Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | February 6, 2014

CityGates Men Speak Out

Poipet, Cambodia

Mission Accomplished! I am happy to say that the men of CityGates completed their assignment at The Hope Center in Poipet. Our team worked alongside our Cambodian brothers to install a dozen pieces of exercise equipment around the new walking track at The Hope Center campus. I asked our men to share brief reflections on their experience this week. Each of the guys was touched by their time with Steve Hyde, our ministry partner, and the Cambodian men who worked shoulder-to-shoulder with us all week. Here are their personal reflections.

MikeMike Kelley | My prayer for weeks before coming to Cambodia was that God would grow our hearts both personally and as a team closer to His and that we would see and experience the Holy Spirit at work. God has grown my heart to love people more. I’ve seen the work of the Holy Spirit in the life and ministry of Steve Hyde.  I’ve seen the life of an infant that was abandoned in a field by his mother only to be found by a woman who cared for him for several years and now resides at Imparting Smiles where he is learning about Jesus. The power of the Holy Spirit is real and is preparing me to better teach the class on the book Forgotten God. I’m excited.

JamesJames Meredith | What amazed me most about our time in Cambodia this week is how happy and cute the children are — including the children we visited who live in the slums of Poipet. These poor kids are surrounded by mountains of debris and filth and yet they still manage to smile and giggle in spite of their surroundings. All of the children we met at the nearby Imparting Smiles Children’s Center were also quick to smile and engage me with warmth. I just wanted to give them all hugs and love. I will always remember these kids.

DennisDennis Shumard | After the first couple of days in Cambodia I wasn’t so sure we would have much direct influence on the people who live here. Then Steve Hyde, our host, told me that in Cambodia, no one with a high school education does any manual labor. The people we worked with this week and those that knew why we had come so far were amazed that we would sweat and work so hard to try to enrich their lives. That impacted me to realize that it doesn’t require big things to make a difference, sometimes the small things can make a big difference.

BillBill Thomas | My week at Steve Hyde’s “Cambodian Boot Camp” was a week I will never forget. Shoveling sand … gravel … cement … and then repeat. Every day. All day. The people of Cambodia are wonderful and in desperate need of Steve’s life-giving and life-affirming message. I told myself before I left home that I was going to Cambodia to do something for somebody else, for people in desperate need. But, I discovered that this was only half of it! I found out this week that there was something in it for me. I just had to get out there and get it.

JohnJohn Walters | I was totally touched by the goals and vision of the work Steve and many others have here in Cambodia. But mostly the people and the children and the love of Christ that you can see in each beautiful smile. Knowing and seeing the lives saved here and for eternity. I will never forget little Pearl and her story of life when her mother was going to abort her then gave her up. Now she’s at the children’s center and given so much love. The work at The Hope Center was difficult but rewarding. Working hand in hand with my brothers was a blessing I will never forget. Thank God for this time.

SteveSteve Hyde | Having the men of Kingsland Baptist Church was a great experience for me. I have hosted and worked with dozens of mission teams with varying experiences but this team of guys, who regularly meet in a Bible study, really respected each other and worked well. It is easy to behave like a Christian in a nice church or among friends, but mixing concrete by hand, hauling stones in a foreign country when it’s 100-degrees you get to find out what everyone is really made of. After 5 days of working it was clear: they are full of love for others and servanthood is clearly a way of life for them.

It was hot and dirty work. Their clothes are stained beyond what Tide could cleanse, but the result is a completed exercise track around a pond in Poipet, Cambodia where families can come to relax at the end of a hot day. In our group we had no professional builders but we had geophysicists, engineers, herpetologists, entrepreneurs, car dealers and clergy. Yet they epitomized the character of Christ-followers: Servanthood. For years to come thousands of people will use the facilities built by these men and surely their love will rub off on those who use the exercise equipment at The Hope Center. Thank you so much Kingsland for sending your best!

Cambodian Crew
CityGates Crew


  1. CityGates,

    I am writing on behalf of my husband and I as we have been able to watch and pray for you while you are working in Poipet! May the Lord bless you and keep you and may the work of your hands and hearts bring many to salvation and to Our MIghty Lord’s amazing mercy and grace! We love our church! Thank you for being living examples to us all! Please extend our prayers and love to Steve, John, other workers and staff and to the children; we are praying for revival in Cambodia and around the world. This is a part of it! Love! Tangible! May the Lord bring you all safely home and bless you each with health. May the love left behind bless generation after generation of God’s own. We ask for peace and protection of this center , abundant blessing and prosperity as it will save lives, literally and spiritually in the name of Jesus Christ!!!! Can I get an Amen?????

    Sincerely, The Pichon family Acts 20:24

    • Amen! Thanks for praying for Cambodia and for our team.

  2. I always hear the term “Jesus with skin on” – how about “Jesus with tools!”
    Great job guys! I can’t wait to hear the wonderful stories and Kingdom impact that The Hope Center promises to bring as Christ becomes the “Center” of Cambodia’s hope.

    • Thanks, Mary. I like the term “Jesus with tools.” I think we often forget that Jesus likely learned to use tools by watching Joseph, who was a carpenter. God can certainly use the tools in our hands to bless others and also as vehicles to do something special in our own hearts. As an old friend once told me, if we will work our muscles God will build our hearts.

  3. What a great experience for these men. I know it’s a lot of work, but what a blessing. Good job guys!

    • Thanks, Kim. We had a great time serving together — an experience we will always share and remember for years to come.

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