EMU Masthead

Cambodia

For nearly six centuries the Khmer Empire ruled large portions of Southeast Asia. During that time a mammoth complex of temples dedicated to various Hindu and Buddhist gods was built in the capital city of Angkor. Today, Angkor Wat, the largest of the structures, stands as a monument to the craftsmanship and power of that Empire. Cambodia came under the shadow of its neighbors in the 1400s, and in 1887 it became a part of French Indochina, under whose protection it remained until its independence in 1953. Following America's pullout from Vietnam, the Marxist Khmer Rouge gained power and ruled for four bloody years. An attempt was made to eradicate from society all former government officials, upper and middle class persons, those with education, and religious adherents. Between one-and-a-half and two million Cambodians lost their lives during those few, violent years. Since the UN brokered free elections in 1993, the country has generally been at peace and has been working towards rebuilding.

Phnom Penh, the capital, is located in the south central plains where the Mekong and Tonle Sap Rivers converge. About a tenth of the nation's more than thirteen million people live in the capital, and a full eighty-five percent of the population live in rural areas. About seventy percent of the citizens are literate. In spite of rich natural resources, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The main occupation is farming - primarily of rice, corn, and rubber. Recent changes in trade agreements threaten to damage Cambodia's garment-manufacturing industry.

The Khmer are the dominant ethnic group in Cambodia, and their tongue is spoken as the national language. In the northeastern hill country are several smaller tribes that have their own languages, most of which have not been reduced to writing. These peoples live at peace with the Khmer and are even allowed to cross into neighboring countries where their fellow tribesmen live. The tribal people are basically animist, though many have been coming to Christ in recent years.

Buddhism is the national religion, and temples and shrines abound. To gain merit for their parents, many Khmer young men enter the priesthood for a few months, living in a monastery with other monks to learn their religion. Fewer than one percent of the population adheres to any form of Christianity – Roman Catholic or Protestant. Since the mid-1980s, various Christian groups have carried out relief work in Cambodia and have spread the Gospel while giving physical and material help to the people.

In 1994 J.D. Crowley received one of the first visas given to a foreigner for entering the country with the express purpose of evangelism. Since then, he has been able to assist other fundamental missionaries in securing similar visas. The opportunities for evangelism and church planting are wide open. The need for missionaries committed to indigenous church-planting throughout Cambodia is staggering. More linguists are also needed to work with Scripture translations among the tribal people. Medical missions is another important opportunity in Cambodia.

Cambodian children in Ban Lung, Ratanakiri

Children in Ban Lung, Ratanakiri

Cambodian fishermen

Cambodian fishermen

Angkor Wat at night

Angkor Wat at night

Krung musician

Krung musician

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J.D. & Kim Crowley

J.D. was raised as an MK in Japan and Hawaii. Kim grew up on the campus of Bob Jones University where her parents were teachers. Both trusted Christ as Savior at an early age.

It was at Bob Jones Academy that they first met. After graduating from BJU they were married in 1980 and then moved to Hawaii, where J.D. pastored the Kea'au Bible Church for twelve years. But their hearts were always drawn toward tribal work and Bible translation.

In 1992 the Crowleys' church sent them out as missionaries to pursue this long-dreamt-of goal. Following a year of training with New Tribes Missions, J.D. and Kim contacted EMU to pursue the prospects of service under this organization. Although the mission had expanded into Chile, it had no tribal missions experience. After months of prayer and a meeting with the Board of Directors, the Crowleys were accepted as missionaries with EMU.

Among the Crowleys' early goals in Cambodia was reducing Tampuan (a minority language) to writing in preparation for a Bible translation. They accomplished this task – slowed by many linguistic and bureaucratic hurdles – during their first two terms on the field. During that time, in addition to doing linguistic work, J.D. helped establish the Ratanakiri Bible School for training national church leaders. This school, now directed by the nationals, teaches men and women in several minority groups. J.D. continues to teach at the school and give guidance to the leaders. The Crowleys have also worked to produce doctrinally-sound Christian literature in the Cambodian and Tampuan languages.

J.D. and Kim have six children: Charis, Ethan, Anna, Jenna, Taylor, and Nathaniel.

The Crowley family

(back) Taylor, J.D., Kim, Ethan
(front) Nathaniel, Anna, Jenna




J.D. and Cambodian colleague doing linguistic work

J.D. and a colleague doing linguistic work

Jeremy & Bonnie Ruth Farmer

Jeremy and Bonnie Ruth were both born into godly families and grew up in North and South Carolina respectively. It was at The Wilds Christian Camp in 1992 that Jeremy was challenged to examine his walk with the Lord and the need to truly grow in grace. During the next summer while at The Wilds, he became convinced that the Lord wanted him to take the Gospel to those who had never heard. As a sophomore at Bob Jones University, Jeremy read Commandos For Christ by Bruce Porterfield and began developing a vision for primitive people groups. In the summer of 2002, Jeremy accompanied Josh Jensen and Brian Kane on a trip to Ban Lung, Cambodia, to spend two weeks "helping" missionaries JD and Kim Crowley. These three young men ended up being the ones helped by JD as they learned about mission philosophy and the pursuit of personal holiness.

