Since beginning this ministry over ten years ago, we have felt called to reach those who are desperate: orphans, widows, the poor, the expoited, and the outcast. It has been amazing to see the practical ways in which God shows his compassion.
In January, one of the orphans in our care suffered a serious burn accident in the home of his caretaker. PonLu, a six year-old boy, was reaching for something near a pot of boiling water and knocked it over, burning a large percentage of his body. Our staff rushed him to a children's hospital, where we learned he would need to spend some time recovering to reduce the chance of infection and let his skin heal.
Cambodian hospitals are often dark, miserable places, with few amenities and incompetent care. Doctors often withhold treatments unless they are bribed, and simple things like a glass of water or a clean bed can be very hard to find. We feared that it would be a difficult time for PonLu, especially since hospital staff made it difficult for us to visit him often.
Although the odds were against PonLu recovering easily, God used his situation to reach out to others. It was encouraging to see the influence that even a six year-old orphan could have on those around him: doctors, nurses, other patients and their families were all asking about him and talking to him, amazed at how he would practice the alphabet, sing songs, and interact with others so joyfully in spite of his pain.
Soon, "VIPs" such as government officials and wealthy businessmen began stopping by to visit PonLu, bringing him gifts and checking on his progress. This is unheard of in a society where orphans are considered second-class citizens, hardly worthy of notice. PonLu turned that way of thinking on its head by being one of the most friendly, intelligent, and cheerful patients that the hospital has ever encountered!
PonLu recently was able to return to his caretaker's home, and his burns are almost healed. We are so thankful for his recovery! His name means "light", and it is clear that God wants to use him as a light to others. Please keep PonLu in your prayers, that he would have complete physical healing and that he would continue to be a bright light in dark places!