By Michelle de Carion, staff writer
Mud was caking on the bottom of my sneakers as we walked further into the village. Recent rains had flooded many areas in Cambodia and caused some families to lose their entire crops of rice. This would be devastating because these poor farmers depend on their crops to survive. Work is scarce, and the average Cambodian does not have the opportunity to get a good education to advance into a career.
When I got to the home of Chown Ouk, I saw a small hut, flat beds made of only wood, and a dirt floor. One of our household water filters was in the corner. Yet in the midst of the overwhelming poverty, I was greeted with a genuine smile and a thank you for coming.
Chown became a Christian five years ago when a mission organization showed theJesus film in her village. At the time she was partially blind, and couldn’t even watch the movie. Yet, as she listened, she was touched by the story of Jesus Christ and decided to accept Him as her Savior.
Since then, Chown had regained her eyesight, but she was still in bad health in other ways. Her whole family was getting sick with diarrhea and fever. They realized it was from the water they were drinking when Samaritan’s Purse staff came to their home and explained health and hygiene practices.
I couldn’t believe that they had been drinking water from the nearby pond, which was filled with filth. Chown had been boiling it to help, but apparently that wasn’t enough.
When Samaritan’s Purse gave her a household water filter, her family stopped getting sick.
“I feel really happy now because I have clean water to drink, and I don’t have to worry about getting sick and having other stomach problems,” she said. “I give thanks to God that I have this blessing. I don’t have the sickness I had before, and I thank God for that.”
As a thank you for our visit, Chown’s grandchildren performed a song for us. It was about how the Lord makes them feel powerful.
I felt stronger just watching and listening as they sang praises to God.
Chown is watching over her five grandchildren as her two grown children are away—one is sick with tuberculosis and the other is working in Thailand. She could be brooding over the things she doesn’t have, but instead she is thanking the Lord for the ways He has provided for her—eyesight, clean water, and the gift of eternal salvation in Jesus Christ.
Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
If families like Chown’s can thank the Lord despite their difficulties I know that you and I can too, no matter what is going on in our lives. I’m thankful for the opportunity to see joy in action—happiness that is not dependent on circumstances.
“Praise the Lord! Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever!” –Psalm 106:1