Do not be afraid, I am with you always
There was a surprise in store for Tithmakara Chim at the Fifth National Book Fair in Phnom Penh.
Would people throw stones at us? Or provoke an argument? Fount of Wisdom had never exhibited at the National Book Fair so we didn’t know what to expect. We were excited but apprehensive. Experience has taught us to be cautious. We decided to pray.
We registered at the National Library and were given a plan of the fair. Our booth was number 24. We were delighted to discover that Alliance Literature, another Christian publisher, also had a booth. We would not be alone.
Which books should we display? Which books would sell? How would we staff the stall? I brought these questions to the Fount of Wisdom team. I consulted our partners and sponsors. Together we started planning.
On the evening before the fair opened, Sipha Phon, our sales supervisor, and I went to check our booth. Compared to the other stalls our booth seemed plain and unappealing. We decided to print a banner. There was no time to create a new design, so we enlarged the cover of a brochure. This features our mission statement and would make it clear who we are and what we stand for: “We publish and distribute biblical and socially relevant literature in order to strengthen church leaders, build up believers and help the church grow in faith, love and service to Jesus Christ for the glory of God.”
I recalled Jesus’ promise in Matthew 10:32: “Everyone who acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”
Tell me more
Visitors were undeterred by rain or thronging crowds. Everyone saw that we are a Christian publisher. Some ignored us but most were interested in our books and asked questions about Christianity. Young adults and students found our books about love and managing money especially attractive.
People were surprised to see Christian books in Khmer. “It is good to know that Christians publish literature in our language. I thought that Christians only have the Bible.”
Buddhist monks were curious about Christianity and intrigued by our theological titles. One monk asked for a Bible. I took him to the Alliance Literature booth where he could buy one.
A turning point
The three-day book fair exceeded our wildest expectations. We were constantly engaged in conversation and sold over 500 books. There is a great hunger for God’s word. This was a turning point for Fount of Wisdom. Next year we will book two booths!
Please pray that we will reflect the character of the God we serve. Pray that God will use our books to show people in Cambodia the true hope found in the Lord Jesus Christ, and to change lives.
Tithmakara Chim is the director of Christian publisher Fount of Wisdom in Phnom Penh.