by Insun & Youmi Park
Youmi (USA) and Insun (Korea) serve in Cambodia with a ministry in evangelism, discipleship, children’s work, and translation of Christian literature and Bible study materials.
‘…I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure…’ (Isa. 46:9-10). As these verses in Isaiah indicate, God is at work even when we are unaware. Even in the most challenging circumstances, we can still rest in the knowledge that God is on His throne, that in His faithfulness He continues to accomplish what He has purposed from the foundation of the world. It is our great joy to share with you how God is at work – in our lives and in the harvest field of Cambodia.
God at Work in the Past
We are the product of the faithful labour of God’s servants who went before us. Foreign missionaries first brought the gospel to Korea over a century ago. Our generation grew up hearing about British missionary, Edwin Arthur James, who came to Korea in 1962 when people were living in devastation and poverty following the Korean War. He was greatly used by God to bring many souls to Christ and to disciple believers. He was instrumental in starting Noryangjin assembly, from which many full-time workers were sent, including Youmi’s parents. Her parents answered God’s call and gave their lives to His service. Youmi’s father started out serving as a Sunday school teacher, then became an elder and full-time worker. He planted a new assembly and moved to Cambodia as a missionary in 1994. At that time, only a few families were commended for foreign mission from the Korean assemblies. Now there are more than 37 missionary families in 19 countries, faithfully making Christ known. Praise God for using Korea, which once was full of darkness, to proclaim the gospel and carry out the Great Commission!
God at Work in Our Lives
Youmi first came to Cambodia with her parents as a missionary kid. It wasn’t her choice but God had special plans for her. She grew to love Him more and desired to give her life for His service, as her parents had done. She developed a personal relationship with her Saviour and became an integral part of her parents’ ministry as a Sunday school teacher and translator. After completing her university education in the USA, she was commended as a missionary to serve in Cambodia in 2008.
Insun was born and raised in Korea by hardworking parents. His mother and sister came to know the Lord first. As a teenager, Insun started to go to church and while he was at university, he spent a year as an exchange student in Hungary, where God met him. Insun had the opportunity to travel to over 20 countries and God opened his eyes to see the great spiritual need of souls around the world. Although Insun looked forward to a promising career in semiconductor engineering in Korea, he was willing and ready to go anywhere the Master called him to serve.
In God’s perfect timing and orchestration, we met and, with a common desire to make Christ known, we married in 2010 and started serving together in Cambodia. God has blessed us with four beautiful children: Grace (9), Joanna (8), Joshua (6) and David (2). The following verses, which brought us together, still serve as our confession: ‘According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Phil. 1:20-21).
We are the product of the faithful labour of God’s servants who went before us.
God at Work in His Harvest Field
In our first decade of ministry, we served with Sangkhim Canaan School, a mission school founded by Singaporean brethren to reach the Buddhist community through quality education in Kampong Chhnang. Youmi served as a teacher and administrator until our children were born and Insun began serving in a leadership position.
God shaped and moulded us through our marriage, ministry and life as we lived cross-culturally. Insun became country director for Emmaus in Cambodia and discovered that this was his passion – helping Cambodian believers grow spiritually through teaching and by producing resources to reach succeeding generations.
God at Work in His Church
Desiring to devote our time and focus on literature ministry, we prayed about relocating to Phnom Penh at the end of 2017. Around that time, our friend and fellow missionary Myung Sub Kim unexpectedly went to be with the Lord in a tragic accident. We were asked by church leaders in Korea to consider stepping in at Prek Takov Church, which Myung Sub had started and was now left without a shepherd. God, in His faithfulness, worked in our hearts through His Word and circumstances and we answered and obeyed His call.
Prek Takov Church is located just on the other side of the Mekong River, a ferry ride away from Phnom Penh. Many people there are living in darkness and are mostly unreached. Although young people are more open to hearing the gospel, they face more distractions and worldly lures than ever. From the beginning, we have been heavily involved in children’s ministry, which was also Myung Sub’s passion. Many children joined weekly Bible clubs and Sunday school to hear the gospel. Contrary to what we had anticipated, we faced many challenges. After sorting through some of these heartbreaking issues, the church was left with just a few members. We are thankful for and encouraged by the remaining little flock, young in faith yet eager to know and follow their great Shepherd.
God at Work through His Word
In addition to church ministry, we also devote our time to translation of Emmaus correspondence courses for personal and small group Bible studies. Currently, four courses are available in Khmer and many more drafts are ready to be edited. The courses are carefully chosen and specific to the needs of the church in Cambodia. We have also been translating BES Bibletime lessons for children. In a country where almost half the population is under 20, there is a great need for age-appropriate resources that can help young people to understand God and His Word at a crucial time in their lives. Considering the extensive workload, our literature ministry team is small. We need more workers to speed up the process of producing these resources.
God at Work in the Pandemic
Just as in other countries, schools have been closed for a long time. Large gatherings are banned and people are suffering due to job loss and the economic crisis. To continue spreading the gospel during these challenging times, we are in the process of producing the book and movie, King of Glory, by Paul Bramsen, which presents God’s plan of salvation. We aim to finish the movie first and make it available on the internet, since Cambodians now have access, even in the most remote areas.
As part of the Emmaus ministry, we typically have Bible seminars a couple of times a year; currently, we have online Bible seminars for youths, young adults and married couples. Topics include biblical manhood and womanhood and God-honouring relationships and marriage. It is exciting to see that many people from different churches and denominations have signed up, eager to learn what the Bible has to say about these important matters.
God at Work through Prayers
The first Protestant missionary came to Cambodia in the 1920s. Despite religious freedom and tireless efforts in evangelism and aid work, Christians still make up less than 1% of the population. The spiritual darkness is still very real. Pray for Cambodia, that God would continue to turn what were killing fields into living fields.
- that Christians will remain faithful, without compromise in the face of persecution and prejudice
- for church leaders to be grounded in the Word and gain biblical discernment
- for Prek Takov church and others around Cambodia to grow and be salt and light in their communities
- for wisdom as our team translate Emmaus correspondence courses, BES Bibletime lessons and other Christian literature
- that God would send us more passionate skilled helpers
- for safety, spiritual vitality and endurance, as the work is hard and it takes years to see any genuine fruit
- that people would grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ and find hope in Him.