Refugee Ministry Builds the Church

Marc Coleman October 01 2014, 5:04 pm

When I met Daravuth, he was a young Cambodian refugee who had lost everything. His father and father-in-law had been murdered by the Khmer Rouge. With hundreds of thousands of others, he and his wife had fled to a refugee camp along the Cambodian-Thai border.
In the late eighties and early nineties, I had the privilege of coordinating education and development projects while pastoring 18 churches in Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Laotian refugee camps in Thailand. Those were challenging but rewarding days for Cathy and me as we spent the first years of our marriage bringing the Gospel to refugees and training them to plant churches when they resettled.
Daravuth’s desire was to be a doctor. He had been serving in refugee camp hospitals and learning all he could. But what could possibly become of this man with no country? How could he fulfill his dream of serving others through medicine? When the Union asked me to choose from among the thousands of refugees a handful to send to India for training, Daravuth was one I chose.
Today, back in Cambodia, Daravuth and his wife lead successful lives. She works for ADRA, and he is a doctor for the World Health Organization and travels on a UN passport. They have raised their children in the church, and their lives are dedicated to service for others. Once homeless refugees, this couple was happy to provide housing to an AFM missionary family arriving in Cambodia.
Daravuth’s story is echoed in the lives of hundreds of others who came to know Christ in that Cambodian refugee camp. Today, when I visit Cambodia I meet these people, and they are pastors, teachers, deans, translators and many other professions, all serving the Lord in Cambodia as a result of refugee ministry. Does refugee ministry make an impact? Just ask my friend Daravuth.
God is once again opening the door for AFM’s refugee ministry. Join us as we aid refugees in northern Iraq.