Small Seeds, Big Fruit: A Worship Movement on the Streets of Cambodia

03 Jun

Every day these street kids make a choice: Do they bribe their way into an internet café and watch porn? Get involved with a gang on the street? Sniff glue or use crystal meth to get high and “escape” for a while? Or do they start a gospel movement of prayer that will transform their city?
- Alice Collier, CRM Cambodia

 

In my hand I hold a small seed. This seed has everything inside of it that it needs to grow into a tree that produces the largest tree-bearing fruit in the world, jackfruit. If you come to Cambodia, you can see jackfruit trees everywhere. This little seed has everything it needs packed inside of it to grow into a jackfruit tree that will produce 100 to 200 jackfruits a year… and each fruit could weigh up to 100 pounds. All this seed needs in order to begin the movement from seed to harvest is that we provide light, soil, and moisture.

 

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I want to share a story with you about two Cambodian brothers, Vibol and Samnang.
The story of these two street kids is a vivid reality for me of why prayer is such an integral part of seeing a movement birthed from a single seed.

 


 

 


Listen in as Alice shares this story at a recent CRM event.

 


 


Several years ago, the Lord began to speak to me about a movement that He was going to birth… a gospel movement that would overflow from Cambodia into all of Southeast Asia. He showed me a vision of Cambodian children, mostly street kids. I heard the Lord say very clearly, “Alice, when you look them in the eyes, you will see me. They are my seed. Teach them how to worship.” From that time, even in my own heart, a seed was planted that began to carry a movement inside of me. 

 

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I met Vibol at the drop-in center where I spend time with boys who live and work on the street in Phnom Penh. Most of the over 100 boys who come into the center each day are, in many ways, like your typical 9-15 year-olds: they like to horse around and play soccer with whatever resembles a ball. But Vibol is different. He is gentle and has a shepherd’s heart. He is the largest boy at the center now at 17 years old, but he’s got this tenderness about him that is so precious.

Three years ago, the director of this drop-in center invited me to come in and start teaching the mostly non-Christian boys about worship. The center was strategically placed in the middle of a community rumored to be the worst for selling boys for sex. But that is not the only challenge these boys face.

This spiritually dark area is filled with hostess bars, massage parlors, and internet cafes. Every day these boys make a choice: Do they bribe their way into an internet café and watch porn? Get involved with a gang on the street? Sniff glue or use crystal meth to get high and “escape” for a while? Each day that they choose to walk in the doors of the center, it is a victory.

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With Jesus in the Dark

Teaching “worship” to non-Christian boys? I was scared. But as I shared with the boys how Jesus wanted to meet with them in the place of worship, their hearts softened. In worship, the Presence of Jesus would quickly come. Boys all over the room would weep as the Holy Spirit began to speak lovingly to them. So, after Vibol and others received Jesus, we began a worship school.

Vibol learned how to play the guitar so quickly. He invited his little brother Samnang to come and join. One day as we were enjoying singing to Jesus, I noticed that 12-year-old Samnang was laying on his back in the middle of the room, sobbing uncontrollably. For 30 minutes he was unresponsive to us. “Teacher,” he said, trying to get the words out through his tears, “Jesus came and stood over me. He poured water over me three times. Then he sat down and told me things about my life.”

After that encounter with God, Samnang was a different kid. It was as if God had seared his heart from being attached to the things of the world. He had tasted the love of God, and he wanted more.

A few weeks later, I was talking to the boys about how God spoke to young Samuel in the Bible. Vibol and Samnang agreed, “Oh yes. We understand that…  Jesus comes to us about twice a week in the morning and visits us.” They said it like it was a normal, everyday thing to have a visitation from the King of Kings.

Then, several other kids in the class told me that they had been visited or heard their names being called from heaven as well. The movement was upon us.

 

Transformation Spreads

After that, we were in a whirlwind, it seemed. I could spend all day sharing miracles of how God has encountered these children in dreams and in visions.

The boys began praying for the neighborhood to be a safe place for children. From the place of worship, they prayed for revival to hit the community. Our prayers were touching heaven: a high profile pedophile who had abused several of our boys was finally arrested.

The drop-in center became known as a safe place in the community. So, on the weekends when the center was closed, the homeless would come and put their mats outside the gate. Staff decided to open the doors on Saturday afternoons and start an organic expression of church. Vibol played the guitar.

Shortly after that, one of the leaders in the center was walking with Vibol in the community. An elderly lady called out to him. He said, “That is my neighbor. She is sick. Can we pray for her?” Vibol laid hands on the woman, and God healed her instantly.

We are starting to implement Discipleship Making Movement Strategies to help these boys share the gospel with even their illiterate friends. We have also started what we call “worship strikes,” in the darkest areas of the city, going into these areas armed with guitars, snake-skin drums, and our voices… As we worship in these areas of demonic stronghold, the manifest presence of Jesus fills the area. Children and sex workers come and sit in the midst of us, commenting on the tangible peace that surrounds us, and then they begin explaining to others who this “Jesus” is. In these moments, my boys have told me that they see angels around us and darkness fleeing. A tangible joy is released. The boys tell me, “It’s freedom.”

 

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So this is my story of how God has taken one seed, watered it through our prayers, and birthed a movement. Now we are looking for the second generation, or harvest, of this movement. For, yes I see lots of fruit. I see lots of little jackfruits all around me! But, God told me that these boys were his “seed,” not the fruit.

Vibol and Samnang are only the beginning. This seed that the boys carry in worship and prayer is going to produce a whole forest. Gospel movement is sweeping through their families, through our center, through the streets… Now our neighborhood has become a safer place, and our staff are having to branch out to other areas in the city to find children who are vulnerable to exploitation! How many Discipleship Making Movements will be started? How many organic, indigenous expressions of churches will be birthed? How many missionaries will be sent out? How many pockets of darkness will be exposed and destroyed? How many nations will be affected by the seeds of worship and prayer in these boys? And all of this, from a few seeds…

 

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alice Collier lives and serves in Phnom Penh with her husband and their three children. She helped to birth a school of worship among street children in one of the darkest areas of the city, and is a champion for the children’s prayer movement in Cambodia.


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