From Geoffrey and Jessica; SURVIVING LIFE

Jessica and I were fortunate enough to be able to sit down the other
day with the founder of this organization, Keat, and hear his story.
As words poured out of his mouth it was as if his memories, struggles,
past hurts and pains beat against my innermost being. I still sit in
disbelief of the haunting past that this man who was sitting before
me, this joyful and exultant man, had endured.

The story of Pastor Keat and his wife Sally finds its beginnings here
in Cambodia. Keat’s family fled to Cambodia from China to escape the
despotism of the communist rule. In a country where polygamy is
booming, it wasn’t at all strange that Keat’s father found a second
wife here. Being the “first wife,” Keat’s mother was forgotten about
and she and Keat were forced to fend for themselves. Hard work and
discipline weren’t things his mother tried to teach him, they were
essential for surviving and soon a hard work ethic defined this young
boy. The constant uphill battles that Keat and his mother faced
prepared him for the deadly Khmer Rouge reign that would soon rob Keat
of his freedom.

As he described the incomprehensible atrocities that occurred during
the Khmer Rouge rule I found it extremely difficult to wrap my mind
around it all. At age seventeen he found himself a prisoner in a
concentration camp. For four years he was starved and overworked.
Virtually every inmate developed head and body lice due to not being
able to bath for four years. He was forced to use dirt and charcoal
to brush his teeth because for four years he had no toothbrush. The
feet of the prisoners grew calloused and hard from the ceaseless work
and from the constant moving throughout the rough terrain without
shoes. Anyone who was educated was instantly killed. If you could
read you were dead. If you wore glasses you were an intellectual so
you were killed. If you spoke any foreign languages you were
murdered. Keat, being an intelligent man, had to spend the four years
pretending to be uneducated, he said the only reason he survived was
because he never said a word and always did what he was told. He
worked each day, whether he was sick or not, if you didn’t work you
didn’t eat. There were no days of the week, there were no hours, time
had ceased to exist because you simply did what you were told when you
were told to do it.

After three years of enslavement the Khmer Rouge allowed prisoners to
marry, but under their conditions. They would line up thirty men and
thirty women and the person in front of you would be your new wife or
husband. Keat didn’t even know Sally when they were married but they
have been married for thirty-one years. Apparently the tyrants used
“marriage” as a power trip and a tool more than actually letting the
men and women enjoy being married. As soon as he was married the
tormenters forced Keat to work at a different camp, hoping he would
refuse so they would an excuse to kill him.

As the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge military began to
weaken and this allowed for Keat and his wife to flee to Thailand for
freedom and hopefully the opportunity to start over again. However,
they found themselves in a refugee camp set up by the Red Cross. It
was at this camp that Keat heard the gospel for the first time and he
and his wife dedicated their lives to Christ. Before long a relative
in Los Angeles sponsored them to come to America. Within three weeks
of arriving in the U.S. an opportunity opened up for Keat and Sally to
move to Hawaii.

Keat began work in construction and Sally began to work cleaning in a
hotel. Because of the work ethic that was instilled in them, the two
of them were able to work more hours than anyone else and within two
years they purchased and built their own home. This same work
mentality enabled Keat to begin his own business after seven years.
Within eleven years of arriving in America Keat and Sally were able to
sell their business and retire. They moved back here to Cambodia and
established this ministry and have been serving the “least of these”
ever since. Because of these two, hundreds of children and young
adults are receiving an education and coming to know God. Lives are
being transformed because of their generosity and the overwhelming
amount of compassion they have towards the unfortunate.

Their story reminds me of when Jesus walks on water. When people
think about Jesus walking on water they list it up there as one of his
many miracles, just like feeding the thousands, turning water into
wine and bringing the dead to life. It is a miracle, don’t get me
wrong, but Jesus didn’t do it to display his power and might, if so he
would have done it in view of the multitudes, instead he did it in
front of only twelve men to show his heart.

The disciples were in the middle of a large body of water and in the
midst of a horrible storm. Waves were beating against the side of
their boat and with the shoreline miles away their future was bleak.
They had been fighting against these waves for the entire night and it
was now early morning and they were exhausted, wet, and nowhere near
to being anywhere closer to safety. It was then, in their darkest
hour when Christ came out to them. He came to them in the middle of
this ocean, during the worst storm they had ever faced, when it was
completely dark, and when they thought there was no hope. It shows
you that God will come to you when you are in your darkest hour. When
Peter walked on water to Christ it wasn’t because he wanted to walk on
water, it was because it was then that he realized that safety could
only be found with Christ so he wanted to draw near to God. It amazes
me that God came all that way for the disciples and did the same thing
for Keat and Sally. They were in the same situation as the disciples,
hopeless, in the middle of an emotional storm, and it was there in a
cramped Red Cross relief center where destitution ran rampant that
Christ walked on water out to them in the form of a street

I think that God walks on water for us because he sees the end result.
He sees the men and women that we are going to become, rather than
where we are in life. I bet no one looked at Keat and Sally when they
had nothing to their name and thought that they would accomplish what
they have, but God knew. I know I wasn’t anything special before I
was a Christian, people didn’t look at me and think I was going to do
anything great, but God saw the end result and walked on water for me
in my darkest hour. Now I have traveled the world, shared in front of
thousands and I am proud of who I am and know that I am going to
continue to mature and grow. When God looks at us all He sees is
potential, he isn’t blinded by how we appear or by whatever troubles
we have, all He sees is potential.

Be blessed,


Ply Bomb (this is what it sounds like) – banana

– Packs of toilet paper come with a spoon and fork… I have no idea why though
– the dogs in the house eat the leftovers from the meals. They always
get meat and bones so they hate rice. Jessica and I always try to get
them to eat the rice but they never do. Jessica just mixed up the
rice with the meat and the dogs were smart enough to eat and the rice.

– Today I was teaching the three year olds. I was having them come up
to the board and write some of the letters of the alphabet. One
little boy started jumping up and down when I picked him. He ran up
to the board, he came up to my knees and could hardly reach the board,
and instead of writing a letter he started to draw a picture… freaking
– A few days ago I got a big water bottle. I was excited about it and
used it throughout the day, it was awesome. I got ambushed two days
ago by a bunch of little kids. One of them went for a high five and
smacked my new water bottle… it hit the ground and broke. Now I use a
– Sometimes our food looks like it came from PF Changs – beautiful and
delicious. Other times it looks like cat food.
– Every night the pastors daughter plays a song on the piano over and
over again… it is a song with lyrics that say “I wanna make love right
now right now.”
– About an hour ago we found a lizard in our kitchen, caught it and ….
Watch the video to find out the rest

The little girl in the pictures is about a foot and a half tall and
ALWAYS has a HUGE smile on her face.

This entry was posted on Friday, February 5th, 2010 at 10:00 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>