Heang Uy: Immigrant, Mentor, Teacher, American | God's World News

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Heang Uy: Immigrant, Mentor, Teacher, American
Citizen Ship
Posted: July 01, 2023
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    Heang Uy grew up to be a history teacher. Here he is with two of his students. (Handout)
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    Heang Uy serves others. (Handout)
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    This old photo shows a very young Heang with his family. (Handout)
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    Heang Uy is a beloved history teacher, youth mentor, and coach. (Handout)
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    Cambodian refugees cross into Thailand on July 20, 1975. Heang’s family also escaped the Khmer Rouge. (AP)
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Heang Uy (Hen Oy) has been a beloved history teacher and coach in Western North Carolina for 23 years. But he knows he is blessed to be alive. He says his life is a miracle.

Mr. Uy’s family escaped Pol Pot’s cruel Khmer Rouge government in Cambodia in 1979. Heang was one year old. A sponsor family in Tennessee gave them a home and community.

The Khmer Rouge thought it could create a strong farming nation in the 1970s. It made citizens march to work areas like rice fields. It split up family members based on age. All workers had to wear black uniforms. No hugs or laughter were allowed. People worked 12-hour days and did not have enough food. Many people died.

Mr. Uy teaches his students the dangers of cruel governments. Humans are made in the image of God. They are not tools or machines. Some cruel governments have traits in common. They include blind loyalty to a single leader, extreme devotion to a nation or race, and government control of finances and news.

The Uy family couldn’t have made a fresh start without people who were willing to serve them like Christ serves His people. Sponsor families make sacrifices to help others. Mr. Uy writes, “Sometimes you have to give up things to gain things, and sometimes what you gain isn’t for yourself.”

Refugees like the Uys left their homeland to survive. Mr. Uy and his five siblings all finished college and forged lives in America. Mr. Uy now serves others. He says, “I’m grateful to be where I am, and for what the generation before me was willing to do.”

God taught the people of Israel to care for people from other nations. “Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” — Deuteronomy 10:19

Pray that people will have grace and wisdom to serve those who are escaping cruel governments.