In 2011 I went on a mission trip to Cambodia. When we arrived at our ministry location, a small village surrounded by coconut trees and rice fields, we were all smelly and hot from the intense humidity of Cambodia. They handed us a bucket and showed us the muddy pond full of fish, frogs, and the occasional snake and told us that we could use the pond water and the bucket for our showers. I didn’t shower much that month. I didn’t sleep much either because it was so hot at night, but God showed me the reality of how the Cambodian people live, and for that I was so thankful to live as they live, to experience life as they experience it, to share in their meals, and to learn as much of their language as I could. That month I went by the name Sung Khem the Khmer word for hope. Khmer is the language spoken in Cambodia.
Our ministry that month was to teach English and help with the Church on Sunday’s. Since the majority of the older generation of Cambodians were killed in the Cambodian genocide from 1975-1979 the church consisted of Cambodian youth who were the leaders and the members of the church.
As time drew closer to the end of our month there we helped take at least 30 students 10-19 years old to the coast for four days. We spent our time playing games, going to the beach, singing Christian songs, and most importantly we shared the gospel with them. 13 youth accepted Christ as their savior on the very last day of our mission trip! The most impactful thing to me was that we were able to provide every youth that came with a bible in their language, Khmer.
I remember waking up the morning after we had handed out the bibles to the youth thinking how I forget that many people don’t have a bible in their own language, how people in closed countries hide and smuggle the word of God in order to read it, how many people have never heard of or even seen the word of God. My time in Cambodia impacted me to desire that people have the chance to have their own bible, and for me to see my bible as a precious gift that I get to use every day, a freedom many people do not have in this world.
Remembering my time in Cambodia where having a bible is a rarity, or my time in a closed country in south-east Asia where bibles are illegal property that must be hidden and read in secret, helps me realize how precious the word of God is and what a blessing it is to own a bile and use it daily as a sword, a weapon, that sharpens and strengthens and proclaims the gospel of truth! It’s amazing how we can be part of sharing God’s word no matter where we are by supporting ministries such as the Gideon’s at www.gideons.org or talking to our churches about raising funds to send bibles overseas in places that are desperate to have bibles in their own languages.
One of my favorite Psalms is Psalms 119 it talks about how sweet God’s word is and how his word is a light! Take some time to read it today and pray about how you can share the word of God to every tribe, and tongue and nation!
Hope McCleary graduated from Mesa State College with a degree in Mass Communications. After graduating she spent two years working in local news at KKCO 11 News in Grand Junction, Co. She decided to give up her career in the media to share the message of Christ full-time. She joined full-time staff with Master Plan Ministries the summer of 2012 and got married to Forrest McCleary in September of 2012. Through her own personal ups and downs in college Hope has a heart for college women understand their worth as God’s daughters, to see them grow in their faith, to grow in the unique gifts God has given them, and to stand firm in their faith even with the pressures of the world all around them. Hope’s interests include world and local missions, photography, singing, playing guitar and writing music, reading, meeting new people, coffee, and hiking.