News Release

Cambodian Youth Gather in Faith and Fellowship at FSY 2023 in Siem Reap
(យុវវ័យ​កម្ពុជា​ប្រមូលផ្តុំ​គ្នា​ដោយ​សេចក្តី​ជំនឿ និង​ការរាប់អាន នៅ​ក្នុង​កម្មវិធី ដ.ក.យ. ប្រចាំ​ឆ្នាំ ២០២៣ នៅឯ​ខេត្ត​សៀមរាប)

Week of Spiritual Growth and Unity Prepares Future Leaders for a Life of Discipleship

ដើម្បីអានជាភាសាខ្មែរ សូមចុច នៅទីនេះ

In a remarkable display of faith and fellowship, over 400 youth of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from across Cambodia gathered in Siem Reap at the Sokha Resort and Convention Center from November 27 to December 1 to participate in the For the Strength of Youth (FSY) Conference. The event is a weeklong retreat full of workshops, interactive presentations, service opportunities, and activities designed to help youth better understand Jesus Christ and build their lives on His teachings. Topics included family history, missionary preparation, temple attendance, scripture study, and more.

Theme: "I Can Do All Things in Christ" 

The 13 to 18-year-old participants, donned bright colored t-shirts with this year’s theme: “I can do all things in Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). The unity in their attire reflected their shared purpose and devotion to Christ. They were guided by 72 young adult counselors and coordinators, distinguishable by their contrasting-colored polo shirts. 

Exemplifying the Patterns of Disciple Leadership 

Brother Sophal Uk and Sister Bolinda Sok, serving as the Directing Couple for this FSY Conference, provided guidance and inspiration throughout the event. In one of several meetings where the couple addressed the full group of youth, Sister Sok, with tears in her eyes, reminded them of the Savior's deep love for them. As she spoke, the crowd was visibly moved, feeling the powerful warmth of the Spirit.

Brother Uk and Sister Sok share wisdom and guidance.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Young Single Adult Coordinators Chhiedaen Bo and Monyrath Tep, along with 12 Assistant Coordinators, were instrumental in guiding the counselors. Jasmine Tieng, one of the assistant coordinators, shared her faith-strengthening experiences of overcoming logistical challenges through prayer and trust in the Lord’s plan. “Even though we have worked out a detailed schedule, sometimes things unexpectedly change. It can be really stressful as we try to problem solve. We feel very stressed as directors. But then things tend to work out, and we feel the spirit.” 

Bringing The Doctrine of Christ to Life

Asia Area President Elder Benjamin M. Z. Tai and his wife, Sister Naomi Toma Tai, joined the event mid-week, focusing on the doctrine of Christ. Emphasizing its importance in guiding life's critical decisions, Elder Tai encouraged the youth to envision their future: “Close your eyes and try to imagine where you will be in 10 years. You have a lot of decisions to make in the next 10 years that will affect the rest of your life. The best tool we have to make these decisions is to follow the doctrine of Christ,” he advised.

Inspired Leadership
Inspired Leadership
Elder Bunhuoch Eng (left), Area Seventy, Elder Benjamin M. Z. Tai (center), Asia Area President, and his wife, Sister Naomi Toma Tai (right) teach youth about the Doctrine of Christ at FSY Cambodia 2023.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

After teaching about faith and repentance, Elder Tai then asked attendees to recall and share their baptismal experiences. A recently-baptized member raised his hand and reported that he was baptized “September 17 at 10 o’clock. My burdens were lifted!” eliciting a burst of congratulatory applause from the crowd. Many participants indicated that they too are new members of the Church when Elder Tai asked for a show of hands. Over half of the participants indicated they were attending FSY for the first time.

Celebrating Khmer Culture

The Variety Show mid-week showcased both traditional and modern style acting, singing, and dancing routines celebrating the rich historical and contemporary cultural heritage of Cambodia. Manypiesy Meas, the 18-year-old director of a dramatic presentation, shared that “I wasn’t planning to attend FSY, but I prayed about it and the Holy Spirit told me that I needed to go because it would be really important for my life. I learned that through the power of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice I can learn to take control of my feelings. That really strengthened my testimony. I am so glad that I decided to attend.”

Learning to Serve Through Humanitarian Aid 

The final day of the event included a service project to fill 1,000 school bags for new students at schools in nearby Siem Reap and in Phnom Penh. A small group of youth spontaneously volunteered to serve well beyond the scheduled time, exemplifying Elder David A. Bednar’s October 2023 general conference message about those who press forward “in the path of their duty.” Richard Gerlach, a Humanitarian senior missionary overseeing the project praised the volunteers, saying “These youth are the future leaders of the Church in this country.”

Taking the FSY Experience Home

In the final devotional, Brother Uk and Sister Sok gave the youth practical ways they can take their experiences and growth home with them. Elder Bunhuoch Eng, Area Seventy, closed the week with a profound question and answer: “What is a real testimony? A real testimony is what you know about Jesus Christ in your heart.”

Final Guidance
Final Guidance
As FSY 2023 draws to a close, Elder Bunhuoch Eng (left), Area Seventy offers final words of inspiration.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Several attendees expressed how their FSY experience created a newfound desire to serve as future full-time proselyting missionaries. Bondith Panha said, “I’ve learned how to plan to become a missionary. I have struggled with depression in the past, but meeting the missionaries and learning about Jesus Christ has really helped me to be happier. I want to help other people do the same.”

Kanika Nget said, “I learned that Jesus Christ has a plan for everyone, including me. I had thought that I was too weak to serve a mission. Today I learned how Jesus Christ can make me strong. This gives me the confidence to make the decision to serve.” 

The event leadership prompted youth to share their testimonies in fast and testimony meetings in their home wards and branches the following Sunday. Keat Sokunthea from Siem Reap District testified to her home congregation saying, “I am a very shy person. When they asked us to share an experience or a testimony, I didn’t think I could do it. But I said a small prayer and found the courage to speak up. I have a stronger testimony because of Joseph Smith. He was able to ask God for help and was able to see God. I too can have a stronger testimony of Christ through prayer and the scriptures.”

FSY Cambodia 2023 Group Portrait
FSY Cambodia 2023 Group Portrait
© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

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