A mass of fervent Christian worshippers climbed the locked gates of Chenla Theater to join in hymns and prayers with TV evangelist Joyce Meyers (below in medallion), despite attempts by government officials to halt the gathering.
Despite power cuts and locked gates, thousands of people sang hymns, chanted and
waved interlocked hands in a rally outside Chenla theater organized by a Christian
TV evangelist who says Cambodia is "in desperate need of a savior."
The "efforts of the devil" will not be allowed to stop the rally, TV evangelist
Joyce Meyers assured the crowd August 10 as more followers chanting "hallelujah"
and "praise Jesus" scrambled over the fences to join the singing.
The meeting was moved to Chenla after permission to meet at Olympic stadium was withdrawn
by government officials. Although local officials tried to block the gathering at
Chenla by cutting the power and locking the front gates, people gathered in the courtyard
According to a new directive from the Ministry of Cults and Religion released in
July, religious groups are not permitted to preach publicly or by microphone because
of risks to social stability.
"The ministry had received a letter from the group asking to perform a concert,"
explained the Secretary of State for the ministry, Sun Kim Hun. "But this received
a bad reaction from many Buddhists including the Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong
because they had planned, not just a concert, but a promotion of their religion."
"I think if the MoCR allowed them to perform there would have been a protest
from the monks," Kim Hun said, "and there would be a problem for us."
The rally was the latest clash between the government and evangelical Christians
in the Kingdom. Meyers, who runs Meyers Ministries, and was in Cambodia on a 30-day
tour, has commented on a website that Cambodia is a country "so deep in false
religion that people are willing to starve their families so they can leave food
for the spirits." In the comment on Teen Mania, a website that encourages volunteers
to join the campaign, Meyers Ministries continued: "With 95% of the population
being Buddhist the people of Cambodia are in desperate need of a Savior - the One
Meyers visit to Cambodia was organized by a coalition of churches. The group planned
to visit four provinces to assist and preach to local villages. During the so-called
30 days of hope, 130 volunteer doctors from different countries treated 9,000 patients
in temporary clinics, according to event coordinator Charlie Pisaruk. The clinics
were set up in Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom and Phnom Penh.
"We had some resistance in the provinces," Pisaruk said, referring to the
cancellation of their final church meeting in Kampong Thom and permission being withdrawn
for the use of the soccer stadium in Battambang.
"But we still had our meetings, we still had our clinics and we were blessed
to be here to help where we could," he said.
Pisaruk said the aid work conducted was kept separate from the missionary work in
accordance with the MoCR's guidelines and no pressure was placed on patients to attend
the evening services. Still, according to the Meyers Ministries website, 54,000 conversions
were made, an average of 1,800 for each day of hope.
"Our overall goal was to bring some hope to Cambodian people - both in a practical
way and a spiritual way," Pisaruk said. "In spite of the problems I think
we were successful."
Christian gatherings were held in each province with about 25,000 people attending
each of the three evening sermons held in Battambang before the last planned meeting
was stopped by authorities, according to Pisaruk.
The climax was to be a three- night rally in Phnom Penh with sermons and prayers
by Joyce Meyers and performances by gospel singer Darlene Zschech and bible band
Delirious. Organizers expected record breaking attendance. "We are going to
After the Olympic Stadium meeting was blocked, the Chenla rally went ahead on Aug.
10. Although the gates were locked, a crowd gathered quickly outside, blocking traffic
on the busy Monireth intersection. Before the proceedings could begin, authorities
arrived and attempted to halt the meeting. David Meyers, Joyce's son, stated on the
website that authorities had the power shut off "even though they had no authority
to do so." The meeting continued in the courtyard with frenzied followers jumping
the fence, but the planned second and third night events were not allowed to proceed.
In her courtyard speech, Meyers likened the interference to the ancient Egyptian
oppression over the Israelites.
"This will actually cause the kingdom of God to grow," Meyers said. "We
break religious strongholds over this city so that multitudes will come into a deep
personal relationship with God. Let's Rejoice - we have the victory!"
Joyce Meyers began her career in 1976 when she began speaking in tongues at a bowling
alley, according to an entry about her in Wikipedia. By 1985 she began her own Ministry
at first with radio broadcasts and later with television programs that today have
an estimated audience of over 2.5 billion worldwide.
Her Meyers Ministries has come under fire by many groups, both Christian and non
Christian, for a supposedly extravagant lifestyle and claims that Ministry funds
are spent on herself and her family members who make up the board members of the
According to the website 'inplainsite', the ministry headquarters is located on a
$20 million estate with furniture and artwork worth $5.7 million.
The website says a fleet of vehicles valued at $440,000 and a $10 million private
jet were purchased with Meyers Ministries money. Five family homes worth a total
value of $4 million have also been purchased for Meyers and her children.
Ministry Watch, an independent group that reviews Christian Ministries for financial
accountability in order to advise donors warned on their website against donating
to the Joyce Meyers Ministries due the Meyers family's "exorbitant spending."
"With the Meyers family seemingly using God's money for their own personal gain,"
the website continued, "it is highly likely that they need to humble themselves,
repent and seek to re-establish a right relationship with the Lord and His people."
In response, the Meyers Ministry spokesperson Lorri Silvera told the Post by email
although Meyers receives a salary, most of her personal income comes from her book
Meyers' standard response published on various websites to the accusation is: "there's
no need for us to apologize for being blessed."