From “killing fields”
to Pastor’s Wife
The year was 1960. Tucked away in the tiny country of Cambodia, far from the eyes of most of the world, a Communist dictator named Pol Pot was slowly rising to power in the Khmer Rouge Party. He admired the simple lifeone that didn’t rely on money, education, or capitalismand believed that a new utopia could be created if all of Cambodia would revert to a primitive, farming lifestyle.
By 1975, the party had gained control of Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, and attempted to force this new way of life on the entire population. The Khmer Rouge leadership boasted that only one or two million people were needed to build the new utopia. As for the others, as their proverb put it, "To keep you is no benefit; to destroy you is no loss." Hundreds of thousands of teachers, government workers, non-Communist soldiers, and others were taken out in shackles to dig their own mass graves. Then the Khmer Rouge soldiers beat them to death with iron bars and hoes or buried them alive. These mass graves are referred to as “the Killing Fields.”
It is often easy to forget the teeming masses of nameless people who suffered torture and death at the hands of Pol Pot. Those who are old enough to have experienced the events of that period may wonder why God allowed those wicked things to happen to innocent people. What we must remember is that even through the carnage and suffering, God existed, and He had a purpose. His purpose for one young girl started long before she was born, as the political unrest in Cambodia formed and peaked.
She was born in Phnom Penh. Doctors and medicine were in short supply, and her older brother died at the age of two after a severe eye infection spread throughout his body. As the Khmer Rouge gained momentum, her family was forced to evacuate the city and flee to the countryside, where her grandfather was killed because of his high government position.
The long months wore on, and her parents fought and argued so much that her dad felt it best to leave the family. As a toddler, she was given to her grandmother and twelve-year-old uncle for safe-keeping. Unfortunately, her young uncle was soon captured by Communist soldiers. When they commanded him to dig a grave, he instinctively knew that they planned to kill him. After receiving permission to be excused for a restroom break, he quickly ran home and told his grandmother the story. Because the soldiers were pursuing him, the three were forced to flee. The safest place was the neighboring country of Thailand, so her family set out on foot for the closest border. Though none of them knew of God at that time, He knew of them, and provided for their safe journey. After traveling for an extended period of time through swamps and dangerous minefields, they arrived in Thailand.
God’s purpose for sparing their lives soon became evident. During the year spent at a Thailand refugee camp, they made the acquaintance of a Red Cross missionary. Her grandmother heard a clear presentation of the Gospel and accepted Christ as her Saviour! God continued to work in this remnant of a family, and each of them received a sponsorship to America in the early 1980s. This little girl was just four or five years old.
Living in the United States during her childhood and early teenage years, she quickly found reasons to harbor bitterness in her heart. After all, her parents had abandoned her, and God had seemingly not cared about the hardships she had endured. At the young age of twelve, she became involved with the wrong crowd, getting her first tattoos and even joining a gang. She decided to run away, but the police found her and returned her to her family.
By that time, her grandmother had found and started faithfully attending a Baptist church. In an effort to keep her from ruining her life, her grandmother enrolled her in a Christian school. Because she was unsaved, any changes for good in her life were simply outward appearances. Inside, the bitterness and rebellion still claimed her spirit. After just a couple of years, she decided she would run away again. When she was found and returned yet again, her grandmother and uncle counseled with their Pastor, who suggested that they take her to the Hephzibah House in Winona Lake, Indiana. After much prayer, they agreed that it was the right thing to do.
Just a short time later, she and her family went on a miniature golfing activity. When they loaded into the car for the short drive home, the girl noticed that they weren’t driving in the right direction. In fact, they kept drivingright out of their state. When she asked where they were going, she was told that they were driving to visit a friend in Indiana. Arriving at the Hephzibah House days later, she knew that they planned to leave her there.
During the girl’s first day at the girls’ home, one of the staff members asked her if she was saved. She said that she was, but knew inside that she was lying. Pride kept her from admitting her need for Christ. For two years she lived there, making all the outward behavioral changes that were expected. Years later, she would admit that the two years at Hephzibah House did much to prepare her for life. The staff members were loving and kind to even the toughest of girls. They prayed daily for each of the girls in their care, asking God to change their lives and use them in His work someday. Each day, she learned something about organization, cleaning, homemaking, sewing, or manners. For the first time, she began to develop a strong work ethic, something that would benefit her greatly in the coming years.
At the age of sixteen, the girl returned to her home church. She was able to live with her pastor and his family. Everyone she knew praised the changes in her life, and she became more and more miserable inside, knowing that everyone believed she was saved. Pride again kept her from accepting Christ. One night, she dreamed that persecution had come to her city. She knew that the Bible said that death without Christ means an eternity in Hell. In her dream, she accepted Christ. As she awoke early in the morning on August 20, 1994, she knew what she needed to do. She finally surrendered to God’s grace and asked Him to save her soul. Immediatelyat four o’clock in the morningshe called her youth pastor and Pastor. When neither one answered her call, she phoned her aunt, who didn’t believe her story and hung up the phone! At the very next church service, she made her decision public, sparking a mini-revival in which several other people trusted Christ as well.
In time, the girl graduated from her Christian school. She earnestly looked forward to attending college that fall, but she soon became aware of a need that she could fill. In recent years, several girls’ and boys’ homes across America had closed for various reasons, leaving many troubled children without a place to learn to live a Christ-filled life. Her church followed the Lord’s leading in opening a new girls’ home in their city, and she agreed to supervise the home for the first few years. In just three years, she was able to influence almost twenty girls, many of them with a background similar to her own. God’s purpose for her life became more apparent, as she was able to minister to the young girls just as she had been ministered to years before.
She later had the privilege of attending a Baptist college for one semester, after which she returned home and served as an administrative assistant for her pastor. The girl--now a young woman--quickly resumed her ministries at the church, and set out to serve faithfully for as long as God wanted her there. Unbeknownst to her, God was preparing a man out of state to soon cross her path. He served as the Executive Director at a Baptist church. God in His providence saw fit to create a strong friendship between this man and the young woman’s long-time friend who had also escaped the same fate from Cambodia.
When this young man traveled with the girl’s close friend to a leadership conference, he invited him to visit his family. As they attended the services of the woman’s church, the men were met at the door by her, who cheerfully greeted the visitor. The young man was immediately curious to find out more about this woman. As it was, he returned home without much initial conversation with her. Just one week later, the woman’s close friend approached the young man to assure him that the woman was indeed a fine Christian lady. After much prayer and consideration by both her and the young man, and after the approval of their pastors, they started a long-distance courtship.
Believing that God had ordained them for one another, they were married in December 2003, and set up residence. This young lady worked along side her husband in the ministry of their local church, serving as a receptionist and logging financial contributions. Their daughter was born in 2005, and a son followed after in 2007. Though she works from home now, she still handles the contributions for the church and its ministries; and she also organizes the men’s division of the Pastor’s prayer team each month.
Because of the influence of Godly people in her life, this former student grew to accept Christ and to live as a child of God should live. The staff members of the Hephzibah House were instrumental in teaching her God’s plan and purpose for her life, and helping her to realize that He will work “all things together for good” to those who trust Him with their lives. It has been said that God always chooses his best for those who leave the choice with Him.
TL;DR: They break student/client' minds and keep them as successors, also, arranged marriages.