Flipflops and Fights
By Andrew McChesney
Everything seemed strange to 6-year-old Danay when he arrived in the United States with his father, mother, and six older siblings. Cars filled the streets of their new hometown. Danay hadn’t seen many cars in the refugee camp in Thailand where his family had lived after fleeing violence in their native Myanmar.
Before the family had lived in a bamboo home without air conditioning and running water, and Danay had bathed in a river. Now everything was in the house. Danay thanked God for the new home.
Danay arrived at public school wearing flipflops, and the teacher immediately sent him home. The staff member who drove him home told his mother how to find the shoe store. But neither of his parents could drive or speak English, so a relative took him to the store to buy his first pair of shoes.
Danay returned to school the next day, but it was a difficult year. Some children treated refugees unkindly, and one of his brothers got into fights.
Then a Seventh-day Adventist befriended the family and helped Danay transfer to a church school for second grade. Scholarship fund from a Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped cover his tuition. Danay was happy to be in the church school with kind and friendly classmates. He had heard about God from his Christian parents at home, but now he was reading the Bible for himself at school. He wanted to learn more and, as he grew older, he joined various Bible study groups.
His faith came to the test when he was 12. One day, his father collapsed outside the house after working in the garden. No one knew how to call the ambulance, so family members lifted him into a car and rushed him to the hospital. Danay was devastated. That night he tossed and turned. He prayed like never before. “God, please help my Dad to recover,” he said. “If he does recover, I will get baptized and devote myself to you.”
Three days later, he saw his father in the hospital. The once-strong man looked pale and frail. The physician said he had suffered a stroke. Danay continued to pray. Weeks passed, and his father slowly improved. When he came home, Danay made good on his promise to God. He was baptized.
His father died of cancer five years later, but Danay, 17, is glad that he gave his heart to Jesus. “After getting baptized, I began to read the Bible more, pray more, and talk to God more,” he said. “ The more I did these things, the happier I felt. God is always watching, and He is always going to be there for me. I always feel thankful.”
A 2011 Thirteenth Sabbath Offering helped refugee children like Danay receive study in Adventist schools in the North American Division. Part of this quarter’s offering will again help refugee children obtain an Adventist education in North America. Thank you for planning a generous offering.
Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at adventistmission[dot]org