One woman fought a tremendous but losing battle to provide for her family alone until she met the God who saves.
Sokun, her husband and their three young children lived a village near the border of Cambodia and Thailand. The family had little income but were still making ends meet; Sokun sold vegetables in the local market, and her husband worked as a logger.
The family was rattled, however, when Sokun’s younger sister showed up on their doorstep with her three daughters, all under 5 years old. Her husband had divorced her, and she now had little means with which to care for the children.
She abandoned her daughters with Sokun.
The family’s food store and already meager income simply couldn’t keep up with six children, most of them toddlers.
Sokun’s husband began hunting in the nearby jungle to supplement the dinner table. On one particular foray, he went deeper and deeper into the forest and eventually lost the road.
Thai soldiers suddenly surrounded him. He’d accidentally wandered over the border into Thailand. Without listening to protests, the soldiers arrested him and took him to jail.
It would be 2 years before Sokun saw her husband again.
Falling into Despair
Sokun was now caring for all the children on her own. Some days she had no vegetables or meat, so she had to give them rice porridge and soybean sauce.
When dengue fever struck the family, she was forced to take out a loan so she could afford medicine for the children. Fear of sickness and malnutrition was a constant cloud over her head.
“Just living day to day was extremely hard,” she said.” Sometimes I even cried in front of my kids. Who could help me? It seemed hopeless…”
One day, World Challenge’s partners came to her house to share about Jesus. They returned often to visit and encourage Sokun and found the ways to help her. Sokun wasn’t interested in a foreign faith, but she allowed them to talk to her and play with the children.
However, other villagers soon thought she had converted and began to persecute her, refusing to buy groceries from her roadside stall.
Frantic, Sokun turned to some of her ancestral idols, hoping to appease the neighbors and find relief. Her torment increased, however. She began to be torn between deep depression and feeling as if she were going mad.
Every week, the group of Christians returned and prayed for her and her family. Sokun finally decided that she had tried everything else and it had failed. She would go to this church of Jesus.
An Extra Portion of Blessing
As everyone in the church joined in worship together, peace washed over Sokun’s heart, something she hadn’t felt in a very long time. Church members invited her to come to a health training World Challenge partners offered.
Sokun attended the training to learn more.
If God had transformed her heart to become a place of peace, then perhaps he could also change the rest of her life.
She began learning about hygiene, ways to clean her water and natural cures for diarrhea along with growing in knowledge about Jesus and how he had revolutionized life. Her savings from not having as many medical costs allowed her to improve her vegetable stand.
Business grew, and Sokun was able to buy more clothes for the children and give them better food. Still, one thing burdened her heart.
“I was always praying to the Lord for my husband,” she said, and God answered her prayer. After 2 years, her husband was released from Thai prison and able to return home.
Sokan smiled as she said, “Nowadays, my family is living better, and my husband also believes in Jesus Christ. My heart has been healed through my Savior.”
Thanks be to the Lord who transforms lives and restores families.