With greater freedom for Christian and other non-governmental groups, Cambodian churches are growing.
There are more than 1,000 evangelical churches in the country, up from about 50 in 1992, Religion Today (Oct. 25) reports. While there are about 120 Christian and Missionary Alliance churches and the Assemblies of God has about 1,000 members, congregations started by native Cambodians are growing the fastest. Many Cambodians became Christians in Thai refugee camps and evangelized their countrymen when they returned. Cambodians who became Christians in the United States are also returning to spread the gospel.
Los Angeles pastor Christopher LaPel started one of Cambodia’s largest indigenous churches. LaPel, a native Cambodian, started several churches in a Thai refugee camp and later helped the congregations resettle in northwest Cambodia. Today the movement has 314 churches serving 18,000 in three provinces.
The spread of Christianity is not due to any planned evangelistic program, but occurs as “the Gospel passes from believers to their friends and relatives, from one village to its neighbor,” LaPel says.