There have been too many dramatic incidents happening around here during the months of May and June that we hardly know where to begin… Lately, a number of our youth and church people were involved in various traffic accidents. Though traffic accidents are unavoidable and are happening everywhere, the issues have become an area of concern and the source of frustration when the “laws of justice” seemed to favor strongly with those who are rich and those with connections… As for the medical system, it seemed that intravenous fluid (IV) treatment is the # 1 cure for all sicknesses! And a local saying still rings true to many of the poor families for medical practices that, “No money, no mercy”… During a time of great challenges, we often wonder about the facts, why do the wicked seemed to always getting away with things, while the righteous are suffering, being mistreated, overlooked, and oppressed?
Many of you have been following about and praying for the horrible situations that have been happening, on June 1, 2013, to Lena and her daughters, members of the Malay house church, where Lena and two daughters were axed, numerous times, on their heads, by Lena’s own husband! (Read detailed information below). By the grace of God, their lives were miraculously spared! Though the physical wounds are slowly healing, leaving permanent scars on their bodies as reminders of that unforgettable and most dreadful night, the deeper wounds (the emotional and the spiritual wounds), however, are still raw and continue to bring about haunting nightmares… Of course nothing like this escapes God’s knowing. And our God always has a habit of bringing something beautiful out of ashes. At this point we don’t really know what HIS plans are for Lena and her daughters, but something beautiful did come out of this tragic event…
When the news about Lena reached the believers all over Cambodia, Christian people began to shout their prayers to God, to the Great Physician of all, and He heard their cries of prayers! As the results, even in the midst of injustice and the whole system of corruption, God’s mercies still rule. He sent us help! Through the kindness of godly and concerned people (both the Christians and the not-yet Christians), men and women, from Malay, Poipet, and Sisophon areas, voluntarily took turns to spend a few hours, a day, or a night, at the hospital beds, to help care for Lena and the girls’ basic needs. The Christian people took collections and prayed continuously for her. And those who stayed with Lena read portions of the Bible out loud to her! Lena and her daughters’ tragic stories were broadcasted, numerous times, in the Cambodian National radio and television stations! And because of this broadcast, many people flooded into the hospital settings, just to see the victims and hoped to hear their stories. And this was where these Khmer people got to see Christ’s love in actions through the responsiveness His children! Even the hospital staff were amazed that there were so many visitors for just three patients! Even not-yet Christians who came to visit were amazed and awed at how such loving kindness and concern the Christian people were showing to Lena’s situation! Even Lena’s own brother, Saat, a not-yet believer, has just admitted, to Soeuth, that he will consider his decision of faith…
Our family enjoyed having Justin home for the summer break, (June 6- August 15). With Lena’s situations along with many other unavoidable interruptions, we are a bit delayed with home school. But we hope to have Jonathan finished school by June 20th, so he could enjoy a summer break with his big brother… Syna is grateful for a wonderful opportunity to attend a Leadership Matter Course (LMC) in Phnom Penh, April 21-May 4. While Syna was away, Soeuth took over the household affairs including home school and the ministries in Poipet. It was an interesting two -week experience for the Lao family!
On May 16-25, we’d enjoy a visiting team led by our dear friend, Jim Newman, from Washington Alliance Church (WAC), Western PA. The team brought us some wonderful goodies including 3 quizzing machines for the KEC youth ministry and Jonathan’s home school books for the coming year! The Living Water is blessed to have a new basketball court and ceiling fans for all the rooms downstairs! Thank you WAC team!
June 8-9, the Division 1 Living Water Soccer team, had a finals match where our team came in second place. We are proud of our players. Justin was excited to be part of the team during his final competition, using his goalie skills.
As you remember to continue praying for Lena, please pray also for the events below…
-June 18, Poipet’s children Sunday school teachers’ retreat in Siem Reap
-June 21-22, Regional Women seminar, Siem Reap Province.
-June 29, Poipet monthly youth gathering meet at Living Water Church.
-July 9-15, C&MA missionary annual Field Forum meeting at Sihanoukville Province.
-July 20, Quarterly Regional youth gathering for the northwest region at Svey Sisophon.
-August 12-14, National KEC Youth Conference at Thmar Koul Center, about 600 youth will attend
Thank you so much for your continual partnership through your faithful prayers and financial support to the GCF. Your giving to the GCF enables us to serve God, among the poor and oppressed, shining the light of Jesus to the lost, in this dark part of the world. Please share with us what God is doing in your lives. We would love to be your prayer supporters as well.
