A MISSIONARY group from Stirling Presbyterian Church visited Phlong Village in Cambodia last month. The group, led by Pastor Jared Stanford and Junior Pastor Abigail Smith, spent 10 days sharing the Lord’s love in the village.
“We were led by the Holy Spirit and visiting Cambodia just seemed right. The motive behind the trip was, however, twofold: firstly to share the Lord’s love, but secondly to encourage us to see things and question things in a new light,” Stanford said.
The group partnered with full-time missionary Maliana Lai and stayed at the Youth with a Mission (YWAM) base an hour away from the village, waking up at 4am every morning to travel to Phlong and begin the day’s work.
The group had various activities or missions as part of their outreach programme in the village, including teaching English to young children, teaching various hygiene methods to new mothers and holding daily prayer walks.
The work they did was an extension of Lai’s work in the village throughout the year.
Lai lives in Cambodia with his wife and two children and has been doing missionary work there for four years.
“Maliana lives off very little and has sacrificed so much. He gave up his life in India to serve people and share the Father’s love. He is an example of a practical expression of love that will stay with me forever,” Stanford said.
Over the years, Lai has formed a solid relationship with the villagers. This aided Stanford and his team and allowed them to enter the village on the trust Lai had built.
Communication and bonding between the villagers and mission group was made easy and many left Cambodia with life-changing memories and lessons gained through this experience.
Pastor Daele Smith from Nahoon Methodist Church, who also went on the mission, said: “The culture and welcoming nature of the villagers is something that is so hard to forget. In spite of being a foreigner, you never really felt like one.
“The people live off so little, but they are so happy and generous. It’s a hard thing to ‘un-see’. It made me realise how much we take for granted.”
Abigail Smith said: “I play the ukulele and I remember playing in the street in the village and being invited into one of the family’s homes. We were very limited because of the language barrier, but I will always remember the love and understanding conveyed between us without words.”
Stanford, who hopes to have another mission trip this year and continue forming relationships all over the world, said: “There is a big emphasis on what God tells us to do. Our destinations are not picked for fun, they are picked based on where we are needed, where God needs us to share his love.”
If anyone would like to support the work Maliana Lai does in Cambodia, please contact Pastor Daele Smith on 073-158-7802 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.