Give Cambodian Children a Chance to Hear the Gospel

By   •   October 20, 2019

As a father of three, Derek Forbes’ greatest responsibility is to teach his children about Jesus Christ.

“My wife and I both want to see them accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior,” he said. “We homeschool and are very intentional about teaching the simple truths of the Gospel.”

But it’s not just his kids he wants to teach about Christ. Saturday, he’ll be part of sharing that same Gospel message with hundreds of children in Cambodia.

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As director of a Franklin Graham Festival happening in the capital of Phnom Penh this December, Forbes is helping plan another big event in the busy city—a one-day KidzFest that precedes the Festival.

For months, his team has been looking ahead to this weekend when the Gospel will be shared in this largely non-Christian country through kid-friendly activities and a colorful skit that tells the story of Jesus Christ.

But first, kids have to get there. The plan is to hire buses to take them to the venue, which means a considerable expense. Cars, trucks and tuk-tuks will also be used.

>> Will you help? Just $10 gives a family the chance to attend KidzFest and hear a simple Gospel message.

“Transporting children is a huge undertaking as protection is of the highest concern,” Forbes said. “Having a solid bus plan and churches being able to provide trustworthy transportation to and from the KidzFest is key to parents allowing their children to attend.”

Forbes and his team project that each church in the area will bring about 45-50 kids—a number that could add up quickly in this city of 1.5 million people, not including four nearby provinces.

“Children are the same all over the world: open, warm and innocent,” Forbes said. “Cambodian provincial kids are more receptive to the Gospel. They are excited to learn something new and are very friendly.”

Like many churches around the world, materialism has crept into the Christian circle, he said, which can make it more difficult to reach kids in the city with their need for Christ. It may be easier to communicate that need to children who live in the slums or poorer communities, he added.

Yet, no matter where Cambodian children live, Forbes and local churches he’s been working with are determined to share the life-changing hope of Christ in a clear, simple way.

Over the past four months, a local committee has been telling Sunday school leaders, teachers and other ministries about the upcoming KidzFest, while encouraging children to pray for and invite their friends who don’t yet know Jesus. The committee has shared the event on Facebook and handed out invitations.

>> See photos from previous KidzFests around the world.

Having KidzFest six weeks ahead of the Love Phnom Penh Festival with Franklin Graham allows churches and volunteers to focus on one major event at a time. It’s also a chance to let parents and other family members know the Festival is coming.

“Children are the next generation of the Church, and without them, we will not have a next generation,” Forbes said. “The Bible tells us to ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ It is extremely urgent that we invest more into the children.”

How a child grows up—either with or without Christ—will play out over the years, Forbes added, ultimately influencing the culture around them.

“KidzFest is an intentional focus on reaching the children so that we can impact them for Christ while they are young and see the Church blessed in the next generation,” he said.

>> Your gift helps Cambodian children get to Saturday’s KidzFest.

How You Can Pray

The Love Phnom Penh Festival with Franklin Graham will be held December 7-8. Please pray for as many Cambodian children as possible to make it to Saturday’s KidzFest and encourage their parents to attend the Festival just weeks later.