I stole this Bible
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My mother resisted invitations to go to church. But one day, to appease her sister my mother sent me instead.
Everything about it was weird and unacceptable. After the service, there was a meal. I was given rice, tracts and a Gideons New Testament.
I ate the rice and threw away the tracts but I kept the New Testament. This book was my passport to a weekly meal. After three months I started to read it. I noticed that the New Testament constantly refers to older stories.
I wanted the whole Bible
The pastor said that the Old Testament was not for beginners. First I had to read the New Testament.
I was finishing secondary school and preparing to be a Buddhist monk. By reading the whole Bible I was confident that I would expose faults and prove that this foreign religion was a fraud. So I stole a Bible from the church.
While reading Romans the Holy Spirit lovingly taught me that I was sinful and unable to save myself from my rebellious spirit. I knelt down and asked Jesus to forgive me. I fell in love with God’s Word. By day I devoured the Bible. By night I slunk outside and preached to the trees.
Free at last
Hinduism and Buddhism came to Cambodia thousands of years ago. They’re in our blood. They permeate and determine everything.
No one wants to become a stranger to their own family and be mocked and rejected. But I now knew that I had been released from a trap. I had been living in fear and trusting in lies. ‘Perform this ritual and you will be protected.’ ‘Make this offering and you will prosper.’ ‘After enough reincarnations you will become perfect.’ I saw that all this achieved nothing. Jesus gives us freedom from fear and a full and meaningful life. Even if they killed me, no one could take this away from me. I couldn’t get away from this truth.
My wife never stops reading
God has blessed me with a wonderful wife. Together with the Holy Spirit we pastor a church in Tameang village. Books give us access to other people’s experience and enable us to help people with problems that we have never faced.
I am often asked to preach spontaneously, without warning. People ask me, ‘How can you do that?’ I reply, ‘I am always prepared, because I am always reading.’ If I don’t expose myself to new ideas I will run out of things to say. Every time I read I discover something new.
To apply biblical truth to daily life I always tell stories. People ask me ‘Where do all these stories come from?’ I say, ‘Here! Read this book!’ If they read they can know more than me. I encourage my people to read. If necessary I pay for the books myself. I want them to grow and to work for God’s kingdom.
We are here but for a short time. To advance God’s kingdom we must multiply ourselves.
Channa Touch and his wife Simy Srean pastor the Heartland Church and distribute Fount of Wisdom books in Kampong Cham Province.