Linda's parents, Phary and Mom Svay were refugees from the country of Cambodia. They fled their native land in 1980. (Just a side note, Cambodia rarely drops beneath 75 degrees in temperature. When Linda's parents arrived in America, their first stop was New York City- it was December.)
One might ask, "Why did they have to flee?" That is a good question, and one that I did not know the answer to until I was 22 years of age. The reason can be summed up in two words: Killing Fields.
There was a brutal civil war in Cambodia between two factions: the pro-American Cambodian National Army, led by Lon Nol, and the Communist forces, aka the Khmer Rouge, led by Pol Pot. Linda's dad fought for five years against the Khmer Rouge, but to no avail. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia. Linda's dad, along with millions of others, had to lose his identity- because if they had found out that he was a soldier in the former regime, they would have executed him with no hesitation.
From 1975 to 1979, over 3 million Cambodians perished at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. Education, religion, and family were all abolished by Pol Pot. Everyone worked- the children, adults, and the elderly. The Khmer Rouge's favorite phrase was, "To keep you is no profit; to destroy you is no loss." During that time, every day was a twelve hour work day, and the ration of food, which consisted of one bowl of watered down rice, was given twice a day.
Linda's parents survived this horror. After arriving to America in 1980, they spent a few months in New York City, and eventually moved to Long Beach, California, with about 100,000 other Cambodians.
Linda was born shortly after their arrival to Long Beach. She was the first-born child in America. Her two older sisters never made it out of Cambodia. They perished there as babies. Linda grew up in "Little Cambodia" or "Cambodia Town" as Long Beach has been dubbed.
Her family fled Cambodia in search of a better life. They found it. Linda, however, did not just benefit from her parents' escape in a physical way, but she also benefited in the greatest possible way. She not only got a "better" life, but she received eternal life, because Pastor Sambath Mao, the Cambodian pastor of First Baptist Church of Long Beach, California, visited her house and shared the glorious Gospel of Christ with her.
Now Linda is going back to the country her parents had escaped from nearly thirty years ago. Lord-willing, after years of serving the Lord there, Cambodia will be known as the "Living Fields."