Curled up in the shadow of an enormous golden lion statue, five-year-old Devi shivered even though the night air was still uncomfortably warm. During the day, many boys—some not much older than he—sought refuge from the blazing sun in the lion’s shade, and it did not seem quite such a scary place. But at night the street lights and bars cast menacing shadows in the darkness, and the people who prowled the streets were drunk, high, or looking for trouble.
Devi buried his face in his knees, hoping to block out the scary sights and sounds all around him. The hunger in his stomach was nothing compared to the aching hunger in his heart. He desperately wished to be home with his dear mother’s arms wrapped around him; but he no longer had a home—or a mother. He longed to feel safe, loved, and wanted; but he was none of those things.
He had never known a father. Devi’s mother had loved a man who had given her nothing beyond a child and the disease that would eventually end her life and leave Devi alone.
His mother’s relatives had refused to open their hearts or home to the young child, forcing Devi to fend for himself on city streets where drugs and children were frequently abused. When hunger would override his fear, Devi would beg for food from tourists and locals passing by, never certain whether he would receive kindness and food, a swift kick, or worse.
Although he had not been taught about God or how to pray, in his fear and despair, something deep within Devi’s heart cried out for help. And one day, the God who hears the heart cries of little children sent someone who was not an evil person or even a tourist. Devi asked for food, but the kind person offered Devi something even better—a home!
Devi now lives at Sihanoukville Children’s Home (SCH), where he has a safe, warm bed and plenty of food, goes to school, and is learning about the loving God who heard his plea for help while living on the street. Devi is overjoyed to have found a new family, where he truly belongs. Finally, Devi feels wanted, loved, and secure.
This Christmas, Devi and all the children of SCH will receive a gift or two as they celebrate the gift of God’s Son, Jesus. But any gift he might find under the Christmas tree will pale in comparison to the gift he has gratefully celebrated every day since his arrival—a home where he is loved and wanted.
“A Child’s Story” is based on the true story of a rescued child who lives at Sihanoukville Children’s Home. Directors Brett and Susan VanderMolen are committed to providing Devi* with a lifetime of love and care. Susan writes: “Today he is filling the Home with joy and happiness. For the first time in his life, he is going to school and has food and a place to sleep. Not a day goes by without his thanking us for giving him a family.” *Name has been changed.
This Christmas, Sihanoukville Children’s Home Celebrates:
We rejoice and celebrate what the Lord has done in the lives of all of the children in the orphanage. He has provided for, directed, and protected the lives of the children. We are so blessed and honored to be part of these children’s lives and part of what God is doing here.
We celebrate 12 new children that the Lord has allowed us to welcome into our family at the children’s home. Each child has a story about how the Lord protected and guided him or her to SCH. Our family is growing, and we thank the Lord for each child that He has placed in our care.
Last year, 12 children from SCH graduated from our Christian school (School of Hope) and went on to study at universities to further their education. Most are serving in local Cambodian churches, using their talents to help further God’s kingdom.
We are grateful and wish to say thank you to ALO and those who support this ministry. Through your giving and your prayers, you have become a part of Sihanoukville Children’s Home. You have become God’s hand extended to fulfill His promise to be the Father of the fatherless.