“There has been no rain since the end of October last year. There is no water for our rice paddies. The ponds dried up and the lakes are mere puddles. We asked Buddha for rain and even sought help from [our guardian angel] Tevada.”
This came from a desperate villager in Cambodia, a small country the size of Michigan nestled among Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam in Southeast Asia.
Drought grips Cambodia. Nearly 50,000 acres of rice fields in 13 of Cambodia’s 25 provinces are not producing rice. Fish, wildlife, and work animals are dying in this agricultural society where 85% of the 16 million people earn their livelihood from farming. Low crop yields, incomes slashed, jobs eliminated, wildfires ignited, hydroelectric plants restricting power, and the soil is becoming a cracked, parched mass of geometric shapes.
People travel great distances looking for water, pay huge sums of money for any kind of irrigation, or purchase water brought in from afar. To stay alive some families migrate to Thailand. The physical and psychological effects on humans are life threatening.
Tapping the life-source
Water is the most common substance found on earth. It makes up almost two-thirds of the human body, and seventy percent of the brain. Water maintains all life. Sanitation and clean drinking water are critical to health. Dehydration leads to malnutrition, anemia, hunger, sickness, and death. Stress and depression take up residence in the mind, reducing social interaction and limiting community networks.
Sokhon Khan, who leads ANM’s local partner in Cambodia, is showing God’s love by digging deep wells in villages that don’t know Jesus as savior. Sokhon tells us, “The wells we have drilled are really helpful to the villagers. Just one well can give water for 30–40 families. The wells have also given us favor with the Cambodian Buddhist government that is being inundated by requests for wells.”
Sokhon’s ministry, Evangelical Mission Association, has built 60 wells in various villages, 36 just last year. ANM donors fully funded four. After a well is dug, church planters begin to share the gospel in the village.
Sokhon says, “The most important result of these wells is people have come to know Jesus Christ and God’s love for them!… Once their physical thirst was quenched they asked, ‘Why did you care enough to help us?’ Cambodia has been known as ‘the Killing Fields,’ but my goal is to make it the harvest fields for the kingdom of God.”
Through Sokhon and his ministry, the Living Water has flowed into six of the 31 ethnic groups in Cambodia that until recently did not have native churches.
“With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.” Isaiah 12:3