of learning and practice for these leaders so that they would be continually formed into the likeness of Christ in them. To me, that is the heart of Christian leadership development. Please pray for these young leaders and for the Cambodia team as we seek to nurture Christ-centered servant leadership culture. 

At a day retreat with a group of 
emerging leaders

Ministry in a Changing landscape

Last month, I (Joyce) was part of a team that made field visits with World Renew Cambodia to villages in which it partners with small local churches for community development.  How well is WR working alongside of these churches?

The field visits were a window into the changes that are sweeping Cambodian society.  The most noticeable thing was the reality of migration.  Every village our team visited was “gutted” of people between 15 and 40.  People leave: daily for commutes to nearby factories, weekly or monthly to work in the city (factories, construction), yearly to find work in other countries (maids, fishing boats), and permanently, to urban centers. 
I felt at a visceral level that there is a deep impact on families and community. 

More troubling is the reason for the exodus: debt.  People have taken out (microfinance) loans and then have to disperse their families and children not only to pay back the loans, but to service the debt which may have interest in excess of 2% each month. While villages may appear a little more prosperous than they did when we came to Cambodia 8 years ago, they hide a dark reality.

One of the Cambodians leaders that we interviewed lamented “What does it mean to be church in this kind of society?” How do these factors, layered on top of the deep wounds from the Khmer Rouge and war years, shape the ministry of the church and of organizations like WR?  It is a profound challenge for all of us who work here. 
At the same time, we met with individuals who have been deeply
touched by the gospel who are reaching out to help improve their communities.  In some villages, there has been a change in how Christianity is perceived as well:  “we know that what they say they will do.” People who previously scorned the church respect the work of these churches and their faithfulness in the community.

The Suffering Body of Christ

I (Joyce) also made a visit to Laos in my role as regional team leader.  World Missions has been partnering with Faith CRC (Iowa) which began reaching out to Laos about 10 years ago.  The church had sponsored a refugee who became a believer and later a pastor.  When the church asked, “how can we help you?” he said, “help my people in Laos.”

As I worshipped on Sunday, I was struck with
the realization that “this is the persecuted church” and that worship in this place is a miracle of God.  Almost all of the local leaders we met had been imprisoned for their work at some point.  Laos does not allow missionaries and restricts  many Christian activities. Yet here we were, worshiping Christ together. 

It is also amazing that Faith could establish relationships and support various ministries, especially leadership development in Laos.  But, clearly, God made a way where there was no way.  The members of Faith had reached out in love to the Laotians and committed to a continuing relationship with the leaders.  As I sat in that service, I was suddenly deeply aware of the spiritual realities that were taking place--“what is done in love remains” and “This is what it means to be the body of Christ.” 

To one degree or another, the whole church in SE Asia is persecuted.  In places like Cambodia we function fairly freely, but there are restrictions and community censure.  Our presence in SEAsia as a mission and our efforts to empower and encourage leaders is not just about what we do but is a spiritual act of solidarity.  As our partners, you have chosen to stand with the suffering body of Christ in this way.

In my new role, I am called to engage a mission strategy for SE Asia as a whole and build a team from the isolated CRC missionaries and partners here.  I do need to raise funds for my ¼ time role which amounts to $15,000/year.  Please consider financial support for me in this role in addition to our continuing work in Cambodia.

 Praise & Pray with us 

-   wonderful Christian witness through the royal wedding of Huoy (daughter of our colleagues Ly & Navy) that Gil conducted
-    hosting South/South East Asia Regional meeting of CRWM with Joyce as the new regional leader
-   successful evaluation/discovery process for World Renew Cambodia that Joyce took part in   
-   progress of team-building and mission strategy of Cambodia and the region
-   David receiving admissions from all 3 colleges he applied to


                      At the wedding of Huoy and Rindra Norodom

-    Gil's final stretch of D.Miss study with the dissertation defense over the Skype at the end of March 
-    our family summer schedule with David and Isaac planning to join the Entrada (pre-college program at Calvin college) and Joyce's travel to US for church visits and regional leaders' meeting in July. 
-   our Cambodia team developing a more structured and robust leadership development program
-   patience and resilience during the hot season (March-June)
Cambodia experienced an average 4.34 percent annual growth of urban migration from 2000-2010, and the rate is increasing. It is mostly due to migration of youth and manual workers to cities. It is predicted that the population of Phnom Penh will reach almost 3 million by 2025, which is doubled from 1.5 million in 2005. Predictably, pollution, traffic jam, crime rate are increasing fast. Pray for the city of Phnom Penh. 

                      Rapid change of Phnom Penh Skyline with construction everywhere                                                                  
                                              Gil & Joyce Suh (David, Isaac, Mary)                                                            U.S office address: 1700 28th St. SE  Grand Rapids, MI 49508  
Canada office address: 3475 Mainway, STN LCD 1 Burlington, ON L7R 3Y8 
Field mailing address: P.O Box 164 Phnom Penh, Cambodia