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Spreading God’s Word

By Staff | Mar 13, 2008

Chan Thorn, Rothiya, Minea and Danny Sexe lead a church worship in a classroom in Battambang, Cambodia. Photos submitted

A young man from Estherville has heeded the call more than once in the past year and his response is a resounding YES! to spreading the Word of God and Jesus Christ in Southeast Asia.

Dan Sexe, son of Brian Sexe of Estherville, and Diana Pollard of Alta, recently returned from a two-month missionary internship to Cambodia. He explained his pastor opened this door to his newly traveled path.

“Pastor Allen Porter of River Fellowship in Estherville went to Cambodia four years ago with missionaries and had wonderful pictures and stories.”

Sexe said that was the needed spark. “I harbored this desire to go for three years.”

It was January 2007 that Pastor Porter headed up a contingent from Estherville that was Cambodia-bound. Taking part in the two-week trip were Sexe, Laura Hayenga, Kristin Porter, Evan Porter and Lisa Porter.

Sexe teaches nearly 60 students in a Bible English class.

“My parents realized this was something I wanted to do for three years. I believe I was meant to do this. They were nervous of course!”

The trip proved to be an initiation for Sexe in order to look closer into the work of Christian missions.

“I found out I have a big desire to do mission work and deepen my relationship with God. I’m finally doing what I was called to do. During my life, I tried this, I tried that. Now I’m entirely fulfilled, bringing the Word of God to a nation which never heard of God or Jesus Christ.”

He left Estherville on Dec. 28, 2007, to spend two months in Battambang, Cambodia. He flew to Bangkok, Thailand and spent four hours in a taxi to go to the Thailand-Cambodian border. Another taxi was waiting there and Sexe embarked on another four-hour ride to reach the designated village.

On this trip, two missionaries based out of California, On the Front Line Missionaries, met him in San Francisco and accompanied him.

Sexe poses with one of the children in an orphanage.

“I knew I wanted something more so I was offered this two-month mission trip.”

The country’s inhabitants are 95 percent Buddhists.

“Having grown up in the United States where there is basically a church on every corner, we all grew up knowing about God and Jesus Christ. But in Cambodia, they have no idea who Jesus Christ is. So I feel honored to be called of all people to offer the Word of God and Jesus Christ to this nation.”

He noted the government does not prohibit the work of missionaries.

“Christianity is a living faith to a living God while Buddhism worships Buddha who died.”

Sexe was immersed in village evangelism which touches thousands of children weekly. This church ministry includes Sunday school, singing, learning Bible lessons and playing games. What happens most of the time is the children relate these stories at home which intrigue parents and other family members who then want to learn more too.

“It’s amazing. These children love to pray and worship God,” he said. The 2006 Estherville Lincoln Central graduate also taught students about the Bible and the English language through daily lessons to young men and women who want to learn more about both topics.

In February, his mother and stepfather Terry visited Sexe and accompanied him on his return flight to the United States.

With a year of studies at Iowa Lakes Community College under his belt, Sexe is gearing up for a nine-month missionary stay in Cambodia from June 18 to March 2009. “I’m thrilled I can do this and I feel honored God is calling me to bring the truth about the Bible and Jesus Christ to this country.”

While he is teaching English, Sexe is also learning the language of Cambodians. He has purchased several books to study before he returns in three months.

It was at student graduation that Sexe realized how important his role is to these individuals. “Their thank you notes meant so much. One wrote, ‘This is the new news I’ve never heard of before.”

Translators were present in every class to put anxiety to rest for those whose English is weak.

Another part of the trip touched upon differences of living day-to-day. Sexe said tons of motos (a cross between a motorcycle and moped) jam the roads. “Gas costs 4,600 riel.”

He explained it takes 4,000 riel to equal one dollar. “So gas is about $1.25 a gallon.”

Another difference is that there are no coins just paper currency.

The soda pop, he thinks, tastes better there than here and is cheaper. “I actually love Asian food.”

Rice is the main course of most meals and Cambodians dine four times a day: breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner.

So what is a snack consist of every day? Sticky rice. “They don’t have quite the taste for sweets like we do.” He added the fruit is incredible; mango, papaya, pineapple, banana, coconut and jackfruit.

“Jackfruit is like watermelon but grows on a tree. So I didn’t stand under these trees!

So what food did this all-American guy miss the most?

Why pizza of course. Cambodians use Thousand Island dressing in place of the tomato sauce and don’t use pepperoni. Needless to say, Sexe has enjoyed his preferred pizza numerous times in the first week in Estherville.

Sexe resided in missionary housing above the classrooms at the Turning Point Student Center. He didn’t complain about the lack of air conditioning. “We used five fans in the classroom. They are used to the heat but I wasn’t.

It was with great delight Sexe emailed his friends during the winter and expounded on the heat and sunshine while Iowa was frozen solid.

He noted Cambodians are small people and it was no problem to fit 60 or more students into one small classroom. The average weight is 90-95 pounds and they are of short stature.

The students are charged a $3 fee to attend class and pay for materials. He noted this also shows the group is organized under governmental guidelines.

In the next three months, Sexe will be sharing his story and experiences. Persons who would like to hear more can contact him at 712-209-1889.