Meet Mr. Vanna.
He’s been our Tuk Tuk driver just about every day since our arrival in Siem Reap. He speaks a little English; just enough to understand where we need to go and for him to assist us in shops where people speak less than him. He’s very soft spoken: not the typical cheeky-type Tuk Tuk driver. His Tuk Tuk is simple. No flashy signs or gimmicky catch phrases. He’s always courteous and jumps at the opportunity to help us with anything but not in that expectant way like so many others. For example, we had some furniture delivered that needed hauling upstairs. He phoned a few other drivers and they came, carried the stuff up, and left without so much as even waiting around for a tip.
Earlier this week, Vanna had an accident with me (Steve) and our two employees (don’t worry Lyg and kids weren’t there). Our Tuk Tuk flipped on its side and we got a little banged up but we’re fine. It wasn’t his fault; some crazy kid was blasting down a bumpy dirt road and got way too close to us. As Vanna swerved to dodge a terrible pothole, they made contact and we went down. As we were in the other guy’s hood, and a bunch of witnesses came up out of the woodwork, Vanna was ‘proven’ at fault. I think he handled it with total class, even when being so terribly wronged.
Anyhow, the point here is that he’s a genuinely nice fellow. That’s not to say he doesn’t have his own dirty little secrets, of course. Nevertheless, as we hope to be acquiring a car soon, it seems as though we won’t be needing his services much anymore. We were thinking about that a lot this evening and it’s saddening because we don’t want to lose the opportunity to minister to this guy.
So we were thinking, how do we stay in touch with Mr. Vanna? While he’s friendly, I don’t think he’ll be hanging around just to chit chat. The man needs to earn a living. So we decided to offer that I teach him English for an hour 3 times a week free of charge. We genuinely believe God can change his heart and don’t want to miss the opportunity to be the catalyst for the gospel in his life.
More than him just being a good guy, Tuk Tuk drivers are some of the most instrumental assets to the sex-trafficking industry. That is, with no foreknowledge to the whereabouts of a brothel (or equivalent), a tourist can hop into any given Tuk Tuk and tell them they’re looking for a good time. The driver will give them options: do you want young girls? Older girls? Khmer? Vietnamese? Etc. And they get a cut from the owners for the referral. So for us to bring a Tuk Tuk in our area to Christ means one less avenue for perverts to get off, one less hand to be greased in corruption, and potential insight to the scandalous state of affairs in Siem Reap.
Pray for Mr. Vanna. Pray for us to be proper examples. And pray that God would have Vanna turn to Him. Ultimately it’s up to God.