One of the most brutal modern genocides took place in Cambodia, 40 years ago, when the Khmer Rouge murdered one out of three men, one quarter of the population. In four years, Pol Pot’s madness claimed the lives of 1.7 million people and the dictator established a medieval regime of terror, as well as relentlessly hunting Christians.
In the 70’s, before the war, there were 170,000 Christians in Cambodia. However, after the conflict and the dictatorship, only a few thousands remained.
Enrique Figaredo, the Catholic Bishop of Battambang, Cambodia, arrived in Cambodia a few years later, when the country was still torn apart after this brutality.
He reported: “The war, Pol Pot’s revolution swept everyone away. Bishops, religious women, and catechists were killed. The community was razed to virtually nothing. Many of the surviving Catholics never had any hope for peace in their country, and they had to emigrate to the United States, France, Europe, and Japan. Very few people stayed behind.
“When we arrived, the community was completely dispersed. In the refugee camps a lot of pastoral work has already been done, very good work, but after the return of many, we created new communities with the refugees that came back. When I was named apostolic prefect we had 14 communities. Now we have 28, and they are larger and more active than before.”
The Church in Cambodia is slowly recovering, as are many Cambodians that were victims of the regime, who are recovering from the wounds in mind and body.
The Christian community grows slowly but steadily, proving that the Church, after persecution and martyrdom, is able to rise again from its own ashes.
- Give thanks that the Church in Cambodia is growing and people finding healing and hope through the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for the Christian community in Cambodia, for unity, trust and strength of faith, and for the light of the love of Jesus to shine through them to their families and communities.
- Pray for protection over Cambodia’s Christians, as they face opposition and often mistrust from their communities and authorities.
- Pray for good discipleship of Christians, for good training for leaders and access to the Bible and Christians material in their own language.
- Pray that the Church will continue to grow in this land, and that many more will find healing from the past, hope for the future and grace and peace for their day to day lives through Jesus Christ.
Matthew 16 vs 18: “And I tell you … on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it.”
Source: http://www.romereports.com, http://www.persecution.org