Women and Men Sharing Equal Honor and Glory in Christ

Author: Lily Lee (December 2021)

 

Looking back to the past ten years’ journey of Pleroma Missions in Cambodia, FiCF responded firmly with one heart to the vision and mission God entrusted to us!  God’s presence and blessings accompanied us together with all the girls we are serving. He led us towards the path of recovery, physically, mentally, and spiritually! We were touched and moved with tears by the countless stories of broken young lives healed and transformed when they began to realize that they are indeed precious daughters of God. We are amazed at the power of the gospel.  

 

However, like all the other organizations with similar missions, while we are continuously rescuing at the lower stream of the river the sexually exploited and violated women and girls, as well as the incest victims, there are even more such unfortunate ones flowing down from the upstream! While a small portion was rescued, a much larger number of them flowed by us, and were then disappeared and lost! How should we understand the upstream of this so call social culture “river”? Amidst these ten years of gratitude, our hearts are simultaneously broken with deep compassion and sadness!

 

In my 2011 article, “A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break”, the three main root-causes for human trafficking in Cambodia, together with our tireless effort in combating it are expounded as follow:

 

Root-cause 1: Low educational level

In 2015, we founded Pleroma School for Girls. Deeply convicted that raising the educational level of the girls is indeed a lasting and most fundamental preventive measure in combating human trafficking.  

 

Root-cause 2: Poverty

We set up scholarship and relief assistance programs to help the girls and their families, especially during the past two pandemic years. We thank our supporters for their generous help! Recently, a Chinese church in Texas has volunteered to assist us in constructing houses for the poor Cambodian families. The proposal is in concert with my dream of about ten years in building houses with separate rooms, providing privacy and protection to our girls in their puberty years. Poverty is a nationwide problem in Cambodia. Their “huts”, especially those in the provinces, are built without any awareness of respecting and protecting their girls. These settings would also aggravate and enticing the males in committing sexual aggressions against their girls. We not only will build houses with clear structure in protecting their girls, we also advocate the communities in doing the same for their girls.     

 

Root-cause 3: For hundreds of years, the Cambodian cultural saying of “Men are gold and women are but cloths” is the most subtle and stubborn root-cause for girls being not valued and suffering discrimination.

 

The sexual trafficking and exploitation, abuses and violation, incest, child marriage, quitting school when very young, forced marriages, working to help support the families, are the crucial societal ills towards the girls in their communities. 85 % of these victims are girls, and 90+% of the perpetrators are men. 

 

While we are entering the New Year 2022, how should we broaden our vision and mission to reach higher and broader in facing these challenges of stubborn gender injustice that have been damaging our girls for generations?    

 

In the beginning of 2020, we discussed and planned with our Board member, Dr. Melvin Wong, a California licensed psychologist, on a new vision and project, “Pleroma Men’s Ministry”. While actively researching and strategizing on the ministry, we were disrupted and delayed by the global pandemic outbreak. We sincerely pray that, in God’s guidance, we can restart and resume the project on men’s ministry in 2022. 

 

On the one hand, with the gospel of Jesus, we plan on nurturing the male leaders to exemplify as fatherly images in the community. To be godly men in their homes, neighborhoods, schools, and societies, in loving and respecting their wives, daughters, and the women they are living with and co-working with.  

 

Women and men work side-by-side, enjoying equal respect and honor, in living out abundant lives God destined equally for both women and men during creation. This is indeed the ultimate goal of our PMC ministry! 

 

Lastly, we admit that the reach of our ministries is indeed very limited in this vast country of Cambodia. But we realize that, our original four projects together with this new “Pleroma Men’s Ministries”, we are powerfully testifying to the girls, the parents, the communities, and the country, that the Cambodian girls are highly valued by us, and are precious to our God. Girls need loving cares, receive good education, discover their gifts and develop fully their potentials. They are more than worthy of our investments of time, effort, and money! These are indeed the very reasons God sent us to Cambodia ministering to them. God indeed unceasingly work among us with these PMC ministries. 

  

For the past many years of researching on these possibilities, we are now looking forward to concretely mobilizing and materializing these “Men’s Ministries”.  We witness that our God, not only loves our girls in special ways, he is also merciful towards the men who have been deceived and swayed by these biased and unjust gender traditional cultures!  



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