Friday, October 21, 2005

Marie Ens: A Modern Day Caleb

Last August 2004 I had the privilege of meeting a very special lady who inspires me with her humility, her faith and perseverance. At 71 years old I view her as a modern day version of Mother Theresa. I had read about her and prayed for her ministry in Cambodia over the past 3 or 4 years and when God sovereignly ordained for me to meet her at the International church in Phnom Penh in August 2004, I was humbled and yet in awe of her. She is a modern day version of Caleb, not choosing the easy life of ‘retirement’ but has taken the hill country by living out her God ordained purpose as she labours endlessly in the fields of Cambodia. Her life inspires me to continue to labour for the Lord regardless of age because we know that our labours are not in vain. So many people start well but ultimately it is not how well we start in our Christian pilgrimage but rather how well we finish. When I think of Marie, I can’t help but be challenged to live with the same type of intensity perseverance and endurance as she does for her life continues to be a reflection of the words the apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians in Colossians 1:9-11 since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

Below is a brief biography of Marie:

In 1961, the Lord sent His servant Marie Ens to Cambodia from Canada with her husband Norm and two children. In 1994, she returned as a widow. Her work with others at the Military Hospital in Phnom Penh had made her aware of the AIDS crisis on a very personal level as she had visited, prayed and held funerals for those who died. She noted that AIDS patents were very easy to lead to Jesus. They knew they had sinned and they knew that they had no remedy for their sin. The message that Jesus died to take the penalty for their sin and will forgive them and prepare a beautiful new home for them in Heaven was indeed good news. What a wonderful work to be involved in – to rescue precious souls that will soon slip over the edge into eternity.

Place of Rescue became a dream. It would not be a hospice but rather a small commune of houses made of thatch and brick with easy to clean tile floors. There would be a cooking area and a bathroom. Families affected by AIDS could stay together as long as possible. They would all be taken care of and taught of Jesus and live their last days in peace and security. When the parents died, hopefully as believers, the children would be received into the orphanage. On September 1, 2003, the papers were signed and the Place of Rescue became a reality. Marie became an advisor to Place of Rescue with the mandate to raise funds for this vital ministry.

On January 13, 2004, in the rice fields at Biek Chan, construction began behind Rescue AIDS centre into the home to which God will one day bring His chosen 100 children, AIDS orphans, so dear to His heart. AIDS orphans that will someday honor Him before the world in which they live. At the AIDS Centre now houses 18 adult patients and 35 children, six of whom are orphans In addition they are helping several families which includes seven children in home care Imagine our joy to see progress every single day as the houses go up one by one, the community centre takes shape, the chicken coop gets completed, the vegetables spring up in the garden. Our goal is to be completely finished with construction by the end of 2005 but it looks like it will be done before that.

As she said ‘unless God touches the hearts of His people in many lands and urges them to help us, unless they obey and send us their gifts, there is nothing I can do. All of us at Rescue are aware of our Source. He will be faithful for it is He who has called us to Rescue those who are without hope. The dream was His from the beginning

These were Marie’s comments last August 2004. Today Rescue is fully operational, with approximately 91 kids, a flourishing vegetable garden, a pig pen, and a playground for the kids. Butterflies are seen almost every where around the gardens of Rescue and the sounds of laughter from the kids can be heard. She is an advisor to the Christian NGO, Rescue.

For those interested in reading more about Marie there are 3 books available:

JOURNEY TO JOY - the story of the Ens missionary family - written by Marie in 1991

A TIME FOR MERCY - written by Marie in 1997

TWO LITTLE LEAVES - written by Marie and Linda Chisholm, director of Prison Fellowship in Cambodia in 2004

Please send a cheque for $12 Canadian (for the book and postage) to:
Shelly Sylvester, 128 Tuscany Hills Circle, Calgary AB T3L 2E5.
To get a copy of the documentary Marie's Story
Please send a cheque for $35 Canadian (this includes postage) to Shelly Sylvester.
To contact Marie in Cambodia: email address:

For those interested in seeing a video documentary interview on Marie's ministry at Rescue please email me at this post and I will send you a CD.

If you would like to consider contributing to the ongoing ministry of Place of Rescue and/or sponsoring an AIDS orphan you, please designate your gifts to Marie Ens. Donations and tax receipts can be issued in the following countries:

In Canada: The Ratanak Foundation
Box 521, 3495 Cambie St.
Vancouver B.C.V5Z 4R3

In U.S.A : Touch a LifeTouch a Life,
14728 Hereford Road,
Neosho MO 64850

In England : SAO Cambodia
Bawtry Hall
Bawtry Doncaster DN10 6JH UK


Hamster said...

Hey, Lisa, I'd like a copy of the video interview with Marie!

Great post by the way...for someone who is just starting off on this blogging stuff, you have become quite agile with posting pictures, formatting, etc.

lisa said...

Yo Hammy

I'll be happy to send you the interview that I did last year. Am in the process of doing a new revised one which hopefully will be ready by the time you visit here. Thanks for your interest.

Eun-hyey said...

Hey Lisa!
I'm glad you finally have a blog! this is the perfect medium for you. I'm on xanga ( You don't need membership to read it, but you do to get regular updates delivered to your inbox and to leave comments. So...come visit there from time to time...
much love, e