Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | September 24, 2011

This Is Her Story

Poipet, Cambodia

In a final act of desperation, a single mother and her children walked through the gates of the Imparting Smiles orphanage this afternoon. As our team concluded the final session of today’s Vacation Bible School, she sat with Noit Hyde, Steve’s wife, and unfolded the story of her life — a tattered tapestry of sadness. Her story, unfortunately, is not unique in a place like Poipet where evil people prey upon the weak, destroy lives, and never look back. The perpetrators of these evils are emboldened because they are seldom caught, seldom brought to justice, and seldom held accountable for their deeds. They do what they do with an arrogant spirit of impunity. The mother who walked through the gates this afternoon is just one of many whose lives are steeped in unimaginable pain and despair. This is her story.

This woman was married to a promiscuous man who died of AIDS about five years ago, leaving her to raise their children alone. However, her husband left her with one additional hardship — he passed the AIDS virus on to his wife and she is now in the final stages of her life. But, there is more to her story. As a young married woman, she found a baby boy in the woods while she was out gathering firewood. This baby had been left there to die of exposure. So, this compassionate woman took the child home to raise him along with her three other sons. A few years later she found a baby girl in the woods who had also been left there to die. She also brought that child home to raise as her own. This in itself is an amazing act of compassion because she did not have the means to care for such a large family.

After the death of her husband, a man approached this woman and told her that he was looking for young men to go to Thailand to work for a short period. He promised that her teenage son would make lots of money and then return home to help the family. Desperate, she agreed to let her son go, not realizing that the man who had approached her was trafficking kids to work as laborers in Thailand. This trafficker had no intention of letting her son return home. That was the last time she saw her son. Later, her other teenage son was taken from her by traffickers and she has not seen him again. And now, she has one teenage son left and the two adopted children who are 11 and 8 years-old. This grief-stricken woman brought her two adopted children to Imparting Smiles orphanage because she can no longer care for them. Steve and Noit accepted the children and told her she could visit them at any time and promised that her children would receive the very best care. The woman left with her 15 year-old son who will care for her and then bury her when she dies.

There are 27 million people in the world today who live in some type of slavery. Two of those 27 million are the sons of a woman dying of AIDS in Poipet, Cambodia. We must not remain silent or passive about modern-day slavery but must intentionally do something to help. Of course, we can and must pray for the oppressed. But we must also act with intention and compassion. Through our partnership with Steve Hyde, Kingsland’s missions ministry is investing in initiatives that are making a difference in places like Popipet. Through the aftercare homes that we support in South Asia, Africa, and Central America we are helping those who have been rescued to start a new life. Through our local justice initiatives we are reaching out to women trafficked to our own country. Because God cares about the oppressed we must work to champion the rights of those who continue to suffer at the hands of evil people. We must continue to work toward the day when “man who is of the earth may strike terror no more” (Ps. 10:18).


  1. Keep speaking out & giving voices to those who can’t. I’m so thankful we have you to lead us. It’s an honor to serve w you, O.

    • Kristin,

      Thanks. And thanks also for all you do to help us champion the rights of the oppressed. We are helping to make a difference.


  2. Proverbs 31:8-9

    • Amen, Gene. We must indeed speak on behalf of those who have no voice and defend the rights of the poor and needy.

  3. Is Not He (Omar), Likeminded as Him >(Job 29:12,13,15-17) Does He Not Also (Ps.82:3,4) How Blessed Are You Who Have Been Touched By The Light Of This Humbled, Quiet, Gentle Man, Omar. By The Grace & Power Of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ…Amen!

  4. Oh, Omar this is such a heart wrenching story – hard to imagine the deep pain of this lady . She is truly a hero. Thankful for Noit and Steve and for the Lord providing a way for this little boy and girl. Thank you for sharing – will continue to pray for the team last few days in Poipet

    Sandy W

    • Sandy…

      Yes. This story touched us all. It was great to see Steve and Noit in action as they met with this woman and made provision for the care of her kids. These kids are now a part of a new family at Imparting Smiles, one that has already embraced them.


  5. We are still praying for you and your team in your remaining time there. Each one of those women was hand selected by our Father. Thank you, Omar, for your leadership and courage. God has equipped you to do His mighty work. Well done!!

    • Thanks, Misti. God has used our ladies to love and encourage so many beautiful kids this past week. Thank you for your continued prayers.

  6. We praying constantly for your ministry Pastor/!!!!!

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