Every morning, my alarm goes off at 4 a.m. My wife and kids are still sleeping when I slip out the door, Khmer Bible in hand. Before starting it, I coast the motorbike away from the house to not awaken my boy River, who loves motorbike rides.
As I ride down the road, the local produce and breakfast vendors, with their wide cargo baskets, are picking up their stock to start their trips through villages without markets. I join them on the main road but then quickly turn onto a dirt road punctuated by numerous large potholes carved by rainy season downpours. Frogs see me coming and leap for safety. After several minutes, I again cut the engine, but this time to coast quietly into Nico’s driveway, so I do not wake the neighbors.
Nico’s family, however, is not asleep. They are eagerly awaiting me and open the door welcomingly. We sit in a circle on the floor as we open the Word of God. The youngest children are still sound asleep under a mosquito net nearby.
Mony, the oldest son, is the reason I go so early. Imagine a teenager begging to read the Bible at 4 a.m. because he has to start riding his bike to school at 5:30 a.m. and does not want to miss out on Bible study. Mony is very attentive during our studies and asks lots of questions. He even spends at least an hour in the Word each day, reading ahead.
Mony earned his very own Bible by memorizing its books in order and did so in one day. Having new believers earn their Bible by memorizing the books in order gives them a sense of ownership and purpose. It also prepares them to handle the Bible and navigate its passages, which remains a struggle for those who have been Bible readers for years but never memorized its books in order.
After reading and meditating on the Beatitudes, Mony stopped me at the door and said, “Thank you for teaching my family and me about Jesus. I want to be pure and holy in heart so that I can see God.” These words will stick with me forever. Nothing is more fulfilling in mission service than seeing souls who hunger and thirst for righteousness find the Bread and Water of Life.