“I have thought about killing myself,” 17-year-old Savi confided to Molly through her tears. “Life is so difficult right now! My mother has taken an abusive, alcoholic husband whom she met only three days earlier. He doesn’t have anything and now lives in our tiny house with my mother and younger brothers and sisters. My 14-year-old sister has taken a 30-year-old husband, and he lives in our house, too. My mother and her new husband want to sell our house and some of our land so he can buy cows, but the land belongs to me and my brothers and sisters. That’s what my father told me before he died! I just want to have some of the land so I can build a small house for me and my siblings.”
Life can be extremely difficult for Pnong young people. Sickness often strikes family members, forcing the older children to leave school so they can support the family. Often, fatherless homes and needy widows fall prey to lazy drunks who promise the world but deliver only abuse, heartache and more brokenness. Authorities tend to look the other way when men take up with underage girls. Much of the abuse is triggered by addictions to rice wine and other alcohol. What can you expect when the community leader, who should be an example of moral living, is an alcoholic? Recently, driving his motorcycle while intoxicated, he veered off the road and hit a concrete post, killing his new wife who was riding on the back. He was not prosecuted.
But, despite the hardships, some Pnong young people rise up like lilies from the bog. “I want to be baptized,” Savi told Molly through her tears. We assured her of God’s promises and the great plan He has for her if she will trust Him. Please pray for Savi as she continues to attend baptismal class at our school and looks forward to a new life in Christ.