We want to introduce you to Abraham and SreyRohm. They are a young couple with one child, a little guy named David, and both have extraordinary stories. Abraham was born with a birth defect. He was not able to walk for the first 10 years of his life and has limited mobility in his limbs. His family was very poor; often not having enough to eat and Abraham was not able to go to school. He would listen outside of the windows and later, when he was able to attend but not afford the textbooks, he would borrow them from classmates and write them out entirely so he could continue to do the lessons in class. Abraham has faced much difficulty in his life. Being born with a handicap earned him the reputation of having been a bad person in a previous life and there is a continued prejudice in Cambodia against those with physical disabilities. His father died when Abraham was just a boy and his stepfather beat him and his mother and repeatedly told Abraham that he would amount to nothing. Abraham, however, did not let that hold him back. He met God through a local church and was mentored by pastors who breathed life and hope into his young life. He strived for higher education and was able to get a scholarship to university from World Vision Cambodia. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in 2010 and is currently working on his Master’s. Abraham learned english by reading the Bible and was able to start a successful business of teaching Khmer classes to foreigners and translating texts. This is how we met him. Abraham is our Khmer teacher.
His wife, SreyRohm, has an equally compelling story. Crippled at the age of 5 from a bad vaccine, she has spent most of her life in a wheelchair. Her parents died when she was young but she tells of the many times her father beat her when he had been drinking. She moved around from family to family working as a house helper or selling in the market. It was there that she met an English women who told her about Jesus. SreyRohm did not know if this Jesus was real but at 4:00 in the morning when she would wake to make food for the monks, she would hear beautiful music and feel the presence of God. Then one morning, she had a vision of that same lady in the market who had first told her the name of Jesus. She said to God “Give me a sign if you are real”. That very day, as she was sitting and sweeping the road, a car stopped and two foreigners got out. The man had noticed the young, crippled girl on the side of the road and remarked that she had the light of God around her. The lady, glancing to see who the man was speaking of remarked “I know that girl!” What is truly remarkable is at that time, SreyRohm was not in the province she had met the lady in. Out of the whole entire country, it was down this road that the lady drove and recognized the young girl from the market. SreyRohm went with the lady to Phnom Penh where she was able to study and live in an orphanage. She grew in her knowledge of Jesus and truly you can see the light of God around her!
These two remarkable people had a dream that someday they would be able to help others as they themselves were helped. They met at the very orphanage that SreyRohm went to live and eventually work in and God placed a burden on their hearts for the children that they served there.
They were able to save enough money to purchase a small plot of land outside of Phnom Penh and are now building a house that will also serve as a ministry centre. They currently have two girls from the orphanage that stay with them. Abraham has taught Nita how to speak English and she works alongside of him teaching Khmer and SreyRohm is teaching Hannah how to make jewelry and leather goods that they sell in the shops in the city.
God laid on our hearts about a month ago that he wanted us to help this couple to realize their dream of reaching out to those in need. The first step was inviting them to move into our home while they built their house. Having your language teacher live with you is very handy! Now God is using us to help Abraham and SreyRohm to build a sustainable business that will employ a few of the young people who have aged out of the orphanage system and need somewhere to live and work. We have opened our home to Lydia and Timothy who come during the day to learn how to sew, cook, and make jewelry. Not only does the life skill training provide a livelihood for these young people but it will also help Abraham and SreyRohm to sustain their family and allow them to reach out to the families living around them that are in need. SreyRohm plans to offer sewing classes in their home and Abraham, aside from teaching English to the young children in their neighbourhood, wants to grow a ministry where he can mentor and disciple young people much like how he was influenced and cared for as a young man.
So, our days are full of sewing and cooking and laughing and eating together. It is a beautiful picture of how we see God using us here in Cambodia. It’s not big or overly important, but it’s life-changing to the few we are privileged to serve.
Please, if you’ve taken the time to read this blog, go to https://www.facebook.com/Hopefamilyhandicrafts and check out some of the beautiful things that Hope Family is making. We would like to send a suitcase of products home with the next visitor we have so if you see something you like, let us know and we’ll be sure to pack it! It really makes a huge difference to the lives of the people who are involved. (We can also do orders so if you’re interested please email firstname.lastname@example.org – SreyRohm and the girls do lovely dresses for little girls and we can make them in almost any size!)