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Cambodian minister, educator killed by drunk driver

Tawn Lork and his wife, Navy, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Photo via randrdolan.blogspot.com)

Rich and Ronda Dolan, church members working with the Cambodia Bible Institute, report the death of the institute’s dean of students, Tawn Lork.
Lork, 33, was riding his motorcycle in northwestern Cambodia when he was hit by a drunk driver.  He died Dec. 26.
In a recent blog post, Ronda Dolan writes:

He loved God, he loved us and he loved our students. Tawn and Navy, his wife, lived at the school as he was the Dean of Students. He was wonderful at taking care of problems, helping the students with their studies, and was a mentor to them all. I can’t even imagine the school without him there.
He was a devout Bible student and well as effective preacher and teacher. God blessed him with a great personality, capable of reaching many with his kind words, smile, encouragement and belief in God.
He made our transition to Cambodia very easy as he was always here to help us.
Please pray for Navy, his wife. She has the sweetest heart, and now it is terribly hurt.

I had the honor of meeting Tawn and Navy earlier this year during a reporting trip to southeast Asia. This excerpt from a story I wrote about Churches of Christ in Cambodia gives a few details about Tawn’s conversion and ministry:

As the students play games with the village children and teach Bible lessons to young adults, Tawn Lork observes. He translates for the American teachers at the institute and helps with administration.
Lork’s brother, James, introduced him to the Gospel. James Lork ministers for the 75-member Phnom Penh Church of Christ. Two more brothers, Chann and Sokchea, preach in the city of Siem Reap.
Cambodians are inherent worshipers, Tawn Lork said. Most buildings have “spirit houses” — ornate, mailbox-size shrines meant to provide shelter for mystical beings that might otherwise cause trouble.
In the countryside, humble villages sit next to elaborate Buddhist temples.
“Some worship trees, ancestors,” Tawn Lork said. “People realize that there is someone higher.”
Cambodians are eager to hear the Gospel, but often think Jesus is one of many gods. Some claim to follow both Christianity and Buddhism, he said.
Some get baptized in hopes of receiving a.gif?Action=thumbnail&Width=460&algorithm=proportionalt, said Lor Sovann, a student at the institute. He remembers the first time Tawn Lork told him that Jesus died for his sins.
“At first, I didn’t believe him,” Sovann said. “I said, ‘I’m not a sinner.’” But after more Bible study and prayer, he came to the conclusion that he had sinned, and that “God has canceled the debt.”


  • Feedback
    Such an event is a double blow – first, the loss of a good brother and friend to many and, second, the loss of a great worker in the kingdom. While we grieve at our temporary loss, we should take comfort in the fact that our brother is not gone forever, but rather transferred until such time as we should meet again with Jesus. May God bless his family and co-workers in Cambodia.
    Jay Kelley
    December, 27 2010

    They were a beautiful couple for Christ, It is a sad time for the church in Cambodia. I hope this spurs the Cambodian church to share the saving news of Jesus.
    We will continue to pray for Navy and family as they mourn the loss of Tawn.
    God Bless from Canada,
    Rob Burnstad
    December, 28 2010

    I had the honor and pleasure of working with Tawn as I taught at Cambodia Bible Institute for four weeks in the fall of 2009. His solid Bible training combined with his very good grasp of English made him an able translator, but just as important was the Christlike spirit with which Tawn related to and led the young students at CBI. Tawn, like Barnabas, “was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith” (Acts 11:24). I lament the loss this poses for the Cambodian congregations and the great sorrow and hurt that this event brings to Tawn’s sweet wife, Navy.
    Greg Fleming
    December, 28 2010

    Tawn was my first translator in Cambodia, biblicly sound, in love with his people and the spread of the gospel. You could want no better friend nor devout Christian. He will be missed and the work in Phnom Penh will have trouble replacing him…..He won’t be replaced, but some one can help the school get done what he was doing for them. There is a congregation west of Phnom Penh he attended and work with each Sunday who will miss his service even more. Pray for them too. Pray for Navy and the relative’s child they were caring for. It takes a big heart to take in someone elses child. Navy will have a hard time of it without a good paying job.
    Bill Singleton
    December, 29 2010

    Did Tawn and Navy have a sponsoring congregation in the United States? If so, what is their contact information if I wanted to send a donation to help her and/or the congregation in Cambodia? God bless them for working to do good in such difficult conditions which we, in the United States, often take for granted.
    Allen Jang
    December, 31 2010

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