Finding Freedom in His Word
In every country that we work in, religious freedom is considered a luxury rather than a right. People who are able to worship God, do so with joy and conviction but many who are raised in a religion different from Christianity still struggle to understand their religious views and how they can follow these practices without negatively affecting their livelihood or well-being. This should not be the case, but we face stories of people’s personal and financial struggles every day. We then have to ask; what is religious freedom? Does it mean that people are free to pursue their own beliefs in a country divided by religious views, or does it mean that true freedom only comes from following Jesus Christ?
Phao Samrach is ten years old and lives in Banteay Meanchey Province in Cambodia. Before he believed in Jesus, Phao regularly went to the pagoda in his village to hear the sermon and provide an offering of food to the spirits associated with Buddhism. He prayed for happiness for his family, but never saw his prayers comes to fruition. These offerings created a strain between him and his family.
“Because my family’s occupation, it was very hard to collect the money to feed my family,
so I was very worried. It caused me to get angry with my family.”
Phao was cast from his family for negatively disrupting their home. He had lost all hope and lived in fear, and anger. While Phao tried to find solace in gambling, God was waiting to transform his life.
One day, Phao heard about the Goods News from a preacher who came to visit his house. Since that day, his life has changed dramatically. He no longer sacrifices food to the spirits, and finally believes that he can live a life free of sin. Now, Phao is devoted to learning about God and His promises for Phao’s life.
“I just want to praise to the Lord and read the Bible.”
Phao’s story is just one of several that we have had the privilege of hearing during our time in Cambodia. This year, we will be returning to Cambodia to train local leaders on how to share and teach God’s word.
Our goals for 2016, are to;
- Train and equip 220 church planters
- Start 500 new churches in unreached villages
- Share the Gospels with over 33,000 people
Religious freedom is not just about being able to follow your own personal religious beliefs, it is about embracing a life of freedom found only in Christ.