From Broken to Whole: A Life Restored
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My name is Channa. I am 20 years old and I will graduate from high school in 3 months.
Before I came to Hagar, I was hopeless. My parents divorced when my mom was two months pregnant with me. I grew up in Cambodia’s Kandal province with my mother and my stepfather. My mother was a farmer and my stepfather was a fortune teller.
Our daily life was so difficult. We did not have enough food and my step-father was violent. He abused us all, even my grandmother. I felt so sad, especially for my grandmother. I love her so much, because she is the only one who cared and loved me. My stepfather never loved me as his own daughter and my mother didn’t love me either. During that time, I lived in fear every day. I had no hope for my future.
To make matters worse, my stepfather wasted our money on alcohol and his nightlife with other girls. Because of his lifestyle he became HIV-positive, and infected my mom and two sisters.
One day my mother brought my sisters and me to Phnom Penh because my youngest sister was very sick. A week later my sister died from HIV. After that, my mom asked a taxi driver if there were any organizations that could help us. The taxi driver gave her Hagar’s address and the three of us were accepted into the shelter in 1999.
One year later my sister and I began living with a Hagar foster care family. My mom was so sick, and three months later she died of HIV/AIDS.
At Hagar, I slowly learned to live a better life. I made new friends, I learned about God, and my foster parents took care of me. I love my foster parents. They’ve taught me to become strong and confident. They’ve helped my faith grow.
I continued my studies at Hagar’s Catch-Up School, and I realized the importance of education. Education brings us knowledge, a job, and value in the society. If we have a job, we can support ourselves and a job teaches us how to work in a team. This makes us stronger.
When I have my own family, I want them to know God and to live in peace and love. I believe that I will have a good job in the future. God has a plan for me and I will love and serve Him.
I’ve learned that we may experience bad things in our lives, but we must not let this experience control our future. What happened has already passed. What we need to focus on is the journey forward.
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