The man who smoked his way through the NT one page at a time

14 06 2013

I love stories of how God is moving people around the world that they might find him! I came across this story in the training manual of Culture ConneXions, a ministry of SIM USA.

indexMany immigrants have absolutely astounding testimonies as to how they came to Christ and how God brought them through persecution, and other problems, to arrive where they are at this time in their lives.  The impact can transform people’s thinking about that people group.

There is a local pastor, Rev. Sam Om, from Cambodia.  He pastors the only Cambodian church in Charlotte and is a constant challenge to my own commitment to Christ.  Sam came to Christ in the midst of the “killing fields” of Cambodia during the oppression perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge regime.  Well over a million Cambodians died in that hideous modern day holocaust.  Sam was right in the middle of it.

Sam was among those spared from death so he could work the fields to provide for the regime.  He worked every day from early morning to late in the evening, being fed very little and allowed almost no rest during the day.  At times he thought it would be easier to just be killed and end the suffering.

His one small joy during the day came at the short break time for a small unappetizing lunch.  Sam smoked cigarettes after his meal.  The prisoners made their own cigarettes and there was always a shortage of paper suitable for such “strategic” use.

One day someone gave him a New Testament.  It had smooth, thin yet strong pages.  They were just right for making cigarettes. So Sam began “smoking his way through the New Testament” beginning in Matthew.  He used the pages sparingly so it would last longer.  Finally he decided that for interest’s sake he would read the page before he used it to make another cigarette.

The more he read, the more interested he became.  Because of the horrific circumstances all around him, he was particularly interested in Jesus’ promise of eternal life.  Without the help of other Christians, Sam put his faith in Christ and knew he had become a new creation, bound for heaven!

Through a miraculous journey and deliverance, Sam was able to get to Bangkok, Thailand and obtain a passport and visa to the U.S.  Sam, who is now a graduate of Gordon Conwell Seminary here in Charlotte, not only continues to lead and pastor his church but takes trips with some of his church leaders on frequent trips back to Cambodia to train Cambodian pastors for their ministry there.  I love to hear Sam share his testimony and especially when he is sharing it with a European American audience.  They are on the edge of their chairs!




2 responses

28 07 2016
Robert Rasmussen

Thanks very much for making the effort to write me! I appreciate it. Thanks too for the affirmation!

26 07 2016

Thank you for your articles. They always encourage me. I am a fan of reading but I don’t always connect with the writer’s style or flow. I connect with the style and topics of your articles. I pray you stay encouraged and that you know that your writings have a greater effect than you will ever know.

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