Buddhism has been the Cambodian state religion since the 13th century (except during the Khmer Rouge period), and is estimated to be the faith of 95% of the population. Christians in Cambodia number less than two percent of the population.
Dae Hwan Bae is a Korean Interserver who is serving with his professional skills in Cambodia. In 2005 he joined the newly formed Department of Electronics Engineering at Cambodia’s National Polytechnic Institute. Later on he founded the Union School of Technology, a Christian institution that is fully authorised by the Ministry of Education in Cambodia.
Eleven bright students from across the nation had been selected by the government to be in the first Electronics Engineering course. “I began a club with my eleven students where, every day, we read the Bible together at lunch time. I was hoping that, through this club, perhaps one of them would become a disciple... but all eleven students stayed in the club, and became followers of Jesus.”
As they read the Bible together every day for almost a year, the students raised lots of questions, such as, “Why did God come to this world?” and “Why does God love us?” Dae Hwan didn’t give any answers immediately, instead they just continued with the Bible reading for another half year.
“After that we started using a TEE course called Abundant Life. As we went through the course together, the students opened their hearts to believe in Jesus. These first students then started making disciples of the junior year students and more small groups were added.
“Those eleven students have now been working with me for the last ten years. Many of the students who were discipled went abroad to do graduate studies, then returned to Cambodia. Now, wherever they work – as professors at various universities or as civil servants for the Cambodian government or in companies – they are sharing their faith and making communities of disciples.
“We’ve established a curriculum, using four levels of TEE courses. As a foundation, Abundant Life and Abundant Light are used, followed by Christian Family and Leadership courses. Historically and culturally Cambodia doesn’t have any Christian heritage. It is deeply rooted in Buddhist culture. Because of this there were many difficulties in changing the worldview of people who had become followers of Jesus. So, later on, the Christian Worldview course was added. Introducing a Biblical worldview helped bring changes into students’ thought patterns and worldview.”
The Union School of Technology works in partnership with TEEAC (TEE Association of Cambodia), and the Bible study and technology classes are run side by side. There are two main tracks. The intermediate groups consist of disciples who have been walking with the Lord more than seven years. Dae Hwan helps lead these groups, which focus on what it means to follow Jesus in everyday life, with special emphasis on the topics of marriage, community, discipleship and evangelism. The beginners’ groups go through foundational Bible studies, and are led by experienced local disciples.
To learn more about TEEAC’s work in Cambodia, please visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/TEEac/335787733225556