The Lord knows the way of the righteous

Suicide was on the mind of 19-year-old Sreyleak. Sreyleak’s father had died when she was eight years old. Now her mother was planning to remarry, despite the children’s opposition. Sreyleak’s family were impoverished and her three siblings (the youngest being only four years of age) had decided to stay with their paternal grandmother instead of following their mother to her new family.

As the oldest child, Sreyleak shouldered the burden of responsibility for feeding and educating her siblings and caring for her grandmother. Life was tough, with no work in the village for a young girl like her. She began to feel helpless and depressed about her situation. She realised her dream of university study could never be fulfilled. She realised she could never afford to pay to travel from her village Phum Krus, in the Kampang Chhnang province to Phnom Penh, in Cambodia.

Aware of the depressed young woman’s situation, Sreyleak’s mother and grandmother encouraged Sreyleak to attend worship to the Life Centre (in the village of Phum Krus). Neither her mother or grandmother were Christians, yet they thought that if she went along, she would become happy.

Reluctantly Sreyleak agreed to go along. That morning the sermon was based on Psalm 1. She was very encouraged by this reading, as the Holy Spirit spoke into her heart. At the Life Centre she saw children coming to receive a hearty meal and then staying on for singing and English classes taught by other youth like her. She enjoyed her time with the children, getting to know some of the young people and she became eager to go to the centre.

After a month Sreyleak was offered to become an intern with a monthly allowance. Under the leadership of local Cambodian pastors Daniel and Mose, Sreyleak and other interns learnt and also taught English and IT to other children and youth at the centre each day. Faith grew as Sreyleak listened to the preaching of God’s word, she put her trust in Jesus and was baptised in January 2011.

In 2012 she moved to the capital city of Phnom Penh to commence her studies at the Phnom Penh Bible School, where she had been able to stay in the student hostel provided by LWM.

Sreyleak had been sharing the gospel with her mum as well, but had sensed a lack of sincerity, but to her surprise, in 2011 her mum handed over a precious ‘amulet’ from her former religion and asked to be baptised. What a joy for Sreyleak when she stood alongside her mum at her baptism on 1 January 2012!

Since September 2012 Sreyleak has been studying towards a Bachelor of Theology at Phnom Penh Bible School. She stays with about 50 other young people at the Rainbow Hostel in Phnom Penh. Since coming to the hostel, many of the young people have been baptised. God is working in mighty ways through the ministry of Pastor Vibol and his wife, as they share life with students in their care.

Sreyleak shares, ‘I am studying the Bible more diligently these days. I know it is not easy but I will work hard’.

This story was also published in the April 2013 edition of Border Crossings, the magazine of LCA International Mission.

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