There are many books about the carnage caused by Cambodia's Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, all of them calculated to make you cry. Killing Fields, Living Fields is not one of them. While a large portion of the book is devoted to that horrific period, rather than engendering tears its purpose is to demonstrate the wonder of Christ's preservation of His people even in the face of nightmarish deprivation and slaughter, and the beauty of the Cambodian Church that is today growing more rapidly than anyone would think possible after its near-death experience nearly 30 years ago.
The first Christian missionaries arrived in Cambodia early in the 1920s. The people had languished for centuries under the burden of Buddhist thought which, despite the hope of nirvana, is ultimately a hopeless system of endless samsara, or birth and re-birth. Initial acceptance of the Gospel was dramatic, if not widespread—Christians met with constant persecution at the hands of their Buddhist neighbors, and while numbers may not have increased, the faith of those who believed was certainly strengthened.
In 1975 things took a turn for the hellish. The Communist Khmer Rouge stamped out everything that stood in opposition to their program for forced "equality", including the still-fledgling Church. Those Christians who were not killed immediately were forced to flee to nearby Thailand, and from there to the rest of the world. The Church in Cambodia, still so young, seemed to have died in its infancy.
But God will not abandon His people, and just like Lot's rescue from Sodom, He preserved a remnant of righteous souls in Cambodia, and when the haze of blood and destruction began to clear, their numbers once more began to grow. Today, though still not free of all opposition, the Church in Cambodia continues to grow and now boasts thousands of members across the small nation.
A missionary to Cambodia who served for 20 years and is well-acquainted both with the nation's history and customs and the work of Christ there, Don Cormack writes with compassion and earnest concern for the Cambodian people, both Christian and pagan. Killing Fields, Living Fields may not be as filled with harrowing details of Khmer atrocities as some personal memoirs, but it will likely bring tears to the eyes of the spiritual brothers and sisters of those Cambodians who have died and lived for Christ.