The following is a letter we got from Naw Wah Ka Paw Shee, one of our students in Karen Adventist Frontier Academy. She is 19 years old, and is currently in the tenth grade. She is from Ler Doh Township, in the mountains on the west edge of Karen State. She writes…
My name is Naw Wah Ka Paw Shee. I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. My father and mother are subsistance farmers. As for their religion, they worship the spirits and follow the traditions of their ancestors. They have never been to school. When I was just a little girl, there were no schools in our area.
My father told us that one time when he was young, the Burmese Army soldiers came and caught him and took him back to Tounggoo. They kept him captive there for two years before letting him return to the mountains. This experience in the city convinced him that his children needed to get a good education.
I started school in the year 2000, in Moo Kee Primary School. After first grade, I changed to Doo Ghow Soe Primary School. Then, after that, the Adventist opened a middle school near my home in Kheh Der so my father sent me there. I studied there until I graduated from middle school.
Towards the end of grade school, I had to face a number of problems in my life. But, I didn’t let myself become discouraged and didn’t let it upset my education goals. The one thing that was a real challenge for me was when the Burmese military came to our mountains and burned down our houses and villages. When they finally went back, the only thing left standing of the entire village was our school. Even though they didn’t burn the school, we didn’t dare to go anywhere near it. We were afraid that they Burmese might have put landmines in the school before they went back. So, we had to do our lessons in the forest.
We did our lessons in the forest until the year-end exam. Our teacher only had time to give us the first day of the exam before we got news that the Burmese had come back. Even though we heard the news we still thought our teacher would give us the exam on the following day, but then someone told us that the enemy soldiers were almost upon us. we had to drop everything and run. As we were running and trying to stay hidden in the forest, we could hear shells falling and small arms fire all around us. We hear big shells land in our village, and then we could see the smoke of the burning buildings rising. We were so sad and frightened, but we couldn’t do anything to stop the madness. The only thing we could do was pray to God.
We ran away from the Burmese and wandered from place to place in the mountains. We thought that this time we would never see our homes again. However, thanks to God’s providence, after the Burmese had re-burned everything, they left and we were able to go back home.
After I finished all the grades offered in Kheh Der School, I went on to Ler Doh Township High School. It’s about six hours hike in the mountains from my house to that high school. Because it’s a little far, I stayed in the dormitory there in Ler Doh. I was the smallest of all the students in the dormitory, and that was the first time I had ever been away from my parents. So, I got really discouraged. However, for the sake of my education, I didn’t give up. One really scary thing, between my home village and Ler Doh, there is a big rushing river. And another thing, the Burmese soldiers often patrol through that area. But, thanks to God’s goodness, I arrived safely at the school and studied for the entire year.
Back home, I met an Adventist pastor who had been assigned to work in my village. He told me about an Adventist high school across the Burmese road. They called it Karen Adventist Frontier Academy. I talked with him about it several times, and then I asked him if I could go study there also. He encouraged me to go, told me how I would need to go, told me all about the dormitory and other students there, how they got their food, and all kinds of things like that. Then, he asked me if I was up to the trip. I told him that if it was as he has said, sure! He told me that they taught all kinds of interesting things there. I was happy to be planning to go back to an Adventist school.
When it was time for school to start again, I found out that there were no other girls from my area going. So I had to go alone, just me among a bunch of boys. After hiking all day we arived at a Karen soldier outpost near the Burmese road. Some one there helped me find a place to sleep in the soldiers barraks. Even though the trip was difficult for me, I wanted to go to school in an Adventist school so much that I put up with the difficulties and went anyway.
When I got to the school and saw all the teachers and students, and the school facilities, I was so happy. I knew then that it was God who had brought me.
When I was studying in my home village, I learned about God’s word some from my teachers, and enjoyed it very much. And after school, I went home and told my parents all about God’s word, and that all the signs show us that Jesus is coming back soon. My parents hadn’t really heard about God before. So I hope and pray that they will have opportunity to hear more about the gospel in the future and will accept Jesus as their savior.
As for me, I’m here at school. I’m studying now in my second year here. They have been teaching us many things. And, the best part, every morning and evening, in the dormitory they teach us about God’s word. My plan for is that when I finish school, I will go back to my village to serve my country so that children in future generations can be useful out country and for God’s kingdom. I hope my brothers and sisters in Christ will remember my parents and I in their prayers.
Thank you very much.
Naw Wah Ka Baw Sghee