Mother gathered her children. “I have news for you,” she said. “We are going on a difficult and dangerous journey to join Father.”
Niang’s [nee-AHNG] father had left Myanmar [MEE-ehn-mahr] to work in another country. But he didn’t have the proper papers and was arrested. Father soon realized that God had planned everything, even his arrest. The officials reviewing Father’s case realized that Father was a member of a tribe that was in great danger in his homeland. “If your family can join you here,” an official told him, “we can help you live in peace.” Father sent word to Mother to try to join him.
Back home the family prayed for God’s protection on their journey. Then Mother led the way down the dusty path. “If the government’s agents find us, they will arrest us,” Mother whispered. “So walk quietly.”
Niang and her family walked for hours each day and stayed with people who fed them and kept them safe. “Let’s thank God for protecting us,” Mother often said.
One Step Closer to Freedom
The family came to the river that marked the border between their homeland and freedom. Mother found a man with a small boat who was willing to ferry them across the river.
Niang trembled as she climbed into the boat. “ ‘When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you,’ ”* Niang whispered as she gripped the sides of the boat as it bounced against the current.
At last the boat bumped against the far shore, and the children clamored out. Niang whispered a prayer of thanks as she felt the solid ground under her feet again. The family didn’t dare hesitate on the riverbank, but hurried into the jungle, away from soldiers’ guns. They still had a long way to walk before reaching Father. With every footstep they prayed for God’s protection.
At last the family found Father. They moved to a refugee camp where Niang enrolled in school. As she studied English she tried to imagine what life in America would be like.
Months later the family settled into their new home in America. Niang has made new friends and tells them how God protected her family during their long walk to freedom. “I want my friends to know that Jesus loves them,” she says.
Life isn’t easy when a family settles in a new country. Everything is new and confusing. The language is different, customs are different, and often the citizens don’t understand how hard it is to learn all they need to know to survive. Niang and her family are Adventist Christians, but many fellow refugees are not. This quarter part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help tell refugees in North America that Jesus loves them, that He died for them, and that He wants to be their friend forever.
*Psalm 56:3, NIV.