“Kham” and his wife, “Vanida,” picked us up from our hotel in the morning. Bo and I wanted to see their ministry’s agricultural training center, under construction since early this year. At this training center, which is near completion, people will learn farming and other vocational skills together with biblical lessons.
It was September, and the heavy monsoon rains had soaked this Southeast Asian region for many days before our journey. A number of villages were flooded, and parts of low-lying roads sat under several feet of water.
We rode in a car along muddy roads marked by huge potholes filled with murky water. Then we came to a place where the road was covered by water. We boarded a makeshift contraption—two small wooden boats tied together and covered with wooden planks nailed on top. Two wooden benches sat on each side, and a small portable engine propelled it.
On the other side, a church member met us in an old truck with an open bed and took us to the center.
Wait and faith go together
The whole journey took twice as long as the last time we visited, eight months before, when we rode in a 20-year-old truck that easily negotiated the road’s obstacles.
“Where’s your usual rugged vehicle?” I asked Kham.
Smiling, he replied that he had given it to his younger co-worker, Tuy.
“Tuy leads the ministry’s missionary team to the tribal people,” he said. “He supervises 30 churches in one area and 70 churches in other provinces. One day he came to me and said that he needed a rugged vehicle to visit the work in far-flung villages and in the mountains. He had set aside $3,000 for it. I told him there are many used vehicles out there and to go look for one. But his money was not enough to buy a vehicle.”
Prices were especially high for the kind of heavy-duty vehicle he would need. Tuy returned to Kham disappointed after a fruitless search.
He asked Kham if he might consider giving up his own vehicle. Kham hesitated, so Tuy talked to Kham’s wife, Vanida.
“I need a vehicle to go and do the Lord’s work in the villages and mountains,” Tuy told her. “I cannot use my motorbike, as I need to have a team come with me when I visit the churches.” Hearing this, Vanida immediately told Tuy, “Since you’re going to use the car for the work of the kingdom, you can have it. The vehicle belongs to the Lord. Take it.”
Excited, Tuy told Kham about his conversation with Vanida. Kham, incredulous, exclaimed, “No—she didn’t say that!”
When he asked his wife why she had agreed to give the vehicle away, she replied, “I’ve heard you say that that vehicle belongs to the Lord. Tuy is a servant of the Lord, and he is doing the work of the kingdom. So he can have the vehicle.”
“What about us?” he said. “What now?”
She answered confidently, “The word ‘wait’ goes with the word ‘faith.’ The Lord will give us a better vehicle in his time!”
When Bo and I returned to the U.S., Bo lost no time in sharing the need with believers in the States. The kind of vehicle needed, even a used one, could easily cost $40–50,000 in Kham and Vanida’s country. They had already set aside their family savings—$12,000—for the purchase. Their selflessness inspired action among the people we spoke to after our trip.
A widow’s prompt and gracious offer to match the amount set the ball rolling here. She wrote to us, “I am not able to give everything that they need right now, but I would like to match their savings and give $12,000 toward the purchase of a vehicle. I will pray for more donors.”
A generous couple pledged to help. A small church in Clarksville, Ohio, gave, as well as a husband and wife who are active members of the church. The bulk of the remaining amount came from an informal house meeting of 13 members of a church in Toledo, Ohio. Bo spoke there and shared about Kham and Vanida’s fruitfulness and need.
One husband approached Bo and quietly shared, “My wife and I have had this money for the past two weeks, and we want to give it towards something of value to God’s kingdom work.” Another person in the group whispered to Bo that he would send a gift for the vehicle need. And when our host, who had spontaneously organized the meeting, found out the remaining balance required to completely cover the need, he wrote a check for the exact amount.
As ANM sent the funds, Bo wrote to share the wonderful news with Kham and Vanida. Kham’s response says it all: “Our God is so good, [even to] people [who are nobodies] like us. It is beyond our description and imagination.” Vanida, he wrote, was speechless and couldn’t stop crying.
Kham and Vanida, unmindful of their own need, parted with their own vehicle for the benefit of others. By faith, they prayed and waited on God. And God, in his perfect time and in his amazing way, answered their prayer: Christians here in the United States, looking for a way to invest their resources in God’s work around the world, equipped this faithful couple and their co-workers to make an eternal difference in this region where so few have even heard the name of Jesus.
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Names and places were altered to protect these precious believers and those they work with. 2017 photo by Dinis Bazgutdinov on Unsplash.