The Sabbath I had been looking forward to finally arrived. This was the day I would worship with a new group of believers at the outskirts of Phnom Penhn, the capitol city of Cambodia. What would their church be like? Would they be friendly? I could hardly wait to meet them. 
Even the trip to church was an adventure. Although it was sunny and steamy outside, heavy rains had flooded some areas and left muddy roadways with deep ruts. Cyclists would stop to wash the mud off their bikes when they got to higher ground. Children played in puddles in front of crowded shops and food stands. In the garment district, men and women worked at rows of sewing machines, turning out masses of clothing at factory speed. 
We drove past mansions and shacks, rice paddies and fisheries, ponds with water lilies, new construction, and endless carts and motor scooters. Finally, we turned down a muddy lane that led us through a little village to the church. I had never attended a church like this before. Tarps had been spread on the ground, and additional tarps were propped on poles to protect the congregation from the glaring sun or a sudden downpour. Following the local custom, we removed our shoes before joining the others who were already seated on the ground. A wooden pulpit and a battery-operated organ were the only pieces of furniture. There was a gate and a wall that surrounded the property, but the church itself had not yet been built.
As I looked around, I saw people who smiled and nodded in greeting. How easy it was to feel comfortable there. The Global Mission pioneer was hurrying around, greeting each person individually. Many walked or rode their bikes to church, and some came with their entire family balanced on a motor scooter.
The lilting sounds of Cambodian hymns and prayers were beautiful. At first glance, their Bibles looked a lot like mine.  The pioneer who preached spoke with such enthusiasm, I was inspired even though I didn’t understand a single word. But the thing that touched me the most was when the offering was collected. Passing around a traditional silver bowl, the members generously gave their riel (Cambodia’s currency.) And that’s when it hit me. Along with the peace and comfort of being part of a global church family, we share the privilege of giving our offerings. 
When all of us do our part, we help to make it possible for pastors, church planters, and Global Mission pioneers to take the gospel to new areas where people are still waiting to hear about Jesus. 
It was the best Sabbath I’ve ever had.

                                                                                           --Nancy Kyte
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