In 2015 the Board for Mission (now known as LCA International Mission) sought to find a significant way of recognising the celebration of 50 years of union / formation of the LCA (2016) and the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (2017). The general brief was to have a focus on inter-cultural youth leadership development, […]
In 2015 the Board for Mission (now known as LCA International Mission) sought to find a significant way of recognising the celebration of 50 years of union / formation of the LCA (2016) and the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation (2017). The general brief was to have a focus on inter-cultural youth leadership development, with the involvement of young adults from the LCA and our overseas partner churches.
In discussions with Grow Ministries, it became evident that for the LCA International Mission to develop its own leadership program it would be counter-productive to what Grow Ministries had already begun to develop in its Cultivate Leadership program plan.
It was expected that through LCA International Mission’s involvement in the proposed Grow Ministries plan for the Cultivate Leadership program, we could work collaboratively with other departments of the LCA to build leadership capacity of the young adults in the LCA and our overseas partner churches. In addition, this LCA International Mission partnership in the gospel would provide an exciting way for young adults from Australia and overseas to see and experience firsthand what God is doing in his mission in the world through our mission partnerships.
LCA International Mission provided an opportunity for 4 overseas partner church young adults to join the Cultivate Leadership program proposed by Grow Ministries both in Australia and overseas and also arranged the ‘Stretch and Grow’ service event for the group, which took place in Cambodia.
The following reflection is written by one of the Australian participants, Elsa Matthias, after returning from Cambodia.
Last year I had the immense honour of being part of the Grow leadership program, that allowed me to travel to Cambodia and experience the great work that God is doing in their communities. I visited the community centre in Tang Krang, the church and hostel in Phnom Penh and the Life Centre in Phum Krus.
Though I was only in Cambodia for one week I was touched by the joy that these small communities had. The Life Centre in Phum Krus is led by a remarkable group of leaders. They are so welcoming and passionate about their faith and their community. While I was there I got to witness two specific ways in which I saw the people of Cambodia share the love of Jesus. The first is in their work with the youth and children of the villages that they work in, both Tang Krang and Phum Krus. The church puts together programmes for the youth in which they can learn English, play games and learn about the Gospel. In our time there, we got to be a part of one of these programmes. They sang songs, told bible stories and prayed with the children, but the most obvious service that they provided was giving the children a safe place where they can play games and experience the love of God. It was such a joy for me to be a part of this service to those smiling children.
The second amazing gift that these people give to their community comes as they help the farmers. The leaders of the Life Centre pack straw into plastic packages. They then steam these packages and plant mushrooms in them. They plant mushrooms multiple times a year to give farmers to plant and to feed their families and the church. This is an amazing service and I was so encouraged by the passion of this community as they shared their faith and responded to the calling that God gives us to feed the hungry.
I learned so much about God and the work that he does in this world at the Rainbow Hostel in Phnom Penh. We had a chance to talk with some young adults and college students who rent and live at the rainbow hostel to study. They told us their testimonies and their stories about how they have come to know God. Not all of them are Christians, but quite a few become Christians throughout their stay in the rainbow hostel. It was such a special experience to be a part of that community, even for just a short time, and to get to hear about the amazing things that God has done for them and to see the passion that they have, to tell others and share this love with everyone.
The community in Cambodia has opened my eyes to the great work that God is doing globally and I can’t wait to see the amazing things that God has planned for them.
If you would like to consider the opportunity to serve as a volunteer in mission, serving in practical ways, teaching English, teaching in the seminaries and institutions of our partner churches, or in local churches, you are invited to phone Nevin on (08) 8267 7300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to https://www.lcamission.org.au/join-gods-mission/volunteer/
Read more stories about volunteering at https://www.lcamission.org.au/category/join-gods-mission/volunteers/