Reflecting on God's Work in Asia
More than a Conqueror.
This is Sokea. I love this girl and count it one of my greatest blessings in life to walk with her for 7 years in Cambodia. I have a lot of stories of amazing things God has done in her life- and some that she told me. This one is one of hers.
As a Cambodian there is no official persecution for being a Christian but persecution comes from the family. "To be Khmer is to be Buddhist" is a popular saying in Cambodia. If children become Christian they are seen as rejecting the family and literally endangering the family by opening them up to attacks from demons and evil spirits. Many students who become believers face their toughest moments when they go home for major holidays and have to live out their new life in the middle of their old one.
Khmer holidays are all linked with the spirit world. There are always offerings or trips to the temple in which everyone is expected to participate. Each Cambodian believer has to decide where they make their stand in being set apart. In Sokea's family even when she told her parents she wasn't going to eat the offering to the spirits they hid food and made her eat part of it deceptively. Their fear of the spirit world is that real; their connection to it that strong. Every year Sokea would go home for holidays and every year she would come back with stories of how she would try to reach her family by sharing testimony or proving that God had created her anew- but they didn't want to listen.
After she got a good job and proved she was responsible her parents stopped putting as much pressure on her to perform ritual functions. (Other things like arranged marriage proposals were the new battle ground.)
This last year she came back from the province and told me a new story. Her mom had made her yearly visit to the local fortune teller/shaman to get news about when Sokea would get married. That year the fortune teller told her, "Listen to Sokea when she talks about her God." So when Sokea went home her mom and her aunt (who also put faith in the fortune teller) sat and listened as Sokea talked about how she came to know Jesus, how He changed her, and how she is trying to live her life for him. She said they listened carefully but didn't make any decisions or come to any conclusions.
Isn't that amazing!? We were both so pumped at the reminder that God is His own best evangelist and he can work even through people whom we associate with great evil. Please pray for her family to be saved. She has two younger brothers who believe the gospel but are having a hard time walking it out. The rest of her family has not yet believed. She was the first.
Due to the sensitive nature of talking about people and countries I have been to please don't share these openly and also be conservative in how much you share specific details with others. I might change names just to keep things safe, but for those of you who have been following for awhile the pieces won't be too hard to put together.
In faith I want to share some stories from the field that got lost. My hope is that in telling these I would be able to proclaim how faithful God has been, and maybe a few of you will be willing to climb up and peer into the amazing work God is doing in Asia. It's big- incomprehensible even, and I know these stories are not mine to keep.