Written by: Mark Cutshall
Do miracles happen, today?
Vibol was only 12 when he left his father behind in Cambodia’s killing fields and found safety in the U.S. with his mother and siblings.
He began a new life in Seattle, where he grew up and later married. But after a dispute with his wife, Vibol was sent to jail for domestic violence. During his incarceration he learned of the Christian faith by watching a Bible teacher on television. Through correspondence courses, reading, and prayer Vibol came to faith in Jesus Christ.
Once out of jail, he was apprehended by Immigration Service officials who threatened to deport him, because despite his years in Seattle, Vibol had not yet become a U.S. citizen.
It was at the detention center during a Sunday worship service conducted by World Relief where Cal Uomoto met Vibol. Cal was impressed by Vibol’s heart for God, diligent study of Scripture and desire to share his faith with others.
Vibol’s attorney appealed his client’s deportation order – and lost. Only the miracle of a Governor’s pardon could allow him to stay in the U.S. That’s when Cal handed his wife, Ann, Vibol’s file, including photos of his children.
“I know these kids!” said Ann, who had worked as a nurse at the middle school they attended. “I remember them because they talked so much about how they loved their father.” Ann was sure school staff would write letters confirming how important Vibol was to his children.
After reading the letters, members of the Governor’s Pardon Board saw Vibol’s life in a different light. They reduced Vibol’s original sentence for domestic violence to five months – which meant he could no longer be deported.
Against all odds, Vibol was now suddenly free to live in a country far from the killing fields of his youth, all because of a miracle pardon – and some unforgettable letters of a father’s undeniable love.