From the Sunshine Coast to Cambodia: a very special partnership

By Karen Schultz

This year we have had the pleasure of both receiving visitors from and having staff, students and a parent travel to Cambodia. We were honoured to have two Lutheran pastors from Cambodia, Daniel Orn and Vannarith Chhim visit Pacific Lutheran College in August, as part of a trip sponsored by LCA International Mission. We first […]

This year we have had the pleasure of both receiving visitors from and having staff, students and a parent travel to Cambodia.

We were honoured to have two Lutheran pastors from Cambodia, Daniel Orn and Vannarith Chhim visit Pacific Lutheran College in August, as part of a trip sponsored by LCA International Mission.

We first met Pastor Daniel in 2012 when he hosted our team visit to the Lutheran World Mission Rainbow hostel in Phnom Penh and then Krus village. Pastor Daniel works with the students at the hostel, and was also instrumental in establishing various projects in Krus village, including computer skills and English classes, agricultural training and the local church.

Pastor Vannarith is the president of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Cambodia, and he helped to establish a number of primary schools in Cambodia.

Our visitors enjoyed meeting students, staff and parents of PLC and were amazed at the wonderful facilities. They also visited Immanuel Gardens Retirement Village to gain an understanding of other aspects of the work of the Lutheran Church of Australia.

Our visitors were treated to a cruise of Pumicestone Passage, thanks to the generosity of Rose, Ken and Gus McBryde of Caloundra Cruises. Gus is a former student of PLC and has also been in a visiting team to Cambodia, so it was exciting for him to be able to reciprocate the hospitality that Pastor Daniel had extended to us in 2012.

Our visitors were also keen to “try something Aussie”, so we had an Aussie BBQ. The 2014 Cambodia team, families and other former team members to Cambodia joined our visitors for a wonderful evening of fellowship. One of the most special moments was when we sang to our guests, “May the Lord Bless You Today”.

Pastors Daniel and Vannarith also took the opportunity to join our Middle and Senior College students at chapel. They were able to share some of their personal journey with the students, as well as their vision for the future of Cambodia.

In December 2014, Pacific Lutheran College undertook its third visit to Cambodia. The visiting team (10 students, a parent, a past student and four staff members) spent a week in the capital, Phnom Penh, and three days in Kampong Chhnang province in Phum Krus (Krus village). The visit was about strengthening the important relationships which had been established during previous visits.

In Phnom Penh, the team spent time with the students of the Lutheran World Mission Rainbow Hostel. This hostel provides affordable accommodation within a supportive community, for tertiary students from rural areas. The team also met with key staff from the head offices of several non-government organisations (NGOs) and social enterprises, to learn from people who work with the poor and marginalised.

The team also travelled to Phum Krus (Krus village) in Kampong Chhnang province. Here, the team learned about the various projects which Lutheran World Mission (supported by LCA International Mission) has established in the village and surrounding areas, as well as spending time in the local primary school.

Throughout the year, we had been raising funds to support the hostel in Phnom Penh and the projects in Krus village. Our fundraising was for purchasing laptop computers for students in both places. They would enable students in the village to learn basic computer skills to improve their post-school employment prospects and/or to attend university. The students in the hostel in Phnom Penh could use them for their studies, as well as being able to connect with us via Skype to add to our valuable learning partnership.

The trip also included visits to important sites in Cambodia. We visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (in Phnom Penh) and the Choeung Ek Memorial (known as the Killing Fields) a short distance from the city. These are important places to better understand the cruel impact of the Khmer Rouge regime which, in many ways, the country is still recovering from. Finally, our trip included a visit to Siem Reap and the ancient temples of Angkor.

We look forward to continuing to work together into the future, through this very special partnership.


If your school would like to know more about how they can connect to the mission of God through a LCA International Mission service-learning and ministry partnership, you are invited to phone Erin on (08) 8267 7300 or email erin.kerber@lca.org.au. For more information, go to www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/service-learning/

Read more stories about school partnerships and school service-learning at www.lcamission.org.au/category/stories/local-partners/schools/

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About the Author : Erin Kerber


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