Because He Lives,
Soeuth and Syna Lao
Please pray for Lena and her two daughters (13 and 17) from Malay village! At 1 am in June 1, Lena and her girls were sound asleep when her husband attempted to murder her with numerous devices. First he electric socked on her chest where she got severe burn at the sites, next he choked and tried to cut off her tongue with scissors but without success! Then he took an ax and chopped her on the head numerous times! When the girls finally awoke from the next room and when they attempted to help their mom, he then took turns on them. The girls got numerous cut on their heads as well. Finally he took off! The neighbors heard the commotion and called the police. That was when they discovered that the husband, being the only ambulance driver from that district, he took off with the ambulance! So when the police were site, they could not do anything nor could they get the patients to the local referral hospital there. After many attempted phone calls, we were able get another ambulance from Poipet to get them to the provincial hospital in Mokoul Borey, about 6 hours after the incident took place. All three victims are in critical conditions at a provincial hospital right now. But because they had no close relatives and no financial status, we were not even allowed a hospital bed! When we saw them yesterday on June 2nd, all three were lying on filthy mats on tile floor! We are trying our best to work with the local medial system, whose medical practices are SO BACKWARD! Very frustrating! We spent about 6 hours at the hospital yesterday, working hard not to lose our tempers as we'd tried to get someone to check on the patients... Thanks to the kindness of neighbors and friends, church people are taking turns to stay with the patients and help with their needs, until we are able to contact distant family members... Please pray.
After numerous attempts and many phone calls, we finally got Lena and her two daughters out of the provincial hospital, today at around 3 pm, and the patients transferred to and were being seen by doctors at the NGO trauma hospital called Emergency Hospital in Battambang Province. (The Monkoul Borey Provincial Hospital made us paid $300.00 even there was hardly any nursing care done on the patients!) BUT the minutes after we'd loaded the patients into our pick-up truck (Lena and her younger daughter inside the truck), heavy rains began to pour down nonstop! Soeuth had to drive very slowly as one patient (an older daughter) and a relative were sitting, outside, under the cover of a heavy plastic tarp/ sheet, on back of the truck! With heavy rains, the trip to the Emergency Hospital took more than 2 hours. But the patients were all doing okay! The staff at the Emergency were kinder and helpful, compare to those at the provincial hospital staff! All three patients were immediately rushed into the treatment rooms! Because it is a full house with all kinds of trauma patients at the Emergency Hospital, they could only have one bed available for Lena. Lena had lost a lot of blood and she has bleeding from her nose and her left eye. The other two patients, however, the daughters, will be treated as our patients. We rented a room at the nearby guest house for the sisters and their uncle (Lena's younger brother)... What I forgot to tell you is that Lena also has another daughter named Paula. She is 4 years old, and this little girl was in the same room when it all happened! She saw everything that her father had done to her mother and two older sisters! Though she was not physically harmed, we are very concerned about her emotional being... Thanks for pray for Lena's family. We'll keep you posted if anything changes.
After we left Lena and her girls under the care of the medical staffs at the Emergency Hospital on June 4, we went to BKK to pick up Justin who has just returned home (June 6) for the summer break... This afternoon, Saturday June 8, we visited Lena at the hospital again. Lena was alert and looked much stronger today! They shaved off her head. She had 4 large deep wounds where her husband had axed her, but the wounds are now covered nicely with stitches. The guy had pounded on her left eye with the head of an ax where it is now totally damaged. The doctors had to remove her left eye ball because it was showing sign of infection, and they said that if delayed, it may cause more damage to the remaining eye. The left eye still has some swelling and some oozing blood drainage from the incision sites. The doctors suggested that when the husband attempted to choke Lena multiple times, he may had caused some damages to her voice box. And the cut on her tongue is healing beautifully as well. Though Lena was able to tell us, in great details about everything that had happened to her on that horrible night,
she talked with much effort and with a very hoarse voice! She still has a swelling on her throat. The doctors told her that Lena may need to undergo another surgery, hopefully, to repair her voice box. Lena still has some oozing sores on her chest, those burn marks that she got when the husband tried to kill her through electric shocked, twice! Despite of what she had gone through, the first words that came out of her lips when she greeted us was that, "I am going to live". We told Lena that many Christian families have been praying for her. And she was very grateful and said, "Thank You” About her girls: the oldest one, named Daa Naet, had seven stitches on her left cheek, and the swelling is going down tremendously! She is not considered as a patient at Emergency, but she is there as a family member caring for Lena. Because of his work in Phnom Penh, Lena's brother had to go back home this morning. We suggested that he takes 4 year-old Paula to live with his family for a while; since Paula, being a curious child, was always wondering around the hospital, always causing more panics and frights to Lena whenever Paula had disappeared to some places. The middle girl, Srey Nit, (who also had two nasty cuts on her head, where the wounds are now covering nicely with clean stitches), is being sent to live with another relative, in Phnom Penh, for a while, until Lena is strong enough to care for herself again. As for legal perspectives and justice, we have very little hope that any justice will be done for Lena and her children. The guy is still missing. We pray that God will deliver His justice on their behalf. Thank you for praying for Lena and the family...