We are so thankful for the support of many ACC churches across Australia who generously sow into ACCI Missions & Relief projects across the globe. Eternity Christian Church in WA is one of our valued contributors towards our Village Life Program in Cambodia. Today we ask Ps David Vicary three questions about his experience.
What is it about the Village Life program that you and your church really gravitate towards?
We love the holistic approach. Supporting community development through a local church in Cambodia means we end up meeting spiritual needs as well as physical. There are many great mission ventures that are purely humanitarian and others that are solely spiritual, neglecting real material needs. The Village Life model encompasses both!
We love that it’s a measurable missions venture. There’s a clearly defined amount of money invested over a set period of time. By establishing baselines at the beginning, after two years we can report actual measured change back to our congregation.
We love that it’s a relationship of diminishing support! Rather than creating an open ended relationship that requires our support for eternity, the community is gaining its own independence – self-supporting, self-governing, and self-reproducing!
You have personally visited Cambodia a number of times, and met the people that you are partnering with through Village Life. What was this experience like, and how did it shape your belief in locally-led development?
In Missions support, nothing beats visiting and actually seeing people’s faces. They are no longer ‘baselines’ or statistics, but real people now having their basic needs met consistently – and meeting Christ! On one visit I was struck by how many of the villagers could hardly contain their emotions. Our interpreter pointed out how unusual this was for Cambodians. I took that as a mark of deep gratitude and joy.
Your church has made an incredibly generous commitment of $60,000 over two years. Beyond the finances, how do your church members engage in this program? Has it been a worthwhile project to undertake, and brought value to your own church or missions program?
Do you remember the story about the thousands of star fish washed up on a beach? A young boy saw an old man walking along throwing them back one by one. He asked the man if he really thought he was making a difference. The old man looked at the star fish in his hand and replied, “I’m making a difference for this one!” I think that’s how our congregation sees it. There is so much need in our world and we feel that keenly. We might not be able to change the whole world, but we can change that village! This project is just one of our Missions ventures but certainly one of the most rewarding!