A photo of the Conklin family walking down a road with a group of people
Photo provided by the Conklins

Crystal and Charles Conklin, middle, and their children Charlotte and Catherine take part in a fruit walk ceremony during a traditional Khmer wedding in January 2022 in Battambang, Cambodia.

Names: Charles and Crystal Conklin

Hometown: Red Hill, Pennsylvania (Plains Mennonite Church in Hatfield); Charles also remains a member of Fairfield (Pennsylvania) Mennonite Church, his childhood church home.

Assignment: As representatives for MCC’s work in Cambodia, we provide leadership and ensure ongoing meaningful programming and legal compliance. We live in Phnom Penh with our children Charlotte, 8, and Catherine, 5.

Typical day: Charles navigates Phnom Penh traffic to drop the girls off at school. Crystal walks to the office. We check in about the day’s priorities and connect through email and Teams, responding to anything that has come in overnight (day in the U.S. and Canada). Other days we’re out visiting partners.

Whenever we visit MCC partner organizations, we see their passion to transform Cambodia toward the biblical vision of shalom...”

A selfie photo of the Conklin family

The Conklins celebrate two years in Cambodia with non-dairy ice cream (a rare treat), dried mangos and fresh fruit outside of their home in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Photo courtesy of the Conklins

Inspirations: Whenever we visit MCC partner organizations, we see their passion to transform Cambodia toward the biblical vision of shalom — to continue moving this beautiful country toward a time when everyone will have enough to eat, everyone will be included and the earth will be cared for in sustainable ways. We are so honoured to support and be part of the vision God has given them for Cambodia.

Joys: Relationships. Life here can be really hard, and people are quick to support one another when someone’s house floods (happens to someone on the MCC team at least once a year), there is a medical need (more like once a month!) or infrastructure has collapsed (roads washing out, electricity failing or water supply being cut). Our team is ready with sympathy, advice and practical assistance — usually in the form of food!

Challenge: So many since we started, yet we see God’s grace through it all. Many times, we feel like the Jack Dawson painting, “Peace in the Midst of the Storm.” Pandemic lockdowns led to quality family time, and health issues allowed us to receive support from our teammates and neighbours. We are grateful for God’s care.

MCC is always looking for people to join our work of serving others in the name of Christ. Go to mcccanada.ca/serve or linkedin.com/company/mccpeace or contact your nearest MCC office to learn about current MCC service opportunities.

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