(This post was written in Cambodia, but for a variety of reasons it’s taken a while to get it posted.)
A couple of friends of mine have had a mostly civil back-and-forth for several years about which is the greater superhero, Batman or Superman. (I have geek friends, this surprises you?) I am firmly in the Batman camp, having grown up during the 60’s TV show (speaking of camp). I also find it more impressive that a normal human can turn himself into a superhero rather than being born with superpowers – I mean, really, how hard is it to be a superhero when you’re born being able to stop bullets?
I met a real live superhero today, of the made, not born, variety. We’ll call him… Cambodia Man.
Cambodia Man was a young man when the Khmer Rouge took over. Soon, his entire family was rounded up and taken away to the killing fields. They left him alive because he could catch fish and thus feed them. He did this for a while, but eventually made his escape.
He headed for Thailand, and along the way joined with others until there were approximately thirty people in the group. When they got to the border, in order to make it across, they had to go through a minefield. By the time they got across, only seven of them were left alive, including Cambodia Man.
Once across, they were immediately arrested by the Thai military, and thrown into jail because they didn’t have documentation. For Cambodia Man, it was a relief to be in jail, because he at least had food and shelter and he was reasonably sure they wouldn’t kill him.
While in jail, someone shared Jesus with him, and gave him a Bible. He had completely abandoned God in any form by this time, but, after reading a bit in the Bible, told God that if he really existed, to get him out of jail.
A few weeks later, the Red Cross visited the jail, heard their story, and began the proceedings to get them out of jail. Ultimately, because of God answering his prayer, Cambodia Man gave his life to Jesus.
They were given the opportunity for education. Cambodia Man chose to be trained as a dentist. After his training (which took 2-3 years), he was told he could go anywhere he wanted to practice, even the United States. He said, “I want to go back to Cambodia and help my people.” They told him he was crazy (the Khmer Rouge had fallen by this time, but the civil war with Vietnam had just begun). He insisted. And so he found himself back in Cambodia, helping his countrymen (and women) with their teeth.
Many years passed, and one day in church, a man came to talk about needing help fighting sex trafficking. Cambodia Man knew that this scourge was almost as bad as the Khmer Rouge, and so volunteered. Today, he’s working with an organization dedicated to eliminating sex trafficking in Cambodia.
I know there are other superheroes out there. But I met this one, and now I have this song running through my head.
P.S. — I ran across this tuk-tuk later in the day. Apropos, no?