Timothy Ith was raised in a Buddhist family of many generations. After the collapse of the Cambodian government in 1975, Timothy’s family escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand where he began to wonder about the true God. Later he came to America where he accepted Christ. After Timothy’s conversion, his heart was filled with sorrow for the horrors his people had endured, and he returned to Cambodia in 1989. Timothy served for many years as the president of the Phnom Penh Bible College. Considered one of the “guiding lights” of Christianity in Cambodia, Timothy also founded and currently leads KEA. Timothy is married to Yun and has two children.
The Khmer Evangelical Association (KEA) is an indigenous, church-planting ministry with the long-term vision to see one church planted in each commune (smaller than a district but larger than a town) and to be a part of spreading the Gospel beyond Cambodia’s borders. There are more than 1,600 communes in the country, so the challenge and vision before them is great. KEA sends church planters throughout the country to encourage new fellowships to form and disciple new believers.
"God pulled me from the mud of hell and made me worthy....I will do whatever I can to serve the Lord."
As part of their rural church-planting program, KEA leaders identify and equip new lay leaders. Training them to share Christ effectively with people who are non-literate is a key part of preparing them for ministry in the rural areas where literacy can be as low as 20%. One trainee, Ly Loert, is from the northern part of the country. He came to know Christ and was eager to be trained in the Word of God. During the training, he shared how excited he was that God was using him to bring transformation to his needy village. “Before, I was a useless man in my village,” he said, “and I didn’t know what to do with my life. God pulled me from the mud of hell and made me worthy to serve Him. After I graduate, I will do whatever I can to serve the Lord.”
After the holocaust perpetuated by the Khmer Rouge in 1975-79 there were so few Christians remaining in Cambodia that Christianity in the country essentially had to start over. Only two trained pastors remained to minister among the small number of surviving, underground Christians.
Church Planter Support, KEA
The work of evangelism requires travel. Often one church planter is working in several villages at a time. The distance between them is too great to go on foot, is exhausting, and wastes time that the church planter could use for ministry. With limited public transportation in the nation, there is a critical need for modes of travel that are both reliable and affordable. Motorbikes, which are economical and easy to maintain, are the ideal answer. Three church planters are waiting for a motorbike.