Van is only 10, yet his journey from suffering to redemption through Christ’s mercy is long. Years ago, his father abandoned the family, leaving Van, his older brother, and his mother alone and impoverished.
“Chasing after women was more important to my father than his own family,” Van says. “So he left us and my mother had to work as a housekeeper. My brother and I always felt lonely and sad.” With nothing to do or look forward to, Van and his brother took to wandering the streets after school. "It's a miracle we didn't die out there."
It wasn't long before the emotional suffering of the abandonment took its toll on Van's health. Because his mother believed in the traditional spirit worship practiced by many Southeast Asians, she made Van wear an amulet around his neck to fight the evil spirits she thought were plaguing him. “She did according to the sorcerer’s words to keep me healthy and safe,” he explains.
Even though Van was getting weaker and more feverish by the day, he and his brother kept roaming the streets. One afternoon they were approached by and older Christian woman who partnered with Bible League International. She had been trained to lead children in Bible Study. Her name was Mrs. Lin.
"She was very kind, and she asked us to come to a Bible Study after school,“ Van remembered. "She gave us some tea and snacks and we read the Bible with her. We loved the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den and Noah's Ark."
"Something happened in my heart..."
Instead of going to the streets to wander after school, they began coming to Mrs. Lin's house to read the Bible. "She told us about Jesus, who He is and why He is Lord. Mrs. Lin explained it to us so gently. Something happened in my heart and my brother's heart too."
Mrs. Lin led them in prayer and they both accepted Jesus as their Savior.
The boys began to attend church. They made friends with other Christian kids and continued to study the Bible with Mrs. Lin. "She told me to take the amulet off, that I didn't need it. And so I did," Van shares. And, gradually, Van's health returned to normal.
“I felt good and strong again, and since then I have had no more fever. Jesus healed me because just like He protected Daniel from the lions, He is protecting me!" Van smiled broadly. "My mother couldn't believe it. This miracle has caused my entire family to trust in the Lord. We worship Him everywhere, at home and at church."
It's not pleasant to think about where Van would be if the Lord hadn't revealed himself in His Word. Praise the Lord for people like Mrs. Lin, trained to reach out to the least of these in Cambodia.