As we bumped along in the covered bed of Josh’s truck, I let Mony, who was grinning ear to ear, play with my GoPro camera and take some shots out the window. He recalled for me some of his dreams which he felt were meaningful. This was Mony’s first Sabbath.
Later, during our worship, Kawtiet (a baptized believer) asked about the book of Isaiah. “Please explain the book of Isaiah. I don’t really understand it.”
I guided the group through a series of verses in Isaiah, which prophesied of the Lord who was to come. One verse was Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Finally, we turned to Matthew 1:20b-23, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).”
Mony rubbed his arms, raised with goosebumps. “Wow, it’s so clear,” he said. He saw Isaiah’s prophecy in the Old Testament and then the fulfillment of it in the New Testament.
After church, Mony and I went for a walk to see the lush green rice fields hidden behind the houses along the road. Mony took a refreshing breath of air and said, “This is the first time I have taken a walk for leisure. I always have to work, watch my younger siblings, or study for school. This is the first time I have rested on a Sabbath.”
“Happy Sabbath!” I said with a smile.
“Thank you so much for teaching me about God,” Mony said sincerely.
“You know you can work for God forever,” I said. “If you want to serve the Lord, you can teach people about Jesus your whole life.”
We rode home and held a little Sabbath school for Nathan and River. We enlisted Mony to help with a skit about Gideon. He caught on and pretended to sleep, only to be woken by ‘trumpets.’ He participated in a dramatic pillow fight to depict the Midianites attacking each other. Eventually, Mony had to leave to take care of his siblings, but he went with a happy smile. He got a little taste of heaven’s rest and rejuvenation in this first Sabbath blessing. Later he returned with a beautiful drawing of Jesus, with the words “God with us” written in Khmer script at the top.
Please pause and pray for Mony.
He is a 17-year-old, carrying the weight of many more responsibilities and worries than he should have at that age. We are trying to make every minute with Mony count to plant deep roots of Jesus’ love in his heart.