Our Story - Stock Replugged

Our Story:
A Journey To Cambodia

When we were first presented with the opportunity to move to Cambodia, it seemed impossible. How could we leave our lives in America? Both of us were entrenched in our careers, our community, and our responsibilities.

In 2012, we received a prayer email from Cambodia that talked about the need for jobs for women in Siem Reap. The NGO, a nonprofit entity, was looking for a married Christian couple to become general managers of a training center that would help women gain new skills and employment and heal from trauma.

We knew that if we did not take a leap of faith and accept the offer to move to Cambodia, we would regret it for the rest of our lives. We believed that God had taken all the skills, talents, and abilities He had ever given us and created this opportunity in Cambodia—an opportunity that we never would have imagined had it not been laid at our feet.

We realized that God was taking us out of our comfort zones in the United States to be “replugged” in Cambodia in a way that allowed us to apply our talents, skills, and passion where they were most needed.

A Look Back At Our Beginning

With a background in piano performance and orchestrating, Melissa was one of the music directors for the Crystal Cathedral, in Garden Grove, California, back in 2001. We first met when Matthew visited the cathedral as a guest musical artist.

After getting married and moving to Eugene in 2003, Melissa taught as an adjunct professor at Northwest Christian University (now Bushnell University), applying her talents and skills as a music professor for 10 years. During that time, she founded the university’s community choir. She also had a passion for sweet confections—ultimately starting her own business, The Sassy Cupcake. Matthew was the design manager and a co-owner of Wipf and Stock Publishers in Eugene, Oregon.

Once we understood what we were being called to do, we shared our plans with our friends and family, worked on fundraising, resigned from our jobs, sold almost everything we owned, handed over The Sassy Cupcake to a new owner, and found a loving home for our pups.

Our Ministry Work Continues

Having now lived in Cambodia for more than a decade, we can tell you that the experience has been both challenging and amazing. And we are thankful we’ve had the privilege to collaborate with so many amazing Cambodians.

The ministry work that we’re doing is still centered in Cambodia, focused on anti-trafficking. Instead of focusing on one organization, we are advising and troubleshooting with multiple NGO leadership teams both in Cambodia and the United States.

We are working on several translation projects of anti-trafficking prevention material to be distributed countrywide. Matthew has time set aside for discipling and mentorship of some Cambodian men, and to develop trainings focused on needs within anti-trafficking organizations.

Melissa is focusing her time and efforts working with Khmer church musicians and their music teams. She is also providing private, scholarship-based music lessons for Cambodians.

We watch with great anticipation, seeing Christ continue to move in Cambodia, and together, with His church, envision an end to human exploitation and the continued transformation of those recovering from trauma.

February 2001
Matthew & Melissa Meet
Matthew performs with his brothers as Melissa's guest artist at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California. We stay in touch via phone calls, emails, letters, (packages of Full City Coffee beans were the best!) and quick visits.
February 2003
The Wedding
Wedding bells ring in Southern California, and life begins together in Eugene, Oregon. Melissa quickly discovers that the printed speed limit on Oregon highways (unlike in California) means what it says. She also discovers Oregon's "rainy" season. Matthew learns that his wife bakes A LOT.
September 2003
The Beauty Of The In-Between
Melissa starts work as an adjunct professor for Northwest Christian University (now Bushnell University). Matthew is the design manager for Wipf and Stock Publishers. He also sings with The Stock Brothers on weekends; and both of us work together on many concerts directed by Melissa.
June 2008
The Build-Up
In her free time, Melissa launches The Sassy Cupcake, specializing in cupcakes for weddings and events. During a conversation with her best friend in California, Melissa says: "I really wish that I could use cupcakes to work with and bless women. But I don't know how that could possibly work!"
September 2010
Introduction To Aim
We take Troy Dean, the new campus pastor of Northwest Christian University at the time, to Dickie Jo's to meet him and enjoy a hamburger. Troy tells us about Agape International Missions (AIM) and the need for mission work in Cambodia because of the tragic Khmer Rouge history and genocide. We agree to come along as leadership on NCU's first mission trip to Cambodia. Fast-forward years later—Troy is one of Matthew's dear friends and they talk almost weekly!
May 2011
Visiting Cambodia For The First Time
We visit Cambodia for the first time on a mission trip and fall in love! After learning more about the history of Cambodia and the devastation brought by the Khmer Rouge, we were struck by the hope we saw in those whose lives have been changed by their faith in Jesus. Upon our return to the U.S., we cannot stop sharing with family and friends our thoughts and feelings from the three weeks we spent in Cambodia and our week with Agape International Missions (AIM).
February 2012
Receiving The Call
We read a prayer email from Cambodia that talks about the need for jobs for women in Siem Reap. A training center would help them gain new skills and employment—the NGO is looking for a married Christian couple to become general managers of the training center.
May 2012
Answering The Call
We visit Cambodia for the second time, again with NCU. Melissa flies out early and spends a week in Phnom Penh observing the training center. Upon returning to the U.S. a month later, we spend some serious time in prayer. We apply and are accepted as general managers in Siem Reap. We announce our transition, work on fundraising, resign from our jobs, sell almost everything we own, and find a loving home for our pups.
October 2013
A Father's Love
Heaven gains a soul. Matthew's father, who was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, was such a supporter of us on our journey as we discovered our love for Cambodia. The day we announced our move overseas, he told us: "Don't you for one second question the call God has placed on your life. He's asked you to go, you need to go." When he passed, we knew in our hearts that we would grieve not being able to share our experience abroad with him.
February 2013
The Start Of A New Journey
One day before our 10th wedding anniversary, we land in Phnom Penh to begin our new adventure together. During our first week, while we look for an apartment to rent, we stay in five different hotels in six days—it's peak season and everyone is booked!
March 2013
The Story Blossoms
We move to Siem Reap to begin what ends up being a long-term volunteer commitment as general managers, working with an amazing team at Blossom (later Bloom). Fifty-four incredible girls pass through the training center during our time there. During those five years, we remain very close to some of the Agape International Missions (AIM) missionaries in Cambodia.
January 2018
Phnom Penh & Agape International Missions
We move to Phnom Penh to volunteer with Agape International Missions anti-trafficking organization. Matthew serves as country director, overseeing a dozen programs that work to Prevent, Rescue, Restore, and Reintegrate. Melissa serves as director of international advancement, working to connect churches, teams, and tours with programs on the ground in Cambodia that are making an impact in the community.
May 2022
The Bigger Picture
We finish our time with Agape International Missions (AIM) and begin to equip ourselves with more skills while continuing our volunteer ministry in Cambodia. Matthew is a graduate student at Colorado Christian University, studying clinical psychology online, with an additional focus in trauma from George Fox University. Melissa is enrolled as a graduate student at Bushnell University, studying online for a Master of Arts in Leadership with an emphasis on nonprofit leadership.

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