“The word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” John 1:14 (Message Version; emphasis added)
One place I have been looking forward to visiting for the past two years is Common Grounds. This is another layer of the PCL “onion”. Ten years ago, through the partnership of a generous donor, PCL opened this trendy coffee house in the heart of Siem Reap in Cambodia. Based on the concept of “Business as Mission”, the leadership had the vision of starting a business for the purpose of living the gospel in real life. They wanted to provide job opportunities for people in the community. They were thinking outside the box of traditional missions work and they knew that success in business was a heart string of the Asian culture.
Well, they succeeded! Not only has the business been successful, but it has been self-sustaining from day one. In addition to this, 100% of the profits from the business goes back in to other projects of PCL. For instance, Common Grounds sponsored the building of 11 of the new homes built in Andong Village in Phnom Penh. But the real success stories in this community hub, are the lives that have been changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today we met Dalath who is the manager of Common Grounds. Dalath has been working in the Cafe since the beginning. He worked his way up learning many skills as he went. As Dalath began to see more and more employees coming to believe in Jesus, he expressed to Matt Bohlman, a member of the PCL, mission team that he would never believe in Jesus. However, as he witnessed the genuine light of Christ through the everyday lives of his fellow workers and employers, his heart was touched. And one day, Dalath came to Matt and shared that he did indeed believe in Jesus and wanted to follow him!
Every day that we are here, I am amazed at what buying a Christmas Tree can do!