TWR Women of Hope coordinators are incredible. Day-to-day they produce, translate, and distribute radio programs, prayer calendars, and other media to women all around the world. In many countries, these coordinators also lead ministry - meeting with listeners, providing counseling, and introducing people to Christ. Since the February prayer calendar is focused on Southeast Asia, we wanted to hear directly from someone in the region about how God is bringing hope to the hearts of women.
Navy So is the coordinator for TWR Women of Hope in Cambodia. Navy not only produces the Women of Hope radio program and distributes the prayer calendar, but also she counsels and encourages Cambodian women in their faith. We asked Navy a few questions about the ministry and her personal life, and we hope you are encouraged by her testimony.
How did you become the coordinator in Cambodia and how did you find out about the ministry?
Serving God was what I always wanted to do, but I was blurry about his call. However, this direction became clear when I picked up my sister from a youth camp sponsored by TWR.
I liked what TWR was doing, and from that moment I realized that this was where I wanted to serve.
I applied in 2013 and joined the staff of a health project. It was not by accident that I was chosen by TWR Women of Hope in TWR Cambodia. I am falling in love with serving because every day I am able to share God's love to women, who especially need hope from God.
How has Jesus brought you hope in your own life?
I was born in a poor family. When I was still a young girl, my father, a policeman, was killed by a drunk driver. The only source of my family's income was gone.
My mother raised her three daughters by running a small convenience store. I decided to postpone English class, because I was not able to afford the tuition. However, a classmate invited me to attend free English classes at her church. It was God's precious plan for me. I had heard about him since I was a little girl, but through this class and group prayer meeting, I began to know him personally. It was by his grace that I finished university.
Six years after meeting a godly man, Phearom, we married. God blessed us with a beautiful daughter, Kettiya who is now four years old.
What gets you excited about TWR Women of Hope?
The Women of Hope program is helping widows and vulnerable women (especially those who can neither read nor write) by providing spiritual and general education. Both believer and unbeliever listen to this program, resulting in daily phone calls from our listeners. What really brings joy to me is hearing listeners say, "I just accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior."
How do you like to have fun?
In the TWR Cambodian office, we have a beautiful garden and trees that bear fruit such as mango, water apple, guava, java plum, and star gooseberry. I sometimes relax by picking and eating fruit together with TWR staff. Also, I enjoy singing and dancing.
The staff members in TWR Cambodia are beautiful inside and out as we care, love, and pray for each other. We are from different families, but we belong to God's family.
I have fun recording, editing, and mixing a Women of Hope program.
What are some common issues for women in Southeast Asia?
- Rarely are they being valued enough
- Domestic abuse
- Sexual and reproductive health
- Mental health: Most women keep their problems to themselves as they feel shame or looked down upon by others who know about them.
- Education: Many women stop studying and get married at a young age.
Do you have any stories to share about what God is doing in people's hearts through TWR Women of Hope?
Pheakkley* (name changed for privacy), a faithful listener, called me during the past few months to share about her unfaithful husband. He is a bread seller in far away town, so he rented a house in that area. But when he worked in the bakery, he never sent money to his family nor gave his phone number to his wife. When Pheakkley lost contact with him for a few days, she eventually called her husband's boss and learned he was still working.
Later on, her husband came back home without his motorcycle and told her that he had already sold it to get money. But he took a bank loan for another motorcycle which his wife must pay for, but he refused to discuss those problems with her.
On August 2, Pheakkley called me to talk about the Bible lesson on crisis after adultery in the family which really touched her heart. Through tears, she continued to share and said,
"I really thank God for encouraging me through this lesson. A few days ago, I went to my husband's workplace to get his phone number. The next day, my husband returned home to seek authorization for a divorce. When we shared with the chief our reasons for divorce, he tried to give advice to my husband, but he became angry and left.
Now I realize that my husband loves money more than me and my children. Without the Lord Jesus, I have nothing. My family borrowed much money from the bank, but God helped and encouraged me when I began listening to the Women of Hope program.
As a single mom before I accepted Jesus, I thought that I wanted to commit suicide. After I came to know God, my life still had many problems, but God faced them with me. In the past, I always kept my problems and sad feelings from my relatives, but the Women of Hope programs gave me the courage to share what is in my heart."
