In 1956, I married my Bible School sweetheart, Norman Ens. Both of us had a vision and calling from the Lord to be overseas missionaries. The Christian and Missionary Alliance, which was the organization sending us to Cambodia, required that first of all we spend some years serving in Canada. So it was that they sent us to Hearts Hill, SK, and Luseland, SK. We served there from 1957 to 1960.
It was the church in Luseland that first sent us out on our missionary journey. For me, this journey has continued until the present day. In 1991, my husband went to be with the Lord. At that time we had to serve the Cambodian refugee church in France after the fall of Cambodia to the Khmer Rouge in 1975. After his death, I was able to return to Cambodia and served with the C&MA until the year 2000. By then I was 66 years old, and the mission said I must return to Canada and stay there.
That was not what I wanted to do, and I soon realized that it was not what Jesus wanted me to do either, so I returned to Cambodia with no mission supporting me. I knew I could live in Cambodia on my own pension and small savings. I did not have a clear idea of what the Lord was bringing me back for.
In 2002, Cambodia was at the height of the AIDS crisis. Along with another missionary couple, we established a centre for families coping with AIDS. Without any antiretroviral drugs, the HIV-positive parents all died, leaving us their children to care for. In 2003, we registered our organization with the Cambodian government, calling it Rescuing those without hope.
With donations, mostly from Canada, we began to build homes for orphan children. Beginning with 16 small homes for families coping with AIDS. RESCUE has grown to three centres and three university dorms and cares for children who are orphans or children of parents coping with AIDS, elderly destitute grannies, and adults coping with AIDS.
I expect to remain in Cambodia, living at our Rescue centre until I die. My son, David, and his wife, Patti, live in Phnom Penh, and I am able to see them often. I have been able to travel back and forth to North America to visit my sons, Doug and Rod, and their families, and my daughter, Shelly, and her family quite often. I have 14 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. I love them all dearly. With good health and abundant blessing from the Lord, I expect that will be for a good many years yet.
- 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
The View From My Veranda – written by Marie in 2006
My Forever Home – A children’s book about Suzie, the Canadian Golden Retriever, and Ny, one of the orphans. The book was written by Marie and edited by Robert Munsch in 2007
My Story – a book of stories written and illustrated by the children of Place of Rescue, translated by Marie in 2008.
More Views from my Veranda – written by Marie in 2012
SAME SAME but DIFFERENT – A children’s book about Little Paul, a child living with AIDS who was named after Paul Brandt, written as though it were Paul Brandt telling the story to his son, Joseph.
Marie’s Story – DVD documentary about Marie, produced by Coming Home Films Inc. in 2003
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