I am an ordained minister from Falls Baptist Church, Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, under the leadership of Pastor Wayne Van Gelderen. I also have a M.D. degree from East Carolina University School of Medicine (1990) and continue to practice medicine here in Cambodia to show love and compassion to the poor Cambodians. I also have a Master’s Degree in Science (Molecular biology area) and an undergraduate degree in Biology, minors in Chemistry and Music. I was a music major for 3.5 years, before switching to pre-med, in order to prepare for medical school. I also attended Bible college part-time for one year at Harrisburg School of the Bible and took many classes at Falls Institute of Training (FIT) at my sending local church, Falls Baptist Church. I am gifted as an evangelist, and I serve as a church planter in Cambodia with my wife Anna and our four adopted Cambodian children, who now have all become U.S. citizens. I currently oversee 10 Cambodian churches, all of which have national pastors, except in Phnom Penh, where I pastor. (However, I do have a Cambodian assistant pastor in the Phnom Penh church, whose name is Vibol.) We also have an International Baptist Church for expats or foreigners–so a total of 11 churches. However, we also have a work in Steung Dryne province, where we hope to start a new church; and finally, we are planning a large church-planting campaign/initiative in Prey Veng province in the district of Piam Joe, where we have plans to start a church in every commune in that district–9 more churches over the next several years.
Cambodia is a country still recovering from the massive genocide of the Pol Pot era. It is a developing country economically, and although the national religion is Buddhist, the practice is more folk Buddhism (Buddhism mixed with animism). Because of the genocide, the population of Cambodia is mostly under 40. AIDS is prevalent and is right now the number one killer in Cambodia. Because of traffic congestion, the growing wealth of upper class and the fact that their teen-aged children are unrestrained and have greater access to motorcycles and automobiles, traffic fatalities are now competing with AIDS as the number one killer. There is a great hunger for education here, although the majority of the population remains illiterate. Garment factories have the greatest number of employees and are attracting a growing number of young people to the city from the provinces in search of employment. The majority of the population still lives in rural communities and are relatively conservative both in manner and dress. Phnom Penh is more modern and has thrown off most of the traditional dress and manner and is becoming more European. Despite all this, there is an openness to Christianity.