grace will lead me home: Albert Cheng's Story
April 17, 1975. A meek, mild-mannered young man huddles in the dark, terrified by the constant whump of rockets exploding, and the chatter of machine guns. As morning dawns, all is silent. Phnom Penh, capital of Cambodia, has fallen to the Khmer Rouge. Their reign of terror, the Killing Fields, are about to begin. He knows he must somehow escape.
For weeks he walks, barefooted, living on scraps foraged at night from pig pens, anything he can find without exposing himself to the constant threat from roaming squads of the menacing soldiers. But it is all in vain. Without warning, he suddenly is captured. His two-plus years of hell are about to start.
Somehow, Albert Cheng survives. His parents, and some of his brothers and sisters, do not. At times, he begs his captors to kill him, to get it over with. But he survives. One day, gunfire erupts around his prison camp. His captors begin to flee, as Viet Cong attack the compound. Albert and fourteen others see their chance, fleeing into the jungle, hoping to make it to Thailand.
Uncounted weeks later, after surviving on cobras and rats, they see lights of a refugee camp, across the Thai border. But the Thai government does not want Cambodian refugees. The border is mined. Only Albert and one other survive to make it to the camp.
Fast forward several years. Albert is in Richardson, Texas, near Dallas, the custodian at a Presbyterian church. But his nightmares won’t leave him, and he searches fervently for a “god with a capital G” to save him, bring him peace. He wonders about the Christians with whom he works, how it is that they always seem to smile, and be happy.
One night, in a dream, Christ the Savior appeared to Albert. He began to ask people of the church to help him learn the Bible. Over time, his nightmares vanished and he found peace. He found his God with a capital G. God’s grace has led Albert home, to become a constant messenger, spreading the word about God’s love, God’s grace.
After I picked up this book, I devoured it until I finished the last page. I was somewhat familiar with the story of Cambodia, yet had never thought much about how living through the tyranny of the Khmer Rouge would shake up life lastingly. Recently I had the absolute pleasure to meet Albert, a most humble and grateful man living in Dallas. This book portrays Albert's story, the life of hiding in the jungle, enslavement, being a UN refuge, and restarting life in a foreign culture. The book reveals the demonic oppression underlying the Khmer Rouge and Buddhism, and the freedom and hope that Albert experienced as Christ turned around his life at last. If you want to be reminded how blessed we are to live in the US, and if your prayer life needs a little fuel, you will love to read this book.
"grace will lead me home" is an amazing combination of stories. First, it tells the true life survival story of Albert Cheng's imprisonment and torture during the murderous Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, followed by the story of his miraculous escape and eventual relocation to the United States. This part of the story includes first person accounts of the inhuman treatment the Khmer Rouge soldiers inflicted on anyone they thought was too intellectual to fit into their perfect agrarian society, along with some background and explanation of what happened in Cambodia during the infamous years of the Killing Fields.
The physical action-adventure tone of the first half of the book is transformed in the second half into an even more exciting tale of spiritual adventure in which Albert struggles to reconcile his Buddhist faith with his own inner response to the terrors he and his country underwent. He begins to seek answers in Christianity, eventually experiencing a Pauline-like conversion. Through his Christian faith he begins to deal with his anger towards those who wrecked his country and murdered most of his family. By the end of the book he is leading mission trips back to Cambodia and ministering to ex-Khmer Rouge soldiers.
Albert's story will leave you amazed and humbled at the power of God's love and the irrepressible joy of this incredible man.
A remarkable journey that depicts the idealistic hopes of a young man, Albert Cheng, who is tossed by world events into the deepest condition of human despair possible brought about by the inhumane, insane and irrational ideologies of the Khmer Rouge.
An eye opening cruel depiction of this time period and a man's struggle to survive and thrive in its aftermath. Will not give away any more of the story but will say it was a great read from start to finish.