2011 Pastors Conference

Here at Fellowship of Hope, we have been blessed with an amazing opportunity recently for our pastors to receive training. As you may know, Fellowship of Hope Church has been blessed with an incredible amount of growth in the last few years. In July 2009 the senior pastors of Fellowship of Hope (Sara, Savuth and Vuthy)  had been overseeing 11 churches with around  1000 members. This has now grown to around 26 Fellowship of Hope churches with 1500 members! Praise God for the incredible spread of the gospel in Cambodia!

One of the difficulties we have faced, however, has been getting all the church leaders together, to receive encouragement, training and support. Most of the pastors and leaders of Fellowship of Hope church are so poor that they are unable to afford the travel cost or time away from their family, because they must provide daily for their families needs. If they don’t work then their families don’t eat.

But because of God’s provision and the generosity of Perth Bible College and other individual sponsors, we were able to send 74 of our pastors and ministry leaders to attend this year’s Pastors Conference in Siem Reap. David Smith (the Principal of Perth Bible College), his father Clifton Smith and Adam Niven from Perth Bible College were major contributors to this work.

This was an incredible opportunity for teaching, for encouragement and to share our lives and stories. There are some wonderful, encouraging stories which have come out of this conference. It has been so important for each leader from a village or a city church to be able to feel part of a bigger work.

As David Smith describes, “Many are so isolated that it is only at these times that they receive encouragement from other people. There is one story of a lady who teaches 120 children every day in a remote village, miles from anywhere, and has no helpers. She faithfully continues, and by being encouraged at the conference by others, and knowing others are now praying, she has renewed energy to keep going… A man from a slum district came and was part of the work for the first time. You could not take the grin off his face. Coming from a small poor community, and now participating in a work that had spread across Cambodia. We were able to baptise him in the swimming pool at the hotel where we held the conference. He is so excited about going back and telling his people about what he has
learned!” It is an incredible joy to share our faith together as God’s people!

In terms of meeting our need for teaching, the conference helped to deepen and mature the work of the FHC churches in Cambodia. A week of training takes our leaders all deeper into God’s word and deals with practical issues of church ministry in a difficult context with many challenges. David goes on to say that the leaders “would have stayed  for weeks if we continued, they are so hungry to grow for God, and to serve him more effectively.” Praise God for a very special time of sharing, growth, deepening of faith and great encouragement! Thank you to all our supporters who have helped to make this possible!

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