“Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone, and a new life has begun.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
Chamroeun, 32, lives in Tasam Community in Cambodia with his wife Po, 30, and two children, his son Thaiyuth, 9, and daughter Saran, 4. The family’s income comes from farming and selling food items in front of their house.
“Even though my father was a pastor, I was never very interested in faith,” explained Chamroeun. “Before Food for the Hungry (FH) came to our community, I did not have a home of my own. I was a ‘gangster,’ who liked to argue with other people. I didn’t show respect to others, even if they were older than me.”
A Dark Path
“I made so many mistakes, such as beating others and using drugs. I disobeyed my parents. For instance, I stole their motorcycle and sold it. I dropped out of school and was rarely home. Even after I got married, I still smoked and drank, and sometimes my children even got sick because of my cigarette smoke. When I was angry or stressed, I would drink, beat my family and others, and then stay away from home for several days.”
At one point, he said, he read most of the Bible. “But it was just for the knowledge about it, not to live it out,” he explains.
Faith Changes a Life
Through it all, Chamroeun knew he needed to change. When FH arrived in his community in 2018, he began participating in some of their programs almost immediately. He concentrated on the agriculture project, he said, learning about raising chickens and growing vegetables with organic fertilizers.
Then, in 2022, he joined the Mobilize Church for Community Transformation Project (MCCT). He began to learn very different types of lessons.
“The key lessons I learned from MCCT were ‘being salt and light,’ ‘who are the vulnerable,’ ‘child’s rights,’ ‘what abuse is,’ and ‘how to help communities.’”
“I have made a lot of changes. I no longer speak disrespectfully to others. I know how to make my parents happy and share love with my family. I also share fish, vegetables, meat, and other items with my neighbors.”
A New Attitude
“Before, my life was all about self-interest, and I used to scare people. Now, I have more patience. When other people come to borrow something from me, I welcome them and always share with both believers and unbelievers,” he added.
Chamroeun says the changes he has undergone came as a result of God’s Word. “The lessons I have learned from FH make me very happy because now I have good relationships, and I am a good testimony to others. It makes my family happy, and I can lead others to believe in God.”
But Chamroeun says he isn’t through changing. “I want more change for myself,” he said. “I want to stop drinking alcohol – I still haven’t stopped 100% – and help others more. I want to see my family’s business grow. I want to see my children to be wise and learn as well as the five orphans I take care of in the orphanage.”
Faith Changes a Community
As for his community, Chamroeun says they are now united and non-violent, practicing good hygiene and becoming prosperous. He says he wants to see “more people repent their sin and believe in Jesus.”
“I want to see our church grow both spiritually and physically, so that each member has a decent house to live in and dares to share the gospel.
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