We are currently on Home Assignment in Canada, but when we live in Phnom Penh, the Capital City of Cambodia, we facilitate a student centre. This creates opportunities to connect with a variety of university students while teaching English and computers, and hanging out. During these times, we were able to break the barriers that normally exist between students and teachers. As these relationships grow, God orchestrates conversations where students ask questions about our lives and things they see us doing that are different.
We use social media to maintain a connection with students who have left the centre, allowing us to be a part of their major life events and share the love of Jesus with them along the way. Some of these online friendships have matured beyond messages and have become deep and lasting friendships that extend into the students’ families.
A pair of best friends, PY and MD, were some of our earliest students at the Phnom Penh Student Centre. Soon after they started coming to the centre, they adopted Cindy into their friendship and that relationship has continued to grow over the last six years. We often invited them over to our house and, in turn, were invited to their houses. They invited us to family events and celebrations and treated us as if we were part of their families.
PY and MD are both part of Buddhist families; however, they attended church with us, prayed with us, and they understand that our God is different than their parents’ god. Often, when we meet up with them, the conversation circles back to Jesus and we continue to share His love with them. We pray that Jesus would continue to draw them near and that they would have a desire for the salvation that comes from Him alone.
Although they both know who Jesus is, PY and MD do not follow Him yet, but we cannot give up. Every time God gives us the opportunity to connect with them, it opens the door for us to share Jesus with them (whether by action or deed). We, as followers of Christ, need to continue planting and watering the seeds in the lives of everyone that we know. In His own time, God will draw those who are lost and seeking something different to Him. It is our role to show Christ through our lives and proclaim His love every chance we get.
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This story needs an update. It was written after Mike & Cindy left Cambodia in 2015.
Since the summer of 2018 Schmidts lived in Siem Reap working with the Psa Leur church until they left in the spring of 2020.
The student centre where they worked closed when they left. However the friendships are still active after all these years.