“I cried every day when I saw my siblings go to school and I had to work at the garment factory.”
A young Cambodian woman named Sophy remembers her own childhood as she now teaches her classroom full of at-risk children. As a child, she loved studying, but her family’s financial difficulties forced her to quit school and work to support them. In 7th grade, she lied about her age and took the identification card of an older girl so that she could enter a garment factory at age 13. At first she hated it, but she found respect among her peers because she was one of the few girls who knew how to read. Every day after the factory workers ate lunch, they would ask Sophy to read storybooks out loud to them. After working for nearly five years, she was in a very bad living situation and that’s when ACTION missionaries Daren and Jodi Beck met her through Shalom Mission Cambodia.
Jodi writes, “Sophy quit her job at the factory, moved in with us, and began to train as a house cleaner. Around the same time, her sister, who also lived with us, became a Christian and invited Sophy to go to church. God’s grace was at work. Sophy found herself compelled to rip off her Buddhist bracelet during one sermon, deciding that she wanted a new life in Jesus.
“Being a school teacher has always been a dream of Sophy’s. We encouraged her to go back to school to get her high school diploma. The summer she graduated, she was invited to join Asian Hope’s Teacher Training Program in 2012. That year, she trained with me in my 4th grade classroom. She recently finished her second school year as a Khmer language and math teacher at Logos International School and as an afternoon teacher at a remedial program in our neighborhood for Cambodian students. She has found great joy in introducing kids to Jesus as she teaches them to read for the first time!
“We feel so privileged to be a part of Sophy’s life as God’s grace is working mightily through her. Please pray for Sophy as she shares the love of Jesus with her students and strives to live a life worthy of the Lord in this country that is so dark. Praise God for Cambodian Christians, just like Sophy, whose greatest desire is to reach their own people with the Gospel!”