A Time to Give Thanks

A Time to Give Thanks

Last week, we hosted our 6th Thanksgiving gathering! Thanksgiving is an inherently American holiday, but even more than that it’s a way of life that God calls us too. These words from Catechesis Books, a publishing company, really sum up our heart for hosting and sharing Thanksgiving to those around us here in Cambodia.

“As many of you may know from “We Believe,” the word “Eucharist” simply means “Thanksgiving.” This word has been used for over two thousand years to refer to the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. When we celebrate American Thanksgiving, I always think about the Eucharist as well – how very beautiful to be invited to and to participate in a Thanksgiving feast instituted by Christ himself in his final days!

There are some distinctly common elements shared by the two feasts – both are a participation in ordinary graces (our basic food) for the sake of remembering with gratitude what we have been given and for binding us more tightly in relationship (during the Eucharist with Christ, and during Thanksgiving with one another).”

This has been our heart, to host a Thanksgiving that fits into a larger picture of fellowship that God calls us to have with other believers. We gather, reflect on the year, and give praise to God for the wonderful things he has done for us, in us, and around us. 

When we first started this six years ago, we rented large tents and invited everyone from AHIS and had 120 people! We’ve toned it down since then to more of our closer friends who we walk alongside with regularly. This year we prayed about who we will miss the most since next year we will be in the States for Thanksgiving, and it mostly centered around our Cambodian friends. So this year we invited our closest Cambodian friends and our new Norwegian friends (who had never experienced Thanksgiving before!) We are so grateful for these fellow image bears the Lord has placed in our lives. 

 

Confirming the Faith

Confirming the Faith

On October 9th, the Church of Christ Our Peace held a very special confirmation service. One of the things that was so special was that it combined all of the CCOP congregations into one large church service with members of the English, Khmer, and Chinese being able to take part in worshiping the LORD together. CCOP is made up of three separate congregations that each meet separately on Sundays, but before Covid, we used to regularly have these types of combined services four times a year, and it is great that we are able to return back to this combined worship!

For Anna and I this was a really powerful service. For this service, Bishop Titus Chung from the Diocese of Singapore came to lead the confirmation of 23 members of the different CCOP congregations and 27 members of The Church of the Good Shepherd (a sister church of CCOP). This was the first time Anna and I have been able to witness a confirmation ceremony and many of the people confirmed had been baptized earlier this year! In addition to witnessing many people confirm their faith in the LORD, we also got to witness a member of CCOP Khmer be made a deaconess! Lina has been involved with the CCOP since 1996 and has grown in her faith and involvement in sharing the Gospel of Christ all over Cambodia. It was really powerful to witness her faith in Christ being rewarded in this way. We also were able to get a small taste of what it looks like to shift out of education and into church ministry. Anna was asked to take photos of the service and I was able to help. It was really wonderful to be able to use our talents to practically serve a need for our church and it encouraged and invigorated us for the season ahead where we can fully invest in church ministry here in Cambodia.

Would you join us in prayer for the work of the church in Cambodia and also for the future combined services at CCOP. We are looking forward to seeing the LORD call people to faith in him and seeing more people get baptized, confirmed, and choose to follow Christ! Below is a photo gallery of the service.

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Shifting Gears – Same Country, New Ministry

Shifting Gears – Same Country, New Ministry

Our four daughters during Khmer New Year 2022

 

We are the Pelloni’s! We have been living and serving in Cambodia since 2015. In that time, we have worked primarily in education with young children. Since moving to Cambodia, we have had four wonderful daughters, all born in Cambodia, and have learned so much about God’s love for people of all nations. 

Anna and I moved to Cambodia as newlyweds in 2015 with a heart to experience God outside of the cities we grew up in. We got a small taste of working with international students in university and wanted to go out into the world and experience the Great Commission for ourselves to see how we fit into God’s plan for the world. One of the things we realized very quickly was that the way we viewed and worshiped God was very different from how people in different parts of the world see and worship God. Since moving to Cambodia, God has been using our Cambodian brothers and sisters in Christ to show us how to live and worship God in a communal way rather than merely a personal way. One of the biggest things we had to learn to do was be open and vulnerable about every aspect of our life. What does it mean to love God with your home? What does it look like to love God outside of your church? What does it mean to let people into the intimacy of how you spend your days outside of work? For Cambodians, these are all very natural things. It’s perfectly normal for people close to you to know everything about you as if they are extended family members. Here’s a story about how this deep intimacy allowed us to encourage and worship God with one of our best Cambodian friends/family.

One of our first friends we came to know when we moved to Cambodia is S&V (names kept confidential). We have known S&V for many years. Ever since we have known them they have had a deep desire to partner with their church to spread the Gospel in deeper parts of Cambodia and support the training of teachers outside of the major cities. This past year (2022), our friends came to us to share with us that they felt called to a change in their vocation. V has been working with an NGO but felt like God was calling him to go to seminary and plant a church in the province. Not only was he feeling this call, but his church here in Cambodia was also in support of this calling! For us it was very exciting as we were also feeling called to change our ministry from education to church ministry too. They asked us to join them in prayer and also to teach them about support raising, how to do it, and how to share with others about God’s vision for their life. We were so encouraged! Not only was God slowly changing our hearts and minds about ministry, but he was doing the same thing to some of our best friends and bringing us together despite our different nationalities! Over the next several months we met with them monthly to work on how to share about God and ask for people to partner with them as they take the next steps in their life towards full time ministry and seminary study. They are currently support raising and in their first year of seminary study. 

This is just one story of many that we have from living in Cambodia for the last 8 years. Much like S&V we are spending this next year wrapping up our ministry in education and then shifting full time into support raising and working in church ministry, with the goal of going to seminary in the future. We are very excited to join SAMS and be a part of the wider community of Anglicans who have a deep desire to see the Great Commission spread throughout the world and specifically Cambodia. When we come back to Cambodia after support raising in the USA, we will be on a church planting team in Phnom Penh with our church home of the last 6 years, Church of Christ Our Peace. Please join us in prayer as we wrap up the final year with our students and families from the school while also preparing to shift into full time support raising and church planting.

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