Rice for Cambodia Radio Listeners Give Generously

Walla Walla College’s Positive Life Radio listeners donated thousands of dollars for the second year to help feed people affected by drought and flooding in Cambodia. Positive Life Radio teamed up with Musicianaries International Inc., an organization founded by Christian recording artist Bobby Michaels, to purchase and distribute tons of rice to needy Cambodian families.

The rice was purchased with money raised from benefit concerts performed by Michaels and donated by the generous listeners of Positive Life Radio, who gave more than $32,000 in one month.

Cambodia, also known as Kampuchea, endured the genocidal regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, during which more than one million displaced people were executed or died from enforced hardships. The country has only recently attained political stability after a coalition government was formed in 1998, bringing an end to nearly 20 years of fighting between political groups. The struggle for a normal existence in Cambodia continues, however, with severe droughts and flooding causing extreme hardships during the last several years.

Every year, the Mekong River, which runs through Cambodia, overflows and floods the surrounding countryside during the later months of the rainy season. Farmers and fishermen depend on this for irrigation and to provide the necessary habitat and food for fish. However, when the floods are irregular, or the dry season droughts are unusually severe, millions of people are affected.

This has been the case since 2000, when 388 people died and 13,000 homes were destroyed. Many people had not fully recovered when flooding occurred again in 2001 and 100,000 families had to be evacuated. Years of this devastation have destroyed rice crops, caused massive food shortages and left many homeless. In June, Musicianaries was able to purchase enough rice seed to reseed the provinces of Batdambang and Kampong Chhnang.

Thousands of hungry families will be fed thanks to their efforts. But they do not stop at feeding the physical body; they feed their spirits, as well, giving them the Gospels of John and Luke in the Khmer language, sharing their personal testimonies and performing concerts. Though 95 percent of Cambodians are Theravada Buddhists, they seem eager to hear about Christianity. “I think because they’ve never heard of something for nothing,” says Michaels.

Musicianaries International was made aware of the opportunity to help in Cambodia by Setan Lee, who miraculously survived the killing fields, and is founder and director of Kampuchea for Christ, a Christian evangelistic group.

During the June 2003 trip, Lee, Michaels and other members of the Musicianaries team presented Cambodia’s King Norodom Sihanouk with 30 tons of rice at a formal ceremony. Though King Sihanouk is a Buddhist, he requested a copy of the New Testament in Greek and endorsed the work of Musicianaries, thanking them on behalf of his people.

March 01, 2004 / Walla Walla University