In Vuthy’s memory, branded forever at the age of eight, the men wore black: black caps, black scarves, black pants, black shoes. Carrying loudspeakers, with tinny voices, mechanical and strange, they came. “You have 24 hours to evacuate” was the weird echo. They shot people who argued the point.
Through a child’s eyes, there was red blood in the low gray smoke of burning homes. The sirens, the bombs, the screams, and Vuthy, innocence exploding around him.
At night, on the road to God knew where, Vuthy (pronounced “voo-tee”) and his family were often forced to sleep next to dead bodies. Nearly a decade later, Vuthy cannot get the smell out of his mind.
Huong Taing is on his rounds. Since escaping from the violence of his native country, Cambodia, he has been ministering to the needs of his fellow expatriates in California. Today, he visits some of the seemingly nameless people who populate one of the nameless projects in a tired pocket of poverty in Long Beach, California. Here is the largest concentration of Cambodians living outside of Cambodia.
In conjunction with Campus Crusade for Christ, which provides a good deal of funding, and the Grace Brethren Church in Long Beach, which provides the church facilities and education, Taing has planted and pastors a church. About 70 people attend regularly.
On this typical day, he enters a home to be confronted by Cambodian money, larger than life, blown up to ludicrous proportions and taped to the wall. The paint is chipping around it. The room’s heat is oppressive; the poverty, silent and uninvited.
The exception, the stupid anachronism, the unfunny joke: The Sony 25-inch Trinitron color stereo console television, bought on welfare, spitting out a language unknown to the Cambodians—a ...1
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