SparkLit | Jesus came to help me
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Jesus came to help me

Jesus came to help me

You can help Koyn bring God’s word to the isolated Kavet ethnic community.


My family was too poor to live in the village. From dawn to dusk we worked in a clearing deep in the forest trying to grow food. Each April I climbed 30-metre malva trees to harvest nuts.


We moved to the village when I was 13 years old. While walking to our plot in the forest I searched for wild pigs, porcupines, monkeys and pythons to sell. Still, my family often went hungry. With envy I watched the other children go to school.


I learned through the gospel


When I was 16, some Christian community health and literacy workers came to our village, and for the first time I heard about Jesus. I was so moved to know that Jesus had come to help me. Most of the village didn’t care. Some older people were interested but I was the only young person. I am still the only Christian in my family. The others still make sacrifices to the spirits.


I loved everything I heard about the YWAM Discipleship Training School (DTS). I especially wanted to learn to read and write. But the fee of $100 and a 30 kilogram bag of rice was an unimaginable amount for me. I asked God for money. Suddenly, I had an opportunity to cut trees and sell timber. What was impossible had become possible.


At DTS I held a book for the first time. We studied the Bible, memorised verses and learned oral Bible storytelling. I asked God to help me learn to read the Bible. On my phone, I recorded my friend reading the Bible. Then I listened to the recording while examining the text in the Bible. Over several months, one by one, I learned the Khmer letters, then words and sentences.


The following year I started a youth group at our village church and enrolled at the village school. Because I could read, I advanced directly to grade 6. The other students were 11 to 13 years old. I started at the bottom of the class, but within a few months I was top of my class. At age 18, I enrolled at the district high school and moved into a dormitory, but after a month I had to drop out. I had run out of money.


I teach through the gospel


When YWAM came to choose literacy teachers, the village leaders recommended me. My parents were proud of me, but I was surprised. I didn’t know how to read Kavet at all. The YWAM staff encouraged me, “If you can write your name, we can teach you.” I joined my first literacy teacher training workshop in 2019, and learned to read and write Kavet.


Now I am 24 and have been teaching for five years. I love teaching! When our young people learn to read and write in Kavet, they place value on their own culture. They also have opportunities to become village vets, forest rangers, health workers and, of course, teachers! Best of all, they can read the Bible for themselves. Literacy helps us build our faith.


Please pray that I will stand strong and persevere. Pray that God will use me to bless my community and bring the good news to dark places.


Koyn is a volunteer literacy teacher and church leader in Kiri Vong Sa Leu Kavet Village, Siem Pang District, Stung Treng Province.


$15k will finance the publication of literacy textbooks, manuals, Bible stories and song books in the Kavet language.