Pol Pot’s Dictatorship

It was 1975.  Little Bona was the youngest of five sons. One night the Communist forces of the Khmer Rouge came to his village in Cambodia and took his father away, never to be heard from again. Pol Pot’s vicious four-year dictatorship had begun.

Cities were evacuated, factories and schools closed.  Those believed to be intellectuals, such as teachers, medical doctors, those who spoke a foreign language, or in possession of eyeglasses or a wristwatch, were executed as enemies of the state.  Millions were herded into rural collective farms. Between 1975 and 1978, nearly two million Cambodians died by execution, forced labor and famine.

Bona’s mother used a bicycle to provide for her family. On the front end was a net to carry little Bona. On either side of the bike she carried fish sauce she made and sold.  Behind the bicycle she carried cultivation tools to sell: hoes, plows, machetes and sickles.

Thankfully, in 1979 Pol Pot was overthrown.  Food was scarce and Bona’s mother struggled to feed her sons.  After a few years two of the boys escaped to Thailand to live in a refugee camp where they learned English. They returned three years later and began teaching English to their younger siblings.

When Bona was 16 he began working in a restaurant in hopes of practicing his English.  A tourist entered and a conversation ensued. John, a schoolteacher from Brooklyn, told Bona he wanted to meet his mother.  Bona brought him home and when John saw their poverty, he said he wanted to help Bona get an education.

They went to the bank and John deposited $60 in an account and handed Bona his very own bank book.  Thus began five years of education for Bona.  Every month John would send $150.  This paid for Bona’s tuition, books, housing, clothes and food while he completed high school and four years at the university. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in computer science and engineering.

Today Bona is married with children, has a successful career and still keeps in touch with his good friend John from Brooklyn.

  •  And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.   Hebrews 13:16
  • What are your thoughts?   Do you think John from Brooklyn has any regrets?                   (To leave a reply, simply scroll to the bottom.)
  • Song:  I KNOW HIM by Kathleen – Click here to listen: 


    [This life is temporary. This life is short.  When this life is over, our bodies will die and become empty shells, but our souls will continue to live forever.  Where will the “real you” live?  Will you live for all eternity separated from God?  Or will you spend eternity in the presence of God in heaven?   Learn more so you can make your most important decision:    http://www.whoisjesus-really.com/  and www.godlife.com


About Kathleen

God delights in working through His people as they submit to Him. Jesus said to go into all the world and preach the good news to everyone (Mark 16:15). No matter where we live on this planet, people are separated from God because of sin. We ALL need a Savior, and there’s only ONE. It brings me great joy to share Christ with the lost and lonely. Over the years I’ve learned a great deal while facilitating Bible studies. I’ve found myself on college and university campuses, the beach, the streets, the hospital, the jail and the juvenile facility for incarcerated teens sharing God’s message of love. I also serve as an online missionary with Global Media Outreach. I’ve seen countless lives transformed when people turn away from sin and turn to Jesus. The changes God makes are real and lasting. These are some of my experiences. NOTE: My stories have been altered, removing any and all identifying factors. This includes names and other particulars in order to protect confidentiality and anonymity.
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4 Responses to Pol Pot’s Dictatorship

  1. Linda Simson says:

    I sincerely believe that John does not have any regrets. This is a lesson for us all, to reach out to those struggling and become willing to make sacrifices to give others the means to succeed. It is possible that since they still have a relationship that somewhere along the way the Gospel was shared and received by John and his family. It would be nice to know if that happened, as well.

    • Kathleen says:

      I’m sure John was more than pleased to provide for this boy’s education. Whether the Gospel was shared along the way, I only know that I shared it with “Bona.” Hopefully, he will share with John.

  2. Michael says:

    I’ve never heard this story before, if we keep our eyes open to what is going on around us, there are many opportunities for God to use us.

    • Kathleen says:

      We were privileged to meet and hear Bona’s story while in Cambodia. Yes, there are opportunities all around us, but it takes some initiative to make the first move. Thanks for the comment!

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