You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
Ung Sophal established eight house churches in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and the surrounding provinces. He and his wife lost their third and youngest child during the Pol Pot genocide. After many close calls, he was separated from his wife and children and sent to work in the fields. During these very difficult times, he still was able to lead sixty-five people to Jesus and even water baptize them. God miraculously spared his life on numerous occasions.
When the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia in 1979, Ung Sophal was able to return to Phnom Penh. It was now a ghost town. With a handful of other Christians, he started a house church, which grew from five members to six hundred in eight months.
That Christmas he invited some Christians to his home for a fellowship - including some Christian westerners working for aid organizations. Two weeks later he was arrested for this “illegal” activity and accused of holding a political meeting with CIA participation.
He was interrogated for days and beaten severely. When the interrogation proved profitless, he was left in prison for five months chained hand and foot. He lost seventy-five pounds and was very sick but he heard the Lord instruct him to fast and be silent for three days.
The authorities became alarmed at the end of his fast and took him to the hospital thinking he was dying. There he constantly heard the sounds of other people being tortured with electricity and being beaten and kicked. “Even without the beatings it was very hard,” he said, “I had a taste of hell, but God protected me.”
Ung Sophal was successfully treated by a Cuban doctor who was also a Christian (God has his people everywhere). One night when the electricity went out because of a tropical storm, the doctor helped Ung escape. Later he fled with his wife and children to Thailand and spent ten years ministering to other Cambodian exiles - the last five years as a widower.
In 1990, as restrictions against Christianity began to be eased in Cambodia, Ung made his first visit back to his homeland to encourage and teach the church. Word of his return spread quickly and three hundred people came to see him. He is eager for the task ahead. “I want to build my people,” he said. “God has a great work yet to do in Cambodia.”
RESPONSE: Today I will stand strong in Jesus’ strength no matter what Satan throws at me or against me.
PRAYER: Lord, thank You for encouraging testimonies of faithful people like Ung Sophal. Continue to grow Your Church in Cambodia, I pray.