Edel walked home from school looking as if he had lost a friend. “What’s wrong?” Mother asked.
“Teacher gave me a failing grade today,” he said, his voice wavering. “She saw that I didn’t bow to the idol when the other children did. And she told me I must bring the offering for the idol to school.” Tears clouded the boy’s eyes.
“Son, I’ve explained to you that we give our offerings to Jesus. The money your teacher demands that you bring buys flowers for the idol and robes for the boys to wear when they want to become monks.”
Edel nodded. He understood. But he hated it when his teacher reminded him that he hadn’t brought his offering.
God, what can I do? Mother prayed. Edel’s family was Christian, and Christians are a small minority in the country of Myanmar [MEE-ehn-mahr, also called Burma]. Long ago the government had closed all Christian schools. And the public schools favored the dominant non-Christian religion.
Mother knew of some private schools in the city, but they were not religious schools. She wanted Edel and his younger brother and sister to get a Christian education and learn the values taught in the Bible. Please, God, tell me where I can send my children to school.
A few days later Mother was on her way to the market when she saw some students waiting for a school bus. They weren’t wearing the school uniform for the public school. Mother stopped to talk to the children. “Where do you go to school?” Mother asked them.
“We go to Yangon Adventist Seminary,” one of the older girls said. Mother had never heard of Yangon Adventist Seminary and asked what kind of school it was. “It’s a Christian school,” the girl answered politely.
“A Christian school—in the city?” Mother asked with excitement in her voice. “May I see your textbooks?” The girl opened her backpack and pulled out her textbooks for Mother to see. One textbook caught her attention. It was a Bible textbook. Mother flipped through the pages and smiled. “Do you have the school’s telephone number?” she asked the girl. The girl recited the school’s telephone number while Edel’s mother jotted it down. Mother thanked the children and hurried on toward the market. A Christian school! She thought, hardly able to keep her excitement in check.
When Mother returned from the market she called the number the girl had given her and spoke to the principal, who answered her questions about the school. Mother arranged to visit the campus that week. When she arrived at the school, she realized that it was located far from their home. But then she remembered that the children she had met were waiting for a school bus. Perhaps we can send Edel on the same bus, she thought.
Mother met the school principal and walked with him through the school. It was smaller than she had imagined, and the classrooms seemed crowded. But she noticed how attentive the teachers were and how disciplined the children seemed to be. This is the school for my children! Mother thought. And then she remembered how expensive other private schools in the city were. She asked about tuition costs and was surprised that it was so affordable.
That night Mother told Father of her discovery. He agreed that Edel should enroll in the Adventist school for the next school year.
When the new school year started, Edel and his younger sister, Blessing, were ready. Mother went with them on the school bus the first day to be sure they knew their way. That afternoon Mother waited at the bus stop for her children’s arrival. When the bus rounded the corner and stopped, Edel jumped off and ran to his mother. “How was school?” she asked.
“It was great!” he said, smiling. “I love my teacher! We prayed to Jesus instead of an idol, and we had a Bible lesson, and I learned some new songs about Jesus!”
Edel and his sister have blossomed at the Yangon Adventist Seminary, where they’re learning leadership skills and Christian principles that match what their parents are teaching them at home.
Mother has told many of her neighbors about Yangon Adventist Seminary, and several are sending their children to the school now. The school has grown to more than 450 students and is quite crowded. But more families want their children to study there, for Jesus is the heart of everything.
This quarter part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help enlarge Yangon Adventist Seminary so that more children can prepare for a bright future with a solid Christian education.