Even so, God is always good and gives us wonderful
opportunities for ministry that bring glory to His Marvelous Name!
With the help of Chun K’mow, a Vietnamese-speaking Cambodian Christian, we were able to piece together a vague outline of her life. Tiny, a twenty-nine year old Vietnamese woman, has lived in Cambodia for five years. She has no family here and only one sister in Vietnam. Her parents died when she was seven.
With only a minimal grasp of the spoken language of Cambodia (Khmer), and no ability to read or write it, she found few opportunities for employment. At some point Tiny turned to prostitution, which allowed her to rent a filthy, barren room with no electricity or running water. However, as her pregnancy progressed her ability to “work” decreased, and she was facing eviction because she could no longer pay her $7 per month rent.
We were not surprised to hear that she didn’t want to keep her children. She insisted that if she kept them they would grow up, see what kind of woman she was, and become like her. Chun K’mow told us he had been praying for someone to help Tiny, and thought that perhaps we could take her babies after they were born
After? What about until? We told her that we’d like to help her, but we could do so only one step at a time. Our first concern was seeing that her babies made their way into this world as safely as possible. We couldn’t very well say, “Okay, go and be warm and well fed, and give us a call when the babies show up.” So we asked if she’d like to stay in a spare room at CHCH, an offer she eagerly accepted.
We then took Tiny to a local clinic for a check-up and an ultrasound. Because one baby was breech and both babies were big, the doctor recommended a C-section and told us to call him when Tiny went into labor. He made things seem so simple, but we had our concerns. The clinic, nice by Cambodian standards, was less than we would have accepted for ourselves. People with illnesses of every description filled the beds in the front lobby area. We have stepped over a sleeping dog on our way past the reception desk, observed a nurse cleaning blood from the floor with toilet paper and tap water, and watched as stainless steel medical instruments were scrubbed with laundry detergent on their way, we hoped, to be sterilized. Still, this private clinic held more promise than the public hospital, a facility that defies any description short of “a very bad dream”.
One week ago Saturday, Tiny went into labor. We were relieved that her surgery was quick and without complications. Within twenty minutes, healthy identical girls were placed in our arms, and we wept as we prayed for them…wondering what their lives might hold.
When we visited Tiny the next morning we found the babies lying on the bed with a small knife over their heads. Why? The twins had cried “strong” during the night and the nurses thought the knife would frighten the demon spirits and keep them from tormenting the babies. We suggested that holding and feeding the babies would yield greater results, and at Tiny’s request we brought the twins to our home Sunday afternoon.
Tiny, recovering from her C-section, faced a week in the hospital with a single Vietnamese television channel as her only diversion. So we took the twins to visit her two to three times each day and found her to have a love for her babies she likely wasn’t expecting. Every expression, every squeak, and every wiggle is pointed out and giggled over. She continually strokes their velvety heads and delicate hands. We can only wonder what is going through her head as she gazes at their precious faces, but we imagine it is something like what is going through our heads: Now what?
The babies are safe and healthy. Tiny is recovering. She appears to have affection for her children. Now what? She has no home, no family to help her, and, at the present, no ability to work. She has told us she’d stop prostituting herself. A pleasant promise, but how to keep it? Our goal, if it was our place to set goals, would be to enable Tiny to keep her children, but we have no idea where to begin. We admit that through our eyes the outcome doesn’t seem promising. We imagine that Tiny has seen her share of pain, poverty, and squalor during her three decades of life. Will the next three decades bring more of the same?
We have developed an unusual relationship with Tiny. As we have sought to love her with Christ’s love, we have grown to love her ourselves. This Saturday, Tiny was released from the hospital, and we brought her to our home. Our verbal communication is difficult, but we manage. We were able to buy a Vietnamese Bible and have begun sharing scripture with her. Yesterday morning she and Anna watched a word for word dramatization of the Gospel of John, and Tiny read the entire Gospel in her Bible as she watched. She welcomes our prayers with a smile, and though we pray in English she seems to sense the earnestness behind our words as we pray for her and her babies.
If God’s strength is perfected in weakness, and it is, He has a perfect opportunity before Him now. We pray that the Lord would show Himself mighty on behalf of Tiny and her babies. We pray that the Lord Jesus would be glorified in their precious lives (He already has…they are His beautiful creation). We pray that we would be vessels of Christ’s mercy and compassion, and that through our simple demonstrations of His love, coupled with the proclamation of His word, Tiny would come to know Him. Tiny is weak, her babies are helpless, and we have no idea what to do next. May Christ be exalted!
Hope Children's Home
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