I got the privilege to have known Mickey Sampson.
Mickey was a remarkable person.
Being from Louisville, Mickey grew up heavily involved in sports and athletics. Mickey went on to eventually get a Phd in chemistry from the University of Louisville.
He first saw the struggle of Cambodians for clean water in the 1990s while teaching chemistry in Cambodia during a sabbatical year from the University of Kentucky.
One day his wife called Mickey into their bathroom in Cambodia while she was giving their children a bath. The water was only three inches deep, but it was so murky she couldn’t see the bottom of the bathtub.
“She said, ‘You know, you’re a chemist. Can’t you do something about this?’” He told a reporter years later, “It was a turning point in my life.” Many others also told Mickey that he should use his skills for helping with the water needs of the poor.
This is what led Mickey to becoming a missionary to Cambodia focused on bringing water and resources to the people. His desire beyond all of that was for the people to come to know the father.
I don’t know anyone who has met Mickey Sampson and wasn’t impacted by him. He became one of the Khmer people. Seeing him in Cambodia was a beautiful thing. We spent time together in the states but when he was in Cambodia, he seemed to be in the right spot. A place where he truly thrived.
He was probably one of the most innovative people I have met. He had so many ideas with how to equip people and help the villages.
As I learn about working among the poor in Louisville, Kentucky, I am encouraged to think of the strategies he used to reach people.
Mickey found and led Resource development International into huge streams of influence in Cambodia. He developed an idea to use a popular tool(Karaoke) to train people on water hazards. He made the most popular children’s TV shows to train kids on water contamination. He brought in the top scientist in the world to train in his chemistry lab to figure out ways to work with the arsenic issues.
The work he did stretched not just into the physical health of the people but also the spiritual health of the people.
Mickey’s life was not long. He died at the age of 43 with a wife, Wendy and 5 children in March 2009.
His death was really difficult to hear of. I admired him so much and envisioned my wife and kids being able to meet and spend time with him. It shook my world pretty hard.
Mickey’s legacy is still flourishing in Cambodia. The work he began has already saved countless lives physically and spiritually.
I hope my sons can hear of a man like this and desire to live there lives like him. Focused on others. Sacrificing for others. Building for a kingdom.
I thank God for Mickey’s life.
Here are a couple articles about Mickey: