Cambodia (CBI) — Most of Cambodia’s 15,000 prisoners share two things in common: they speak Khmer and they don’t know Jesus Christ. In order to reach this demographic, Crossroad Bible Institute’s emerging campus in Cambodia is undertaking an important project in 2015: a translation of Tier 1’s Faith Foundations series into Khmer, Cambodia’s official language.
Crossroad approved the Khmer translation after Borakmony Chea, CBI Cambodia’s acting director, reported that linguistic barriers were preventing otherwise enthusiastic students and instructors from taking part in the ministry.
Jacob Busscher, International Coordinator for CBI, says, “We’re excited because it’s not one of our major languages, however it is vital for the community and the satellite campus we have in Cambodia.”
They have been working through details to launch this translation project that will be used by many of their students.
In a country where around 95% of the population is Buddhist, Chea needs all the support he can muster from his local church community. While he has already trained five instructors from his church, he hopes that having Crossroad materials in Khmer will bolster even more involvement.
“We want to reach individuals who do not speak another language outside of Khmer and to provide a heart language for them to [further] disciple and [further] reach those individuals who want to learn more about Christ. We are excited to work on this because Cambodia is primarily a Buddhist country, so our goal by printing these lessons in their heart language is to reach directly those who are Christian or wanting to become a Christian, thus creating a need and providing for that need.”
Even with the linguistic challenges, prisoners have shown great interest in taking Crossroad courses. In 2014, Chea witnessed 20 prisoners at one facility enroll in Great Truths of the Bible, the first course in the Tier 1 curriculum. Busscher believes this eagerness bodes well for the development of a Khmer translation.
“Whether they fully believe in Christ as their Savior, or whether they are just hearing the words, we are hoping this is the start of God’s work with the people in Cambodia.
“Thanks to the committed work of Borakmony Chea, we’re already seeing great strides in Cambodia, despite the language barriers,” says Busscher. “This Khmer translation will be a concrete step toward reaching even more students and instructors.”
Pray that this translation will lead many more Khmer speakers to Christ.