The Rev Teresa Wilborn is a missionary from Aldersgate Methodist Church and the Assistant Director of Community Development in the Methodist Missions Society.
November 24, Sunday, was a day of answered prayers for Prek Ompel Methodist Church (POMC) in Cambodia. The morning sun broke through heavy clouds and shone brightly over the village as church members made final preparations for the consecration service of their newly-completed church building.
It had been raining so heavily that some claimed to have seen fish jumping out of mud puddles in the church yard! But prayers for clear weather were finally answered. Excess rain water was pumped out and fill dirt was hauled in, while tents were erected and tables set for the thanksgiving meal.
The new tile floors were given a final sweep just in time to welcome church members and guests. Forty brothers and sisters from Aldersgate Methodist Church (AMC) travelled from Singapore to celebrate the occasion. By 9 am, nearly 300 people had joined together in praise and worship.
Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup led the consecration service, assisted by the Rev Dr Lorna Khoo from AMC, Pastor Ouk Ratana from POMC, and leaders from throughout The Methodist Church in Cambodia.
Special items in the programme included a traditional Cambodian blessing dance, an English song presented by children, and a Khmer hymn sung by the church leaders. Following the service, Bishop Dr Wee and Village Chief Leav Vorn unveiled a marble plaque dedicating POMC to the glory of God.
The completion and consecration of this church building capped 10 years of prayer by Methodists in Cambodia and Singapore. During that time, POMC members worshipped and conducted church programmes in a rented, shed-like structure with a metal roof and unfinished concrete floor.
With support from AMC, land was purchased two years ago and construction of the new church began last year. Retired architects Eric and Cheryl Chan designed this church to reflect Khmer tradition and village life.
POMC is the first church to be built in Prek Ompel Commune, located in Kandal Province. In addition to the light-filled sanctuary, there are classrooms for teaching English and computer skills, rooms for visiting mission teams, and a small apartment for the pastors family.
Dr Seet Ai Mee from AMC expressed her hope that with this new and bigger building, the church will grow to bring the light of salvation to all in Prek Ompel and spread the light to villages beyond. Amen!
[Updated 9 January 2014]