by Leng Thy, CHAD staff
Enjoying a healthy life, where family members live in harmony, parents enjoy bountiful harvest from their farms, children have three meals a day with nutritious food, and families willingly help their neighbors, is one of the things the CHAD program wishes to see in the villages where the Methodist churches are situated. Such an ideal picture of a healthy family can now be seen in the life of one of the members of the irrigation crop production group in a village called Phum Phnao in the Svay Rieng district.
In a wooden nice house with a clean, fairly large backyard, located approximately 500 meters behind the church, lives a four-member family: husband, wife and two children. The sizeable yard provides enough space for the family to grow fruit trees, cultivate a vegetable garden, manage fish in a pond, and raise its own animals (such as cows, pigs, ducks and chickens), thus enabling this industrious family to survive easily. It is no surprise that most of the people in their village recognize them as model farmers.
Mrs. Sam Ang, 51-years-old and the farm’s owner, reported that she and her 59-year-old husband, Mr. Em Sakhorn, have six children, of which four have already married. There are only two children remaining in her care. In retrospect, Sam Ang sadly recalls her family story. She said that before she came to know and believe in Christ she was so poor. She worked so hard that she had little time to be with her children, to give them proper care, except at nighttime when they were already asleep. During the daytime, Mrs. Sam Ang had to walk the whole day long selling noodles, in order to earn money to support her family. Since her children were very much part of running this small family business, it came to a point that all her children stopped going to school. She also tearfully told about living in a dilapidated house that was ready to collapse. She felt feel isolated and hopeless. Nobody in the village gave her any support or comforted her when she was in trouble with sickness or with no food to eat.
In 1998, she and all her family members accepted God, and since then their living conditions have improved gradually. She firmly and faithfully states that God supplies her everything she needs, like the ability to send her children to school and the resources to rebuild her house, which she accomplished in 2004. In church she has many beloved friends and is not lonely, as she was before. She was included in an irrigation crop production group, in which she was given the priority to receive the pump machine first. Having a pump machine provides her family an opportunity to cultivate a vegetable garden, from which she earns enough to support their daily needs. The garden also provides some extra resources to help her needy neighbors who come for help.
Full of compassion and kindness, she visits her neighbors and other sick people. She divides her life among her family, church, and work. She also finds time for self development, through attending training and workshops sponsored by NGOs or the government. Attending these trainings, she gaines experience that is helpful in making her farm very successful. Not wanting to keep the blessing just for themselves, Mrs. Sam Ang and her husband are eager in sharing their knowledge when meeting people at her church. She also said that because of God her life is really full of joy, since He takes care of her farm. That’s why it becomes so fruitful, enabling her family to have three meals a day, good clothes, and a nice house. She says, “I am now satisfied with everything God provides for my family; praise God for helping me.”