"While elsewhere in the region, Christians face government restrictions, Cambodia’s church leaders have seen their work not only permitted but championed and celebrated from the highest levels of government.
This year, Hun Sen commented on the contribution that the Christian community had made in society to combat violence and addiction within Cambodia. And he specifically thanked Christians for participating in the peaceful, democratic elections that had helped keep the Cambodian People’s Party in leadership. (Hun Sen has been in office since 1985.) The leaders of the national evangelical networks can celebrate the event as an answered prayer. The prime minister assured Christians that their religious freedoms would continue, meaning evangelicals can continue their coordination in a years-long plan to reach all of Cambodia—each and every village—with the gospel.
Looking back through all the struggles in the history of the #gospel in Cambodia, this event is nothing less than a modern-day miracle. The year 2019 will prove a landmark year for Cambodia, with the growth of the church standing in stark contrast to the repression and trauma of its historic past.
Few countries in the world have a more glorious or gruesome history than Cambodia. The Cambodian people once ruled an empire that stretched over most of modern #Thailand, #Laos, and #Cambodia, and into #Vietnam. The center was near Siem Reap, where magnificent temple ruins of Angkor Wat, a #UNESCO World Heritage Site, reflect Hindu, Buddhist, and Khmer imagery.
By the time the first Protestant missionaries arrived in 1923, Cambodia was part of French Indochina and had been reduced to its current boundaries, with an estimated population of 2.5 million. #Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA) missionary Arthur Hammond began Bible translation into the Khmer language in 1925, with printed versions available about 30 years later. Christianity had long been characterized by most #Cambodians as a “foreign religion” beginning during the period of the French Protectorate (1863–1954) As a consequence, there were only 700–1,000 #Christians in Cambodia by 1970."