Updated: Sep 14, 2019
When Jesus lived on the earth, His primary objective was always the cross—reconciling humanity back to the Father. Yet, He still spent three years traveling throughout Israel and teaching his followers about the Kingdom of Heaven. He not only taught about the kingdom—He lived it, giving His disciples an example to follow. He spent time investing in
the lives of those who truly believed in him, so that they could do the same for their disciples.
As a team, we strive to follow the example that Jesus set. It may not be the fastest approach, but the Gospel often comes alive for people in the day-to-day, steady relationship with the Lord. Marlin and his wife Sambath (pictured above) are Sector missionaries in Cambodia, and they have learned a lot about this type of discipleship in the past two years living in the village. “One of the things that has seemed to very clear to me in discipleship,” says Marlin, “has been the importance of close proximity with the people I disciple. Another missionary once told me, ‘Cambodia is a mile wide full of believers, and an inch thick with disciples’ and I have found that to be true. Evangelism has been done to some extent, and people will go to the cities to get knowledge, but when they come back up to where they live, they have nothing to do with the knowledge because they haven’t seen someone doing it. Our close proximity has really been key, and it’s such a blessing to live with the people. Sometimes, maybe it’s a little inconvenient. It’s not uncommon for one of our pastor friends to come knocking at 6 AM—we’re still sleeping, but I get up, make a cup of coffee, and we’ll have a Bible study. He’s coming with questions and he wants to learn, and we’re easy to access because we’re right there in the village.” Sambath adds, “We just have to be ready for when they come and be ready to preach. It is important to be available at any cost.”
The purpose of discipleship is not just to teach—it’s to raise up and equip leaders to create a sustainable, viral move of God. Jesus knew that the Holy Spirit would be enough to make his disciples into powerful ministers everywhere they went. Marlin tells a story of visiting a family with two of his disciples: “We went to a wedding in the village and another believer invited us over to her house. She told us she’d been praying for a long-lost relative to come home, and they had finally come back, so the believer wanted us to share the Gospel with her. So we went over there, and before I could even say anything, they just jumped right into sharing the Gospel. On the way home, the two disciples in the back seat were super excited, just chattering about how awesome it was to share the Gospel. In that conversation, one of them said ‘I didn’t know how to share until I ministered with the expedition team. When I went out with him I learned how to do it and I got boldness.’” Marlin adds that many people he’s interacted with know the message of Jesus, but they had never seen it being preached.
The team in Cambodia is dedicated to empowering the local believers. One way they have done this is by bringing Christians out of the city and releasing them into the village with our expedition trips, to co-minister and often translate for our teams. This year, three Cambodians who began as co-ministers are now in Zambia, Africa, attending Overland’s Advanced Mission Training. It’s our heart to see believers from all nations strengthened and deployed around the world to fulfill the Great Commission. We are shaking the nations with the love of Christ, one disciple at a time.