On Friday, March 4, 2005, Pastor Reth Nhar said goodbye to his wife, climbed into a car with four Cambodian friends, and headed out into the evening rush hour for the 60-mile drive north out of Providence, through the heart of Boston, to Lynn, Massachusetts. There the five made their way up to the second floor of an office building at 140 Union Street, grabbed some tea, and at 6:45 p.m., they crammed into a meeting room at the new Cambodian Ministries Resource Center.
The Killing Fields of the Cambodian holocaust that took place from 1975 to 1979 under the leadership of the Khmer Rouge left over a million dead and led to a flood of refugees fleeing from Cambodia. Many escaped from this horrific event to neighboring countries, while others sought safety around the world. A portion of the refugees came to the United States in the early 1980s in an attempt to start their lives afresh. Today, the Greater Boston area has the second highest concentration of Cambodians in America, some estimating as many as 30,000, with the majority living in Lynn, just 10 miles north of Boston, and Lowell, 30 miles to the northwest.