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President Veasna Kuonno Neang Called as the New President of the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission

First native Cambodian to serve as mission president in Cambodia

President Veasna K. Neang© 2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

It was recently announced that President Veasna K. Neang has been called to serve as president of the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. President Veasna is currently serving as the first president called to lead the Cambodia Phnom Penh East District. He will now serve as the first native-born Cambodian as president of the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission.

When the call was extended by President Henry B. Eyring of the Church's First Presidency, President Veasna said that his wife, Chanthy, exclaimed, “Why us?” He said she was referring to the many leaders in Cambodia who they both feel would be well-qualified.

Soon after the call was extended, Elder Peter F. Meurs of the Asia Area Presidency called to congratulate and wish them well in this new calling. They asked for his advice, and he simply said: “Just be who you are.” President Veasna’s wife, Chanthy, said that those words were probably the most comforting thing that could have been said to them.

"We are thrilled with the news that President Veasna and his wife will serve and lead the Cambodia Mission. They are great examples of Christ-like servants who love to help others!”  said President John and Sister LaCinda Lewis, the current mission president and wife for the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission.

Veasna Kuonno Neang was born on December 28, 1980 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. He is the oldest child and has four brothers and one sister. During his teenage years, he became very interested in religion. At age 16, he joined a christian church. But his questions persisted. He kept asking himself, “Why are there so many churches?” One day, he was talking to his friend, Promoul, about these concerns. His friend was one of the earliest members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Cambodia. He suggested that Veasna talk to the missionaries. Arrangements were made and two years later, Veasna was baptized.

Shortly after his baptism, he attended a Young Men / Young Women activity in Branch #5. He had a friend who was one of the young women, and during the activity, she introduced him to her sister, Chanthy Thol. They joined together in a group of young people and became, as he explained, “just friends”.

Two years later, at age 20, Veasna received help from a senior missionary couple, and was admitted to BYU-Hawaii. He studied there and received a bachelors degree. He had job opportunities to work in the United States. However, he felt he should return to Cambodia.

President Veasna K. Neang and wife Chanthy Thol2021 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

Upon returning, he became serious about his “friend”, Chanthy Thol, and they were married December 20, 2008. He says that they were actually married four times. The first was a traditional Cambodia marriage. The second was shortly after in a marriage at the Church meetinghouse. A week later, they were officially married by the government documents. Then, one year later, they traveled to Hong Kong where they were sealed in the Hong Kong China Temple.


President and Sister Veasna have four children - two boys and two girls - their ages are 4, 6, 8, and 11 years.

President Veasna has served as a branch president and in his current calling as district president. He says that great blessings have come to him and his family through service in the Church. For example, while serving as the district president, he was working in a good job with his company. The company said that for him to continue to progress in his career, he should take a position in Vietnam. He said that he could not accept the job offer, since he was serving as a district president in the Church. The company said that if he did not accept the job, he would have to leave the company. So, he was let go from the company. That Sunday in Church, President Veasna shared the story with a congregation. After the meeting, a former president of the Cambodia Phnom Penh Mission happened to be visiting Cambodia, walked up to President Veasna and offered him a job.

Though the new calling as mission president represents a tremendous challenge, President Veasna knows that the Lord will provide. He and his family will rely on the Lord for the guidance and direction that will be needed in this new calling.

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