Most books about 1970s Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge are calculated to make you cry. Killing Fields, Living Fields isn't one of them. A large portion of the book is devoted to that horrific period, but its purpose is to show how Christ preserved His people 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. Its people had languished for centuries under the burden of Buddhist thought which, despite the goal of nirvana, is a hopeless system of endless birth and re-birth. Initial acceptance of the Gospel was dramatic, if not widespread—Christians were severely persecuted by their Buddhist neighbors, and while numbers didn't increase, the faith of those who believed continued to be strengthened.
In 1975 things took a turn for the hellish. The Communist Khmer Rouge stamped out everything that opposed their program of forced "equality", including the still-small Church. Christians not immediately killed fled to Thailand, and from there to the rest of the world. The Cambodian church seemed to have died in its infancy.
But God doesn't abandon His people, and like Lot's rescue from Sodom, He preserved a remnant in Cambodia. When the haze of blood and destruction cleared, their numbers began to grow again. Today, though still not free from 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 understands the nation's history and customs and the work of Christ there, Don Cormack writes with compassion and concern for Christian and pagan Cambodians. Killing Fields, Living Fields isn't 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.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here
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