[caption id="attachment_445" align="aligncenter" width="944"] "Cambodia Village" by civ33 / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Cropped[/caption]

When my wife and I felt called to go on a short-term mission trip to Cambodia, we had no idea how it would change us. We spent ten days touring the genocide museum and the Killing Fields, helping construct rainwater collection tanks with Neverthirst, and connecting with the amazing people we met along the way. One of the questions our group has tackled since returning from Cambodia is: How do we really tell our families, friends, and acquaintances what we felt, saw, and experienced? How do we dig deeper than just saying our trip was “good”?

There are many stories to tell, but my most treasured memory is visiting a house church in rural Cambodia. Towards the end of our trip, Neverthirst’s Asia Director, Jason, informed us that we would be traveling several hours to a remote village where Neverthirst had worked with a local pastor to install a hand pump well.

We arrived at a thatched-roof hut on stilts. Classic Cambodian. A fence made out of rubber tree logs marked the perimeter of the property. The family’s livestock roamed the property and the kitchen was set up underneath the house. Several adults and a cluster of children greeted us, all quietly eager to see visitors that they so infrequently get, and we were introduced through translators. The pastor told us that the woman who lived in this particular house had single-handedly raised more than fifty percent of the necessary funds for the well. A blessing from God. We were then invited into the home for the church service.

We all sat shoeless in a large circle on the wood plank floor. We heard the beauty of the hymn and the message in Khmer and saw the joy that it brought to the new Christians who were present. It was not necessary to understand the language to see the work of the Holy Spirit. Our team member, Eric, also preached through a translator and the end of his message was greeted with applause and bright smiles. We all prayed aloud in our native languages and the prayers brought several of the villagers to tears.

It was at this point that I realized why we were on this trip. We were sitting in the middle of a Cambodian mega-church (20 people) encouraging Christians, some of whom had only given their lives to Jesus within the past several months. We were there to show the love of God to His children who desperately needed hope in the face of poverty, disease, and corruption. The overwhelming presence of God and the encouragement that our visit might have brought to this group of believers could only be felt in the midst of the gathering. My description can never accurately capture the moment, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to be sitting in this room with my wife so we could experience this together along with our team members.

The Christians we met in Cambodia find it easy to see God in all aspects of their lives. They see God in a well, in a family member surviving a terrible sickness, and in the smiles of their children. I will be forever grateful to God for leading me down a path that led to Cambodia and to the people of Brook Hills who so generously give to the Global Offering Fund that helped make it possible for my wife and me to take this life-changing journey together.


Mike Casement is a resident of Birmingham and has been a member at The Church at Brook Hills for almost two years. He and his wife, Elizabeth, served together this fall on a Short-Term trip to Cambodia.