I don’t have any money,” are words we hear on nearly a daily basis. We live next to a little Muslim village called Levayuh Tome, which is probably the poorest I have encountered in Cambodia. About 30 families out of the 300 that live there are the poorest of the poor and don’t have a home of their own or much personal property at all. Many of the people in this class live off of food donated by their family and neighbors, which is enough to sustain life, but not enough to thrive.
Patimah, whom we call Yay (Grandma), is a daily visitor at our house, and is one of the poorest people we know. She is a widow in her 70s who lives in a bamboo and palm-leaf shack. Her children are too poor to take care of her, so we help her get rice and regularly buy her dried bananas to help her have a little income. She also walks up and down the long dirt road in the village collecting cans and bottles to recycle to make a few pennies. Grandma has been touched by our simple ministry of friendship and has cried tears of gratitude on several occasions. I have sat with her many times and listened to her share whatever was on her heart. “Thank you so much for helping me! You are like my real grandchildren,” she often says.
During our conversations with Grandma, we also talk about how God loves us as His children. “I say my ritual prayers every day,” Grandma says. I respond by telling her that God wants us to talk to Him as a friend, and He cares about what we are going through. I have shared about what Jesus did on the cross for us, but Grandma struggles to understand, still trapped in the Muslim paradigm that has shaped her many years of life.
We would love to see Grandma in heaven. Please pray that God would bless her understanding of Him, and that she would come to know Jesus as her Best Friend.