Cambodia is a beautiful tropical country with an exotic culture—but it is a country still recovering from the murderous reign of Pol Pot from 1975-1979. During this period, nearly 25% of the population were murdered by their own government in what historians have called an “auto-genocide”. The Khmer Rouge swept to power by convincing the people they would establish a utopian society based on communist equality. However, almost immediately after seizing power, Cambodia descended into a hell on earth—marked by work camps, torture, starvation and wholesale murder.
By 1979, when Pol Pot was forced from power, Cambodia was a country in ruins. Nearly every family lost someone to the Killing Fields. The economy was devastated, hunger was rampant, and nearly everyone with an education had been killed. Poverty and illiteracy remain widespread. This environment Poverty creates desperation, and when people are desperate, many social evils emerge such as sex trafficking, crime and corruption.
Only a small percentage of Cambodians have a university education. Having a college degree is a game-changer that opens doors for the best jobs including positions in government. Harmony's popular Learn2Work (L2W) Center is offers free English language and computer courses to Buddhist-background university students, most of whom, know almost nothing about Jesus. While the students are training in English and computers, we invite them to weekly Coffee-Table parties for a time of fun and fellowship. It here that many are exposed to the Good News for the first time and experience worship and Christian community. The result is a steady stream of Buddhist-background students becoming born-again Christians. L2W has become so popular that our classes are typically filled to capacity.
Poverty, dysfunctional families and spiritual darkness all contribute to rampant exploitation of young girls. Harmony helps bring girls from unspeakable backgrounds into the loving care of Esther’s House, where they will be loved, provided an education, and taught about Jesus. What was intended for evil in their lives becomes the Romans 8:28 catalyst for a life-changing experience where many meet Jesus and are healed—on every level.
A large part of our fight against trafficking involves prosecution of sex-offenders. Many, many offenders have been successfully prosecuted in Cambodia and in the U.S.
Cambodia is a provincial country—the majority of people living in remote and primitive village settings. A growing focus of our work is in the area of village outreach where help plant and support village churches, train pastors, and operate a Christian school with 160 village children in regular attendance. Currently working in Kandal, Prey Veng, Kratie, and Kampong Chhnang provinces.