Two Backgrounds but One Savior
God is the reason my life is what it is today. I was born in Cambodia during the civil war there, which lasted from 1968 to 1975. Hundreds of thousands of Cambodians died, and more than two million were displaced from their homes. After that, the Khmer Rouge regime, led by Pol Pot, came into power and mass bloodshed continued. Some of my earliest memories are of when my family had to pack up what we could carry and start running. That was the last time we saw our house. While I didn’t understand what was going on, I knew to follow my parents, and now I appreciate them so much for not leaving us behind. Often at night they scouted or looked for food, and sometimes I wondered if they would come back, but they always did.
Every day for three or four years we ran through the jungle from place to place, doing our best to stay hidden so we would not be shot. I saw people pacing with rocket launchers as we hid under bushes and in holes. We went through areas where there were land mines, but thankfully we did not step on them. Many times we could have been killed—people next to us fell down left and right as we ran. God was with us and protected us, even though we didn’t know Him yet.
God was with us and protected us, even though we didn’t know Him yet.
Once I fell into a raging river, and another time I was left on a canoe as it went floating away from my family. On another occasion, I almost lost my life in a lake. I was in a shallow area and didn’t realize I was near a sudden drop off in the lake floor. I began falling backwards into deep water when somebody pushed me back up. I didn’t drown, and I believe it was because there were angels watching over me.
God helped us escape to Thailand, and we were there for a year or two. Next we went to the Philippines for nearly a year while my brother had surgery and recovered. Finally, we were blessed to come to America, arriving in 1984. When we had lived in the United States for a few months, someone invited my siblings and me to Sunday school at the Apostolic Faith Church. We began to attend regularly and learned about God and His Son Jesus. In time I understood that there was a Heaven and a Hell, and that if Jesus was not in my life, I would end up in Hell. I did not want that. Right before my senior year in high school, I prayed after a church service and gave my life to the Lord, and He forgave my sins.
Before I was saved, I often had nightmares about the things I had seen during those years in the jungle. As soon as God saved me, I had peace; there were no more nightmares. God erased all that. At that time I also realized that God had protected our family because He had a plan for us.
A few months after being saved, at another meeting God touched me in a special way. I did not realize that it was possible to get closer to God, but that was what happened. As I continued to pray, the Holy Ghost totally consumed me. The joy was indescribable and His power was overwhelming. I wept like a child and said words that I didn’t understand. I couldn’t control what I was uttering but I tried to be as quiet as possible because I did not know what was happening. I only knew that God had taken over. I was young in the faith then, but later, when other people testified, I realized these were the deeper experiences of sanctification and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
After I became a Christian, my brother and sister were saved, and a few years later my mom was saved also. However, it took my dad a while to come to God. When he learned that he needed a minor surgery, we all talked to him, saying it was a good time to get rid of pride and talk to Jesus. Three days before the operation, he prayed and was saved. He said that a big burden was lifted off his shoulders. He went into surgery but, even though it was minor, there were complications and he passed away. However, we had peace because we knew he had gone to Heaven.
God kept tugging on my heart and saying, “Just keep following Me and I will help you through. I will make you who you should be. You are part of My plan.”
God has been with me in so many ways. In my third year of college, I was a little stressed out and depressed. Looking ahead to my future, I asked the Lord, “What do You want me to do?” Although I didn’t make all the right choices, God kept tugging on my heart and saying, “Just keep following Me and I will help you through. I will make you who you should be. You are part of My plan.”
During that time, I rededicated my life to the Lord. I said, “I want to give my life wholly to You. When I get out of school and am back at home, I want to be involved in the church and to be a Sunday school teacher.” That is what happened. On weekends when I was home, I went to our church. Once I was finished with school, the Lord gave me the opportunity to be involved teaching Sunday school, ushering, and in other aspects of His work. At that time I did not know that later God would call me to preach, but I am thankful to do whatever I can to help spread the Gospel.
