CAMBODIA (BP) — Chamroeun Siet’s* road to full dependence on Jesus was a gradual one, and it wasn’t without painful bumps — electrocution, skin grafts and alcoholism recovery — but it’s a story of God’s physical and spiritual healing.
Before committing his life to Christ and partnering with IMB workers in Southeast Asia, Siet was an alcoholic, spending all of his family’s money on alcohol. One night, after throwing plates across the room and breaking things around his house in a drunken rage, he saw his mother crying in the corner and realized he needed help.
He remembered the words a friend had shared about a man named Jesus. He’d lost contact with the friend and three years had passed.
Siet said he felt his life was worthless.
“I’m going to give it a try. I’ll start praying to Jesus,” he decided.
He reached out to his friend, who gave him a Bible and contact information for a man who lived relatively nearby.
The proximity was definitely relative — Siet biked for hours in search of a man in a town he’d never been to before. After finding him and being treated to a hearty meal, Siet was invited to church five days later. He made the 15-kilometer bike ride again to attend church. Shortly after, he committed his life to Christ.
The pastor began visiting Siet’s home to disciple him. The pastor taught him how to lead a house church meeting.
Siet ambitiously decided he wanted to start three churches.
This was his plan, but he says he wasn’t obeying God. He didn’t want to give himself fully to Christ. He listened to his wife’s worries about finances and how starting churches would affect them financially.
She convinced him to accept a manual labor job loading cassava, a Southeast Asian vegetable, into trucks. They have seven children, so the need to put food on the table was a daily worry.
Work became his idol.
On one fateful day, Siet was electrocuted in an accident at work. Over the following two years, he had skin grafts, lost the use of muscles, and endured shoulder problems. He battled open wounds that wouldn’t heal and severe pain. He recounts that every part of his body felt like it was on fire.
The healing process was difficult and lonely.
His wife had the phone number of the friend who initially told him about Christ. “Please come pray for my husband. He needs encouragement.”
The friend came to pray for him, and the fellowship was uplifting.
Siet says God told him, “Don’t go out and get your own job, or use your own strength to go out for money but follow God’s path to ministry.”
He is amazed at the Lord’s protection. He shouldn’t have survived, but he says God’s love preserved his life. He is in awe that, even though he hadn’t surrendered his heart fully over to the Lord, the Lord treats him as a treasured child.
“If you don’t put God first, it’s hard,” Siet says. “Love the Lord with all of your heart.”
This love has led him to serve wholeheartedly. Ten people are now coming to study the Bible at his house. All have committed their lives to Christ and have been baptized. IMB workers visit him regularly to encourage and train him and Christians in his church.