Seyha Pen is a man who lives amid the awe-inspiring grandeur of ancient temples and the vibrant bustle of everyday life. This man’s incredible zeal for mission work resonates well beyond the borders of his home country. An unassuming Seventh-day Adventist layman, he is responsible for weaving a tapestry of faith and compassion that transcends the complex terrain of Cambodia’s primarily Buddhist society.
The spiritual journey of Seyha’s family is intricately connected to the history of Cambodian refugees who returned to Cambodia from Thailand in 1992. Seyha is a second-generation Adventist believer in Cambodia. Chenda Pen, his father, is notable for being one of the pioneering Adventists there. He was actively involved in spreading the gospel throughout the country.
At the age of twelve, Seyha made the decision to dedicate his life to Jesus through baptism. This marked the beginning of his personal faith journey, which has continued to this day. After that, Seyha decided to continue studying the Bible, eventually discovering the life-changing truths that were written within the holy pages.
As he proceeded further in his study of faith, Seyha became aware of the calling that resided within him. This was to devote his life to the mission that God started here on earth. Since that day, a strong yearning has been imprinted in Seyha’s heart, driving him to share the limitless love and grace he has received from Jesus with others. This need has only grown stronger with the passage of time and the accumulation of experiences, driving him to have an even more significant influence.
In 2018 I finally got to shake Seyha’s hand in person for the first time. After spending many days exploring the old city of Siem Reap with him, I had the opportunity to become more acquainted with Seyha’s personality and was able to forge a connection with him that has persisted up until the present day.
Seyha’s selfless dedication and example of service struck me right away when we first met. His profound spirituality and the strength of character he possessed left an unforgettable effect on everyone he met.
He reflected in a humble manner, “I never thought a simple man like me could make a difference,” and his eyes shone with the intent to accomplish what God calls Him to do. His meek demeanor belies a firm determination to face the difficulty of spreading the gospel in a nation with such a strong Buddhist heritage. He is unflinching in his pursuit of this goal.
Seyha’s commitment is driven by enthusiasm for preaching the message of Jesus Christ to others. He navigates with sincerity and grace across a landscape in which the presence of diverse cultural and religious traditions frequently creates obstacles.
His family also exemplifies the principles that are held dear. He is married to So Theavy, and they have a daughter named Shulamit. “Our journey isn’t without trials,” Theavy remarked, her eyes showing the tenacity that comes from having a shared objective. “Yet Seyha’s unwavering passion for mission work continues to serve as a reliable source of motivation.
“Even though we frequently must deal with difficult financial circumstances, I am able to count my blessings and feel comfortable, as my husband navigates these problems with unflinching faith and drive. The fact that he can maintain his composure in the face of adversity serves as an inspiring model for our child,” Theavy said.
Sharing Jesus on Two Wheels
A massive Buddhist temple complex known as Angkor Wat can be seen less than eight kilometers (five miles) away from Seyha’s residence. It was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, and many people believe that it is the largest religious monument in the world. Every year, the temples are visited by approximately two million people.
“I had the impression that God wanted me to start a tourism business in order to reach out to these visitors,” Seyha explained. As a result, he launched a business that he named Goshen Tours and that brought together three of his greatest passions: people, bikes, and faith.
Seyha’s one-of-a-kind ministry draws its inspiration from his lifelong love of motorcycles and has given rise to a tourist enterprise that acts as a vehicle for his mission. “I’ve had a fascination with motorcycles and bicycles. The landscape of Siem Reap provides travelers with a unique view of Cambodia,” Seyha said with a grin as he imparted his insight.
Because of the nature of Seyha’s business, he has had the opportunity to talk about his faith with many customers who come from a wide range of cultural and religious traditions.
“I am reminded of the narrative of Paul, in which he was presented with the opportunity to increase his income while still contributing to the ministry that he was leading by building tents,” Seyha explained. “Paul’s objective was not to advance his own interests; rather, he labored out of a genuine desire to make the love of Jesus known to everyone who came under his sphere of influence.”
“My business is a way of reaching out to people who would never enter a church and who don’t even like Christians,” Seyha said. “My business is a way of sharing the gospel with people who don’t even like Christians.”
Those in the local tourism business who retain Seyha’s services on a consistent basis hold a high opinion of him and his reputation. However, to fulfill their demands, he has a few prerequisites that must first be met.
“Each and every one of my customers is aware of the fact that I am an Adventist,” Seyha said. “They are aware that I do not go out drinking and that I lead a very different lifestyle. The observance of the Sabbath is at the forefront of my religious upbringing. Even though the guest will pay one hundred dollars per day, I will not work there if they are unable to accommodate my need to observe the Sabbath. Second, I won’t take the job if they try to prevent me from talking about my relationship with God with the individuals who are close to me.”
Seyha is a follower of Jesus, and he wants to win more people to his faith through his motocycle tourism business. Nevertheless, Seyha’s ministry encompasses more than just the adrenaline rush of motorcycle rides.
Joshua Sagala, a tourist from Indonesia, had this to say about Seyha’s attitude toward tourism: “Seyha’s approach to tourism exemplifies integrity and respect. Because of his straightforwardness and genuine concern, this was an encounter that will not soon be forgotten.”
More than just an exciting ride through gorgeous scenery, Seyha’s guided tours provide a variety of unique experiences. “It’s not just a tour; it’s a journey of the heart,” Sagala said.
Seyha skillfully incorporates the message of faith into his relationships with his guests by having meaningful dialogues with each of them.
Sovattana, a devoted follower of Buddhism and an avid biker, attested to Seyha’s transformative potential. Reflecting on his experience, Sovattana said, “Riding alongside Seyha taught me that faith could be lived through actions. His steadfast friendship and character invigorate me to seek out deeper truths.”
He added, “I remember seeing Seyha interacting with a customer. A tour package costs the customer more than [US]$150 to purchase. Unbelievably, Seyha gave the customer their original deposit of seventy dollars back. He added that his charge included services as well as the entry fees for all the destinations that were visited,” Sovattana shared. “The customer, who was taken aback by this, contrasted it to the higher prices charged by others. But Seyha responded: ‘My God sees me; I give what is right for my guests,’ ” he said.
Theavy also shared about an encounter with a man who asked Seyha to make a reservation for a room in a specific guest house. “He [the tourist guest] was surprised when Seyha informed him that the price had been set at thirteen dollars. He responded by stating that it was impossible. Other tour guides have quoted a price of $25 for lodging at that location. The man found out that the fee for staying at the guest house had always been $13 after confirming the price with the establishment,” Theavy said.
Later, the man asked Seyha, “Why are you different from other tour guides?”
“What do you mean by that?” Seyha asked.
The man’s response was, “You have integrity.”
“That’s because I’m a believer in Christ,” Seyha said. “That’s why.”
After a brief period of silence, the man spoke out and declared, “I despise Christians, but I like you!” He inquired about Seyha’s religious beliefs, and in response, Seyha disclosed that he was a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Christian denomination. After the man had returned to his house, he immediately messaged Seyha, telling him, “I’m reading my Bible now.” He continued by saying, “I just want to let you know that in this world, you are the only person who doesn’t rip me off. Even members of my own family are only interested in getting money from me.”
This individual is not the only one that Seyha has persuaded to follow Jesus as their Savior. Some of his guests, who profess to be atheists, have said to him, “Because of you, I’m reading my Bible.”