Methodist Hostel in Cambodia the realisation of a vision

Nov 2009    

IT STARTED with a vision.

More than a year ago, Dr Seet Ai Mee, a long-time member of Aldersgate Methodist Church (AMC), had a dream. In the dream the Lord showed her a house where students coming to study in Phnom Penh from far-flung provinces throughout Cambodia could live.

Having attended the Methodist Girls’ School in Malacca as a young girl, Dr Seet had personally seen the value of a Christian “home away from home” for students. In her role as Missions Committee Chairman of AMC, she felt the Lord was showing her a way to help young Khmer students as many of her friends had been rendered help years before.

AMC has actively supported missions work in Cambodia for several years. When Dr Seet presented the proposal to open a hostel for students in Phnom Penh, it was enthusiastically endorsed and steps were taken to identify a suitable property.

AMC had initially envisioned a hostel for secondary students. However, after discussing the project with the Rev Philip Lim, the Methodist Missions Society’s (MMS) Country Coordinator for Cambodia, it was determined that safe, affordable housing for university students was needed more.

After months of searching for a property, AMC found a newly-constructed house that seemed perfect. Located only minutes from the Methodist School of Cambodia, the house is also near the Royal University of Phnom Penh, Mekong University and other institutions of higher learning. When pictures were emailed to Dr Seet, she immediately recognised the house in her vision – it was pink! She had not shared the house colour with anyone, so once again her vision was confirmed by the Lord.

In God’s perfect timing, prices dropped due to the economic recession and a reasonable, two-year lease was negotiated. By networking with other Singaporeans supporting hostel ministries, AMC was able to quickly recruit Khmer Christians to provide management, supervision and around-the-clock care as house leaders.

Cambodian Methodist pastors had long expressed deep concern that students coming from distant villages for tertiary education needed help to travel safely from rural to urban living. Opening a Methodist hostel in Phnom Penh was the answer to their prayers.

On Aug 20, 2009 the first Methodist Hostel in Cambodia was formally dedicated by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon. The Rev Chiang Ming Shun and the Rev William Sam, respectively the Pastor-in-Charge and Pastor of AMC, Dr Seet and I represented AMC at the service. Local students provided songs of praise and testimony as more than 50 guests gathered to witness this joyful occasion.

The opening of the hostel coincides with AMC’s 30th Anniversary, and the church’s anniversary theme, “Blessed to be a Blessing”, shines forth on a brilliant yellow banner hanging prominently near the entrance.

Students coming from the Methodist community across Cambodia will be given priority to stay at the hostel, but it is open to all. Students will contribute towards food and utilities, while AMC will cover the rental cost.

Devotions are held each morning, and mission teams will conduct discipleship training quarterly. ose who are keen in helping out may contact me at the Methodist Missions Society (teresa.wilborn@methodist. org.sg or tel: 9735-7554).

Teresa Wilborn, a missionary of the Methodist Missions Society, is a member of Aldersgate Methodist Church.


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