Vandeth nou - Chief Operations Officer
My name is Nou Vandeth. I was born in 1982. My father died when I was 6 years old. My mum, aunts and grandma were all widows; 13 of us lived in a little house. We were very poor; every day we looked for any work that would bring in some money but often we had no food to eat. We had no electricity or water – our neighbors gave us water from their pump.
My first experience of church was in 1996. A friend asked, “Do you want to eat chicken? Come to church!” I went to church for two months and heard about God’s love. I tried to talk to him.
Then I had to go away to work for my uncle who had a truck. I slept in the street, or under the truck. I prayed with tears, “Lord please give me a job that gives me time to study.” Two weeks later a missionary told me of a job as a guard. The pay was $20 a month and I had time to attend school. I worked very hard and at the end of the month they paid me $40! I gave my mum $20, she was so happy. I realised there is a living God.
In 1999 I resigned from being a guard as I felt the need to develop my life into something better.
I was asking myself and God “Why is life so painful?” My home was full of conflict, cursing and need. These made me cry to the Lord even more, and at times I really felt Him very close to me.
Ideas came to me – I believe from the Holy Spirit. I saw sorrow and pain everywhere; orphans, widows and so many others crying for help. Governments are corrupt, not caring for their people. Men and women beg for help, yet are so greedy, violent and immoral - exploiting and oppressing those weaker than themselves. I asked “What is the root cause of these problems?” It seemed the answer was poverty, which makes people loveless, thoughtless and selfish.
Then the answer came to me; “Holistic Transformational Development.” Now I knew my purpose in life, and I started praying to the Lord about how this could made into a reality.
I wanted to be able to lift the needy and destitute out of poverty by providing a way out through;
Education – to change the life and destiny of children.
Business enterprise – to enable parents to fund their children’s education up to Grade 12.
Discipleship – developing lives so that they reach their God’s given potential.
In 2000 drew up a 25 years plan to achieve this, which included: learning English, computing and management skills through education and experience in jobs which would develop me. I achieved these, getting a Masters Degree and becoming Director of a large NGO.
In 2015 I felt ready for the next steps; to study Political Science, in order to qualify me to enter government, and, start a business so that I could fund my vision by 2025.
The day before I was due to enroll for a Political Science Masters I also prayed “Lord, please also open my eyes to see what kind of business I should start.
Suddenly, a voice spoke to my heart, asking me,
“Do you think you can transform people by doing politics and becoming a rich man?” and,
“Will not your people be transformed by the Gospel of Jesus and becoming disciples?” These two questions almost made me cry. Why had it taken me 15 years to realize that position and money cannot transform people? Only bringing them the Gospel of Jesus and making them disciples will achieve this?
So now I devote myself fully to the making of disciples, in my work and in my personal life. I still believe I am called to bring Holistic Transformational Development to Cambodia but will do it through the power of the gospel, according to God’s plan, as I trust him to lead me.