News Release

A Cambodian Miracle: First-Ever YSA Temple Trip Brings 200 Young Adults to the Bangkok Thailand Temple
(អព្ភូតហេតុ​របស់​ប្រជាជន​ខ្មែរ ៖ ដំណើរ​ទៅកាន់​ព្រះវិហារ​បរិសុទ្ធ​របស់ យ.ម.ល. ជា​លើក​ដំបូង​បំផុត ដែល​នាំ​មជ្ឈិមវ័យ ២០០ នាក់ ទៅឯ​ព្រះវិហារ​បរិសុទ្ធ​បាងកក ប្រទេស​ថៃ)

Cambodian young single adults gain spiritual strength and inspiration at the newly opened Thailand Temple.

ដើម្បីអានជាភាសាខ្មែរ សូមចុច នៅទីនេះ

The idea of a Cambodia temple trip to Thailand began in the Young Single Adults (YSA) countrywide committee in December 2022. After nearly a year of planning, an 18-hour day of traveling, and waiting in long lines to cross the border, six buses with 200 young adults from various parts of Cambodia arrived in Bangkok, Thailand on November 9, 2023. The participants were excited to finally be at the long-awaited temple. With great anticipation, they joined together to experience the joy and blessings of attending the temple.

Cambodia YSA Temple Trip
Cambodia YSA Temple Trip
First-ever Cambodia YSA temple trip where 200 young single adults attended the newly opened Bangkok Thailand Temple on November 9-12, 2023.© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

“My heart is so full, I can feel the love of my Heavenly Father and I am so happy, I can’t  wait to go to the temple again tomorrow.”

The Bangkok Temple was filled to capacity for two days as the large group participated in various temple ordinances. For many, November 10, 2023, was their first time to attend the temple. 43 members received their own endowment and shared the event with their Khmer brothers and sisters, while others participated in the baptistry for their first experience at the temple. As patrons left the temple, they were beaming with joy.

22-year-old Kongmeng Kuy, from the North Stake, who had just received her own endowment, said with tears of joy, “My heart is so full, I can feel the love of my Heavenly Father and I am so happy, I can’t wait to go to the temple again tomorrow.” After leaving the temple on her first day, another sister, Mery Vuth, an 18-year-old from the East District said, “I wasn’t expecting to feel the spirit with such a large group, but I felt the spirit so strongly as I did baptisms for nine of my ancestors.”

The first day at the temple concluded with heavy rain and a few obstacles as the group boarded buses to join a chartered river cruise for a dinner buffet. However, the rain ended before arriving at the port, providing for a memorable and fun-filled event comprising dinner, dancing, and a tour of the city lights of Bangkok, along the Chao Phraya River. 

The third day of the temple trip provided many of the newly endowed members the opportunity to participate in the ordinance of proxy sealings as well as other ordinances of the temple. The group continued to have wonderful experiences as they performed work for their ancestors. They expressed their feelings of gratitude for opportunities to perform the temple work. Lyseavlong Phal, a YSA from the East District, said, “I’m so very grateful and happy to do the work for my ancestors. I had a special feeling after the endowment session that he was grateful for the work I was doing on his behalf.” Other patrons also expressed feelings that their ancestors were aware of them and accepting of the work they were doing.

Attending the temple provided inspiration and guidance as patrons pondered and prayed in the temple. 20-year-old Kanika Nget, from the North Stake, shared her special experiences at the temple. She said, “I am so very grateful and happy to attend the temple and receive my endowment. I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are real. I felt such a peaceful feeling about my grandparents that they would accept the work I did for them.” Kanika also shared, “While I was praying in the temple, I felt the strongest feeling that I should go on a mission.”

Heang Seyha, from Kampong Cham District, said, “I feel so close to Heavenly Father. This was my first time attending the temple. It makes me want to have a calling, serve, and be a better member.”

After the second day in the temple, the YSA joined together for a deeply moving devotional, where they shared their testimonies and experiences about the temple. The devotional was conducted by the South Stake YSA committee leader Sam Panha and presided over by Thailand’s Area Seventy, Elder Suchat Chaichana. The devotional concluded with a message about covenants from the Bangkok Thailand Temple President Wisit Khanakham.

The YSA prepared for the temple trip by gathering for a temple kick-off activity on May 4-5, 2023, where they learned about the plan of salvation and how to find their ancestors’ names. The young adults prepared for the trip by bringing hundreds of family file names to the temple where their work was performed during the trip.

The YSA also diligently attended one of the many temple preparation classes that were taught in branches, stakes, and districts throughout Cambodia. 27-year-old Panhavon Un, from Battambang District, whose mother passed away just before the temple trip said, “I prepared for the temple by attending the temple preparation classes and studying and reading my scriptures. Because of my efforts, I feel so blessed. I was able to pray and feel my mother’s love. I could see her face smiling at me and she was with God and was happy. It was a lot of work to prepare but I feel blessed to have this experience because I prepared.”

Fasting brought miracles for one of the countrywide committee leaders as she prepared for the trip to the temple. Mandy Tieng, from the East District, fasted that she could help the committee to successfully organize the schedules for all who would attend the temple and be able to speak in a reverent but understandable voice as she helped in the temple baptistry. She also fasted to receive strength to overcome an injury to her leg and feel the presence of her father who passed away just weeks before the trip. When Mandy arrived at the temple, she was exhausted and could not eat. She then spent two full days at the baptistry, standing on her feet with barely a break for lunch. She said, “Because I fasted and prayed to prepare for the temple, I felt my father’s presence and God gave me enough strength to stand all day and I still had enough energy for a second day.

The temple trip was organized by a countrywide YSA committee with representation from each stake and district in Cambodia. The countrywide committee chairperson for the event was Ratha Khut from the East District. Ratha said, “There have been so many challenges in planning this trip. At one point I didn’t think the trip was even going to happen, but miracles all along the way allowed us to overcome the many obstacles we faced. I had been accepted to Brigham Young University Hawaii for the fall semester and didn’t think I would be here for the trip. As it turned out, I was unable to attend the university and though it was a devastating setback, I know God has a plan for me which included helping organize this trip. It has been so rewarding to see so many YSA have special experiences on the trip. I also feel blessed to find 35 of my own family names to bring to the temple to have their work performed.”

Senior communications missionary, Sister McKette Allred said, “Ratha, with inspired help from Mandy Tieng and others, skillfully orchestrated two hundred YSA and all their ancestors' names across many sessions each day without conflicts. Ratha spent endless hours planning and overseeing the event. It was a blessing to hear of the experiences and see the joy on the faces of so many of these wonderful young adults as they entered and returned from the temple each day. I feel this experience is preparing these leaders to attend and serve in the Cambodia Temple that is now under construction.”

Sister Kanika Sovann, from East District, had a special assignment on the trip. She served in the temple by helping interpret the temple matron’s instruction to those receiving their own endowment. Kanika further served in the baptistry and helped in sealing rooms. Each of these faithful sisters sacrificed participating themselves, to help ensure everyone had a special temple experience.

Though there were challenges on this trip, many exercised faith and prepared to attend the temple. YSA Samnang Ea Donghan, from East District, did not think he could earn enough money for a passport, which was required to cross the Thailand border. He found a second job selling peanuts from his bicycle. He trusted the Lord and was blessed to obtain the necessary funds faster than he had imagined. At a special sacrament meeting before boarding the buses back to Cambodia, Samnang shared how his experience taught him the power of acting in faith. He said, “The spirit told me not to doubt, the church is true.” Like Samnang, many shared that attending the temple strengthened their testimonies and gave them a great desire to improve their lives and return again to the temple.

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