A story from Irene Mparutsa, GBGM-UMC Missionary, Cambodia
The Samaritan woman at the well gives the stranger a drink of water and in return she receives the Living Water; freed from bondage, she is the one who proclaims the Christ, the coming of the Kingdom.
Last month, we went to Kampong Thom Province (3 hours north of Phnom Penh, in the interior of Cambodia), to see people who had come to the HIV/AIDS workshop held last October. Oum Pak, one of the participants shared her testimony:
“When I returned from the workshop to my church, I shared what I had learned. I told them how AIDS is not spread. I told them that we cannot catch AIDS by touching people or by sharing food. I told them that it is ok to live together with people with AIDS. Before I went to the workshop, I could not tell anyone that my husband had died of AIDS and that I and my two children are HIV positive; I was afraid that people would not like me. Now my two children and I get monthly HIV medicines at the Kampong Thom Provincial Hospital. World Vision helps us with transportation money to go to the hospital, organizes a support group we go to and gives us school fees so my children can go to school. My life has changed; I find that people are loving and caring; I have hope and I can bring hope to others.”
Like the woman at the well, Pak has received the Living Water. She has gained new freedom, a new life for her and her family. She is becoming a leader in her community; she leads a support group for people living with HIV/AIDS. Like the Samaritan woman, she could not keep the Good News to herself either; she had to share it with her family, her church, others in her village sick with HIV/AIDS, everybody!
This story tells why I am passionate about community-based health care ministries: It shows how we helped just this one Pak and she is going out and helping these many others.
This understanding that we women have in UMW about multiplying our gifts by all working together is one of our great strengths, I think; and Pak shows us practically how our gifts of prayers and support are taken and given over and over throughout a village.