I don’t know that I have ever been this STUNNED by something God has done. Never. Not ever. I mean, I could literally just lie down on the floor and cry I’m so happy. But if I don’t get this post in writing while my scribbled notes still make sense to me, you’re going to miss out.
If you don’t know the tuk-tuk story, you’ll have to click over here really quick and get caught up.
I just got done Skyping (video chatting) with Panha over in Cambodia (it’s 11:30ish am Thursday). And let me tell you, it was pretty much a 40-minute praise and worship session to our awesome God. Un-be-liev-a-ble. I so wish you could meet our Panha (and Veasna–I got to “meet” him on Skype before he left to chat w/Yvonne). I’m telling you, five minutes with these brothers, and you’ll be shaking your head in awe at how good God is.
(By the way, P and V use the computers at their church to Skype and stuff–the church where they came to know Jesus a couple years ago. Another cool story.)
So, I furiously scrawled notes without looking while I watched an impassioned Panha talk about God’s provision for his family. Oh my stars, I don’t have words for how strongly I felt God’s presence. He thanked me over and over and praised God over and over and then told me the story of his dad’s tuk-tuk getting stolen. I’ll try to give the details as accurately as I can.
(This is Vanna, Panha’s dad, with Panha. That’s his tuk-tuk in the background.)
It happened in the middle of the night Sunday night. A friend called him the next morning and said, “Why did your dad leave so early this morning?” Panha was confused. His dad hadn’t left. He was still at home. “But his tuk-tuk is gone,” the friend said.
They went outside and sure enough. Someone had broken into the gate in front of the house and cut through four keys on the tuk-tuk. Panha told me that he just stood there speechless. “I cannot say anything,” Panha told me. “My heart is broken. I just remember that in every situation, we cannot blame God. I prayed a lot. And text my friends to ask them to pray. I tell God that your way is better than my way, your thought is higher than my thought.”
(I about lost it at this point.)
Remember that Panha’s entire family has given their lives to Jesus, but their dad is Buddhist like most Cambodians. And in Cambodian culture, children cannot say anything to their fathers. “Even if I have a good idea, Panha said, “I cannot share it with him. I don’t have the right.”
Panha told me that he had asked his dad two weeks ago if he would come to church with him this coming Sunday (November 7). He knew there was going to be some people there from the U.S. sharing the Good News and asking if anyone wanted to follow Jesus, and he wanted his dad to be there so badly. Then the stolen tuk-tuk. “I thought to myself,” Panha said, “right now, the tuk-tuk is gone. I want my whole family to believe in Jesus, but I just don’t know. What will my dad think now?”
He and Veasna started exploring options. As the oldest son, Veasna especially has a cultural obligation to provide for his family if his father cannot. Veasna and Panha each have their own moto to ride to work and church (they saved their money from working as translators).
“Option #1,” Panha told me, “We would sell our motos.” They made the decision to do this, even though they would have no way to get to work.
Then they thought of Option #2. Ask their boss at the ministry they work for if they could each have a 2-month advance on their salaries. They each make $150/month. This $600 would be enough to buy their dad a moto. Then they could figure out how to get the tuk-tuk (the carriage part that is pulled by the moto). Panha said he prayed before asking his boss, “God, if this is your plan, let it be.” Their boss, A, agreed to give them an advance and told them she would be praying God would provide. Their pastor and friends at church were also praying.
A and Veasna both got in touch with Yvonne, who has only been back in the states for a few days. She immediately wrote an e-mail asking her friends and supporters for help. By the time I got the e-mail, she had 4 people helping for a total of $150. I sent it out to our Cambodia teamers from church and mentioned it on Facebook.
Yvonne let A know when she had $400, and A told Panha and Veasna, who told their mom. “I’ve never seen my mom so happy,” Panha told me. Apparently there was some uncharacteristic jumping up and down going on.
And then it was $600. More rejoicing and praising Jesus. They wouldn’t have to sell their motos. The $600 + their salary advances would be enough. God is so good.
And about to get gooder.
Stay tuned tomorrow when stinker Panha plays a mean trick on his mom. And his dad decides to go to church. And God gets a tuk-tuk-load of glory and then some.