TESTIMONY: she decided to confront her father during the ancestor holiday.
Theary , one of our intern volunteers, shared her confrontation with her father during the recent ancestor holidays, Pchum Ben.
Some of you might know and some of you might not know much about the holidays that were held last week. It is called Pchum Ben Days, the time when Khmer people follow their rituals at Buddhist temples. They bring over food, and gifts to the temple believing that those things will be transferred to the in spiritual world to their ancestors. It is also believed that their deceased parents or relatives's spirits locked up in hell are released for the first 15 days of the dark moon in order for them to come to get food because they are hungry. At 4 AM in the morning during these days, they prepare balls of sticky rice on trays for their nearby temples. People gather there to listen to monks chanting and invite the spirit to come, then they start to scatter the food around the temple building.
During this time, children are supposed to help their parents carry food to the temple to offer to Buddhist monks. Out in a community village, there is social pressure if you don't do it. Theary who chose Jesus a few years ago, had faced this sort of pressure when she did not want to comply with doing the ritual. Every year, her father kept talking negatively about Christianity, he disliked the fact that his daughter chose to follow Jesus. Theary felt emotionally disturbed and rejected because she loves her parents, and her family but she doesn't want to come against her conviction either.
She told us that she had been praying about her visit to her parents during this holiday, and hoped that her parents would not force her to practice any rituals. Unlike a few years before, this year her father seemed to be different. He did not pressure her to do anything, but accepted her presence when she paid the visit. Theary really thanked God for allowing her to be able to spend time with her family, and set aside those rituals.
In Khmer society, religious discrimination can still be seen. To be a Christian means a big sacrifice in life. one has to be ready to accept rejection not only among their peers, but also among their family members. It is just like what the Bible talks about carrying the cross. You have to be ready to be denied by people you love. Yet, when we obey, and embrace His Love, we will gain more.
In Theary’s story , we saw that her prayers really softened her father's heart. She believes that sooner or later, her father and other members in the family will come and be saved like her.