In 2013, Pastor Chamron Phal told me that God had told him that I was going to write the story of his survival in the Killing Fields of Cambodia. I laughed and said, "You have made a mistake. I've never written a book. I can't even type!"
"Go home and pray about it," he replied.
So I prayed. Actually it was more like an argument where I listed all the reasons this was a crazy idea. God was silent. I imagine He was smiling. After a few days, when I stopped arguing. I listened. I heard God say, "Do it."
God had a plan and I had to be obedient. So Chamron and I spent the next four years meeting every week. He told me his story, and I hand wrote every word in black and white notebooks. I -- using my hunt and peck method -- typed every word.
As I stumbled along faithfully recording event after event, page after page, God stepped in again. In 2014 He guided me to the Christian Writer's Conference in Mount Hermon, CA. There I attended workshops, listened to speakers and received training on how to write a nonfiction book. I met wonderful writers who have encouraged me year after year.
I attended more Christian writer's conferences in 2015-2017. I read books on different aspects of writing, and I read many nonfiction books.
All along the way, I met with Chamron every week. We prayed for him to be able to remember details of that time forty years ago and for me to ask the right questions to help him. We laughed and cried and persisted. The process seemed slow, but we both trusted God to lead the way.
Chamron knew that one day he would have this book to share with audiences when he preaches in churches and speaks at school and community groups. He gives God the glory for saving him time after time from 1975 to 1979. He promised if he lived he would serve God all the days of his life, and he is keeping that promise.
It was my privilege to go on this journey with Chamron. He inspires me with his faith and love of God. I hope that he will also inspire you.