On a scorching Monday, Mom, a worker for OM in Cambodia, describes the impact that OM’s ongoing Vibrant Communities of Jesus Followers (VCJF) training has made in her life. Her fellow trainees have gone for lunch, leaving behind a cool, fluorescent-lit classroom filled with desks, well-worn Bibles and a white-board diagram that depicts the four types of soil from Jesus’s famous parable.
Mom grew up in a Buddhist household and suffered early on from depression and a lack of purpose, twice attempting to take her own life. But, after hearing the gospel at a Christian youth programme, she committed her life to follow Christ and to help others come to know Him. Events like the VCJF training help teach and remind her of this purpose, she says—“to go and share the gospel and make disciples.”
Before the VCJF training, she says, Mom focused only on sharing the gospel, without following up and discipling new believers. “[I] didn’t care about whether [the new believers] grew up [in their faith] or shared” with others, she admits. A reality for many Christians who never learn that they have a role to play in discipling others.
Lessons from the training have helped Mom realise the importance of multiplication—training disciples so that “they go and share the gospel, too.” She wants to help new believers mature in their faith, growing beyond the infant stages of their Christian walk. She draws an analogy from her own experience as a mother: We expect physical babies to eventually grow physically and intellectually, so shouldn’t we expect similar spiritual growth from new born Christians?
Since spiritual growth requires spiritual discipline, the VCJF training focuses heavily on Bible study and prayer, practices that Mom sees as vital to effective ministry. Referencing John 15, she says, “If we want to bear fruit, we must connect with God.” The training has taught her to incorporate prayer and study of the Word both in her own life and in her ministry.
The VCJF training has also equipped her with a clear plan for her outreaches, she says.
She and her fellow OM workers make monthly visits to eight different villages where they have established contact, bouncing along rutted roads and bringing Bible lessons, praise songs and English classes. She also organises a Bible study in a nearby slum area, where she prays and fellowships with the women who attend. Her goal: that they would ultimately “share the gospel to other people” and “train the people like we train them.”
This vision has found fulfilment in at least two people she has discipled: a mother, Sangmao, and her son, Dorn, a former high-ranking Buddhist monk. During one of the village outreaches, Mom met Sangmao and began studying the Bible with her, paving the way for her to become a believer. Sangmao’s son also eventually made the decision to follow Christ after he saw the transformation in his mother’s life. Today, both Sangmao and Dorn participate alongside Mom in the VCJF training and engage in outreach to communities near their village.
Mom knows there are many others who still need to hear about Christ and who need further discipleship. She wants to help people—in her family, community and nation—discover the truth that has so radically transformed her own life: “God called you, and God has a plan for you.”