**This story contains references to HIV, please pre-screen the story and edit as needed for your family’s ages.
Can you imagine trying to concentrate in school or at work when you are hungry? Rameth knows what that feels like. He is 13 years old and lives in Cambodia, a country located in Southeast Asia. This country is about the size of the state of Oklahoma. Rameth speaks a language called Khmer like most people in Cambodia while some people there speak French.
Rameth’s parents passed away when he was just four years old so he is an orphan. He does, however, have his grandparents with whom he lives along with his two sisters and some other family members (10 total). Rameth’s family is very poor. Not everyone living in the area is poor, but no one in his family has a job. Rameth also has health problems because he has HIV which weakens his immune system. In spite of the fact that his family is very poor and struggles with illness, they have a very loving home. Being poor doesn’t mean you aren’t loved, but it does provide a lot of challenges for daily living.
Rameth used to go to a government school, but in the 3rd grade he was able to go to a special school to study. At this school he not only learns the academic things he needs to know for his studies, but he also learns about Jesus. This school also provides educational materials (books, paper, pencils, etc.), clothes and food for the students. Meeting the physical needs of the students is very important. It’s hard to learn when you don’t have clothes to wear or food in your stomach.
When he came to school, Rameth did not know about Jesus at all. He started to learn the good news about God from a teacher. Since coming to the Learning Center his life has started to change. The best part is that he has begun to know God and decided to follow Him.
While his grandparents love him very much, they are not Christ-followers and were not happy about Rameth’s choice. They tried to stop him from going to church and doing church activities, but he has experienced the difference Jesus has made in his life and wants to continue to follow him. It takes a lot of courage to follow Jesus when your family does not want you to.
Even though Rameth has HIV, he is strong and his health is good right now. His teachers say that he is a very good student, lovely to be around and has many, many friends at the school. As difficult as it has been being poor, Jesus has provided for Rameth. He feels God’s peace and knows that God will provide all that he needs. Even better than trusting God with his every day needs, he knows that one day he will spend forever with God.
- How would it be difficult going to school if you were hungry and didn’t have comfortable clothes to wear (like not having warm clothes in the winter)?
- How would it be difficult to follow God if your parents didn’t approve?
- Even though Rameth is very positive, he still faces many challenges. What do you see that is difficult for him and how can your family pray for him?
Fun Facts about Cambodia:
Leak Kon Saeng is a popular game in Cambodia. The game is similar to “duck duck goose,” but instead of tapping a person on the head, the player who is “it” places a knotted piece of cloth behind the “goose.”
Current Prayer Requests:
Pray for Rameth’s health to improve. Pray for his grandparents to come to know God.
Ways you can get involved:
Find a local food pantry and ask what their most needed items are right now. Write a note from your family explaining that you are collecting and what items are needed. Tape the note to a brown paper bag and deliver to neighbors explaining that they can leave them on their porch and you will collect and deliver to the pantry on a certain date/time.
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:11-12 NLT
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