“Now, I’m ready to go home and bear fruit.”

(Left) Mr Tan Eng Kwang, EAST Admissions Officer. (Right) Mr Vitou Ngeth, 2021 graduate, Master of Divinity in Christian Ministry.

Ngeth Vitou (Cambodia), MDiv Christian Ministry

“First we clean the land and let the cows soften the soil; then we let the land rest and heal, add in fertilizers and plant rice.”

Vitou, 33, speaks like a pro because from the young age of seven, he was already helping his parents on their three-hectre rice fields.

First, we clean the land

Vitou’s spiritual growth path started at 21 at a Bible School in Sihanoukville (western Cambodia), four hours from his hometown in Takeo. “I wasn’t a believer then,” he says. “I enrolled at the school only because it was free.”

The fifth child of a family of six children confesses that he grew up very angry about being poor. “I dreamed of finding a better life for my family; my father died early and my mother lived a hard life,” says Vitou. “But when I accepted Jesus in my first year at the college, my dreams changed to helping others find eternal life.”

remove the weeds

Vitou did so well at the Bible school that upon graduation, he was invited to be an assistant lecturer, while serving with his church.

One day during his regular Thursday home visitations, he went to the home of a man who had lost a leg. “After my fervent prayer for him and was about to leave,” says Vitou, “the man said to me, ‘Lokru (“teacher”), your prayer cannot eat. I need rice. I need medicine.’”

“I felt so foolish,” says Vitou.

From then on, he would make sure he brought food to help the poor, even though he himself was barely getting by. “To minister to people, I must do something to show them my experience of trusting God.”

In 2016, Vitou received a scholarship to receive further training in Singapore. That first overseas venture turned into a nightmare when he discovered that he was also expected to be the school janitor. But God used that humiliating experience to hone in him a humility and calm that is now a strong ‘Vitou trademark.’

let the land rest and heal  

After ten months, Vitou returned home.  A year later in 2017, he heard from Woon Leetzu, faculty from EAST, whom he had met while in Singapore. “I got to know Tuuvshu, a Mongolian student at EAST, by chance; he brought me to visit the school.”

“Teacher Leetzu invited me back as a student,” adds Vitou. “But I was afraid and refused.”

But through his mentor’s encouragement, Vitou flew to Singapore in January 2018.  “The first day I met Teacher Leetzu,” says Vitou, “I thought she would give me rules and chores; but she only said, ‘If you have anything that I or the school can help, please let me know.’”

“That brought rest and healing to my heart.”

we add in fertilizers

God used many in the EAST community to enrich Vitou’s soil, two of whom were his Mentoring Group leaders, Mr Toe Set and Dr Casey.

“Toe Set is relaxed but empowering; Dr Casey checks on me regularly like a father,” says Vitou. “Classmates like Asung and Ta Eh welcomed me like a brother.”

God also used many classes to speak truth to his needs for esteem and inner strength. “In ‘Shepherd Care’, I learned that I cannot love others if I don’t love myself,” he adds. “From my Field Practicum professor, Dr Ying Kheng, I learned to love God and people even in face of difficulties.”

But there were also the ‘tough’ ones, confesses Vitou, “the most memorable was Dr Keith and his first class on ‘Bible Study Methods’.”

Vitou shares that he had submitted a “really bad” assignment which he “didn’t understand, and didn’t dare ask.” A week later, he was summoned to the prof’s office.

“I’d expected scolding, punishment, the worst,” he says. “But Dr Keith only told me to try again and resubmit.” That “second chance”, a strong vote of confidence, motivated Vitou to work harder for his studies and do well.

“Now, I’m ready to go home and bear fruit.”


The above article is written by Dr Lau Ying Kheng in EAST 27th Commencement Magazine and has been republished with permission.  Vitou Ngeth has graduated with an MDiv in Christian Ministry and he will be returning to Cambodia to continue his ministry in his homeland.

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