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Sovann's Story: From Black Magic to Serving the Unreached

Black magic. Deeply rooted in Cambodia’s history, many still fall prey to its promises of power, prestige, and wealth. If one practices black magic, one devotes themselves to spirits and does whatever the spirits ask. This, according to Vath Sovann, is what led him down a path of sin and eventually, imprisonment.

Born in a remote village, Sovann’s family struggled financially. His parents found themselves tied up with moneylenders and faced insurmountable debt. It was hard for the two of them to survive, let alone take care of Sovann and his little sister. Extended family adopted Sovann’s baby sister and then, when he was just three years old, his parents died. His grandparents raised him for ten years before they too passed away.

Sovann became homeless at the age of 14.

He began to work small jobs here and there at the market or on farms. But it wasn’t enough. With dirty clothes, nowhere to lay his head, and an empty stomach, he began to steal. It started with just food. But over time, Sovann began to steal more valuable items and eventually got caught up in black magic.

“I became so greedy and lustful,” Sovann shared. “I stole a lot and was confident in black magic protection. I wasn’t afraid to do bad things because I thought I knew the magic would save me.” But it didn’t save him. In 2014, Sovann was convicted of robbery and adulterous misconduct and sentenced to seven years in prison.

At the time, a pastor, Sorn Rotha, regularly visited the prison to talk with inmates and share the gospel. In 2016, he crossed paths with Sovann. As Sovann listened to Pastor Rotha preach from 1 Timothy 1:7-9, he began to understand where fulfillment really comes from. It wasn’t long before Sovann decided to follow Christ.

“We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for murderer” - 1 Timothy 1:9

When he was released in 2020, Sovann moved to Tbaeng Church and began to learn the Bible under Pastor Rotha. “I wanted to be a witness of the way God works. I was baptized in 2020 and have started a whole new life.”

“Today, I see how God has already started to use my story to benefit His ministry,” Sovann shared. “There are many others in the Bible who had a criminal record or did bad things. God uses my story now to encourage people to not make the same mistakes I made. In this region, black magic is very prominent so it’s a real asset for me to be able to speak from experience and help guide those struggling in it.”

Sovann now partners with neverthirst to serve unreached communities in Cambodia.

Introduced to neverthirst last year, Sovann now serves villages in Preah Vihear Province. “I can see even more now how God reaches others through people like me. When people come to the well, they come looking for clean water. What they don’t even know they need is living water. Which is available there for them too. I believe God is continuing to work in their hearts, just like He did in mine.”

Every story matters to God.
From poor, to orphan, to thief, to prisoner, to redeemed, to missionary. 
You can be a part of these stories forever.

Support our partners like Sovann who are sharing the good news through water projects. Or learn how you can support our work in Cambodia here.

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