Bonnie Ruth trusted Christ as her Savior at the age of four. She heard a missionary presentation when she was eight years old that the Lord used to impress upon her young heart the intense desire to spread the Gospel to those who had never before heard the Good News. This desire only increased as her family began to attend Mt. Calvary Baptist Church in Greenville, SC. In preparation for whatever ministry the Lord had for her, Bonnie Ruth entered BJU in 1995, eventually earning a B.A. in Church Music and an M.A. in Theology. During her graduate studies, she traveled to a Student Global Impact missions conference in Detroit, MI, with some other students from BJU. Three of those individuals were Brian Kane and Lydia Potts (now married and serving the Lord in Cambodia), and, more importantly, Jeremy Farmer. Bonnie Ruth and Jeremy became good friends from that point, eventually began dating, and were wed in 2003.

During Jeremy's doctoral dissertation process, he was contacted by Northland Baptist Bible College and asked to teach Old Testament for the next three years while finishing his dissertation. Because of the opportunities open to the Farmers at the end of that 3-year period, Jeremy and Bonnie Ruth visited Cambodia – Bonnie Ruth's first visit to Cambodia. The Lord confirmed in the hearts of both that He was directing them to serve Him in Southeast Asia with the Crowleys and Kanes. During their visit, Jeremy and Bonnie Ruth also learned more about the Laotian tribal people who live in northeastern Cambodia, where there is no self-sustaining Gospel witness. The Farmers were accepted as missionaries with EMU in December 2008 and began full-time deputation at the end of the spring 2009 semester. Jeremy and Bonnie Ruth's personal ministry website is SolidJoys.org.

The Farmers have six children: Abigail, Isobel, Gloria, Eden, Judson, and Salem.

The Kane family

Jeremy & Bonnie Ruth Farmer family

Joshua & RuthAmy Jensen

Josh Jensen is the son of Ken and Joan Jensen (and grandson of George Jensen), so he has been connected with EMU through his family for his whole life. He earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Bible Translation from Bob Jones University, and he completed his Ph.D. in Linguistics from The University of Texas at Arlington in spring, 2013. Amy grew up in New Jersey, where her dad was a pastor; when she was in high school, her dad answered a call to a church in York, Pennsylvania. Amy earned her undergraduate degree in Music Education, her master's degree in Bible, and her doctorate of education in Curriculum and Instruction, all from Bob Jones University.

In the summer of 2002 Josh accompanied Jeremy Farmer and Brian Kane on a survey trip to Cambodia to visit the Crowleys. At that time he began to desire to return for long-term ministry. In spring 2006 Joshua went back for three months to do linguistic fieldwork with the Jarai people, a minority group in the northeast corner of the country.

Josh and Amy are currently on deputation. When they complete deputation, they will move to Phnom Penh to study Khmer, the national language of Cambodia, for two years. They then plan to move to Ratanakiri, where the Crowleys and Kanes serve. Once there, they will begin learning Jarai, with the goal of eventually helping the Jarai church through Bible teaching and Bible translation. Josh and Amy's personal ministry website is jarai-in-cambodia.org

The Jensens have two children: Rebecca and Isaiah.

The Jensen family

Joshua & RuthAmy Jensen family

Brian & Lydia Kane

Brian Kane was born and raised on the campus of Bob Jones University where his parents are on staff. He earned an undergraduate degree in Bible, followed by a Master of Divinity degree. Lydia grew up in the Philippines where her parents are missionaries. She attended BJU, where she met Brian, and graduated with a Bachelor's of Science degree in Biology and a Master's degree in Counseling. Brian and Lydia were married in 2001.

In the summer of 2002 Brian, along with Jeremy Farmer and Josh Jensen, visited the Crowley family in Ban Lung, Cambodia. Though the Kanes had long had a burden for missionary service, this survey trip turned their hearts to the people of Cambodia. The following year, the Kanes were accepted into EMU as missionaries to Cambodia.

The Kanes are serving in Ratanakiri province, primarily in Bible teaching and discipleship with Krung church leaders. Brian is also assisting with the Krung Bible translation.

The Kanes have five children: Mia, Sophia, Hugh, Jackson, and Julia.

 

The Kane family

Brian & Lydia Kane family