On 8th October 2009 John & Sarah Kennedy with baby Vivienne set off for the land of Cambodia. They have joined the teaching staff of Hope International School based in Phnom Penh, a private school set up for the education of Missionaries’ children.
Hope International SchoolJohn & Sarah didn’t suddenly decide it was a good idea to go to Cambodia. For them it was part of their spiritual journey. Over the years God had been preparing them for this new chapter in their lives. They shared with the Missionary Committee how God had been guiding them towards working in Cambodia. The Missionary Committee affirmed their calling and recommended them to the Kirk Session for missionary work in Cambodia. John & Sarah, with the full blessing of the fellowship, were commissioned and sent by the church for their work in Cambodia.
Sending out workers, either home or overseas, is a huge privilege for any church. First Portadown has been doing it for many years; taking seriously the mandate given by Jesus to the Church to go and make disciples of all nations. First Portadown is a Sending Church. By that we mean:- The missionaries “are sent,” they don’t just “go” Being “sent” indicates that the one(s) being sent: a)receive a commission from the local church, b)remain responsible and accountable to the senders (the local church).
Map of CambodiaThe sending church, working together with the mission agency, takes responsibility to provide pastoral care, pray faithfully, give generously and communicate regularly to encourage and bless the missionary. (John & Sarah are with New Tribes Mission). There will be many challenges for John & Sarah—not least learning a new language— getting accustomed to Asian food, making new friends, understanding a new culture and getting acclimatized to humid and, at times, very hot weather.
Buddhism has been the national religion since the 15th century. The Khmer Rouge sought to eradicate all religion; 90% of Buddist monks and most Christians perished. Since 1978 there have been periods of more tolerance, but only since 1990 have Christians been allowed to worship openly. There is increasing freedom of religion for Cambodians.
The Kingdom of Cambodia
Pop: 14.8 million
Capital city Phnom Penh 1.75 million
Primary religion Buddhism
Evangelical Christians 0.5%
Link: New Tribes Mission