Funny Language Stories

Funny Language Stories

So there I was at my furniture lady’s shop describing the dimensions for the cross we wanted made for our Holy Week services, when she says: “Are you going to hang someone on this cross???”

Some backstory: we have a wood shop who we go to for all our wooden furniture. This shop owner is a very kind lady who makes excellent quality furniture and we go to this shop because it’s a local shop that keeps Cambodians in business through their handicraft. We’ve had many furniture pieces made here and we know this lady quite well (at least as far as a relationship between a repeat customer and shop owner goes). So I came here to have a sturdy wooden cross made as quality wood is not only hard to come by in Cambodia, but it’s very expensive. I told her that I want to have a cross made and she replied that she did not know what a cross was. As I showed her a picture she showed a glint of familiarity in her eyes: “oh you want this for your church right?” Hooray! We’re getting somewhere. So I began to tell her the dimensions, 210 meters tall (7 feet) with 10x10cm thickness (about a 4×4 in the US) and she exclaimed, “wow, this is huge! Why do you need this to be so big?” I began to tell her that it needed to be big because in the bible, a man was hung on one of these. She replied, “but why do you want it to be so thick?”. I told her that to be hung on this, large nails had to be put through a mans wrists to hold him there and if the wood was too thin or the nails too small, the cross would break! She looks a little worried and somewhat hesitantly asked: “So are you going to hang someone on this cross?”

I burst into laughter and assured her no, that of course we would not crucify someone today. She let out a sigh of relief as I explained to her that the reason we want it to be big is for the symbolism and to see what it would have been like then. Sadly, this type of behavior isn’t all too uncommon to see in Cambodia where something so outlandish and crazy might happen. But in this instance, I was able to very limitedly explain that this cross would go in a church and people would see it and remember what a man did for us.

Here in Cambodia, we have many interactions like this both in English and in Khmer (the local language) where we get mixed up with what the other person means or is thinking. Most often these are funny stories that help foreigner and locals bond and become friends. I hope you have enjoyed this small insight into what it’s like to speak to a different culture!

-Anthony Pelloni


Abiding in the Father

Abiding in the Father


It’s been awhile since our family shared an update about where we are in life and ministry. In a crazy but good series of events, we are back in the US six months earlier than we anticipated! We were presented with a scenario that allowed us to step away from teaching in December (which is a lot sooner than we anticipated) and through much prayer and confirmation, we felt the Lord was giving us this opportunity to step into our new season of partner raising, ministry, and adjusting to the US after not being back for nearly four years. We arrived in the US on January 28th and it’s been a truly wild ride of transition, first time meetings, and old & new friendships, homeschooling, etc. But even though everything is new and exciting (and somewhat exhausting), the Lord and others have put this word on my mind: Abide. 


To abide in something means to dwell in it. Even though our lives are made up of many seasons and they usually change and look different every time, we are called to one constant and unchanging season. A season of abiding in the Father who loves us. I’ve found a great peace in this as John wrote ‘Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.’ -John 15:4 Amidst all of the goals we have set, the meetings, speaking at churches, sharing our vision for ministry, etc etc, God still calls us to abide in his presence. And there’s a great peace in knowing that no matter what lies ahead, certain or uncertain, the Father of all creation invites us to dwell with him always. 


Please join with us in prayer over our season of living in the US and raising up partners in ministry. We were recently given the opportunity to write a comprehensive article about our ministry in Cambodia for the website The Anglican Compass. If you would like to read that, you can click here.


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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.