Ground-blessing ceremony of Prek Omperl Methodist Church outside Phnom Penh
SUNDAY, AUG 14, WAS A BLESSED DAY as eight members of Aldersgate Methodist Church (AMC) worshipped with their Cambodian brothers and sisters on the site of the future Prek Omperl Methodist Church (POMC) building outside Phnom Penh. Over the years, POMC has grown from a small preaching point into a local church with about 60 village worshippers, more than 30 of whom are baptized members.
We had an extra reason to rejoice. Early that morning the eight of us, plus four village youths studying at university, had piled into a van, excited to begin the drive from Phnom Penh to Prek Omperl. As we entered an intersection, a coach bus came speeding along and broadsided our van. Windows were shattered and all of us were knocked against one another. Praise the Lord, apart from a few minor scratches no one suﬀered injury.
As we surveyed the wrecked vehicle and waited for replacement transport, we quietly bowed our heads and thanked God for His infinite mercy and protection. We called ahead to let the villagers know what had happened, and when we finally arrived they ran to meet us with hugs and tears.
It was, indeed, a day of double blessings for all of us! Located northeast of Phnom Penh, Prek Omperl village is reached by ferrying across the Mekong River, then bumping down a long, rutted road that roils with dust during dry season and quickly turns into a quagmire during rainy months. Homes are mostly simple, wooden structures built high oﬀ the ground to avoid flooding. Rural tranquillity is broken by the squawks of chickens and ducks being chased around by dogs, and the jingle of heavy bells as cows slowly make their way down to the river for a cooling bath.
On this hot and humid Sunday morning, storm clouds gathered as the Rev William Sam, Pastor of AMC, shared the Word of God. Preaching from Matthew 5:14-16, he compared the church of Christ to a candle burning brightly in the night. He said: “Whenever God plants a church, the light of hope is revealed … and in our dark world, the light of the church points the lost to Jesus their Savior.”
After the ground-blessing ceremony, the Rev Sam and Pastor Ouk Rattana of POMC joined hands to break the soil with a Khmer-style hoe. Leaders from AMC and POMC then took their turns to break the consecrated ground together as brothers and sisters in Christ. Later, the villagers extended warm hospitality to their Singaporean guests by serving a delicious Cambodian lunch.
The partnership between AMC and POMC spans eight years. Throughout this time, villagers have faithfully met for worship and fellowship in an open-air structure that is little more than a cow shed with concrete flooring. It has long been a shared vision to move from the rented property to a permanent home, and this ground-blessing service represented the first milestone in that journey.
Volunteer architects from Singapore are helping to translate mental pictures of the church into blueprints. For more information, please contact the Rev Teresa Wilborn at firstname.lastname@example.org or mobile 9735-7554.
The Rev Teresa Wilborn is the Assistant Director – Community Development of the Methodist Missions Society.
Ground-blessing for new church in Phnom Penh
THE GROUND-BLESSING CEREMONY for the new building of Chress Methodist Church (CMC) was held on Sept 4, 2011, in the Cambodian city of Phnom Penh.
The Rev Dr Peter Wong, Pastor-in-Charge of Covenant Community Methodist Church (CCMC), conducted the service and the ceremony together with Pastor Rath Phirum, the local pastor of CMC. They have been renting the church grounds for many years and their ministry has grown. The purchase of land for the new church building is a provision from God and truly calls for thanksgiving.
Ten members of CCMC, including the Local Church Executive Committee Chairman, Mr Eddie Koh, also witnessed this event. It was a significant milestone for both CCMC and CMC as many members of CCMC have partnered CMC in their ministry outreach to Cambodian children and youths since June 2008. It was uplifting and encouraging to see the fruits of our labour, and to be able to come alongside our spiritual brothers and sisters in CMC with much prayer.
About 30 worshippers, including youths, attended the service and the ceremony. ere was also a lunch fellowship after the ceremony. It was a joyous occasion as we were able to commit the land and the future new church building to God and to His glory, and pray with our brothers and sisters in Christ that they will remain faithful and strong in the Lord.
Yeo Hwee Lan is a Lay Ministry Staﬀ at Covenant Community Methodist Church.