The evening of Soty’s and Vahiroh’s wedding, all the neighbors walked with them from the bride’s house to the groom’s house to help them collect Soty’s bedding. Then they paraded the terribly embarrassed couple back down the street. Crowding into their house and bedroom, the whole neighborhood set up their bed. Once the mosquito net was hung just right and the blankets and pillows arranged just so, the peanut gallery ogled from the doorway till they were satisfied that the new couple were sufficiently warm and snug in bed. Then they gleefully disappeared into the night leaving best wishes for a baby without delay.
During the week after their marriage, tradition kept them in the tiny wooden room in the corner of their parents’ house surrounded by Vahiroh’s huge family—married and unmarried siblings, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Three generations live in one open room divided only by a loosely fitted wood wall and some curtains.
Vahiroh’s father is a handsome man with olive skin. I think he looks rather Italian. The first time we met most of her family was at the wedding. Because the family is very conservative, Soty and Vahiroh weren’t allowed to go anywhere together, so they spent their first married week making obligatory trips to introduce each other to family in the surrounding area.
In August they moved into the room connected to Soty’s nearly finished clinic. Since then they have been sharing a narrow hospital bed without a mattress. Vahiroh is now pregnant and asks Stephanie pregnancy-related questions every time they see each other. She has been having strange cravings, like for the young leaves on the highest branch of a Jackfruit tree.
Sometimes she makes a meal and then can’t bring herself to eat it.
While Soty was in nursing school we helped with his living expenses. But ever since the grand opening of the clinic, Soty has been financially independent from us.
Soty hasn’t asked to be baptized yet, but he continues to soak up the word of God. During our group calls together, after our planned study is over, he often spends another hour and a half talking with Eric Tirado. He told us a few weeks ago that he believes the Bible is true. That is a huge step since he has been putting up all the Muslim objections to the Bible for months. Vahiroh listens to the phone Bible studies as well. When Soty has a question about something in the Qur’an, he asks her. She knows the Qur’an better than he does.
Vahiroh has many other talents, too. She is a master at mixing spices and perfecting recipes. Her kitchen is a laboratory of inventing delicious things. She has a little side business selling homemade creams and lotions and has worked for several years in a factory in Malaysia where she would sew up to 30 button-up shirts every day. I asked her if she was happy to have her own space and some freedom. She said it didn’t really matter to her since living in a big family was all she had ever known.
Vahiroh and Soty both treasure our son Nathan. They are going to be exceptionally good parents, too. Today I sent Vahiroh a short video clip of Nathan and me waving and saying we miss them. She always responds with a text in Khmer. Today it was នឹកដូចគ្នាជិតបានជួបគ្នាហេីយ ស្រលាញ់អ្នកទាំងអស់គ្នា which means, “I miss you all. I’ll see you soon. I love you all.” They are planning to ride a taxi here Thursday and spend several days with us. Our team has planned our second public health education event, and Soty will be our main presenter. Last time we had 75 people come to hear about scabies treatment and prevention. The subject this time will be diabetes.
Please pray for this precious young couple that they will grow into their calling as God’s chosen vessels to reach their own people. Pray that Soty and Vahiroh will continue to have dreams of Jesus and that the Holy Spirit will draw their hearts to make Jesus the Lord of their lives.