Humble Submission and Embrace Challenges – What I Learned These Eight Years in Mission Field
Debbie Choy, Field Director
Looking back at the work of Pleroma Missions in Cambodia for the past eight years, everything has been God’s grace and his wonderful work. Thank you for letting me experience His riches and His endless love.
In the days of serving in Phnom Penh, I truly realized that God has His own timing. We only need to boldly follow and whole-heartedly believe. This is also my biggest lesson learned. Many times, people dealt with problems by their own wisdom and ability. But in the past few years,
God has taught me to learn to “trust always, hope always, and persevere always”. Everything needs to be done one step at a time, because God has his own plan.
The ministry of Pleroma Missions in Cambodia has been expanding. Apart from Pleroma School for Girls and Pleroma Home for Girls, the Pleroma Home for Women and the Pleroma Community Centre have started operating in the past six months. Thus, we need to add more staff and their workloads and challenges have increased as well. Thanks to the Lord, there are also many different short-term mission teams supporting us. This is the grace and goodness of the Lord. It is also an opportunity for people in the local frontline and overseas churches to work in one Spirit for the expansion of the Kingdom of God.
In the past three to four years, the Cambodian government has gradually befriended with China diplomatically. The external environment is constantly changing. This also reminded us to keep abreast of the recent news and resources, and reevaluate the new challenges in mission fields. The first new challenge: The relationship between organizations and the Cambodian government. Because the political climate has changed, the government no longer welcomes the services of foreign non- profit organizations as it did ten years ago. Instead, it has begun to regulate NGO in different ways:
1. It terms of taxation: one must pay 10% VAT (consumption tax). For example, if an organization rents a bus, and the bus company does not pay taxes, the organization will be responsible.
2. We have to deal with different government departments, including the Interior Ministry, the Treasury Ministry, the revenue authorities, the Land Administration Bureau and the Ministry of labour, thus increasing Administrative work and cost.
3. The requirement for opening a school and a shelter has become more stringent, and the medical insurance and missionary visas for employees continuously fluctuate. On a positive side, it is a very responsible act for the Cambodian government to regulate non–profit organizations. But this also adds challenges for us. We need to constantly adjust and cooperate in terms of our work and personal adjustment.
In addition, influenced by China’s the Belt and Road Initiative, many foreign investors bought land and invested in Cambodia’s infrastructure, which changed the economic situation in Cambodia. The development of Phnom Penh accelerated, and land prices and consumer price continue to rise. The local people’s demand for learning Chinese language is also rising. I am sometimes tired of adapting to these new changes; but I must constantly adapt and seize opportunities, because these changes are affecting our mission in Cambodia.
The second new challenge: the attitude of working with fellow co-workers. We have always been taught to be task-oriented. May the Lord give me patience and adjust my mindset, not just focus on the achievement of the ministry, but the personal well-being of co-workers as well. Thanks to the Lord for stretching me in these things, I have developed some projects that I didn’t feel able to do before, and how to effectively delegate the responsibilities, and continue to learn that “there is no fear in love” through God’s grace. Thank you Lord for letting me experience all these, and putting this calling in my heart. Although we continue to face different developments and challenges, we are grateful that God’s started and established the ministry in Cambodia through Fullness in Christ Fellowship.
Through the years, God has enabled me to see His mercy and righteousness and to learn to humble myself like Jesus did.
(Translated by Himki Wong)