Dear Christ Church,
In Asia, things happen because of relationship. Relationships of trust are the gateway to professional and personal success, but even small daily transactions can benefit from the “lubricant” of relationship. A taxi driver outside our hotel in Cambodia naturally tried to exploit this fact. Once he discovered we were the friends of an American he knew, he began to greet us differently as we emerged each morning: “I know Summer!” he would yell with a smile. “Summer is my friend! I give you good price.”
Christ Church, too, places a high value on relationships: transformative, life-giving community is at the core of who we are because our Trinitarian God has called us to reflect Him in this way. This translates into how we do mission. We don’t just send money to our local and global mission partners: we send people, seek to listen well, and pursue long-term relationship.
Our emerging partnership with the Anglican Church of Cambodia is rooted in this commitment. My heart has been captured by looking into the eyes of Cambodian Christians, listening to their stories, laughing, praying and crying together. There is no substitute for clocking hours. And while all of us may not be able to travel to SE Asia, the Mission Team is looking for ways to bring our Cambodia partnership to life here in our midst.
This weekend we welcome two men from Singapore who are helping shape the vision for Anglican mission in Cambodia – Dean Wong Tak Meng and Associate Dean Steven Seah. The Diocese of Singapore planted the first Anglican church in Cambodia in 1993, and has since continued to expand and care for this burgeoning movement through sending teams, planting churches, and training leaders. In addition, we will also welcome long-term Anglican missionaries to Phnom Penh Jesse and Sarah Blaine.
Tak Meng’s love for the people and culture of Cambodia, and his vision for the flourishing of the church in an overwhelmingly Buddhist context is contagious. I am thrilled we have the privilege of hearing from Tak Meng on Sunday, thrilled he and Steven and the Blaines get to experience the generosity and hospitality our parish so vivaciously embodies. And I am thrilled for how this visit will shape our Cambodia partnership going forward, grounded in authentic relationship.
Let’s extend our warmest welcome to our SE Asian guests, expectant of the Gospel good that will come of our time together, right here at home as well as halfway around the world.
Warmly in Christ,