Cambodia and Church History
Ten Years Gone
After ten years in control, Vietnam decided to pull out of Cambodia toward the end of 1989. Civil war broke out as the Cambodian coalitions sought to control the government. The UN stepped in and formed the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (Untac). In their efforts, they tried to unify the coalitions under a treaty. Plans were also set in motion to organize free elections in the country. After signing a treaty to end fighting, the Khmer Rouge withdrew from the treaty and chose to continue fighting.
On May 25, 1993, the free elections took place with Sihanouk’s Funcinpec party winning the most seats but Cambodia People’s Party (CPP) came in a close second. The CPP contained many politicians from the communist government controlled by Vietnam. After losing the election, the CPP threatened to split the country and take control of the eastern provinces. Therefore a decision was made to have two joint prime ministers: Prince Norodom Ranariddh and Hun Sen. Norodom Sihanouk chose to become king once again and the crowning ceremony occurred during the turmoil of the election.
Hun Sen Prime Minister
Both Funcinpec and CPP began trying to form an agreement with the Khmer Rouge that would finally end the fighting and increase that party’s favor with the public. Just as Funcinpec was nearing an agreement, soldiers loyal to CPP attacked Funcinpec forces in the capital and Hun Sen successfully secured control of the government. Ranariddh lost his position as prime minister and a puppet prime minister took his place. Though there were still two prime ministers, Hun Sen had become the sole leader. Due to his actions, all aid into the country was halted and Cambodia’s seat in the UN was declared vacant.
In 1998, elections were held again to determine who would control the National Assembly and the government overall. The CPP gained a strong victory but did not have the two-thirds majority to rule alone. Neither Funcinpec nor Sam Rainsy Party agreed to join CPP in a coalition and riots broke out across the nation.
In November 1998, CPP and Funcinpec agreed to form a coalition and the situation stabilized with Hun Sen as prime minister. Peace spread as most of the remaining Khmer Rouge forces surrendered before the end of 1998. The following year, 1999, became the first year of peace in Cambodia in thirty years.
In 2003, another election was held. Once again CPP earned the most votes but Funcinpec and SRP received a similar number of votes. Still the CPP did not gain the two-thirds majority required to govern alone. After a political deadlock, a coalition was formed between CPP and Funcinpec. The Sam Rainsy Party was excluded from the new government and unconstitutional changes were made to the National Assembly.
Norodom Sihamoni New King
At the end of October 2004, Norodom Sihanouk retired as king and his son Norodom Sihamoni was crowned the new king.
The First Protestant Missionaries
Protestant Christianity became a reality for Cambodians for the first time in 1923. Two couples from the mission organization Christian and Missionary Alliance introduced the concepts presented in the Bible. One of the couples operated out of Battambang and formed a Bible school to train Cambodian pastors. The other couple worked on translating the Bible into Khmer in Phnom Penh.
The Christians Met Persecution
Khmer Christians from South Vietnam began to resettle in Battambang and worked with the missionary couple there. Only five years after the government allowed Christianity into the country, the king raised political opposition to the Bible school. In 1932, the first national persecution of Christianity began with an edict by the king that outlawed evangelism. During this time, some of the Bible school students were arrested and missionaries were forced to leave Kratie province.
Christians Killed By Freedom Fighters
The Bible translation work in Phnom Penh was completed in 1940 but a fully translated Bible was not printed until 1953. Over this time period, there was a slow and steady increase in Cambodian Christians. But during this time, freedom fighters seeking independence from France began to target Christians and Cambodian Christians died for their faith for the first time.
As the threat of war increased in 1965, Norodom Sihanouk began a campaign against Americans and the CIA. All the American missionaries working in Cambodia were forced out of the country as a result and Khmer Christians were persecuted. At the time there were roughly one thousand Khmer Christians. When the Lon Nol government came into power in 1970, missionaries began to return but there were only 300 Christians left.
During the years of civil war that followed, the church grew tremendously. The growth was so fast that churches could not accommodate everyone and house churches began to form. Their faith was so incredible that they would baptize and worship at the river while the city was being bombarded.
The city almost fell in 1974 but the Christians gathered together to pray that the onslaught would be held off so the church could continue to expand. By the time the city fell a year later, the church had over four thousand Christians in the capital and over ten thousand throughout the country.
History of Harvest Training Cambodia
Harvest Training Cambodia is a non-denominational and non-profit organization formed to help fulfill the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20) by working together with churches and Christian organizations to reach people in Cambodia with the Gospel.
Harvest Training’s ministry is about helping better the lives of people by bringing the Gospel to them in a Wholistic way, which includes the whole person, being their physical, emotional & spiritual well being.
In areas where there is no local church, we train Christians to establish new churches.
To see people of all ages come to Christ, saved, Spirit filled and living for the Kingdom of God in their everyday life as well as the prosperity of their families.
To prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ
Harvest Training Cambodia (HTC) was formed in 2004 to provide medical care, community development, education programs and church planting.
In 2004, Harvest Training Cambodia was formed with the vision to provide training for Khmer (Cambodian) youth. Harvest Training Cambodia was officially registered with the government in October 2012. Since that time, we have expanded to include ministry that helps Happy Kids Program, Impact Youths Program and Education Program that provide teaching in English, computer, arts, and office skills, especially a church planting was established from village to village.
Harvest Training Cambodia wants to serve through discipleship and raising up leaders among the Khmer (Cambodian) people, by bringing hope and life that is in Jesus Christ, and by showing the value God has for each individual. We have run Discipleship Training Class (DTC) since 2009 which is one of the main ways God has called us to serve in our nation (Cambodia).
Please navigate our Programs pages to read more about what we are doing. We have plans to further expand our work in our current locations, as well as starting new locations. We pray that God will lead and guide us in this process.
What we do
- Bibles and related materials to those in the villages that have become Christians (Church Planting).
- Running Mobile Medical Clinics once a month in the villages we work in.
- At times provide water filter, digging wells, building toilet, building shelter of worship God, vegetable seeds, and piglet at a heavily subsidized cost in order to help improve the well-being of families.
- Education Program such as: kindergarten, Computer class, English class, Music Class and other sort skills. (We welcome those who have the motivation want to work with us as partner)
Promoting personal, family, and small group Bible study.
Partnering with churches and mission organizations, working together to better the lives of people, both physically “emotionally & spiritually”.
Protecting donor investments through being accountable to them by giving monthly financial report.