After we left Khao-I-Dang we did not find out until the next day that the North Vietnamese had probed and killed 30 people right there at the intersection in front of the Khao-I-Dang Camp just after we left. You may recall that I wrote about the man at that camp who had been the only pastor in Cambodia, and how the Khmer Rouge had found him and put him into one of their killing fields camps. I told how God had actually sent one of his “shinning angels” to miraculously protect him from certain execution, just like others Billy Graham wrote about in his book, Angels.
However, we wanted to visit one more refugee camp before dark, Sa Kaeo II. By now things were working just as the KGB had planned. The North Vietnamese Communists were coming into Cambodia and driving the Khmer Rouge out. This was a new camp and was already mostly populated by Khmer Rouge refugees who were themselves escaping Cambodia.
When we arrived, they were pulling this enormous chain across the entrance to block any North Vietnamese tanks from coming in. There were no UN people there. The place was run by a Thai officer. They called him down to the entrance to check our credentials, and right away we found how casual this place was. He came down only clad in his T-shirt and his drawers. He was really nice. He put a soldier on the outside step of our little bus with his automatic weapon and told us to go anywhere we wished.
Everything there was made of big stalks of bamboo, and most all of it was still green. The people here were much younger than the previous camp, and there were many young children.
I walked up to the top of a hill where a Swiss NGO had constructed a hospital. All workers at the hospital had already gone home, but there was a group of the most interesting young boys gathered there. They were all between the ages of 12 and 16. But what was so strange was that almost every one of them had some kind of injury. Some had lost a leg or an arm or and eye, but most just had flesh wounds that were almost healed. They all crowded around me, for they were all in the process of learning English in the hopes of getting to the US some day and had never met an American.
One of the older ones was named Hem-Hatch. He could speak fairly good English, so I asked him about all these boys. Where were their parents? He said: “No parents.” So I asked: “What is your story?” So, he told me that they all had the same story. They had all been in Cambodia in different villages. The Khmer Rouge had come to their villages and lined everyone up and started going down the line, shooting every person, one at a time. These guys saw their parents and siblings shot. They realized that if they did not get out of there, they were going to be dead. So, they just bolted for the jungle. They ran as fast as they could, zigzagging as they ran to dodge the bullets. Most had been hit at least once or lost an eye to the thorns as they crashed through the jungle. What a strange group of orphans, but they were full of energy and enthusiasm.
I corresponded with Hem-hatch for quite a while and sent him some Thai Baht that I could buy at a Dallas bank. I don’t know what finally happened to him. In the last letter I received from him he stated that he had the chance to go to France, but they were trying to get him to go back into Cambodia. I wrote him to get his rear-end into France, for I knew that the North Vietnamese were intercepting those repatriation busses as soon as they crossed the border and killing everyone on them.
When I got back to our little bus, the folks there had found this young lady. She was somewhere between age 19 to 24. She was one of those new Christians that were coming out of Cambodia that I mentioned earlier. And they were not just casual Christians. That terror had bonded them so close to God that it was spooky. This girl had taken upon herself the task to teach bible stories and Christian principals to every young child in the camp that she possibly could. She was teaching groups of children all day and into the night. There were 90,000 people already in that camp. She stayed on the verge of exhaustion all the time. Her dream was to get to the US and attend a bible-oriented college some day.
She gave me the name and address of a young lady friend who worked for the UN and would be able to bring things into the camp to her. When I got back to Dallas I went to several Christian book stores and bought all the different boxes of felt bible stories and sent them to her. Those are where you put up the different characters of a bible story on a felt board for the children as you tell the story. She wrote back how thrilled she was and how she used them to great effect for all those children. I also sent her quite a lot of Thai Baht so that she could buy things such as soccer balls for the older children.
So, before we left, we wanted to have a prayer for this lovely young Christian lady. I was sitting on the front row of the little bus and she sat just above me on the chrome supports. After we prayed, she prayed. And I will never forget for the rest of my life what happened. The bus was air conditioned, so it must have been cooler than normal for her. But as she prayed, I felt water dripping down onto me. When that girl prayed, the intensity of her prayer, the intensity of her communication with God, caused her to become wet all over. Evidently, because of the necessity of what she was doing, God had infused her with a prodigious amount of his mighty Spirit Power.
To this day, I feel guilty that I have never been able to pray like that……with the intensity of that girl.