God Is Alive In Cambodia

Annelise Clausen from Danish Lutheran Mission (DLM) has together with her husband Axel Rye Clausen been doing missionary work and humanitarian work for DLM in Phnom Penh for four years.
“People have to be given the opportunity to get to know Jesus so they can go to Heaven,” she says.
“This is the main purpose of our presence here in Cambodia. But we should also have a good life while we are here on earth. That’s why it is important to help people in need,” she adds.

The first
DLM chose Cambodia because we saw that there was a need for development and also because there are hardly any Christians here,” Annelise explains. Annelise joined DLM in 1977. In addition to her education as a teacher she has a three year education as a missionary.
Annelise has been taking part in several different projects such as working in a hospice for AIDS patients, training of teachers and working in an orphanage. Meanwhile, her husband has been teaching at a bible school. The couple has previously been working 12 years for LM in Tanzania. As the first DLM missionaries in Cambodia, they had to start up everything from the beginning.
“You come with your suitcase and then there is nothing. In Tanzania where we worked before it was decided what we should do and where we should live. Here everything had to be started from scratch”, she says.
But for Annelise the process of setting up new projects has been rewarding.
“Coming here has been such a positive challenge. It has been very exiting to start new project and to find new ways. And to have the responsibility to make things work,” she says.

Development and Christianity goes hand in hand
In all of DLM’s projects Christianity is in focus as well as helping people in need.
“Development and Christianity goes hand in hand,” says Annelise.
“As Christians we are not only concerned that people get to know Jesus. We also want them to be helped in their everyday problems. Those two things are inseparable for us and this is irrespectively of peoples own religions.”
This is why the people who are taking part in DLM’s project with young tuk tuk drivers start their day with devotion. The project gives young people who have never gone to school a chance to get a basic education and afterwards to make a living by driving a tuk tuk.
“We have devotion every morning where we read the bible and pray. Then they learn English, Mathematics and mechanics,” says Annelise.
“We believe that human beings will be saved if they are Christians. We want other people to be saved by believing that Jesus died for our sake. It is very important that we not only help in life on earth, but also give them an opportunity to find an eternity afterwards.”
The combination of Christianity and humanitarian work is also evident in DLM’s project, the Sunshine Centre. The Sunshine Centre is a villa with a garden where children come in the morning. Here they get breakfast and after school help with their homework.
The children have never gone to school before, either because their parents could not afford it, or because the children had to earn money for the family.
“If they had not come here, they would have been begging on the street”, says Annelise.
“Once a month the parents can come and pick up rice as compensations for the “lost” work of the children.” And as part of the project the children are taught Christianity two hours a week. However, Annelise underlines that although Christianity is taught as part of the project, it is an individual choice whether the young people become Christian or not.
“We hope that they take a personal stand point for Jesus. But this is something we believe happen with the Holy Spirit and not something we can make them do. But we can teach them about Christianity and then it is an individual choice if they want to join us, and their religious standpoint has no consequences for the education we give them”, she says.
“But because we think it is essential to be Christian we have to teach people about Christianity. For the sake of Eternity. “

A calling
Christianity as well as the need to do humanitarian work has followed Annelise since her student days.
“I have always been interested in development work and in helping people in third world countries”, says Annelise.
“While I was studying I had an epiphany that I was going to be a missionary. I knew that this was what God wanted with me. I surrendered after big inner protests. I felt that my life would be worthless if I didn’t follow it. It was a calling.”
Annelise and her husband have a contract in Cambodia of six years. But they like Cambodia so much that they hope to be able to extend it.
“We are really crazy about his country. It has been very exiting to get to know the Cambodian population. People work very hard here and they really want to develop the country. This is very encouraging”.
Concerning Cambodia and Christianity Annelise is also optimistic.
“When we came here only four out of one thousand Camboians were Christians. But now it must be rather two or three per cent,” she says.
“This is because God is alive and he wants people in this country to believe. People cannot believe by them selves. But God can let himself into their lives and create faith. He wants people in Cambodia to belong to him. That is how we think it is,” she finishes.

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