Karen Heard boarded a plane for the 21 hour journey to a land that she knew very little about. A friend from church asked her to go on a mission trip, and after she said “yes”, she had no idea she was on her way to the calling that God placed on her life. Karen said, “from the minute I stepped into the slums in the city of Phnom Penh, I knew that I would settle in, and this would be my passion. I had been to almost a dozen different countries on mission trips before, always hoping one of them would be a part of my calling. But it wasn’t until I stepped onto the soil of Cambodia that I felt that deep peace - the kind that comes when you know without a doubt that you are exactly where you’re supposed to be.”
And so, a ministry was born.
Along with team members from that first trip, Alex Williams, Henry Couser and Karen met Sony Meas, a Cambodian who had over 10 years of experience directing ministries with a passion for sharing the Good News. He begged the team to help him tell his people about Jesus. He never asked for food, a school or a building. He just wanted help spreading the word of God. The team believed that if God was in this, it would flourish, so they used their own resources to support Sony for 1 year. They quickly realized that the needs were many and wanted to provide Sony with additional resources. During that year, Karen met Steve Kasha, founder of SERV International, and shared what they were doing in Cambodia. After a lot of prayer and several meetings that spanned over one year, Steve caught the vision of what God was doing in Cambodia and combined their ministry with SERV International to create an even larger presence there.
It's been almost 2 years since their 1st trip to Cambodia, and there are 20 children in a sponsorship program, daily English classes for the village children, 4 soccer teams, 2 Bible studies and a ministry that helps provide food, medical treatment and other physical needs for the people in Vealsbow village and Deumsleng, a cemetery slum in the heart of Phnom Penh. Karen said "God continues to bring people alongside us who want to partner with us to stop the exploitation of children, who are willing to give generously to feed the hungry and who have a desire to bring Truth to the nations.”
This has been a true step of faith for Karen, Alex, Henry, Steve and SERV International. For the people we serve in Cambodia, it means the difference between a life of spiritual and physical poverty transformed into a life of spiritual and physical freedom.