“We can’t buy it,” we told our disappointed friend.
I don’t blame him for being disappointed. He had been hoping to earn about $300 for arranging the purchase of the land, which is a reasonable commission. We were disappointed, too, since we had been looking forward to getting 10 acres of land for $2,500. It was a good deal on all sides, but one thing stood in the way: the title could not be issued in the way we needed. There was little we could do but keep praying and looking.
A few days later, our family drove east along the Sesan River. We noticed some land that was poor for rice paddies, which rendered it nearly useless for the Bassac people. But other crops could do well on it, particularly cashew and rubber trees and vegetables. We stopped and began to explore the property.
“This is such a wonderful little area,” Jephthae said as we walked through a woods, the kids playing behind us. I nodded in agreement. Birds glided between trees, making calls that sounded like gibbons. The sandy soil beneath us, still damp from an earlier rain, made our walk easy.
The land was accessible and had good, well-drained soil. But before getting our hopes up, we needed to find out if the owner was willing to sell.
“There’s a house,” Jephthae announced. Our path bent to the southwest, and a small branch appeared off toward the road to the east. I looked down it, but trees obscured my view. Then I saw it. It looked to be the home of a farmer.
As we approached the house, the farmer and his wife appeared and greeted us with curiosity. Speaking in Khmer with them, I became fairly certain that they were Bassac. I asked the man if he spoke Bassac. He seemed a little unsure of my request at first, but when I switched to Bassac, he began to converse freely with me. He and his wife were surprised and pleased that both Jephthae and I speak Bassac with ease. We shared a summary of our travels over the years in Asia, and they glowed with interest and curiosity. They told us their land wasn’t for sale, but they invited us back to visit again.
A few days later, we returned to their home, relaxed with them and chatted about possible land options in the area, of which there seemed to be few, if any. They gave us sheets of dried mango and smiled at our children’s interest in their various farm animals. It was a pleasant visit. Though we didn’t find land, we found people with whom we could build a relationship and share Christ. Sometimes ministry happens in unexpected places.
This is one of many experiences we have had as we venture out on a new special project to use technology to help improve agriculture for the Bassac of Cambodia. We plan to raise funds to get our business started and buy a piece of land to serve as a base for connecting with the Bassac out where they farm. We want to have more and more connections with them, encounters where we can share Jesus with them and bless and encourage them. We believe that many of the Bassac villages, where there are no churches and few if any Christians, are ready to hear about Jesus and accept Him. Would you be willing to help us in this endeavor?