A Fount of Wisdom for Cambodia

5 November 2009

Colin Macpherson (Langham Literature – Creative)

How can the gospel sink deep roots into a country where a generation of Christian writers, thinkers and leaders and their books were wiped out in five short years? Langham Australia’s partnership with Fount of Wisdom Publishing House (FoW) in Phnom Penh is already providing the rapidly growing Cambodian church with culturally- relevant resources that will help equip leaders and disciple believers.

Khmer booksThis year, in partnership with Langham Literature, FoW published two new titles in Khmer: God’s Big Picture (V Roberts) and Dig Deeper (N Beynon and A Sach).  Both books are pitched well at the local situation, with much needed content for grass root pastors and first- generation believers. Fount of Wisdom was founded by Steve Westergren in 2004, and is the only non- denominational evangelic publisher in the country.

Since then, FoW has published more than 30 titles: from a Cambodian-authored commentary on Ephesians to a devotional of grace, a great need in a country stained by years of bloodshed.

But FoW’s vision is particularly to see indigenous writers and publishers equipped to serve the Cambodian church.  They are difficult to find since the Khmer Rouge killed most of the country’s educated citizens – and Christians – in the late 1970s.  But Cambodia’s now-flourishing church – there are 200,000 Christians in an estimated 200 small churches – and young population – 60% are under 20 years old – mean that there is great potential for Christian publishing.

Fount of Wisdom (Cambodia) chief editor Savy Dith

Fount of Wisdom (Cambodia) chief editor Savy Dith

“Although we have skilled foreigners, they don’t completely understand the heart of Cambodia as Cambodian writers do,” says Savy Dith, editor at FoW. “We believe the good news will spread much faster with their help.” Langham’s Publisher Development ministry is geared to seeing publishers like FoW lay strong, indigenous and sustainable foundations for the future.

When you (Langham Literature) said, ‘Our ambition is to see indigenous ministries like Fount of Wisdom serving the local church and society on the one hand, while moving towards long-term sustainability and viability through book sales,’ I was very excited,” says Steve Westergren. “It is exactly what we are trying to do here at Fount of Wisdom.”

FoW needs immediate support publishing a range of Khmer-language titles in 2010, including Spiritual Leadership (J O Sanders), Calvary Road (R Hession), a church history volume and a commentary of Nehemiah.  The New Bible Dictionary will be a significant longer-term project.

Fount of Wisdom (Cambodia) director in training Timothy

Fount of Wisdom (Cambodia) director in training Timothy

However, Langham’s hope is to capitalise FoW more significantly so that they can publish 15-20 titles a year, with an increasing proportion written by national authors, doing so without requiring ongoing outside financial help. Please pray:

  • For Steve Westergren as he lays this publishing foundation and seeks to mentor and hand over to Cambodian Colleagues.
  • For Timothy, a young Khmer Executive Director in training who will increasingly take over Steve’s role.
  • For funds to enable Langham to provide the required capital and training.
  • That God would bless the Cambodian church through FoW’s high quality Christian literature.