God blessed me to meet Kristy, and we were married in 2003. Now we have a beautiful family with five children, as well as the support of the family of God. In all the challenges of raising our children (three of them are teenagers now), at my job, or in any other matters, I am so thankful for God’s Spirit to guide. I can ask Him for wisdom and discernment each day in everything I do and say. Without God’s love and mercy, I wouldn’t be here. He is awesome, and I want to serve Him the rest of my life.
My Christian heritage included my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents, and that has had a huge influence on my life. I grew up hearing testimonies of how God had worked in our family. One of those accounts was regarding my great-great-grandmother who did not want her husband to buy crop insurance “against the acts of God.” Hail was common where they lived, and it could beat the crops right into the ground. A hailstorm did come, and as the family heard it approaching, my great-great-grandmother went to prayer. The hail kept coming, and she kept praying. God answered—the hail stopped right along the fence of the family property!
Along with hearing about such answers to prayer, I saw the faithfulness of my great-grandmother and many others around me. I always believed that God was real because of how they lived. The truth was evidenced in their lives. However, believing in God did not make me a Christian. I wanted to please God, but I also wanted to hold hands with the things of the world, and I definitely wanted to do what I wanted to do. Yet, God kept working with me and drawing me to Himself.
When I was a teenager, during a sermon one camp meeting, I understood that I was not saved. That night as I prayed, the Lord saved my soul; He changed my heart. He helped me to love those I had not loved, gave me a different view of those around me, and gave me a desire to see others saved. Later He also sanctified me and filled me with His Holy Spirit.
His Spirit started talking to my heart and helped me see that I was very lukewarm spiritually and needed to do something about the situation. I poured out my soul to God and rededicated my life to Him.
In time, God brought Roth into my life, we married, and now we have five children. Over the years God has been faithful to point out when I needed to draw closer to Him. About ten years ago, His Spirit started talking to my heart and helped me see that I was very lukewarm spiritually and needed to do something about the situation. I poured out my soul to God and rededicated my life to Him. Since then, He has done so much more than I ever imagined, and deepened my walk with Him in ways I did not even know were possible.
God has given our family wonderful healings. Our oldest son had a bad milk allergy, and he would become very sick if he ate anything with dairy in it. One evening during a camp meeting, we did not plan to go to church, but not knowing that, our son was fully dressed and standing by the door ready to leave. When I said we were not going, he replied, “I’m going to get healed.” We all got ready and went to church, and he was prayed for by the ministers. The next day he wanted to drink milk and eat ice cream. He was at my mother’s home, and she called to find out my thoughts. I said, “I guess we’d better try.” He was fine and has never had that problem since.
When our youngest son was a year old, he had the flu. We took him to the doctors and the hospital over and over, but they would just send him home. Meanwhile he grew worse and worse. Finally, we took him to the doctor again, and that time we were told, “Take him to the hospital right now. He is very sick!” He was admitted and hooked up to IVs, but we began to get more and more bad news. His kidneys had failed, he was septic, he had necrotizing pneumonia and various other things were wrong with him. Roth had gone home to be with our other children when the doctor came in and said, “It is very, very serious and we don’t think he will make it through the night. His heart could stop at any moment. It’s not a matter of if he will get worse; he will get worse. That is the course of the disease.”
I was really wrestling in my heart. I felt that the Lord was asking, “Will you serve Me no matter what?”
When I called Roth, he came back to the hospital, and we got down on our knees and prayed. God’s people at many locations were praying with us. Roth had peace even as he prepared for the worst. God gave him the strength to accept that if the Lord took our son, we would see him again someday in Heaven. However, I was really wrestling in my heart. I felt that the Lord was asking, “Will you serve Me no matter what?” I loved my baby and did not want to lose him, and it was hard to say, “Yes, I’ll serve You no matter what.” But finally, I prayed that from my heart. At that moment, the Lord came into the room, and our son did not get worse. The doctors could not explain it, but we know that God had mercy on him and us. It took some time, but the Lord healed him completely. Now, over six years later, he has no lasting damage, and we are so grateful.
I am thankful for all God has done for me, and I want to serve Him the rest of my life. I love to look at the older people who have served God for years, and their faces just shine. That is what I want to do in my heart and have on my face because God is so good.