Influence Your Network for Good!


Joyce and Ly Phalla at the Culinary Training Center (CTC)

Joyce and Ly Phalla at the Culinary Training Center (CTC)


God surprises me when I least expect it.

Perhaps you can relate. After finishing full-time vocational ministry over three years ago, I began part-time tutoring, admiring how God had brought me full circle, back to my roots as a language arts teacher.

Just as I was becoming comfortable semi-retired, I was introduced to Paul Vida, who was using his skill as both a chef and a culinary arts instructor to develop CGI’s Culinary Training Center (CTC). In early 2011, the building in Battambang, Cambodia, had recently been leased by CGI. No staff! No in-country leadership! Just faith, a vision, and a generous start-up donation.

The goal? To provide at-risk young women skills, income, and most importantly, an introduction to Jesus Christ.

At that time, I had no clue I could contribute to CGI’s mission other than to write a few letters, add a few commas, and do a bit of editing. Surprisingly, God revealed that I could be much more influential. He will answer when we pray for opportunities to make a difference in people’s lives.

Those opportunities came in a variety of ways. The simplest one was introducing friends and family to CGI’s mission by selling byTavi products. As that influence grew, God provided events where I could sell and become a vocal advocate for the women CGI helps.

These include a women’s conference my college roommate helped organize, the Spring Bling at the assisted living facility where my mother lived, and a variety of women’s groups at local churches, including my home congregation. Through these, I’ve been blessed to speak to many women about extreme poverty and how they can help. And I’m looking forward to how God will use me in the future.

Even if we don’t realize it, each of us has a network of resources and influence. My challenge is for you to pray and let God surprise you.

Blessings both here and half a world away will follow.

By Joyce Long

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