Rice for Cambodia Brings Food, Hope
In 2001, Kevin Krueger, Positive Life Radio, manager, Walla Walla University's Christian radio station, spoke with Bobby Michaels, Christian recording artist, who had recently done a concert in Cambodia. Many people came to hear Michaels sing, but he noticed they were not interactive. Many appeared glassy-eyed and distant.
When Michaels asked, he was told the people were weak with hunger. They couldn't afford food.
"We can't sing for them if they're hungry!" Michaels responded. "Let's get them food, and then we can share Jesus with them."
Michaels quickly bought as much rice as he could. And so began what has been nearly a decade of trips to Cambodia to bring rice and the gospel to the people of Cambodia.
When Krueger heard this story, he felt God tugging at his heart. He asked Michaels if PLR could partner with him to help the Cambodian people.
The Rice for Cambodia Campaign caught the attention of PLR listeners, and they gave a total of $5,000—twice the campaign goal. Donations increased each year, often doubling, until just recently in Nov. 2008, listeners gave $192,000—enough to feed 57,000 people for a month.
Following the campaigns, Michaels organizes a trip to Cambodia each summer to distribute rice purchased with donations. Approximately 50 people participate in the month-long trip. Many are PLR listeners, some are from the WWU community. All are passionate about helping the people of Cambodia.
Krueger remembers hearing a loud clanging while there last summer. A boy of 10 was banging on a piece of cement with an improvised hammer, trying to get a piece of rebar out of it.
When Krueger asked what the boy was doing, a Mennonite missionary said the boy was probably going to sell the rebar to purchase glue. Many Cambodian boys sniff glue to dull the pain of hunger.
An hour later, the boy was still at it. The missionary told Krueger the boy wouldn't have kept at it so long for glue. He was doing it for food.
"We've seen many improvements in Cambodia," says Krueger, "and with God's help, we hope to transition from just an emergency feeding program to a more self-sustaining, long-term solution. We're taking steps in that direction this year."
WWU has a long tradition of mission service. In 2008, 94 student missionaries left for a year of service, representing WWU to people around the world. The PLR Rice for Cambodia Campaign is just one more way WWU reaches out to the world.
To find out how you can contribute to the Rice for Cambodia Campaign, visit www.plr.org, or call 800-355-4757.