First two stakes mark milestone as LDS Church continues to grow in Cambodia


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  • caljimw Orem, UT
    Aug. 3, 2014 8:40 a.m.

    Our Son, Wayne Wright, was living in Cambodia when the Church established its first mission there in March, 1994. Because of his fluency in Khmer, he participated in finding a mission home for the first missionary couple (transferred from India), had the baptismal font built, then baptized Phal Mao, the first Cambodian to be baptized in that country. Shortly thereafter, we attended the wedding of Wayne and Phal, performed in a stilt house along the river in a small village north of Phnom Penh.
    Many members of Phal's family now hold leadership positions, and one sister served a Mission in Los Angeles, California.

  • lorilyn13 Boston, MA
    Aug. 2, 2014 5:05 p.m.

    I was serving in the Fresno California mission when the Cambodia mission opened. One of the Cambodian-speaking missionaries in my zone was transferred to Cambodia. Talk about an unexpected transfer! He was so excited.

  • donn layton, UT
    Aug. 2, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    RE: Patriot Who would have thought back in the 1960's during the war that Christianity?

    All Cambodian Catholic priests, including Joseph Chmar Salas, the first Khmer Catholic bishop, and many members of Catholic religious orders.

    Throughout the brutal repression of the Khmer Rouge and the uncertainty that followed ,Catholics had been forced to keep their faith a secret'

    Cambodia In 1965 all foreigners were forced out of the country and persecution of national believers escalated. Six months after the missionaries left, rebels shot Protestant Christians and burned their Bibles. Believers continued to meet in secret.

    National believers suffered as communists took over the country. Buildings were destroyed, pastors killed, believers were left homeless and mission activity seemed to cease. The day Vietnam fell to the Communists, there were 60,000 evangelical Christians in the country. Today there are more than 1 million

  • CA Granny PETALUMA, CA
    Aug. 1, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    Twenty years ago my husband and I had the privilege of being temple workers in Oakland. At the time, there were a number of California stakes which had significant members from southeast Asia who came as a stake from central California after the regular sessions concluded. On one such day, a young man accompanied by his wife asked an officiator about the possibility of hearing the endowment presented in Cambodian. He explained that he had done the translation and wanted to now hear it as a patron. I was deeply touched knowing that such a translation was needed and that someone had been able to actually do it. There were enough patrons from southeast Asia that day to have a session in their own language and knowing what those people had gone through made a strong impression on me.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    Aug. 1, 2014 1:53 p.m.

    Like the stone Daniel saw cut out of a mountain without hands that grew and grew until it broke down the idols of man and filled the whole earth.....nothin' is gonna stop the Lord and His work!

  • Idaho_Boy Aberdeen, ID
    Aug. 1, 2014 1:36 p.m.

    I had a roommate from Cambodia while I was at BYU. He too lost his family and was starved, beaten and abused. He didn't really talk about it, but once or twice he mentioned a few things. We take for granted the great freedoms that we have here, but very few even today are blessed with the things that we are. It is easy to forget that as we compare ourselves and try and keep up with the Jones.

    My roommate was friends with Matt Holland, and he spent some time with President Holland who was president of the university while I was there. I am sure that some strings were pulled in order for him to come to BYU. I met him at the dorms my freshman year and then we roomed together for a semester or two after my mission. Sina Seing was his name and I don't think I am spelling his name correctly, but I hope that he is doing well.

  • cambodia girl Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    Aug. 1, 2014 5:58 a.m.

    My husband and I served our mission to Cambodia and then returned to live there for three more years. We fell in love with the Khmer people. They are welcoming, loving, helpful, generous with their time and talents, ingenious, resilient, and have a thirst for knowledge. They also sing and dance with all of their hearts!

    I am so grateful that they are prospering and that the gospel is going forth steadily and peacefully (like it always does) to those beautiful people. Another testimony that Heavenly Father loves ALL His children and is just waiting to give them the blessings He has for them when they are ready, willing and able to handle them.

  • Open and honest Manchester, 00
    Aug. 1, 2014 12:52 a.m.

    For context - over the same period that the article states the Church grew to 12,200 members (1994 to 2014), the Cambodian population grew from 10.43 million people to 15.13 million. Church membership represents 0.08% of Cambodia's population.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 31, 2014 10:28 p.m.

    They must not have good internet access in Cambodia.

  • Chris B Salt Lake City, UT
    July 31, 2014 9:35 p.m.

    This is really neat-o and there are lots of blessing there for everyone!

  • estevanwalker Las Vegas, NV
    July 31, 2014 9:10 p.m.

