An Update from Pastor Warren in Cambodia

Yesterday we had the opportunity to lead worship with Pastor Samuel’s church in the very small and poor village of Snoa, Cambodia. Snoa is about a 20 minute drive from the thriving touristy city of Siem Reap. About the distance from Palatine to Algonquin. But the two are stark contrasts from one another in terms of economic status. The people of Snoa have no electricity. No plumbing. No modern conveniences.
However, the people that we met on Sunday have something very special. They have the Spirit of the Lord upon them, especially the children, who catapulted our spirits when they started our worship with songs they shared with us praising Jesus. With nearly 160 people in attendance under a tin roofed shelter, the worship service was launching our hearts.2
Our team was a bit nervous, with all the plans we had for worship. We planned to lead them in song with a novice guitar player who is a pastor. The team worked diligently on two gospel oriented skits incorporating some children for assistance. We planned to share faith testimonies. We had coloring pages, crayons, and other gifts for the children. And oh yea, the pastor had to deliver a message. All of this to a people who spoke a different language. Praise God for interpreters!

After the children greeted us with their songs and some introductions, our little praise band began with the song ‘God is so good’. Pastor Samuel’s wife, Sophena, who is 9 months with child and past her due date, became our lead singer. Suddenly, we didn’t need a translator because we all knew the song in our own native tongue, and it was absolutely glorious to hear this symphony of praise being lifted up to God. With voices raised in song, we literally ‘raised the roof’ off this tin shelter. And from that point our worship was nothing short of a continues crescendo of praise to Jesus!
Our team did a wonderful job connecting with young and old on their skits about the blind man at the pool Siloam, and also about Jesus walking on the water. It was awesome to see them let go of the reigns and have fun during the skits. All eyes were peeled upon them, especially when some children helped us with sound and visual effects. We were connecting!!
It was truly a joy to share delivering the message with Pastor Samuel. As he interpreted my words with equal emphasis, passion, and humor, I felt like something very special was happening between the two of us. Neither of us had a written script, but yet it seemed as if we were completely united in what God wanted delivered to his people in that place. It’s hard to describe, but God was doing something very special between the two of us. I pray that God’s Word and Spirit fell afresh on all who heard it in that place. After Pastor Samuel lead us in prayer we ended our worship with more incredibly uplifting praises of song to our Lord. Watching Pastor Samuel interact, connect, and lead his people, I couldn’t help but be standing in awe of a man who is truly a shepherd to his flock! They truly love him and respond to him, and the children especially know his voice.
You would think our day couldn’t get any better, but it did. Afterwards, Pastor Samuel led us to a parcel of land next door that he purchased. It was simply a tract of land of dirt. Nothing impressive visually. Barren looking in fact. But this land is where Pastor Samuel and his church plan to build their church sanctuary. Our team took a few moments to pray with Pastor Samuel asking God to bless this land. We returned to our shelter after prayer only to be greeted by a wonderful lunch of ‘real’ Ramen noodles. As we drove away, our team was a bit exhausted and filled up with joy at the same time. Sunday in Cambodia was like nothing we had ever experienced before, and our team was thanking God for it.

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