Rev. Joseph and Marilyn are missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) of The United Methodist Church assigned to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, since 1998. Rev. Joseph has worked on evangelization and church growth and Marilyn in women's and music ministries. In January 2007, Rev. Joseph was assigned as District Superintendent of Kampong Cham, Kratie, Stung Treng, Ratanakiri and Mondol Kiri provinces. Natives of Cambodia, Joseph and Marilyn endured great hardships through Khmer Rouge eras and both escaped to Thailand in 1979. There, in a refugee camp, both converted from Buddhism to Christianity and became active in Bible studies, worship and faith sharing. Both also volunteered in the CARE feeding centers. The two have three children and are members of Central UMC in Stockton.
Here is some background on United Methodists in Cambodia from the General Board of Global Ministries website:
“Our Work in Cambodia Cambodia represents a special mission situation because five branches of Methodism are involved: The United Methodist Church in the United States, the United Methodist Church in Switzerland and France , the Methodist Church in Singapore, the World Federation of Chinese Methodist Churches and The Korean Methodist Church. This international cooperation among Methodists is proving fruitful. In 1989, Cambodia had three Methodist churches. Today, there are more than 150 served by more than 20 Methodist and United Methodist missionaries, 10 ordained deacons, and 100 lay leaders. One of the main objectives is to empower Christian youth movement through employment, leadership and Bible study. Methodists also help eradicate landmines, combat malnourishment, assist people to find employment, and teach individuals to read.”
You might be wondering why are we learning about the United Methodist Church ’s mission in Cambodia . Here are some questions to help think about it:
- Where is Cambodia? Who are the Cambodians?
- What is Christianity like in Cambodia? How is it similar or different to Christianity here?
- What does it mean to do missions in Asia (and Cambodia in particular) as opposed to other parts of the world?
- What can I learn by the way others, like the people of Cambodia, relate to God and live out their faith?
- In what ways am I called to live out my faith by seeing and hearing about the missions work in Cambodia?