    Beautiful article. If one goes to www.liahonachildren.org they could read about a project to end starvation/hunger and illiteracy in LDS kids and their friends in many countries, including Cambodia. The LDS population in Cambodia has an extraodinarily high rate of malnutrition, over 75% in those screened in multiple stakes/districts over the last 2 years, the highest seen anywhere in the world. Illiteracy is also a very significant problem. One of the new stake presidents (Bunhoch Eng) came to the US last year seeking help for the LDS children in Cambodia related to malnutrition and illiteracy. If interested I'd be happy to put you in touch with President Eng.

  • antodav TAMPA, FL
    July 31, 2014 8:11 p.m.

    More growth of the Church in former communist countries. It is astonishing to see how the Gospel satisfies the hunger that people in these lands feel after so many years of being spiritually starved by totalitarian atheist dictators. I hope I live to see it finally go forth in China. That will be a beautiful day.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 31, 2014 4:18 p.m.

    this is incredible. Who would have thought back in the 1960's during the war that Christianity let alone the Church could come to this war torn land. It is great to see these people with smiles on their faces rather than the terror of war. Miracle.

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    July 31, 2014 2:41 p.m.

    I love reading about stories like this. The Lord truly is hastening his work, and the excitement and joy in the hearts of those who helped in the early stages of the Church in Cambodia and other parts of the world is just priceless. After the horrendous evil of a brutal regime the light of the gospel is bringing hope, peace and happiness in the lives of the Cambodian people again.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    July 31, 2014 11:00 a.m.

    There are a number of other ways the Church and its members here can help the Cambodian people grow in the Church and come to a greater understanding.

    1.BYU admissions: If a young man is fluent in Cambodian he probably is Cambodian and survived the gangs!
    2.Most Conference center events are first come first serve, which I agree is fair. But, those who need to maybe feel the Spirit at these events have little opportunity to travel from Long Beach or Cambodia or anywhere else to take advantage of these opportunities when so many locals monopolize the first come first serve system. Having lived in Utah I was trying to attend everything also. Maybe weighting attendance opportunities based on distance could help if done for some events.
    3.Maybe Senior Missionaries going to Cambodia can be assigned to local wards in the US first in order to learn a bit of the culture, and learn of family members in Cambodia who could be first contacts in Cambodia. Then the greetings of the family and the endorsements of senior family members can travel to Cambodia opening doors.

  • don17 Temecula, CA
    July 31, 2014 10:25 a.m.

    This article very lightly covers much of what really went on in Cambodia. It understates the actual desperation the Cambodian people are in and have survived through! Let's start with the RICE FIELDS of Pol Pot. He was a communist dictator on the level of Stalin and Hitler. My friend spent 7 years in a prison camp. Her father was murdered, her sister killed. Leaving it at that. The atrocities were as bad as can be imagined. Pro American and educated people were in many cases found out and killed. Because so much of the educated class was killed the education system completely collapsed! Still education struggles from an entire generation being eliminated.
    The land was confiscated by the government and communes set up. Agriculture production decreased and people starved. Personal property was confiscated and what was left of the population tried to escape to Thailand in order to survive or come to America. Those who came to America settled in Long Beach Ca.
    The daily basics of education, food, shelter and capital with business understanding are a daily fight that Cambodians struggle to overcome. By the way the food is not weird! Just different!

  • redthunder Ogden, UT
    July 31, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    A friend of mine served in Cambodia from '11-13.

    "Survival in the Killing Fields", a book written by a survivor of the Pol Pot regime, is probably one of the saddest books I've ever read. Things were absolutely horrendous under the Khmer Rouge, similar to China under Mao Tse-Tung. Great read though. Reccommend it to anyone interested. Don't read it if blood and guts bother you.

  • gharmons Helendale, CA
    July 31, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    A Sister Missionary from Cambodia served in our ward in Victorville CA. She was the first in her family of 11 to join the Church. All 10 others followed, and some were preparing for missions. Victorville was her first area, and she spoke almost no English. However, she had a companion who was good with languages and had learned Mongolian from a previous companion. She bore her testimony to us in Mongolian, and the Sister from Cambodia bore her testimony in Cambodian. Of course, we couldn't understand a word—but the Spirit was strong. It brings us joy to see the Cambodian people receiving Christ into their lives.

  • DodgerDoug Salem, UT
    July 31, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    My son served in Cambodia from 2011-13. He loved his mission and talks so fondly of these warm and loving people. Thanks for sharing this article.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    July 31, 2014 8:13 a.m.