Srey Neung tugged on my arm. “I’m sure there are people getting food who weren’t in the fire,” she said, glancing around knowingly. “We should have prayed before we started this whole process, then we wouldn’t have had problems.”
I looked around. Everything seemed to be in perfect order. The government officials were busy checking the names of the people who had lost everything in the fire. When their names were found, they were marked, and then the people would sit by a pile of food until they were given permission to take it. There were 220 piles of food, and the officials assured us they knew exactly who should receive them. What could we do but cooperate?
Again, Srey Neung repeated that we should have prayed before we started. I agreed each time as she repeated this concern to me over and over. Yes, we had gotten swept up in the busyness and had forgotten to pray. At last the Holy Spirit broke through my hurried thoughts and reminded me that this baby Christian, one of the first baptized from the Pnong village we are working in, was really right! We had missed out on a great opportunity to be united in prayer and to see God work in greater ways. Regret washed over me, but then I seemed to hear a still, small voice telling me it wasn’t too late. I squeezed Srey Neung’s hand. “We can still pray,” I said. “Let’s go and gather everyone together.”
Ma Daveed is helping us learn the Pnong language and culture. She exudes enthusiasm for God and for the Pnong people. The newly baptized Pnong are excited to have a church in their own village where other Pnong are likely to join. But Srey Neung is the most excited of all. She has ideas of how a church can be built quickly and with very little expense. She and her husband own land that has lots of bamboo. “If everyone worked together, we could gather the bamboo and build a Pnong-style church in no time at all! The only thing we need is land to build it on!”
Srey Neung’s ideas don’t stop there. “We could grow vegetables and fruit on the church land. All of the church members could help take care of the garden. We could sell the produce so we all could afford to attend camp meeting! And maybe we would have enough to help sick people get medical treatment. These are just my ideas, but maybe we could get together and talk about it.” Our whole team is excited about Srey Neung’s ideas and the ownership she and the other Pnong believers are taking for this church plant.
We planned a time to meet and talk about ideas. However, our meeting was prevented when Srey Neung went to the hospital one night with unbearable abdominal pain. The local hospital wasn’t able to do much, so the next day I took her to another hospital three hours away where the doctor could supposedly do surgery to remove her gall bladder. That was a week ago, and she has been sent to a hospital in Phnom Penh where she continues to wait for surgery.
Of course, Satan doesn’t appreciate Srey Neung’s initiative and enthusiasm. But I know she is still praying, though confined to a bed and in great pain. Will you join her and us as light begins to pierce the darkness?