Matthew and Allysha Wiebe are taking steps to make Cambodia their new home.
The couple is preparing to move to Siem Riep, Cambodia in mid-July to serve full-time with the mission organization Worldwide Evangelism for Christ (WEC).
“We will be taking part in the ministry of a day-centre for children called Bridge of Hope,” Matthew explained. “This team provides holistic education to children who are financially unable to attend the public school system. While primary school is offered free of charge to citizens, books and uniforms can be difficult for some families to afford. This gives hope for their future and helps prevent the unlawful labour or trafficking that is all too often the alternative to school.”
The Briercrest alums will be helping to extend the reach of services that Bridge of Hope currently has as well as helping to strengthen the local church in Siem Riep that has budded because of the school.
But the Wiebes are clear that their passion is children.
“We want to invest our lives in serving children,” Allysha exclaimed. “We view this as something close to (God’s) heart and as a strategic plan for reaching the unreached. With a young population and a government open to foreign aid with children, Cambodia seemed like a great fit for us.”
Allysha explained how working with children is especially enjoyable for her and Matthew.
“It is clear to us that God has a special plan for children and that they possess a lot of the characteristics that He wants all of His children to have,” she said. “We want to leverage those child-like qualities – obedience, belief in the supernatural, sincerity, trust in a good Father, innocence – by empowering children to make use of their God-given faith in prayer and in service.”
The Briercrest alums assert that their degrees in global studies prepared them well for this assignment.
“I had an outstanding experience with the professors I had the privilege of sitting under,” Matthew said. “Tim Stabell and Alan Guenther played integral roles in developing my understanding of the world, offering insight into everything from history of people groups, of religions and of cross-cultural service to anthropology, the theology behind mission and the issues that expatriate workers are currently facing.”
“Really, Briercrest professors taught me everything I know about missions,” Allysha continued. “It opened doors into other forms of training for me, such as Cross Training and the class offered in partnership with Compassion International. This is invaluable for me, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how it equipped me relationally. Foremost, I met Jesus there in a real way, and I wouldn’t be doing anything I’m doing now if it weren’t for Him. It also taught me how to work in close quarters with other people, and how to get through difficult times with some grace and patience.”
Living and working overseas is the realization of a dream that Matt and Allysha have both had since they were teens.
“Almost everything about us has changed since then – our relationship with God, our motivation for going, the type of work we will do, how long we will do it – but our passion for doing it has not,” Matt explained.
“We have learned to be flexible in the details,” he added. “As our love for Jesus grows, our understanding of what He wants done in the world, and what His plan is for us in that grows as well. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like if we had stubbornly held on to what we originally thought missions was about, and what we imagined our place in it being.”
Amid all the transition, Matthew says one thing has remained the same through the years.
“The only thing that has remained constant is our Father’s love and guidance,” he said. “Outside of that, our lives are His and our only calling is to hear Him and do what He tells us. When we’re faithful in acting on what we know of Him, we never regret it.”