Me and my faithful boy Owen

Me and my faithful boy Owen

My Story

I moved to Cambodia at fourteen with my family, who founded BYKOTA House. I speak the language, know the culture, and am half-Cambodian if you ask a Cambodian native. In 2011, I left Cambodia to attend mission training school in Singapore and college in the States. I continued to return for visits every year.  When I arrived back to the States from one visit, in October 2013, my best friend began to travail for me and my connection to Cambodia. You see, I left Cambodia with wounds back in 2011. I left feeling hurt and torn apart by different experiences here, and every visit to Cambodia reawakened these hurts and feelings. But the month of October 2013 reignited my love for Cambodia. I began to crave Cambodian food, yearned to look into the deep brown eyes of the Cambodian children, and longed to pick up missions with this people group. I quickly planned a return trip for July 2014.

While in Cambodia in July, I had three people pray specifically for the door to open to return. I knew the physical door was always open, but the emotional door had been closed. Returning to the states in August 2014, I felt that I was to quickly move back to Cambodia. The day I arrived back in America, the grace I had felt living there was immediately gone: my heart was across the globe, and the Holy Spirit was yanking on my arm to get back to Cambodia. I announced that I’d be serving in Cambodia at least a year but I knew in my heart that I wanted to stay. I arrived in September and moved back “home” at that time.

In October 2014 my parents expressed their need to go back to the states for some time for medical purposes. They needed someone to step up and run BYKOTA House. When they first brought it up to me, I felt an overwhelming presence and a voice saying, “Step up”. Well, I didn’t. I gave it a month and waited it out and prayed a ton. I then went to Singapore for a visa renewal trip and a weekend out of Cambodia where I could pray and seek the council of spiritual leaders in Singapore. While I was there, I expressed the desire to step up as director for our family children’s home and carry the mantle of leadership long-term in Cambodia again. My spiritual leaders there were overjoyed, confirming my calling for me.

When I returned to Cambodia at the end of November 2014, I announced to my parents that I felt at peace stepping up as the director of BYKOTA House. At that point, my mother said, “if you feel the LORD is picking up the ministry mantle and putting it on your shoulders, we are at peace with it.” And that confirmed that this was a “God” thing and it was good. Over the next four months, my parents prepared me to take on the directorship. In March, they flew back to the States, entrusting me with the ministry.

I am now the director of BYKOTA House Children’s home. It has felt like overnight I gave birth to 19 kids but at the same time, running this ministry is like putting on an old ball glove that I have begun to use again and feel right at home with. Running BYKOTA House has been prophesied and desired over me for a decade, but in my heart I have run as fast as I could from that calling. Now, for the first time I am running towards it. This is it. This is where I am called. This is where I am meant to be. This is my life. 

Lia Sunghi,

Danielle