Nazareth’s full name is Nazareth Kong. He was named Nazareth for Jesus’ hometown and Kong after our staff pediatrician that nursed him back to health, Dr. Kong Rolina.
Even today we don’t know exactly how old Nazareth is, we had to give him a name and a birthday. That’s all you can do with a child like Nazareth, when they are abandoned and dropped off at the church by a random, goodhearted citizen. Nazareth was found in the middle of a large roundabout, in a basket by a food cart saleswoman. A motorcycle taxi driver knew that there was a FCOP church orphan home about a kilometer away, so he brought him to the church.
Nazareth was so malnourished that he couldn’t walk. We estimated that he was somewhere between 3 and 6 years old, but we really don’t know. The staff began to work with him, massaging his legs every day, nursing him back to health and teaching him to walk and talk. It took 8 years before he was really able to walk without falling over if bumped or jarred.
Today, he is in his early teen years, tall, strong, extremely fast in sports and one of the most clever children in his grade. He can speak English very well and can carry on intelligent conversation in both Khmer and English. While English learning tools are made available to all of the orphans, Nazareth continues to push himself and has advanced beyond his peers. He is a natural leader and a creative little businessman. In fact, he has, over the years, managed to get into more than his share of mischief, but his heart is to do right. One time he was caught charging the neighborhood children a fee to play on the church playground. Another time he was expelled from school because he was extorting money from his fellow students by telling that that his father was an important general in the military, and that if they didn’t bring him 1,000 reil ($0.25) every day, his dad would have their parents arrested.
He is not an easy child to raise, but he loves the Lord, he is repentant, and continues to try to improve his character. He is also a gifted musician, singing with passion and precision and blessing church members with musical specials from time to time. Jesus isn’t finished with this child, abandoned in a basket, but “raised from the dead” and given a second chance on life. We believe that there is a bright future for this young man, and God isn’t finished with him.