From Gang Banger to Chief of Staff

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Always precocious and very curious, Naret found himself running with group of older “gang bangers” on the streets of Phnom Penh in 1997. At age 13 he rarely stayed with his destitute family and desired the things that he could not afford. So, even though he was considered “too young” he took to the streets where his gang would fight turf wars with their rivals to control an area for the distribution of a drug called “Seesha”, a cannabis based narcotic. They would fight with wooden clubs and knives but things were spinning out of control.

In 1999 Naret’s future looked pretty dim. People in his gang were being arrested and killed. It was at a low point when Naret met a pastor and received Jesus Christ. When he told his father about his new faith, he was told to give up Jesus or get out of the house! Naret left. With no place to live except the street, the pastor had him accepted at the Toul Kork church home.

Naret became more interested in his studies and gave up life with the gangs. It is a good thing because most of the twenty young men he was running with are now dead, in prison, or just “missing”. “I only have a few of my childhood friends left alive,” comments Naret.

Asking probing questions is a very strong character trait for Naret and somewhere in his studies it was suggested he study law. With the help of FCOP he finished law school and began to help out doing administrative work at the office in 2006. He excelled at his ability to work with legal matters pertaining to land titles and government permits. As time progressed Naret was promoted to “Chief of Staff” for FCOP and now serves on the National Board of Directors for FCOP as the Administrator.

A great reconciliation began when he assisted his father to purchase a “Tuk-Tuk” (small motorcycle powered taxi). His father softened toward him but still resisted Jesus. Then, in 2010 the small family shack was destroyed in a fire so rich developers could clear out the slum where his family lived to develop the real estate. Naret used his legal skill to try to fight the “land grab” but since the parents had no title to their property all was lost.

Naret loved his family and knew that Jesus loved them too. He worked out a program where he could purchase a small parcel of land for his parents. Two years ago his mother received Christ and his father is close. Naret visits them on a regular basis.

In 2009 he met and married his beautiful wife Socheta. Naret has turned out to be a great father, and really loves his family with child number three on the way. When his six year old son was born Naret chose the name Philip because, as Naret explains, “Philip liked to ask questions.”

 

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