Cambodia Bible Institute
Today I decided to go and visit the ICA church. ICA stands for International Christian Assembly which is a a church that caters to expats, missionaries and NGO workers who come from all over the world to serve and work in Cambodia. ICA used to be located in the World Vision building but recently moved to the Cambodia Bible Institute which is quite a distance. Finding this place was quite a task and thanks to my friend Anne who explained the directions to my tuk tuk driver, we managed to get there a few minutes late but nonetheless, it was great to enter into a time of worship in English. It felt like I was back in Toronto attending a lively worship service with familiar songs that I hear at my own church. One of the neat things about attending these services is the opportunity to worship with so many different cultures. Currently people from 31 nations are represented in this 300+ congregation.
In the middle of the service, any newcomers are asked to stand up and say where they are from. Ironically, many years ago when I attended an ICA service, it was then that I had the privilege of meeting Marie Ens of Place of Rescue and it was through Marie that I learned about the work of Ratanak International. So today, I discovered again how small a world it was as after the service I reconnected with some of Anne's friends whom I had met in the first weekend when I had arrived in Cambodia. But shortly thereafter, a gal sitting behind me said she had met me before. Of course my memory these days is not all that great but it turns out that last year when I was here, we had connected through Samaritan's Purse. She is another Canadian from Calgary who is here for a year looking to get involved in development work and so we are hoping to meet up for dinner. But that was not the only connection, over the past couple weeks I have been emailing back and forth with an Irish couple who have been serving in Cambodia for the past 6 months and had heard about the work of Ratanak International. We have been trying to set a date to meet. Ironically, they too were at this service and came up to introduce themselves to me.
But attending ICA is also a great way to network in the Christian community and to learn what others are doing. Today, one of the presenters was from an organization that is seeking to reach out to Male Sex Tourists who frequent the bars in the waterfront area. The outreach ministry is called MST and was established in Thailand. There is a training session happening this coming Friday and then there will be an opportunity to go to the waterfront and minister to the sex tourists. Part of me would love to go to learn more about this ministry but for now, I am trying to be mindful of not trying to take on too much in these early days. Perhaps as time permits in the future, I will go and check this out. As the presenter said, this is just another kind of 'unreached people' group that needs to be transformed by the Lord. It is so encouraging to see a group of people in the church taking on this very difficult task of reaching the 'Johns.' While not all of us are 'called' to reach the 'Johns' it was a good reminder that no one is outside of God's grace.