News Release

Cambodia Young Single Adults Prepare for the Temple: Where Heaven and Earth Meet
(យុវមជ្ឈិម​វ័យ​នៅលីវ​កម្ពុជា​រៀបចំ​ខ្លួន​ទៅ​ ព្រះវិហារ​បរិសុទ្ធ ៖ ជា​កន្លែង​ដែល​​ឋានសួគ៌ និង​ផែនដី​ផ្សារភ្ជាប់គ្នា)

Young Single Adults (YSA) across Cambodia gather in Phnom Penh for the YSA Countrywide Temple Kick-off Conference held in preparation for their Bangkok Thailand Temple trip in November 2023

ដើម្បីអានជាភាសាខ្មែរ សូមចុច នៅទីនេះ

"The Temple: Where Heaven and Earth Meet" was the memorable theme for the 2023 YSA Countrywide Temple Kick-off Conference in Cambodia. The event was held from May 13 to 14 at the East District Center in Phnom Penh. YSA from all stakes and districts of the Church gathered at the conference to learn and prepare to attend the temple. 

The conference's focus was on getting Cambodia YSA ready for the next countrywide activity to visit the new Bangkok Thailand Temple. With only two days, the conference consisted of a full and inspired program of instructions, classes on family history, preparing for the temple, and the Plan of Salvation, followed by testimonies about the temple, dance instruction, and performances by local church members.

The conference was planned and coordinated by a countrywide committee made up of two committee leaders and 10 committee members who are each leaders in their respective stake and district YSA committees. The goal of the conference was to motivate each person to prepare spiritually, obtain a temple recommend, and find at least one name of an ancestor they could bring with them on the temple trip. 

Countywide committee leader Ratha Khut said, “I just hope the YSA come away from the conference with a desire to prepare themselves, so they are ready to attend the temple.” The YSA will make their visit in November, after the Bangkok Thailand Temple is dedicated on October 22, 2023.

Buses were chartered across various provinces in Cambodia to bring all the YSA together to Phnom Penh where the conference was taking place. After settling hotel check-ins and registrations, the conference began in the East District Center chapel with announcements and information about the upcoming Bangkok Thailand Temple excursion, with an emphasis on each YSA obtaining a passport, temple recommend, and a name to take to the temple. 

The YSA were then divided into two large groups with one half attending the Family History class and the other half being further divided into three groups, which rotated to learn about the three degrees of glory. The Telestial Kingdom class was taught by Ngoum Tho and Bopha Sum. The Terrestrial Kingdom was presented by Samnang Hou and Sodanin Prak, and the Celestial Kingdom class by Veasna You and Malika Chap. 

The Family History class was taught by Sister Samnang Kang, local Family History Consultants, and by Sister Elaine (pictured) and Elder Corey Christensen, who are Family History senior couple missionaries serving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. May 13, 2023.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

The Family History class was taught by the Cambodia Family History Consultant Samnang Kang, together with Family History missionaries Elder Corey and Sister Elaine Christensen with help from local consultants. Those in attendance received information about the importance of family history. Sister Christensen said, “Family history is especially important right now in Cambodia. Because of the Khmer Rouge, there are very few records, so it is critical to record the memories and information now before those who hold the memories are gone.”

Elder Christensen told the YSA that “doing family history brings us closer to our ancestors and closer to Jesus Christ”. Sister Christensen also added, “Everyone deserves to be remembered.” Each class participant was encouraged to find the name of a person to take to the temple and prepare a story to share on their Family History account. 

The Saturday classes concluded with a combined meeting in the chapel to share experiences about what was learned. Oum Abram, a recently returned missionary from Phnom Penh, shared, “I loved learning about covenants and how we make covenants when we marry.” Navina Khon from the Phnom Penh North Stake reflected, “I love learning about the plan of salvation, knowing that if I repent and go to the temple, I can go to the highest degree of glory and have eternal life.” 

Bum Hengda from Battambang shared how he nearly missed the 5 a.m. bus to Phnom Penh for the conference and expressed how happy he was that he could attend. He spoke of his desire to attend the temple and that by keeping covenants, we receive help to overcome the challenges that we face.    

Before enjoying a buffet dinner, YSA worked up an appetite learning line dancing to music such as "Cupid Shuffle" and "Saturday Night Fever" by Sister McKette Allred as well as a couples’ dance taught with her husband and fellow Communication senior missionary Elder David Allred. After dinner, local single adults shared their talents performing a dance routine, followed by all the attendees enjoying music and dancing. With that, day one of the conference ended with buses dropping off those who joined from the provinces at their hotels.

A special combined sacrament meeting was held on Sunday to conclude the conference for the YSA. The meeting was presided over by the recently called Area Seventy for Cambodia, Elder Bunhuoch Eng, and conducted by Phirum Sokha Tay, the East District President. After a quiet, spirit-filled sacrament service, Chhiedean Bo and Sunphenich Rith sang a beautiful musical arrangement of the hymn "Be Still My Soul".

Several returned missionaries who had recently attended the Manilla Temple were asked by Elder Eng to speak about their temple experiences. Theavy Leng said, “The temple is the key to receiving heavenly blessings.” Mali Phun shared her testimony about the temple and said, “Nothing compares to the temple – it connects heaven to earth. It is a place I can go to feel closer to Him.”

Manypisey Meas, a Family History Consultant from Phnom Penh East District, said, “It is important to start your own account so when you go to the temple it not only helps you keep covenants, but it also blesses your family when you do their temple work.”   

Cambodia YSA Kick-off event. May 2023.
Cambodia YSA Kick-off event. May 2023.
Cambodia's Area Seventy Elder Bunhuoch Eng presided at the special YSA sacrament meeting where he spoke about the importance of serving a mission and family history. The meeting was held at the Phnom Penh East District Center on May 14, 2023.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elder Eng gave the final remarks at the countywide sacrament meeting by relating a personal experience. He shared how he was baptized in 1998 then served a mission in 2000. He said, “A mission changed my life. I learned that God has a plan for me.” He shared his experience about the importance of family history work and how it prepared him to meet a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. He had a dream where he saw his parents and they said they would go with him and support him in his meeting. During the meeting, Elder Eng said, “I could feel my parents in the room.”

After being set apart, Apostle Elder Gerrit Gong shared that he could also feel the presence of Elder Eng’s parents. Elder Eng shared, “Our ancestors are praying that the hearts of the children will turn to their fathers and that we will take their names to the temple.” 

As the special sacrament meeting drew to a close, those traveling back to the provinces received lunch for their long ride home and all were encouraged to prepare to attend the Bangkok Thailand Temple trip in November. After the uplifting two-day conference, participants were inspired to prepare themselves to visit the temple by getting their passports, recommends, and names of their ancestors to take to the temple. 

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