When God puts a desire on your heart, he also
makes a way for you to accomplish it.
We are Joe, Viya, and Ray Stoltenow. We have been missionaries serving in Cambodia for the past three years working in and around Battambang city with poor and homeless children. We believe firmly that the most important role we have here in Cambodia is as an instrument for the Holy Spirit to enter into the lives of the children we serve here.
Through various programs here we have worked with a wide variety of children in Battambang. From poor village children to starving street kids, we aim to spread the gospel of Jesus through our love and actions as we work to strengthen not only the children’s faith but our own faith as well.
In July 2017, with the help of Global Lutheran Outreach, we opened a brand new street kids ministry here in Battambang called Ray of Hope. At Ray of Hope we are able to work directly with street kids and their families with a primary goal of teaching and showing them the love of Jesus though words and actions.
We began the 2017-18 school year with five students and in 2018-19 we have grown to eleven students.. Everyday we pick the street kids up off the street, bring them to our center, bathe them, feed them, cloth them, and take them to school. We also feed them lunch and provide daily bible classes. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for Ray of Hope.
I, Joe, first came to Cambodia in July 2014 working with homeless children living on the streets of Battambang Province. They were un-bathed, malnourished and mostly uncared for. Seeing them forced to beg for food and money and seeing people look down on them was painful to see and my heart broke but, at the same time, I fell in love with those children, Cambodia, and her people. I knew what my mission was. I wanted to show the children not only my love but more importantly God’s love and the message of Christ’s suffering and death for them so that they too could receive eternal life with Him in heaven.
Viya was born and raised here in Battambang and shortly after her birth her parents converted to Christianity. Viya grew up with a strong Christian faith and at age 20 began working in street kids ministries. Viya has a great passion for working with homeless children and being a positive Christian role model for them. She also has a passion for the culinary arts which she pursues in her free time.
Joe and Viya met in July 2014 and were married on Nov. 28th 2015. We put a strong emphasis on faith before culture, not only in our marriage but in our ministry as well. We believe all Christians are called to the mission field. Whether in a foreign country or in our local communities, God calls us all to spread His word and His love wherever we may be.
Raymond Joseph Stoltenow was born July 10th, 2017 here in Battambang and has brought so much joy to our lives. Ray was baptized on August 6th, 2017 by Joe’s father Rev. Dr. Bradley R. Stoltenow at Trinity Lutheran Church in Battambang.