American Christians from Florida witness evidence of God's grace in nothingness of Cambodian ethics (read nirvana - the renunciation of materialism)
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 07:04:58 -0800
Floridian witnesses evidence of God's grace after Khmer Rouge genocide
By CAROLYN NICHOLS
Published November 15, 2007
CAMBODIA (FBW)-Bill Bunkley, along with other Christian radio
broadcasters, recently observed first hand the healing power of Christ
in genocide-ravaged Cambodia. He walked over gruesome evidence of
murder in the Khmer Rouge killing fields, yet also heard inspiring
stories of new life and forgiveness from both the oppressed and the
In encounters with Cambodian Christians, Bunkley was awed by God's
grace-"amazing grace, indeed"-now evident in their lives.
"They are excited about what [Christ] is doing in their midst. They
attribute Him and Him alone as the only one who could heal their
wounds," Bunkley told Florida Baptist Witness. "And they are eager for
their brothers and sisters in Cambodia to come to know Him as well."
Florida Baptists' legislative consultant met up with some of his
traveling companions, most associated with Salem radio stations, in
San Francisco Sept. 5 for the ten-day excursion. Bunkley is host of
"Drive Time With Bill Bunkley" on WTBN Am570 and 910 in Tampa. The
broadcasters hope to raise funds in the U.S. for Bibles in the
Southeast Asian nation through the Bible League based in Chicago.
One of the Americans' flights climbed above a "massive typhoon" moving
into Japan. The weather made for a "very turbulent" six-hour flight,
Bunkley said. The group safely reached Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and found
the city of two million to be "a case of contradictions." Looking past
the bustling streets filled with young people on mopeds, observers saw
the "cavernous shells" of buildings destroyed during the decade-long
rule of Pol Pot.
In 1975 Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge forced the entire population of
the city - an estimated 1.7 to 2.3 million - from their homes and into
agrarian labor camps outside the city. Only a few survived the
genocide that followed. As a result, few residents of Phnom Penh are
over 35. The loss of an entire generation created "a setting that's
very surreal to experience," Bunkley said.
He visited a former French colonial school building that had been a
torture chamber. The jailers photographed each person incarcerated
there, and the photos now pay silent homage to those who lost their
lives at the site.
"The pictures of the young women holding their small children were the
most disturbing to me, knowing their ultimate fate" Bunkley said. "You
could feel the heaviness of the evil that was perpetrated there."
He walked through the killing fields where men, women and children
were killed or died under harsh working conditions in the camps. Even
now, clothing, bones and teeth are exposed after each rain. Bunkley
described his experience: "As I walked through the field and trained
my eyes on these protruding testaments of discarded life, I was
greatly moved. Each one represented a person...a precious soul in the
sight of the Lord. What was their name? What was their age? Were they
married? Were they a father, a mother or a child? I couldn't help
asking myself these questions with each image I saw. Facing the
horrific evil man is capable of is overwhelming."
Every survivor had stories to tell of loved ones and entire family
heritages lost to the Khmer Rouge. Christians among the survivors were
eager to tell stories of grace among the horrors.
Bunkley told the story of a woman who barely escaped from the camp. At
the end of a long day of labor, she was lined up with others at the
edge of a large hole. One by one, the women were being killed with
farming tools and falling into a mass grave. When she stepped to the
edge, the killers, for unknown reasons, sent her back to camp. She was
shot in the leg during her eventual escape, and displayed her scars to
the American broadcasters. Now a believer, she gladly tells of the
forgiveness she offers to those who abused her.
A former Khmer Rouge officer told the Americans of some of the
atrocities he had committed as part of Pol Pot's army. One of the
labor camp residents, at the risk of death, told this officer about
Jesus. The former Khmer Rouge officer is now a pastor in Phnom Penh.
The brave witness who had introduced him to Christ is one of the
regional directors of the Bible League, one of the Americans' hosts.
Their story is "a living testimony of forgiveness and restoration,"
Bunkley said. "I thought of the lion and the lamb one day lying down
Because of such witnesses, 3,000 Cambodians profess Christ monthly in
the mostly Buddhist nation. Although few of these new believers have
Bibles, they are discipled in small home churches. Some Christians,
like thousands of other Cambodians, are hired on three-year contracts
to work in foreign countries as cheap labor, so the believers are
trained to be missionaries wherever they work. They sometimes work in
areas that are closed to American missionaries. Getting Bibles to
these faithful lay missionaries is critical, Bunkley said.
Cambodian Christians in the recovering nation have much to teach us,
he said. He was moved in "seeing people with very little materially
[who are] so filled with the joy of the Lord. We are so handicapped
with all of our possessions."
For more information on sending Bibles to Cambodia/Southeast Asia,
call the Bible League at 1-800-yes-word (937-9673).