Pheakkley shared these prayer requests with Navy:
- For the process of divorce from Pheakkley's husband.
- Her children who now have no father to talk to or live with.
- Wisdom for training Pheakkley's children to follow Jesus.
Jorani*, our faithful listener in Siem Reap province, shares that,
"I'm really happy and thank God for bringing Women of Hope program to my church member. I soon noticed that this elder grew strong in God and was greatly encouraged.
Furthermore, a lady in my church gathered her family to worship and listen to the Women of Hope program. She also invited neighbor women to join them. What a surprise that every lady accepted Jesus for salvation! This lady is really maturing in the Lord. Thanks to God who guided your team to produce such wonderful lessons. Please keep the programs coming."
Arunny was born in Kompot province, but she moved to the city to find work. She has a problem that she has kept to herself for a very long time. After she listened to our program, she noted our phone number and shared that,
"First of all, I thank God for helping me to hear the Women of Hope program a few times. Secondly, I want to tell what I have not even been able to share with my family. I really need someone to listen to me.
I had been married to my former husband for almost 9 years, but we didn't have children. He is a handsome man, but he always drinks alcohol. He really broke my heart, which led to divorce in early 2016.
A year later, I went to a party, met a guy, and began to live with him. When I found out I was pregnant, I really wanted him to know. I was extremely shocked when a lady who said she was my boyfriend's wife called and later came to my house with her two children. I apologized to her as I didn't know that he was already married. It really hurt me, especially as I am a Christian.
After that, I cut off contact with him, but he came to express sorrow in keeping his troubled marriage a secret. He said that he loved me and had never met another woman like me. During that time, I really didn't know what to do as I also loved him. I called my parents to tell them that I was pregnant. They didn't blame me and encouraged me to keep my baby as they said that this is a life. We are Christ followers, so they provided a small wedding for us.
However, I didn't tell my parents the guy I was going to marry was already married. Now, I am six months pregnant with the baby due in January 2018. The really stressful problem is that he always comes home late after drinking beer with his friends even though I have asked him repeatedly to come home early since I am pregnant. Additionally, all our income is from my work, but it's not enough for our needs. He works, but his father takes all his salary as he wants my husband to go back to his ex-wife. I really want you to pray for me and my baby, not just about money.
Pray for God's provision for my delivery and provisions for my baby.
I don't know what God's plan is for me: should I continue living with this difficult man whom I love?
Pray for my baby to have good health.
"Hello! My name is Kolthida* from Phnom Penh. When TWR staff visited my church a long time ago, I received a Women of Hope CD and later also received much encouragement from the Word of God as Women of Hope messages aired on local FM stations. These awesome programs help wives and husbands to know how to take care of their children, raising them to be godly young people. Even though they send their children to school, they are still responsible for their education. Parents are the main influence, so they must spend time with them to be good role models. May God bless you and the Women of Hope program. Beybey...!"
How has God matured you personally since you have been working in this role?
Before I had mixed emotions about working in this role, but serving God was what I always wanted to do.
God is using me to do something that had seemed impossible before. For example: I always worried about giving out the prayer calendars to buses and churches, but after I distributed them, I became grateful for that opportunity. I can do everything through Jesus who helps me.
I am brave to tell others about Jesus through radio and face-to-face.
How can our readers be praying for you and your ministry team?
- God calling new staff to help me in our ministry.
- Women who face many challenges in their lives to find the true God who understands, loves, and helps them through Jesus Christ.
- Wisdom and God's leading as I work with TWR Women of Hope.
If you could encourage our readers with one thought or verse, what would you tell them today?
John 4:5-42 - The story of the woman at the well.
When you read those verses, you discover that the woman at the well could hide from others, but not from Jesus. He knew her. Sometimes we, like the woman at the well, experience deeper growth or refreshment in our faith in vulnerable situations, becoming aware of Jesus reaching out to us with His love.
Were you encouraged by Navy’s interview? Let us know by leaving a comment on Facebook or sending us an email. We plan to interview more of our staff around the world in the coming months, so please let us know what kinds of questions you would ask the TWR Women of Hope coordinators.
Also, if you are not on our email list yet, make sure to sign up to receive a monthly newsletter with the prayer calendar, our latest blog articles, and listener stories.
*Names and locations of listeners were altered for privacy and security.