This article, by Brian Orme of the West Milton (OH) church, originally appeared in the Dayton Daily News:
West Milton, Ohio, is worlds away from Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, but through the love of God these two locales are forming a valuable connection, one that, no doubt, will change lives forever.
In a recent trip to Cambodia, the Rev. Steve Peters and missions leader Woody Curtis of Community Grace Brethren Church were praying about the possibility of partnering with the mission organization, Asia’s Hope, and beginning an orphanage.
Back in West Milton, church members were praying for God to open the doors for a future possibility. Through a series of events by the end of the trip, God had provided a building, a gifted administrator, an educator and a widowed cook for the orphanage.
That’s when the “Seeds of Hope” orphanage was born.
When Peters and Curtis returned from Cambodia, the report they gave to the people at Community Grace Church was not, “We might start an orphanage,” instead, the bold message was — “We just started one.”
Decades of warfare have left Cambodia wrought with crisis: HIV, hunger, poverty — all contributing to the flood of orphans within this war-torn country. These orphans need clean water, food, access to medical care, education, love and, above all, Jesus.
In the Bible pure religion is described as “looking after orphans and widows in their distress”— Peters says. This kind of love in action is always relevant and there’s no doubt that pure religion is much needed in Cambodia, where children such as Sok Souyean and Chantha Sreypov are growing up without a mother or father.
Community Grace Church always has been known for their unique ministry to children. Within the West Milton and surrounding communities the church has been branded the “Chicken Church” because of a large plaster chicken that sits by the road during their summer vacation Bible school program — a program that reaches more than 800 different children every year.
For Community Grace, the Cambodian connection is just another continuation of that same mission: to love children, whether it’s a mile down the road in West Milton or 9,000 miles away in Cambodia.
“We’re focused on raising up a new generation of believers that will grow up and reach Cambodia for Christ,” Peters says. For Peters, the orphanage is a long-term endeavor, part of a greater mission to reach the beautiful, but tattered country of Cambodia.