Former Khmer Rouge Solider Is Sold Out for Jesus

Editor’s Note: The following is an excerpt from the summer 2009 Alliance Asia Pacific Regional Update.

Earlier this year, the Khmer Evangelical Church (KEC), the C&MA national church in Cambodia, elected Pastor Sok Sophon to serve as its new president. He had been a Khmer Rouge soldier who fought against the Vietnamese after they invaded Cambodia in 1979. His wife, Maram, was nearly killed by a napalm bomb that was dropped on her family’s home by the U.S. military in the early 1970s. She still has horrific scars on her back, arms, and hands. Eventually, she became a nurse. She met Sok Sophon in a hospital during his recovery from a shrapnel wound through the neck that nearly killed him.

Captivated by Christ

Years later, in the early 1990s, Maram became very sick during her first pregnancy, and Sok Sophon brought her to a refugee camp in Thailand for treatment. While in the camp, Sok Sophon heard the gospel and quietly began to attend the camp church. He did this secretly, sitting in the back row and slipping out of the service as soon as it ended. At first he was skeptical, but the story of creation captivated him and eventually led him to Christ.

Soon after, he began to study TEE (Theological Education by Extension) in the refugee camp with Bounoeuy Kes, now an Alliance worker serving in Cambodia. Bounoeuy and others noted Sok Sophon’s voracious appetite for God’s Word. To this day, he has an amazing ability to memorize the Bible. There isn’t yet a proper concordance in the Khmer language, but he is a walking concordance.

Maram also came to Christ during the time she and Sok Sophon were in the Thailand refugee camp. In 1993 they were repatriated back to Cambodia and went to live in Sophon’s home village of Kuttesot. Joe Kong (the former director for Intercultural Ministries at the U.S. C&MA and now an Alliance missionary serving in Cambodia) and Bounoeuy met Sok Sophon there and asked him to consider moving from his home town to help start a church in the much larger provincial capital of Sisophon. He and Maram did so, and they have both been tireless workers for the gospel ever since.

Nothing Less for Jesus

Sok Sophon once said, “I used to walk days for the Khmer Rouge with no thought of food, water, or pay; how can I do anything less for Jesus?”  The Lord has worked through him to start more than 15 churches in northwest Cambodia over the past 15 years.  He has been one of the key leaders to implement TEE in northwest Cambodia and has personally taught more than 100 TEE students.

Over the years Sok Sophon has been involved in a number of special events and speaking engagements throughout Cambodia.

As Pastor Sok Sophon leads the KEC, pray for him and Maram to maintain a close walk with God, to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and to experience health and safety in their many travels.

Learn More

Check out our Alliance work in Cambodia.

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