International Ministries

Leaning on the Lord for Wisdom and Guidance in Cambodia

May 1, 2011 Journal
Introduction written by Stan Murray, area director for SE Asia and Japan. 

Tim and Darlene Ratzloff are missionaries who are working with at risk or infected HIV/AIDS mothers and children in Cambodia.  They are "seconded" to International Ministries.  Seconded means it is simply an agreement that they minister as missionaries supported by their own Christian Missionary Alliance support network but under International Ministries work agreement with the Cambodian government. Here is a recent real life story of the wonderful work that God has called them to do.


Update and Prayer Request:


The story of Marie and her family keeps us leaning on the Lord for wisdom and guidance. Yesterday we had a long day and feel spent both physically and emotionally.  Nee, the woman Meng (Marie’s dad) married when her mother died, has been abusive to the four kids both physically and verbally. We have tried for a year to work with Nee and her husband Meng. Counseling and very careful watch has not made a difference. Meng refused to stand up for his children and their safety, both physically and emotionally.


Yesterday the Jumpah staff, Tim and I made a decision that Nee had to leave Place of Peace. This was the second time we told her to leave for causing problems. The first was when she was single and Meng’s first wife was alive. We asked (begged) Meng to stay and be a father to his children. Meng did not hesitate and told us he would go with his wife Nee and leave the children with us.


The Jumpah staff and Tim and I feared if they took the kids the two youngest, Marie - 3, who needs a HUGE heart surgery next year and Sotra - 6, who lives with HIV AIDS would die. Nim - 11, would be sold and Ranny 18, would be their slave to cook and serve them.


Meng did not even ask to take his kids with him. Within 15 minutes Nee had packed up their things and drove away on Meng’s motorbike.  Nee did not hug the children. Meng hugged each of his children and then gave me a big hug and sobbed. It is not cultural for a Khmer man to hug a woman, especially a western one. But I know deep down that he loves his kids and he KNEW his decision was wrong. We told Meng he could come back anytime and work with us and be a father to his children, but he could not bring Nee with him.


About an hour after they left Marie, age 3 was running around (her surgery scar almost completely healed) laughing and talking and carrying her little bag of toys to transfer over to Garden of Joy orphanage.  Sotra, age 6 said as he was jumping all around, “I am going to live at Garden of Joy with Mom Pidow and Pa Piroon.”  Nim, age 11:  She said, “Oh I am so peaceful”.  Ranny (age 18) after talking with her for awhile, was still teary and worried that she was now the mother to her siblings. We assured her that she was a sister and the Jumpah staff would take care of her and her family.  Ranny asked, “Why would my dad choose Nee, a mean step mom over me and Nim, Sotra and Marie?”  I had no answer for her accept that she was not the reason he left and that I knew he loved his kids.


The staff believe as soon as he has no income, no money for Nee to spend, Nee will steal his motorbike and leave him. Sadly, that would be a blessing. We have told Meng he can come and see his children anytime and can come back and work for us anytime, BUT not with Nee. We gave them the option of living in another village and still working for us, letting the kids be cared for by us. He did not want that (or Nee would not let him).


The kids will go through lots of hurtful feelings in the next weeks and months ahead. Please pray that God will be a comfort to them and that Meng will see his mistake and poor choice and return to his children. Garden of Joy Orphanage now has 6 more children. Meng’s four children and two more who are there temporarily while their mother goes through chemo for breast cancer.


I know this was long, but with a heavy heart, yet one that trusts in God’s intervention in our daily lives, I wanted to share this story so you can pray. You are partners with us in this daily walk we have here in Cambodia.


Psalm 27:10

“Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.” (NLT)

We are hanging onto this promise for for Ranny, Nim, Sotra and Marie! 


God bless each one of you today, and may you be thankful for all He provides,


Tim & Dar and our Jumpah family