God is good. All the time.
My husband’s family closed their eyes and spoke to someone I couldn’t see. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“We are praying to the Lord Jesus.”
I looked at my husband Sal with horror. I had married a Christian! We could all be killed for this. I was bound to honour my mother’s choice of a husband. But how could I possibly live with this man?
Do you have a daughter?
On the track leading south from our village my mother was greeted by a stranger. “Do you have a daughter?”
This was peculiar—but then we lived in peculiar times. “I have four daughters” my mother replied.
My mother invited the stranger home and showed her photos.
“Last night I prayed for a wife for my son. In a dream God showed me the path to this village.”
The woman took the four photos home and arranged them on a table. Her family prayed. A son and daughter pointed to my photo. “This is God’s choice.” Their brother accepted the decision.
When the woman returned to our village to meet me she was appalled. To get rid of lice I had shaved my head.
A hairless daughter-in-law was out of the question. The deal was off.
When he heard the news, her son protested. “The hair will grow back!”
His mother was unmoved. “Well, go and see for yourself.”
He was shy. We exchanged a few words. We met a second time a year later on our wedding day. I noticed that he didn’t eat the food my family had offered to our Buddhist idols. I was seventeen years old.
My husband was different
I decided to be strong and defiant and resist this foreign religion. I ignored my husband’s talk about Jesus. I didn’t want to know. I was resentful and mean to him.
I compared my husband’s family to my own. My father was a despot, my mother a slave and their children silent. My husband and his family were generous and gentle. They listened to me patiently. Sal was not like my father. Despite my abuse of him he loved me. He told me I was beautiful.
Three months after moving to my husband’s village the Khmer Rouge killed my family. I was safe with my husband’s family but I felt alone and empty. My brother-in-law prayed with me and told me that Jesus could save me and give me hope. After three days I accepted Jesus.
I am no longer alone
My husband was forced to carry rocks. I worked in rice paddies. We saw each other once a month.
I missed my mother. One day while planting rice I was overwhelmed by sorrow. Expressing dissatisfaction or sadness was not permitted. Because it showed that a person might be unhappy with the regime, crying was fatal. So, I went into the forest to cry. For the first time I tried to pray. As I lay on the ground sobbing I felt a big hand touch me. My husband had told me many times that Jesus loves me but now I knew that God was with me. I no longer felt alone. Hope grew in my heart. I now knew that I could endure the chaos and the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge.
My brother-in-law had a Bible. He had removed the covers and hidden it in a pillow. I started to read the Bible and discovered that God speaks to us. I wanted to know everything that God says to us in the Bible.
How can I serve the Lord?
With the fall of Pol Pot we returned to Phnom Penh. I followed the example of my sister-in-law and trained to become a Sunday school teacher. A missionary saw me taking notes. She asked me to write lessons for teachers and students. I wrote eight volumes of lessons. Despite being crippled by rheumatoid arthritis I became an editor in 1993 and in 2004 began working with Fount of Wisdom publishing house. My testimony was published in 2004 and I am currently editing the Khmer edition of the New Bible Dictionary.
My husband is a pastor of the Khmer Evangelical Church and since 2001 I have been the president of its women’s ministry.
I love books. Books are so important because they can be read by present and future generations. Books transmit the experience of one generation to another.
Please pray that God will give me good health and wisdom so that the books I write and edit will be a blessing to many people.
God blessed me through my husband. God is good. All the time.
Dith Savy is married to Pastor Young Sal. She is president of the women’s ministry of the Khmer Evangelical Church and an editor with Christian publisher Fount of Wisdom.
$10k will enable the publication in Phnom Penh of five new books written in Khmer by local Christians.