CCRC Leaders‎ > ‎

Charlie's Biography

Leviticus 26:1-13 (NIV)

1  'Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God.

2 'Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD.

3  'If you follow my decrees and are careful to obey my commands, 4 I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees of the field their fruit. 5 Your threshing will continue until grape harvest and the grape harvest will continue until planting, and you will eat all the food you want and live in safety in your land.

6  'I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove savage beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country. 7 You will pursue your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you. 8 Five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall by the sword before you.

9  'I will look on you with favor and make you fruitful and increase your numbers, and I will keep my covenant with you. 10 You will still be eating last year's harvest when you will have to move it out to make room for the new. 11 I will put my dwelling place among you, and I will not abhor you. 12 I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people. 13 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.



This message brought hope to many Cambodians-Christians.  It's telling of our past; when the Khmer Rouge ruled over Cambodia, we were scared.   We had to run and flee for our lives.  God helped us through that.  He saved us and brought us to peace.  He brought our children to a better life.

Though this was directed towards the Egyptians, it parallels to our stories and struggles.
Our Pastor, Charlie Phim, was born in 1953 in Cambodia.  He was originally born Chhengly Phim.  He attended a Cambodian college from 1966 to 1969 where he was student president.  His favorite hobby was soccer.
When the Communists invaded Cambodia betwe  en 1969 and 1970, those who had or were pursuing an education were getting persecuted by the Pol Pot Regime.  It was hard for Cambodians to get a college education or have career aspirations.  At the end of 1969, Charlie and many other students left college to join the army.  Charlie was sent to Vietnam for special training in the medical field to become a nurse.  After he finished his training, he worked as a nurse for the military.  During the conflict, Charlie met Eap whom he married in 1974.  They had three daughters together.

In 1975, the Khmer Rouge Regime invaded and gained total control over Cambodia.  The Communists destroyed every aspect of their lives.  They took away their education, their religion, and most importantly, their freedom.  Many Cambodians were brutally treated and murdered during this period.

This is his account:

In 1979, my family and I escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand to live as refugees.  During my two years in the camp, I volunteered to work as a soccer coach and as a physician’s assistant for the World Vision™ Foundation.  In 1981, my family and I left the refugee camp to live in the United States.

I was sponsored to go to the state of Colorado.  Later, a friend invited me to move to Utah.  Here I was introduced to the First Christian Reformed Church of Salt Lake.  It was also here when I discovered the Bible.  I decided to dedicate my life to Jesus Christ when I read Leviticus 26.  Those verses reminded me so much of what happened in my home country.  That same year, I was trained by the First Christian Reformed Church to become a pastor to lead
 the emergence of Cambodian immigrants in the area.  I became a student in the Institutional Biblical School (now the Salt Lake Theological Seminary) and went on to graduate in 1987.  I later became the pastor of the CCRC where I remain today to help spread God’s word.

After graduating, I enrolled into Salt Lake Community College to complete the courses required by the Bible College in Michigan in pursuit of my master’s degree in Ministry.  I was accepting to enter a Bible college in Michigan, where I attended the first quarter in 1997.  Due to my first wife’s illness (lung cancer), I left the school to tend to her until she passed in 1999. (I later remarried and had two more daughters; a total of 5 beautiful daughters, 2 granddaughters, and 5 grandsons)

Although I was not able to complete my courses for my master’s degree, I was blessed to be asked to translate the Heidelberg Catechism into the Cambodian language, where it will be used to help other Cambodians understand God’s word.