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Sexe returns to Cambodia

By Staff | Jun 18, 2008

Danny Sexe of Estherville found the floods in Iowa weren’t enough, so he decided to head out for Cambodia during monsoon season.

Barring thousands of land mines still buried around the country from the Pol Pot regime and cobras that can kill you within five minutes, though, he should come home safe and sound within nine months.

Sexe, an Estherville Lincoln Central graduate and former Iowa Lakes Community College student, is going to Batdamband, Cambodia on behalf of On the Front Line Ministries, a nondenominational mission organization.

Sexe completed a survey to determine whether he was suited for missions work. The Rev. Allen Porter, his pastor at The River Fellowship in Estherville, had close ties with On the Front Line Ministries missionaries which helped establish a connection.

This is not the first time Sexe was in Cambodia as a missionary. His first time was January 2007 when he went for two weeks. He went again for two months this January through March. Tuesday night his flight departed from Minneapolis, Minn., for a total of 23 hours of flying time, not including layovers. The longest leg will be 14 hours nonstop from San Francisco to Taiwan.

In preparation for his journey, he went to Sioux Falls, S.D. to a specialty vaccination clinic to get vaccinations for malaria, typhoid, and hepatitis. He was also given 400 malaria pills.

Since he’s going during monsoon season, most of the country will be flooded. Other dangers include disease, lethally poisonous cobras, and land mines remaining from the Kmehr Rouge regime.

What he’ll find there will be a people still suffering from post-traumatic stress from the genocide of the Pol Pot regime, many who saw family members murdered. The house he will be staying in is just down the road from a hospital dedicated to land mine victims. Almost daily, someone falls victim to one of the thousands of mines still planted around the country.

The current government actually welcomes tourism and missionaries, a tremendous turnaround from the Cambodia of the early 1970s. Still, development in Cambodia has been thwarted so transportation might consist of everything ranging from ox carts to mopeds to cars. The missionaries have water delivered.

With the population 95 percent Buddhist and 3 percent Moslem, one might wonder how accommodating Cambodians might be to Christians which comprise just 2 percent of the population.

“They’re very, very welcoming,” Danny said. In fact, they see white people as unique and like to touch them. “They think white is the essence of beauty,” he said.

Since Cambodians are open to Christianity, 1,000 house churches have been established. “There’s just multitudes of people that want to hear the gospel message,” Danny said. Even Buddhist monks who might have problems with Christianity are still open to learning more about it since they’re curious about all religions.

While he’s there, Danny will teach English classes from the Bible under a government-approved program. He’ll travel to remote villages and teach both children and adults, accompanied by an interpreter.

His biggest fear is the timeframe in which he’ll be gone. Nine months is a long time to be in a strange culture on the other side of the earth. But he thinks it will all be worth it.

“I really feel led by God to be there nine months this time,” he said. “I know what I’m there for, to share the gospel message. I just want to share with other people the gospel of hope that I’ve found.”

Danny sees the ministry as among his career options. A talented musician, he plans on doing lots of music, both vocal and guitar, as part of his mission in Cambodia.

And, since fellow classmate Laura Hayenga will be there for three months as well, that should take some of the edge off his first few months away from home.

And oh, if you think Danny’s doing it for the money, guess again.

He’s paying $750 a month for the privilege of doing his mission work for the next nine months.

Now that’s dedication.