They were killed. All of them. Anyone who wore glasses. Doctors, lawyers, schoolteachers; those who could read and write. Murdered. During the mid to late 1970’s the Khmer Rouge led by elusive Pol Pot, swept through Cambodia, turning the entire country into a concentration camp.
Today, the average age of a Khmer citizen is around 30. Young people are everywhere, the old folks are gone. At a church we attended on Sunday, I found a few who were my age. They were pleased we were all old guys. The youngest of the quartet (pictured below), the guy on the right, is only 56. His leg was blown off by a landmine. The man on the left is the same age as me, 62. He was so happy to discover our matching age. The one next to him is Mout’s uncle, he is 60.
Mout’s uncle…now there is a story. Mout was born just before the Khmer Rouge takeover. Some of his family lived through those hellish years. His father was taken away by communist ‘soliders’ one evening and never returned. Mout’s uncle (his mother’s brother), took over some of the family responsibilities. He cared for Mout and carried him whenever the family had to move. He protected Mout during that devasatating time, until the family could reach a refugee camp and finally make their way to freedom in the United States in the early 1980’s.
When we arrived in Battambang, Mout was aware his uncle still lived here. He is a Tuk-tuk driver. Mout contacted him and met with him on Saturday. Mout’s memories of his uncle have dimmed over the years, but the reunion was a blessing. They were pleased to see each other. Mout has grown larger than his uncle and could carry him now!
We have been handing out gospels of John to some of the local people. Mout wanted to be sure his uncle understood what it means to have everlasting life. During their meeting, Mout asked his uncle, “Uncle, would you like to know how to live forever when you die?” His uncle laughed and said, “Even kings die, how can I, a Tuk-tuk driver live forever?” Mout keyed in on the “king” statement and replied, “Uncle, I know One King who is alive, and you can live forever if you believe in Him.” The uncle replied, “For real?”
Mout reached in his backpack and drew out the Water of Life; the gospel of John. Then he explained to his uncle, “This book was written by a man named John. He was inspired by God, so we can know and believe in Jesus forever.” Mout handed the book to his uncle and asked him to read it. It was the first time he had ever read a Bible verse and the first time he had heard about everlasting life being a gift given by God simply by believing in His Son, Jesus Christ for it. No good deeds or works needed. Accept the gift, by belief in Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life, and you have it. It can never be revoked.
All the people of knowledge were killed, but the Word of God lives! Powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.