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Cambodian Fellowship gathering sees strong attendance

Peter Yanes, executive director of Asian American Relations and Mobilization for the SBC Executive Committee, preaches a message based on the theme "For I Am With You" out of Isaiah 41:10. Photo courtesy of Peter Yanes

PALM COAST, Fla. (BP) – A crowd of more than 100 took part in the 37th Cambodian Southern Baptist Fellowship Annual Meeting, held July 29-31 at First Baptist Church of Palm Coast.

Concerns over attendance had built as cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant continued to rise throughout the country. However, Seang Yiv, the group’s president, said on-site registration was more than twice the number of pre-registration as those taking part joined for the meeting’s theme “For I Am With You,” based on Isaiah 41:10.

Seang Yiv, president of the Cambodian Southern Baptist Fellowship, prays for those gathered at First Baptist Church of Palm Coast in Palm Coast, Fla. Photo courtesy of Peter Yanes

“I think people waited until the last minute and others just showed up, many in groups,” Yiv said. “We didn’t meet last year and so people wanted to be together.”

Altogether, approximately 110 attendees kept the registration desk busy all afternoon, he said. While masks were not required, temperature checks were administered at the door.

Speakers for the event included Jeremy Sin, Asian mobilizer for the North American Mission Board; Ezra Bae, Asian mobilizer for the International Mission Board; and Peter Yanes, executive director of Asian American relations and mobilization for the SBC Executive Committee. Yanes preached the message based on the theme and shared about the Cooperative Program as well as Vision 2025, a Southern Baptist initiative to share the Gospel around the world.

Although there were concerns of a low turnout, more than 100 attended the 37th gathering of the Cambodian Fellowship. Photo courtesy of Peter Yanes

“We have around 35 Cambodian churches affiliated with the SBC, but our pastors and leaders are fully committed to reach 320,000 Cambodian Americans with the Gospel,” Yanes told Baptist Press.

Yiv, a retired scientist who worked in pharmaceuticals before retiring several years ago, was originally elected to his position with the Fellowship in 2005. Perhaps the most notable facet of the gathering, he said, was the fellowship.

“Our central message reminded us that God is with us and we do not have to be afraid or dismayed,” he said. “I was very pleased to see so many solo singers. We also had a very good time in worship.”

There were no changes in leadership, he said. With seven total leaders, three were unable to attend due to COVID-related matters. One of those was forced into quarantine when a member of his household contracted the illness days before the gathering.

Next year’s annual meeting will once again be held at First Baptist Church of Palm Coast at a yet-to-be-determined day in early July.