In December of 2022, I went on a mission trip to Thailand with a team of 18 people. We went to four different schools. We spent time getting to know the students, playing with them, worshiping with them and much more. It brought me so much joy to see the joy of the kids through their smiles and laughter. It also brought me tears to learn about their struggles.

At one of the schools, I met a 14-year-old girl name Naw Kler. She is a 5th grader and has been at the school for four years. Two years ago, she made the decision to follow Jesus. When she told her parents that she was going to get baptized, they wouldn’t allow it to happen. Her parents threatened her in many ways to prevent her from getting baptized. They told her that they would abandon her if she disobeyed them. As a 12-year-old at the time, her heart was broken, and she cried. It was either Jesus, or her family. However, she couldn’t ignore the calling of the Lord, so she decided to give her life to Him. Till this day, her parents have never contacted her, and she has never gone back home.

Although she was abandoned by her parents, she was not discouraged. She said, “God gave me something that nobody else could. Not even my parents. I’m willing to lose a thousand things to be close to my Lord.” There are so many others at the school with a similar story. They each made a solid decision for Christ despite knowing the consequences.

Doh Htoo is a 2020 graduate of Sunnydale Adventist Academy and the It is Written SALT program.