“Pray for Cambodia,” the Plea of a Martyr

In my review of By Their Blood, I confessed my short attention span for reading the book cover to cover. I have found it helpful, though, to use as a reference book, re-reading and re-reading again sections from the countries most relevant to me.

I wanted to share with you a short portion (no gory details) that strengthened my resolve as I read the chapter about Cambodia. Since the authors’ rights prevent me from reproducing parts of their work for this purpose, I’m going to relate the story in my own words as I remember it.


A year after the beginning of a mass genocide in Cambodia, a wife received a letter from her husband. She was studying overseas, safely removed from the unspeakable terrors taking place in Cambodia. Her husband, on the other hand, may have already been dead for months by the time his letter reached her.

The husband wrote about how he and other Cambodian church leaders, upon learning that their death was fast approaching and not avoidable, read John 13 together. Then they washed each others’ feet and, knowing they were about to be executed, quietly discussed the future. Finally, in his letter to his wife, this man urged his wife to tell Christians around the world not to forget to pray for Cambodia.

The genocide that ended that husband’s life has been over for almost forty years as I blog this. It left the country in ruins, but Cambodia has since recovered. Though not a developed country, it’s developing fast and is a far cry from the war-torn country it used to be.

That said, some things haven’t changed. The lost still need Jesus. Shattered lives still need hope. Embittered individuals still need forgiveness. Now-centered minds still need to be opened to the concept of eternity.

Cambodia still needs prayer.

On this blog, I appeal mostly to an audience of readers. I regularly write book reviews and share thoughts sparked by what I’ve been reading. I tease you with quotes from my manuscripts and I talk about Louise.

Today I want to do something a little different. I want us to step away from the world of reading to consider – and pray for – two things:

  • The world of lost souls in general
  • The lost souls of Cambodia specifically

I’m not condemning reading, and Lord willing I will continue to post lots of book-related content here. But I do want to suggest that maybe, just as the now-centered minds of Cambodians need to be opened to the concept of eternity, so our now-centered minds need the same.

Before I end this post, I want to ask you to pray for a third thing:

  • The lost soul of my friend Chivv Leang

She’s received a Bible in the Khmer (Cambodian) language. She’s said there’s something about it that draws her to want to read it. But last time I saw her, she hadn’t made a personal commitment to Jesus as her Lord and Savior. So I’m sharing this part of my life with you and asking you to pray for her as I seek to engage her about this.

Let’s talk

  • What specific challenges do readers face in living in the light of eternity?
  • Have you heard of the 1975-1979 genocide in Cambodia (honestly, I didn’t even know Cambodia existed until a year or so before we moved here!)
  • Who in your life is lost whom I can pray for?

5 thoughts on ““Pray for Cambodia,” the Plea of a Martyr

  1. What specific challenges do readers face in living in the light of eternity?
    I think perhaps the biggest challenge is realizing that reading takes up precious time–time that could be spent on other, more fulfilling things. That’s not to say reading always takes us away from the light of eternity (for example, yesterday I read a book that inspired me to do better things in my life), but sometimes it does. It’s really hard for readers–and for anyone–to be able to look at the big picture and realize how their actions affect what happens later!

    Have you heard of the 1975-1979 genocide in Cambodia (honestly, I didn’t even know Cambodia existed until a year or so before we moved here!)
    I read about it briefly in a book we read in school…but, honestly, I’m not really sure what caused it or even what really happened as part of it. If you know more about it, I’d love to hear it. 🙂

    Who in your life is lost whom I can pray for?
    I suppose my friend who is struggling to do what he knows is right. He isn’t doing anything bad, he just needs the courage and the motivation to do this good thing (to go on a mission) when it is expensive, frightening, and he feels inadequate.

    Thank you for praying, Jordy! I will pray for your friend Chivv and for you as well. Knowing how to speak to someone about the gospel of Christ is a difficult thing, so I will pray for you to have courage and wisdom as you do so.


    1. I totally agree, Lana. It *is* a challenge for book enthusiasts to recognize that reading uses up (lot’s of) time and that time is precious. You know why I think time is precious? Because I believe that one day we’re going to have to give an account of how we’ve used it. NOT that our salvation is going to be based on our use of time; those of us who are in Christ on that day will have His atoning blood to cover over any sins related to the misuse of time. But wouldn’t it be much more desirable to be able to stand before God having been a good steward of our time?

      Are you asking for a short history lesson?? Forgive me if this becomes a monologue or a bore. Basically, the dictator, Pol Pot, came into power, killed people who were rich, educated or involved with foreign influences, and forced people out of the cities into camps in the countryside. There, they were put to work for incredibly long hours (I think up to 20 hours a day) in the rice fields or doing other jobs. I believe some even slept in the field which – if you know how rice is grown – are a few feet deep in water. Men women and children were separated. They were given very little food, and it was a crime punishable by death to eat critters like bugs or snakes that they found while working in the fields. Torture was also very common. In Cambodia today, there are mass graces that people can visit and learn about it. The photo I used in this post is one that I took and shows real skulls at one of those mass grave sights. There’s a little something to sober up your day. :/

      Back to the present, assuming your friend knows it’s right for him to go on that particular mission trip, then he’s already won part of the battle. Let’s pray and see how the Lord works in his life through this situation.


      1. Sorry I didn’t respond to this for so long!

        And certainly, I agree! The more time we spend wisely, the more we can serve God and His children. 🙂

        Oh, that is sad. Thank you for the lesson, though. Now I know a little more about it!

        Thank you for your encouragement!


  2. Thanks for sharing boldly what God has laid on your heart, even if it is a little different to other things you post about! I’ll keep your friend, and the people of Cambodia and unreached world, in my prayers. xx


    1. Hi Jess! I just realized I never replied to your message! Thank you for your prayers, dear friend. I remember your blog post in which you shared about your prayer life and what you had been learning at the time. I trust that when you say you’ll pray, you will, which is something I can’t say I feel about just anyone.


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