Twice a year, 300-400 church workers are brought to the Leadership Training Institute facility in Battambang for one and two week periods of intensive training and fellowship. The men and women are housed in their respective dorms (actually classrooms or tents) and spend late nights spontaneously talking, singing, and praying. The meals are great treats for the church workers, better than they get on a daily basis. You do not see many chubby Cambodians, but at the LTI the Cambodian cuisine is incredible. If you like Thai food, you would like Cambodian food. Rice is the staple at every meal.
Worship and classes go five days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The classes always focus on particular books in the Bible, especially the New Testament and practical leadership guidance for building strong Christian ministries in the Cambodian context. There are breaks with snacks and time to chat. A long lunch gives time for a short rest.
The classes are outlined ahead of time and the outlines translated into Khmer and printed in notebook form with plenty of room for notes. When the lectures are given, they are translated orally. It is awesome to see these church workers record and enthusiastically “soak up”
what is taught for hours. Christopher LaPel can then draw on these lectures in teaching more deeply and applying them even better to the exact situation faced by these precious servants of Christ.
During the LTI Week, needed times of fellowship and fun unite the church workers in committed unity, Christian friendship, and mutual care. Soccer, badminton, and a form of hacky-sack are some of the ways they have a good time together. Prayer time abounds during this week. Problems of pastoring in a heavily Buddhist poverty culture are shared and help given. Guidance and encouragement are shared both formally and informally. This Leadership Training Institute is the core support for these church workers.
“Having participated in many of these LTI Weeks, you feel the love of God through these dedicated saints. Their love for each other, their obvious pleasure in worshiping, their responsiveness to the gospel, and their steady commitment to serve under difficult conditions is one of the most inspiring things I have experienced. I have brought over 30 people from our church in Diamond Bar, California—young and old—and everyone has fallen in love with these Cambodian brothers and sisters and has come back thrilled to serve a God who is so big, powerful, inclusive, and amazing!”
–Jim Price, Senior Pastor, Diamond Canyon Christian Church, Diamond Bar, California