Cambodia’s Leading Newspaper Profiles Adventist/Buddhist Interfaith Marriage
2 January 2019 | An article in Cambodia’s leading daily exploring interfaith marriages in Cambodia has profiled a marriage between an Adventist woman and her Buddhist husband. The Khmer Times article titled “Couples explain why interfaith marriage works” talks in part about Mung Sambath, a woman who converted to the Adventist faith 20 years ago. Sambath converted to Adventism after meeting an Adventist pastor at a bike shop.
“At night, after I met that pastor, I prayed to Jesus to help my sick mother. I had a dream that night. I dreamed that someone that looks like God told me that my mother will recover,” said Sambath. “I was surprised that he came to me that quickly. A few days later, a doctor came to my village and checked my mother. The doctor told me that my mother will recover and she can eventually walk again.”
The Khmer Times said that Sambath had “respect” for Christ after the experience and had gone to church ever since.
Her religious identity does not seem to have hurt her marriage even though she converted from Buddhism ten years into the marriage.
Her husband, Samoeun, admitted that interfaith marriage takes work but spoke of the couple’s union positively.
“When we married each other, we were of the same faith: Buddhism. In 1999, my wife decided to follow the Christian faith because she believed that the religion helps her,” said Samoeun.
He said that he did his best to respect her conversion to Christianity.
“I wasn’t angry, nor did I refuse her choice because I thought it was her right,” he said. “I think every religion can teach its followers to be a good person.”
The two said that they had never argued about which religion was correct.
“She asked me if she could convert and I told her to choose what she loves,” said Samoeun.
“Having a different religion doesn’t mean that a couple cannot be happy. Happiness doesn’t depend on religious beliefs; it depends on love and forgiveness,” said Samoeun. “If a couple can learn to love and forgive, that couple will last forever.”
According to the denomination’s Office of Archives, Statistics and Research, there were 3,002 Adventists and six churches in Cambodia as of June 30, 2017.