Auntie has been a strong Christian in her village. However, because of false accusations and witnesses, she is now spending three years in prison for crimes she did not commit. Although work is being done to improve the Cambodian justice system, much of it is still corrupt. This means that in many cases, if one party has enough money, they can "persuade" the judge to rule in their favor, regardless of who is actually in the wrong and often regardless of what the evidence or witnesses say. Corruption combined with prejudice and, at times, outright persecution and abuse of Christians' rights, means that justice for people like Auntie is difficult to obtain.
When Auntie was first arrested months ago, believers in the area began praying for her release. However, as time went by, it became increasingly obvious that Auntie would not be leaving prison. Our prayers for release turned into prayers for support and strength as she adjusted to her new life. And during our trip, we took the opportunity to visit her.
Her smile comes straight from heaven.
The first thing Auntie talked about when she met with us was the joy the Lord had given her. Her eyes grew teary when describing her living conditions, crammed into a small room with several other women, with no privacy. Yet she spoke with happiness of her chance to help a pastor's wife teach the children living with their imprisoned mothers and the opportunities she had to speak of what God had done for her to other prisoners.
I felt so humbled by this woman, who displayed more joy, more faith, more passion for God than I ever have in my life. It also struck me while walking into the prison courtyard that this was an opportunity that I was very unlikely to ever have in the United States - to visit someone in prison who was there because of her faith in Christ.
Hebrews 13:3 says -