On March 26, 2017, I stood up in front of the Oak Parish congregation as Pastor Bryan shared about my calling to Cambodia. I’m so excited, humbled, thankful to become Oaks Parish’s first overseas missionary and thrilled to have their support – both in prayer and with finances. After the announcement, Bryan and I had a little discussion on God’s calling in my life and how it relates to the Exodus series our church is currently doing. Here is a little recap.
Tell us how you felt called to Cambodia and describe the work you’ll be doing there.
I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to travel around most of southeast Asia. Cambodia has always been on the wishlist and in 2014, I got the opportunity to go with my folks. While in Cambodia, I was walking around thinking about the next place I wanted to go and God was very clearly saying “Don’t worry, you’ll be back.” And it’s been this open-ended prayer since then. Shortly after returning home, I started following a Christian job board and in July of last year started talking with Daughters, an organization that works with young people getting out of sex trafficking. I’ll be supporting them with marketing and PR, working on grants, fundraising, supporting their sustainable businesses and a legacy plant in the Philippines.
Why is human trafficking ultimately a spiritual issue?
I believe that most things in life are spiritual – but in this case, I know that God isn’t for human trafficking and that Satan is. There is much darkness in this realm, that few people want to step into that space of perversion, sin, and selfishness to speak light, hope and truth into these girls and boys. That they are more than a product of a corrupt system, that they are known and loved and this isn’t what God had in mind for them, that their story isn’t complete and they can have a new, better identity in Christ.
How has Jesus been calling you to things you didn’t necessarily like in this process?
For starters, it’s one big, scary move. Renting out my house, leaving Portland and the USA. My folks just got here a few months ago. Being single and feeling very alone and aware of that. My general anxiety comes to visit every once and awhile and I have to pick myself up. I had to reconsider drinking alcohol and if I should bring my pup, Bullet, a handful of times. I had an unplanned career change earlier this year, that really threw me for a loop – but now at my new job, I sit next to a woman who was sex trafficked when she was 13 and now runs a center for girls here in Portland. God very clearly wants me to be in this place, at this time, for very specific reasons. Also, I have to fundraise, which I was really against at the beginning. I like how independent I am and self-sufficient and God has completely stripped that from me, but He’s also reframed it in a way that I’m not going alone this way. I’m going with an amazing support team, both in prayer and financially.
Like Bryan said, Oaks Parish will be supporting me financially, but if you are interested in learning more and supporting me above and beyond what Oaks Parish is, please let me know.
First of all, let me echo the thanks of Bryan and Amanda Buck and the rest of our church for your generosity and support. We are so blessed to have you in our lives.
My name is Jenna Forstrom and I hold the humble title of being Oaks Parish’s first missionary. I’ll be totally honest with you and if I could turn that title into a WWE-styled belt, I would rock it every Sunday in church! That’s just my personality.
This fall, my pitbull pup, Bullet, and I are moving to Phnom Penh, Cambodia to work for an organization called Daughters of Cambodia. This faith-based organization is focused around rescuing women (and men) from the sex trafficking trade. I grew up having a heart for the unlovable and want to serve the Cambodian people and show them how treasured by God they are. I know in my heart that this is God’s will for my life.
My decision to serve began in 2014 when I was able to fulfill a lifetime dream to visit Cambodia. While walking around the capital talking with God about my next adventure, God spoke to me, “Don’t worry, you’ll be back.”
At the time I didn’t know what this meant. I was flooded with so many questions about what God was telling me. Over the past two and a half years, God and I have been working out the details. Now, I believe I have a clear direction to serve Him abroad.
In Cambodia, I will be serving as a Marketing Coordinator for Daughters of Cambodia. In this capacity, I’ll have the opportunity to draw from and leverage my professional skill set, to use my talents and spiritual gifts to help the most vulnerable people in this world. Most importantly, to partner with Jesus to bring His justice and a little bit of heaven back to earth.
I’ve been a member at the Oaks Parish for more than a year now and can testify to the amazing people and works being done within the community of Southeast Portland. However, I do want to call your attention to another need in our global community of Christ.
Daughters of Cambodia is on a mission to empower 100+ girls each year to walk permanently free of the bondages of the sex trade. These young people break the stigma attached to sex workers to go on to be head chefs, business managers and counselors. They are leaders in their community and their collective story continues to inspire others to seek help.
God has called me to be in Cambodia and to walk with these women, but I can’t do it alone. I’d love for you to join me financially and in prayer as I gear up for this amazing mission. Not everyone can give, but here are a few ways to learn more, connect and get involved:
I understand that this is a big ask, but it’s also a big need. I strongly believe that God has led me to serve Daughters of Cambodia to help people break free of bondage. Moreover, I know that He’s called upon me to ask for your support of His mission to help end the sex trade.
By making a donation, by learning more about Cambodia or by sharing my website, you actively pledge your support to His mission. I know not all can give, but every donation, big or small, helps. If you can’t make a donation, please join me in prayer and share my story, so that I can help serve the Lord in big ways.
If you have questions about the Oaks Parish, Cambodia or myself, please feel free to send me an email or shoot me a call; you may reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Again, thank you so much for supporting the Oaks Parish and for taking the opportunity to learn more about how God is exercising His influence in Cambodia.