As as a mentor for the staff of the Cambodian organization DOVE (Develop Our Village Economy), I continue to see how mentoring impacts the lives of leaders and builds God’s Kingdom. Mentoring involves investing significant time in building a relationship; some may wonder how investing in one person could impact a whole community. However, God’s math is different than ours!
Cambodia lost an entire generation of leaders when the Khmer Rouge regime executed anyone with an education. Today, the population’s median age is 24. Through the Onyx program, DOVE is developing young leaders who are transforming their churches and communities. Leaders, ages 17-35 and from different local churches, gather each Saturday morning for one year to learn through self-discovery and from each other’s experiences and then apply what they’ve learned during fieldwork. Topics include leadership, spiritual formation, leader’s timeline, peace and justice issues, men’s/women’s Issues, the five love languages, forgiveness, world view, and missional church. Each student also meets with a volunteer mentor once a month and with peer mentoring groups each week. The program is offered in four locations around Cambodia; BelPres supports two of these locations.
In July, I traveled to Kampong Leaeng District in Kampong Chhnang Province with DOVE students and a Canadian impact team. We were met there by Chanty, a young Christian leader who graduated from the Onyx Program last year. She’d been a follower of Jesus for just four months when she started the program. God transformed her. Chanty says, “The angry heart that I used to have was changed; I love, serve, forgive others, and I have patience! The lessons kept me walking on track and changed me week by week. Because of this program, I have a lot of friends that care and pray for me. I learned from my friends’ life experiences. They have love and unity even though we are from different churches. The ‘Forgiveness’ and ‘Five Love Languages’ lessons really healed my past.”
“In God’s mathematics, the impact of a few mentoring relationships is multiplied to touch many people!”
Onyx also encouraged Chanty to be brave enough to start more home churches. Now she’s responsible for four. Each Sunday she gets up early and travels to the four villages over rough dirt roads by motorbike, a 26-mile round trip, from which she doesn’t get home until evening. She buys snacks for the children with her own money. Chanty is mentoring two other Christian leaders from Kampong Leaeng District who are participating in Onyx this year. Together, the three of them are responsible for at least 240 children and 30-40 youth in the churches. The youth are becoming mentors themselves through DOVE’s Alongsiders program. Each youth is trained to come alongside a vulnerable child in their own community. In God’s mathematics, the impact of a few mentoring relationships is multiplied to touch many people!
DOVE, a BelPres Mission partner, needs mentors with cross-cultural gifts and specific skills. Contact Mission + Serve for more information.