“I have had it for fifteen years…I am afraid of surgery.” Mout greeted the landlady with the respectful and traditional action of pressing his palms together and a slight bow to his head. This greeting is called “Sampeah” in Khmer (Cambodian language). He looked at the landlady, but his eyes were diverted to her neck. Trying not to be rude he stared in amazement and thought, God has placed us in this woman’s path today!
Mout and Kosarl were helping a Hope Now deportee, find a place to rent in the city of Phnom Penh. Hope Now Cambodia works with deportees who have been sent to Cambodia due to a crime committed in the U.S.. We help them spiritually and physically, by placing them in a job and finding housing.
As Mout and Kosarl went into the house to sign the agreement Mout glanced again at the large goiter on the woman’s neck. “How long have you had the goiter?” Mout asked. “For fifteen years. I would like to do something about it, but I am afraid of surgery.” Mout looked at Kosarl and broke into a big grin, rejoicing inside. Kosarl knew why.
For the past several months, Hope Now Cambodia has partnered with Streams in the Desert–a ministry that specializes in providing medication (not surgery) for people with goiters! Typically these people are in the more rural areas where there is a a lack of iodine in their diet. But here she was–in the city!
A goiter (GOI-tur) is an abnormal enlargement of the thyroid gland. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck just below the Adam’s apple. Although goiters are usually painless, a large goiter can cause a cough and make it difficult for the person to swallow or breathe. This woman had been suffering for a long time.
Mout looked at her and told her Jesus loves her and will help her take care of her thyriod condition. The woman didn’t understand what he meant, and certainly didn’t believe it, but Mout showed her a video on his phone of our ministry partner, Dr. Tom Johnson helping a woman in another province with an extremely large goiter (see photo). As tears formed in her eyes, Mout shared a gospel tract with her and told her of the love of Jesus Christ and His promise of everlasting life by His grace for those who believe in Him by faith (Ephesians 2:8,9).
Fortunately, for the landlady since she only speaks Khmer, our partner church, International Baptist Church has both English and Cambodian congregations. The woman and her mother will attend the Cambodian service this week and Lord willing, will begin iodine treatment (non-surgical) on her goiter soon. She will be healed physically and spiritally–all because of a chance meeting.
Hope Now Cambodia is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, directed by Pastor Roger Feenstra, and currently working through Hope Now For Youth, Inc. Secure, tax-deductible gifts may be given by clicking this link and desginating “Cambodia”.