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God Had a Plan

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A decade or more ago, a man with tuberculosis was carried into a Sunday morning service in Kompong Cham, Cambodia. He was no longer lucid and was brought in as a last resort. He did not die but was miraculously healed!

His relatives asked me to teach a Bible study in their village. Still, I worried about this man, who continued drinking, fighting and beating his wife after being healed. Why did God heal him, only to leave him like this? I asked myself. One night he got drunk, went out in his boat and drowned. I thought I would never know the answers to my questions.

By that time, we were working among a different people group in the village. There is not much love between the Khmer and the other people, so it seemed odd when a Khmer woman, K’chong, asked my friend Mah Nah to teach her the language. When I asked why, her answer astonished me.

K’chong was the widow of the man who had been healed. On the night he drowned, he had told her that what the woman “with the long hair” was teaching was correct and that she should study with me. These were his last words to her, so she took them seriously. However, the villagers told her that we did not teach in Khmer. So K’chong decided to learn a new language in order to study the Bible! When I heard this, I agreed to teach her in Khmer.

K’chong would come to my house and go through my things, driving me crazy with her curiosity. She would question me until I was tired of answering. But I loved her and taught her as best I could.

K’chong remarried and wanted her new husband, Heang, to understand the Bible. However, my husband, Jeff, and I were only halfway through a Bible study with him when we left for home assignment. I felt bad, knowing that when I returned, I would be living too far away to continue the lessons.

When we returned to Cambodia to teach at a school, we knew we would need a cook. The position would not only involve meal planning, shopping and cooking but also teaching cooking, organizing work groups and making sure the kitchen and student housing were clean and organized. Who could possibly do this?

One morning I decided to pray until God told me whom to hire. I was studying the books of Kings for my regular Bible reading but thought I should skip it that day. How would I find a cook in Kings? But I went back to it and read about the Queen of Sheba, who drove Solomon crazy with questions and went through his house trying to figure out how he ran it. I laughed; the Queen of Sheba sounded like K’chong! And then I knew who our cook was supposed to be! God knew all along.

K’chong knows how to prepare food in large quantities, is brilliant at finding bargains and honest in handling money. Heang cannot read as well as K’chong, but he is the one who scurries about the kitchen early each morning to get things going. Heang is well-known for being a man who likes to cook and clean, and he keeps his home in tip-top shape. This would be just right!

The school hired them as a couple, and I have been thanking God for them ever since. To top it off, the kitchen is fun. Youth were always attracted to K’chong’s house in the village, and they remain attracted to her here.

Thank you for praying for this family, an important part of our school. Now I know why God allowed me to connect with K’chong through the tragic story of her first husband. She is my neighbor, my friend and my coworker.

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