Former Khmer Rouge Embrace Jesus

At least 1.7 million Cambodians were killed through political executions, starvation, and forced labor during the reign of the Khmer Rouge from 1975-1979. Today, former soldiers of the regime responsible for the killing fields are being radically changed through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

“These former communists, who were bent on establishing a Cambodia that denied God’s existence, are now giving themselves passionately to the spread of the gospel in Cambodia,” says Bob Fetherlin, vice president for International Ministries of the U.S. C&MA. “They are leading God’s people there now.”

Several of the believers attended the recent Annual Conference of the Khmer Evangelical Church of the C&MA. One woman had driven a tank for the Khmer Rouge. “The man leading worship was a Khmer Rouge lieutenant who lost an eye and suffered a serious leg injury in the assault to gain control of the airport in Phnom Penh, the capital city,” says Fetherlin.

The newly elected president of Khmer Evangelical Church is Rev. Sok Sophon, a former Khmer RougeĀ soldier. “Rev. Sophon is a very gifted leader, highly respected and full of wisdom, and really knows the Scriptures,” Fetherlin adds.

From Killing Fields to Harvest Field

Alliance missionaries were the first Protestant workers in Cambodia, and Alliance efforts grew into the nation’s largest evangelical community. C&MA missionaries were evacuated from Cambodia in 1975 when Pol Pot came to power. CAMA, the Alliance relief arm, provided medical care to Khmer refugees along the Thai border for 17 years and encouraged the refugee church, which consisted of hundreds of new believers.

The Alliance’s work in Cambodia continues to bear fruit. Last Christmas, more than 10,000 people attended a joint Christmas service in Sisophon, Banteay Meanchey province, which was coordinated by various Christian groups in the area. A Cambodian newspaper featured the celebration in a news story on December 27, 2008.

“This is the largest ever Christmas celebration I have ever heard of in Cambodia,” says field director David Manfred. Rev. Sok Sophon, who was vice president of the C&MA’s Khmer Evangelical Church at the time, spoke powerfully about the meaning of Christmas.

“The meeting ended with an invitation for those who wanted to have their sins forgiven by Christ to raise their hands, and Pastor Sok Sophon reported that many in the crowd raised their hands.”

“Our hearts are overflowing with praise to God for his transforming power and incredible grace!” says Fetherlin.

What You Can Do

Praise God for the work He is doing in Cambodia. Pray that He will continue to call committed believers to lead the Khmer Evangelical Church.


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