In March 2012 we moved to Battambang, Cambodia to work with Youth With A Mission. The base mainly focuses on evangelism, training, and meeting practical needs of the community. This particular base is part of the University of the Nations, which is the branch of YWAM that focuses primarily on training. [To see a video about the base and its mission, click here.] About 80% of Cambodia’s population is under the age of 30, so much of our work will be with children and youth. During our first year here, we will focus on learning the language and teaching English at the youth development center.
Youth Development Center
The youth center is a place where over 300 young people aged 15-30 come to take classes in a variety of areas, including English, computer skills, and other job skills. In September 2012, I (Charlotte) began helping lead the Youth Development Center. One thing I love about the YDC is that the students not only learn English, but they learn about other cultures, important life skills, and about applying Biblical principles to their lives. There are so many opportunities to be a part of students’ lives, to encourage them, and to show them God’s love. The Youth Development Center gives our staff the opportunity to build relationships with these students since many come back year after year. These discipleship relationships with students are my favorite part of working at the YDC.
I (Jonathan) lead the Critical Services department, which includes administration, housing, kitchen, facilities, and maintenance. It takes a lot of work to keep our base running, and through serving in Critical Services, I can help build the foundation for all of the training schools and ministries that UofN Battambang operates in Cambodia. I also do a lot of graphic design, creating promotional materials for the base, and just finished a new updated website for the base!
To visit the new University of the Nations Battambang website, click here.
Other University of the Nations ministries in Battambang include:
Children At Risk
The children at risk ministry seeks to reach children and families affected by HIV/AIDS. The aim is to come alongside these families with practical help such as getting the sick family member to a doctor or providing nourishing food for their family. This ministry also provides a safe place for these families to come together and support each other in a caring environment.
Women At Risk
This ministry focuses on women who are in the exiting the sex industry and other at risk situations. We hope to see them come to a place of healing and restoration out of their past into a life of hope and freedom. The real goal is that they would find that hope primarily through relationship with God as well as through skills and vocational training allowing opportunities for alternate income in the future.
Cafe Eden is a business as missions project intended to provide jobs for the local Khmer people to help them learn new skills. The hope is that experience in the cafe will empower the Cambodians to set goals and make a difference in their community. The profits from the cafe are poured back into UofN ministries.
Training and Discipleship
The base also offers a few training courses for local Cambodians who want to go deeper in their Christian faith. Some of the students who have become believers from the YDC go on to do a Discipleship Training School or School of Biblical Studies. Many of the students who complete these schools go on to work with UofN Battambang or other ministries in Southeast Asia.
The Future of the Base
This is an exciting time in the ministry of University of the Nations Battambang! We are in the process of purchasing land for a new training and community development center. Click here to read more about the direction of the base in the future.