Flood-Ravaged Believers Glorify God

By Alan Lee, San Jose Christian Alliance Church pastor, serving on a short-term missions trip to flood-ravaged Cambodia.

As the plane was preparing to land in Phnom Penh International Airport, I peeked outside the window to see the flooding firsthand. What I witnessed was truly unbelievable—acre after acre of rice fields and houses literally submerged in the flood along the riverbank, reminding me of the scenes of devastation in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina. The Cambodia flooding was severe—the worst in 10 years. Many lives were lost. Others lost their homes, rice harvests, and livelihoods.

With the help of the Khmer Evangelical Church (C&MA national church in Cambodia) and Alliance international workers Rev. Joe and Kay Kong, our team of seven was honored to participate in the flood relief work. Through the generosity of one couple, we purchased 11,000 pounds (about 5.5 tons) of rice to be delivered to two devastated areas.

A Disturbing View

On the first day after our arrival, we headed north to Kompong Chhnang province, where the flooding was severe. The trip was long and tedious. We had to drive from Phnom Penh to a river dock to take a boat to one of the remote villages. As we were approaching the dock, we saw that the floodwater was everywhere. Roads were submerged; buses, cars, motorcycles, and boats were floating on the streets! Many businesses were boarded up or had used two-foot high cement walls in a futile attempt to hold back raging waters. Children were going to school in boats. We witnessed a little girl (with IV still administered) heading home from a hospital in a boat! Living conditions were indeed harsh and tough!

Before we got on the boat, we had to walk barefoot in the water, not knowing that the roads were littered with sharp objects. One member, who was carrying his wife, was wearing slippers borrowed from a local pastor. As he stepped out of the water, he discovered that the base of one slipper was literally “chopped” off, yet he was unhurt. It was indeed  divine protection from our Lord.

Familiar Territory

The boat ride was cool and sweet. We sang praises along the way, and our spirits were lifted. We saw many houses submerged in water along the river bank.  After we docked, we drove a “tuk-tuk” (a converted motorcycle with passenger seats) to our final destination. When we saw a C&MA church sign hung between two trees, our hearts were so moved with praises and thanksgiving to God. In this remote village in Cambodia, there stood a C&MA church that glorified the Lord. It made us all very proud to be part of The Alliance!

The “church” was an empty lot with a canopy on top. Cambodian brothers and sisters, who have suffered much, welcomed us with such joy, warmth, and love.  After singing songs with them, we gave rice to the villagers who had lost almost everything. Our hearts were warmed to see the smiles on their faces. They displayed much faith and joy in the midst of suffering and pain, and they even treated us to a “gourmet” lunch of fish and chicken. We were so impressed with their love and hospitality.

No Marginal Worship

On the second day, we headed south to the Svay Rieng province. We had to cross the Mekong River to another flood devastated area. The scene was pretty much the same.  People’s lives were severely affected by the floodwater. We were told that many Vietnamese people live along the river bank. They are the disenfranchised people without any legal rights, living in the poorest slums in Cambodia. One Vietnamese church was completely flooded, yet church members continued to gather in boats tied together while the pastor stood in one of the boats, preaching to them! We were all very moved to witness the faith and resiliency of the believers in the midst of suffering.

During these trips, we were able to help 200 families in need. Although the relief effort was small and might just be a drop in the bucket, we sensed God’s presence and pleasure throughout the trip. We are honored to be part of the C&MA relief efforts that bring hope and joy to people who have suffered much. May the Name of the Lord Jesus be glorified!

Learn More

Read more stories about Alliance work in the Cambodia.

Read additional stories of the worldwide work of Alliance ministries supported by the Great Commission Fund.

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