World Relief staff

"My heart goes out to the youth of Cambodia"

Yamat Yan works with World Relief in the Cambodia Teenagers Training program that empowers youth to become leaders and mentors in their communities. Teenagers participate in small groups, volunteer in the AIDS visitation program, and adopt “brothers and sisters” to mentor and care for.Here, Yamat shares why he cares so much for the youth of Cambodia:

Every day I travel with my team to the villages in Kandal province to lead teenage education programs in the communities. We fellowship with the teenagers, mentor them, and mobilize them to action.

yamat- picture by lynn

Cambodian teenagers deal with intense social, familial, financial, emotional, and healthy pressures. Though they are young, many of my students face marriage soon and need to provide for their family.  Some of them work in harsh factory conditions or risk trafficking and exploitation when they leave the province in search of employment. Our curriculum reflects this intense context while communicating hope and joy in Jesus Christ.

I am sensitive to the issues of teenagers because I remember the transformation I underwent at the age of 16, when I came to know Jesus Christ. My family was strongly Buddhist, so my father threatened to beat me or even kill me if I went to church. I was afraid, but my love for Jesus kept me going. I would secretly meet with Christians to learn about God, and I continued to go to worship services, even though I was busy with work and university.

yamat

My heart goes out to the youth of Cambodia, and I face their problems every day as if they were my own. I love them all so much, and I love to see them spread hope to the rest of their community.

I want to see all of the villages of Cambodia transformed by Jesus Christ, and I know He can work even through me and through teenagers.

To learn more about the work in Cambodia, click here.

photos by Lynn Jue

How God grabbed my heart for the DRC

Craig Pixley, World Relief Director of Church Engagement, shares how God first grabbed his heart for the Democratic Republic of Congo. Seven years ago, I was sitting in a Nissan-Mercedes dealership having my oil changed. The cover story in the recent Time magazine caught my attention: “Congo: The Hidden Toll of the World’s Deadliest War”. Beautiful waiting room, coffee, cookies, comfy chairs. Free shoe shine. I brought along some work to do as I typically did but saw this cover sitting on the table next to me when I set my coffee down next to it. I reached over to pick it up, truly oblivious to what was happening in the Congo. Yet curious. I began reading the article.

A poignant paragraph from the June 5, 2006 article:

“Is the world willing to see it through? The shame of indifference should be reason enough for action. But without more money from the developed world to help rebuild, without more troops to secure the peace and protect innocent civilians, without a genuine effort by Congo's leaders to work for the country rather than just their part of it and without Congo's neighbors ending their meddlesome ways, Africa's broken heart is unlikely to heal. In 10 years' time, you may be reading another story much like this one. The only difference will be that millions more people will have died.”

Four things happened way out of the ordinary for me once I finished reading. First, as I processed the challenges to fix the Congo I recall thinking,“This is a God-sized problem … this will not be fixed even by well-meaning countries and aid organizations. This problem needs God.” Second, I had tears streaming down my face – right in the Nissan-Mercedes showroom! I held up the magazine in front of my face so nobody could see and brushed away my tears. Then third, I was compelled to briefly pray, “And God, if I can help be part of the solution, I am willing.”

Again, these three things are not ordinary for me. I typically don’t think in the context of “God-sized problems”, I don’t often cry (especially in public for Pete sakes), and I usually don’t offer to God ridiculous propositions to help be part of a solution with those circumstances in the way that I did on that day.

I left that dealership different as I drove back to work. No plans or resolutions or really even any new passions. But something inside of me had shifted.

I said there were four things out of the ordinary for me. Here’s the fourth … Through a series of unlikely events, I applied for a job to an organization called World Relief eight months later or so. I can remember as I read over the list of countries World Relief was actively working in, I saw the DR Congo on the list. Suddenly that word “Congo” on the website drew me back into the Nissan-Mercedes showroom with the Time magazine on my lap. God knew.

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Today, Craig Pixley is working as the Director of Church Engagement with World Relief and continues to Stand for the DR Congo. Read more about World Relief and the work of the Congolese church in the DRC.