A Special Open Mic Night

They are raising up the highest praise to the one true God.

Kenny Beers writes about the open mic night his guitar students get to be a part of in Cambodia.

We have been teaching worship to two groups of young children ages from about 8 to 18 years of age. One which is at the home of Pastor Sokha Sath and the other his daughter’s orphanage which has about 20 children. Their life mostly revolves around going to school and doing chores around the home where they live as do most Khmer children. So we love the time we get to spend with them because it is the one time that they get to be creative.

Music is such an incredible way to sharpen your emotional intelligence and just figure out how to make something work. Most days it looks like us arriving and unloading my gear, we set up and chat for a bit and then we begin guitar lessons. What we noticed was that we needed an outlet and a goal for them to reach toward. Church has been the first goal. If they can play a song well then we aim for them to at least try to do a special song at church. 

However, a few months back, we were at my friend's coffee shop and they mentioned they were having an open mic night. Open mic nights sound normal to us back home but this is not something that is very common in Cambodia. We decided this would be a great low-pressure environment for our students to come and practice some of the skills that they have been learning. The coffee shop is a partnership of two Cambodians, one of which is a Christian, the other an amazing barista and coffee trainer who is a Buddhist. They are excited to have the open mic night at their shop and we are excited to help grow the event. 

Normally, at one of these events, Cambodians will show up with their phone or iPad and sing karaoke to one of the songs of their liking. Our first week we showed up with two different groups of about 15 students who had never experienced an event like this before and it was really something special. The Christian owner really loves to be a part of the event and she likes to make games a special part of the night for my young kids who do not yet have the courage to play in front of people. 

Our favorite part of this event is that when our kids take the stage they play songs of worship to Jesus in a place that is 98% Buddhist. They are raising up the highest praise to the one true God and maybe somebody in the room is listening by their witness. I get caught up in moments when we are playing. I listen up close to hear them shouting at the top of their lungs in the Khmer language, “I need You, Jesus.” Pray that they are able to reach the next generation for Christ here in Cambodia.

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