Engaging Southeast Asia

Between 1975 and 1978, the Cambodian Genocide wiped out around 25% of Cambodia’s population. Anyone thought to be educated was targeted and killed. Vehicles were dumped in the Mekong River. Electricity was ripped out of homes by the wires. The goal of the ruling government was to remove the parasites of Western influence and bring the country to “Year Zero,” the start of a new age in which they could rebuild society into a utopia. In 1994, when Steve Hyde accepted God’s call on his life to be a missionary in Cambodia, he arrived in one of the most broken countries in the world at that time.

As God began to move in and heal this war-torn country, Steve’s original ministry focus of evangelism and church-planting began to grow exponentially. From eight churches in the entire country to tens of thousands of churches today, he has been a witness to God’s miraculous work. Expanding in response to the needs of communities, they now have a publishing company, orphanages, and schools. And now God is giving hope for new life through an incredible ministry called the Hope Center.

Cambodia’s society is rooted in communism, and, for them, eugenics is simply a part of attempting to create a utopian society. Therefore, abortions are readily available throughout the country, and people naturally accept the practice as a means of avoiding further suffering. Steve described the irony of how difficult it is for Cambodians to find a doctor to set a broken bone in contrast to the easy access to fully equipped abortion clinics, located within five to 10 miles of every home in the country.

“This travesty results in 60,000–70,000 abortions a year,” Steve shared.

Cambodia’s abortion clinics are fully funded and supplied by Planned Parenthood and other European non-governmental organizations. These organizations go into the villages on pink motorcycles with megaphones, announcing their presence and offering to provide abortions right then and there. In response to this, the Hope Center was founded, and they send out staff into the villages on pink motorcycles as well. When women approach them looking for abortions, the Hope Center staff counsel these women and give them alternatives to aborting their babies.

Last year, 508 babies were saved from being aborted through the Hope Center. In addition to preventing abortions, the Hope Center comes alongside mothers and their families, leads them to Christ, and sets them and their babies up for a hopeful future. They also go out into the villages to teach hygiene and preventive healthcare. Many of the babies who are saved from abortion come to know Jesus when they get older and are able to get an education. As a matter of fact, 10 churches were planted last year just through the Hope Center’s ministry. Steve and his team are looking to expand the Hope Center’s reach even further throughout Cambodia and to other countries “that have been plagued by the horrors of abortion.”

Steve has learned over time that many mothers seek abortion out of fear that their babies will be born into disease or sickness due to extreme poverty. Because of this, one of the best ways people can partner with the Hope Center is by helping supply prenatal vitamins, which are difficult to come by in Cambodia. Prenatal care gives mothers more hope that their babies will be born strong and healthy.

Steve and his team are always open to receiving volunteers who want to serve in Cambodia. From short-term to long-term opportunities, any kind of skill can be put to good use. For example, engineers have helped build roads and sewage systems, and farmers have helped locals develop more fruitful crops.

“We can put you to work to serve the Lord and make a big investment,” said Steve. “God may call you to save babies from abortion, help encourage women and mothers, work with child development, or teach in our schools. Anyone is welcome.”

Visit bellevue.org/give to give to Bellevue’s World Missions Offering and bellevue.org/love-offering to give to Bellevue’s 2022 Love Offering, For Life.

Find out how you can engage with the lost in Southeast Asia by emailing Bellevue’s Missions office at bbcmissions@bellevue.org.